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2023 Summer Reading List: K-8th Grade

Updated: May 21

School may be out for the season, but all of us at the Mission Society are excited to dive into brand new adventures, discover facts about incredible figures in history, and get lost in the imaginative worlds of books. To help us with these efforts, our partners at Scholastic have collaborated with us to curate another round of diverse, fun, and engaging summer reads for K-8th grade students. Literacy learning is a core part of our programs, and encouraging curiosity and exploration year-round is vital to the growth of the young people we serve. We’re excited to enjoy another year of new books together, and to continue our journeys of discovery in and beyond our schools.

We hope you and your families will join us, and that you find your next favorite adventure or fact about history in the reading list below!


One is a Piñata, A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by John Parra

Summary: A rainbow, a cake, a piñata that’s ready to break— children reading this book will find fun ways to learn how to count in both English and Spanish.

Viva Frida written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, in collaboration with Tim O’ Meara

Summary: This book is a celebration of the innovative, revered artist Frida Kahlo who is known for her self-portraits and works inspired by Mexico.

Zoey and Sassafras: Caterflies and Ice by Asia Citro and illustrated by Marion Lindsay

Summary: This is a STEM adventure, featuring magical animals, science, and mystery. In this story, Zoey and Sassafras try to rescue caterfly eggs, but make a mistake they need to fix before the eggs hatch.


Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce and illustrated by Tuesday Mourning

Summary: This is a story about Ellie, an engineer who creates amazing inventions and builds new creations in her backyard workshop.

When the Beat Was Born, DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor

Summary: “Before there was hip hop, there was DJ Kool Herc” - a groundbreaking music maker who transformed the world. This book explores his life, from the time of his childhood, to his invention of culture-defining music.

Hidden Figures (The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race) by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling and illustrated by Laura Freeman

Summary: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. This is the story of how they used their genius minds to change the world.

Science Comics: Volcanoes, Fire and Life written and illustrated by Jon Chad

Summary: A young explorer named Aurora introduces readers to the science and characteristics of volcanoes. The book discusses lava, plate tectonics, and the creation of new land masses.


Summary: Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she's also a teenager. And a princess. This middle grade series follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda.

What Color is My World? written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld and illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford

Summary: Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares the stories of little-known Black inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.

Chasing Space by Leland Melvin

Summary: The inspiring story of how Leland Melvin, an African American athlete drafted by the NFL, rebounded and reached for the stars as a NASA astronaut.

Thank you to Scholastic for not only curating our reading list, but for ensuring that our program participants received their own books to take home. For more literacy learning resources, be sure to read last year’s article by Angela Shanté on our blog about combatting summer slide. If you're in high school or have a teen in your life, you can take a look at our summer reading list curated by educator Kate Overgaard.

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