Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Here at the Mission Society, we believe reading is a wonderful summer activity for the whole family. Not only is it a powerful way to explore new worlds, emotions, and perspectives, it allows young people to further develop important literacy and reading comprehension skills outside of the classroom.
If you're looking for new books to add to your shelf this summer, check out our reading recommendations below! This list, curated by one of Mission's professional educators, includes a diverse selection for each age group that is sure to keep your child engaged and learning.
We hope you have a chance to enjoy a few exciting stories with your families this summer!
KINDERGARTEN - 2ND GRADE
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson & Alex Scheffler
Summary: A snail longs for adventure and a whale responds to her call, taking her on a journey from icebergs to volcanoes to tropical islands. Disaster strikes when the whale gets beached in a bay, and the tiny snail has to save the day.
Why We Love This Book: This book serves as a great reminder that everyone is capable of amazing things, and will teach your kids to have an adventurous spirit!
LMNOPeas by Keith Baker
Summary: In this book, we meet the "alphabet peas" and learn about all the different things they do - like the acrobat, artist, and astronaut “A” peas, and the gardener, giggler, and giver "Gs".
Why We Love This Book: The peas help children learn the alphabet, asking them to brainstorm different words that begin with each letter. At the end of the book, the peas ask “Who Are You?", prompting kids to think about what they can do and their dreams for the future.
The Day You Begin, Written by Jaqueline Woodson & Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Summary: This book explores what it feels like when “there is no one else quite like you”, and the power of sharing your voice with strength and pride.
Why We Love This Book: The Day You Begin encourages our students to share their personal stories, identify and manage challenging feelings, and remember that there is beauty in being different. You can find this story in Spanish and English.
3RD - 5TH GRADE
I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, with paintings by Bryan Collier
Summary: This beautifully illustrated book shares the words of Langston Hughes' famous poem “I Too Am America".
Why We Love This Book: We always find opportunities for older students to read poetry – a genre we often do not spend as much time on in classrooms. This powerful poem also leads to in-depth discussions about the call for equality.
Schomburg, The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford & Eric Velasquez
Summary: The Man Who Built a Library shares the significance of Arturo Schomburg's collected books, poems, and art to make sure the history of the Harlem Renaissance, Africa, and the African diaspora were recorded and maintained.
Why We Love This Book: The Man Who Built a Library reinforces the importance of recording histories and ensuring our stories are heard. We use this book to lead students in discussions about why it is crucial to learn about history from different perspectives.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Summary: A brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful girl, and a princess named Pea come together and embark on a journey that will lead them into a horrible dungeon, a glittering castle, and, ultimately, each other's lives.
Why We Love This Book: This story is full of engaging characters, adventure, and humor! We also love that Despereaux the mouse teaches readers about bravery, and not being afraid to be different.
6TH - 8TH GRADE
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Summary: Josh and his twin brother Jordan live to play basketball and plan to join teams at rival colleges. Throughout the story, the twins encounter a number of challenging circumstances, and have to determine how to persevere and stay strong as a family.
Why We Love This Book: This award-winning, New York Times best seller is an excellent way to incorporate social emotional learning into young people's reading. Each character struggles with difficult situations, which require students to think about how they respond to challenging feelings in their own lives.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
Summary: In this story, four children travel to the magical land of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe. When the children arrive in Narnia, they realize they are part of a prophecy that will help save Narnia from evil. With the aid of a lion and other magical creatures, the children begin an adventure to fulfill their quest.
Why We Love This Book: A tale of great adventure with magical characters, this book is full of opportunities for rich discussion. It is a great tool for talking about character motivation, and an opportunity for students to read a new genre.