Summer Reading List
Reading can be one of the many fun activities children choose to fill their summer time. Research has shown it is also much more! Children who participate in public library summer reading programs make achievement leaps during the summer and score higher on fall reading achievement tests. The books on this list come highly recommended by kid readers from all over the country and may also be available in eBook, audio book, braille, and large print formats. This summer, take your child to participate in the summer programs happening at your library.
Baloney and Friends
by Greg Pizzoli
This funny graphic novel for beginning readers stars Baloney the pig alongside his friends Bizz (a bee), Peanut (a horse), and Krabbit (a very cranky rabbit).
Black Is a Rainbow Color
by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
ROARING BROOK, 2020
There’s no black in rainbows, but Black is more than a color. It’s a culture. This picture book celebrates African American history and identity.
by Sybil Rosen, illustrated by Camille Garoche
SCHWARTZ & WADE, 2021
A sweet story about a girl and her family bonding while building a birdhouse in their home.
The Electric Slide and Kai
by Kelly J. Baptist, illustrated by Darnell Johnson
LEE & LOW, 2021
Kai’s family is excited for his aunt’s upcoming wedding, but since every family celebration means dancing, Kai’s worried he will make a fool of himself on the dance floor again. A picture book celebration of family, love, and overcoming one’s fears.
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho
A picture book filled with wonderful illustrations that encourage children to be proud of who they are and how they look.
A Hatful of Dragons: And More than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems
by Vikram Madan
A silly collection of interactive poems and rhymes in a variety of formats with fun illustrations about mummies, dragons, and more!
I Am a Bird
by Hope Lim, illustrated by Hyewon Yum
A little girl, riding on the back of her father’s bike, is wary of the mysterious woman with a bag they pass. One day, she finds out what the bag is for, and her wariness grows into kinship.
by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
Frustrated with her little brother taking over her job of pushing the elevator button, a girl takes a discarded button to transform her closet door into a magical elevator. In the process, she discovers that adventures are more fun when you share them.
Milo Imagines the World
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
While on the subway, Milo imagines different stories for the people he sees, but he soon realizes you can’t tell who people really are just by their appearance.
A Place inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart
By Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon
FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX, 2020
A Black boy, shown all over his neighborhood, experiences a range of emotions: fear, pride, sorrow, and joy.
Sharuko: El arqueólogo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello
by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
LEE & LOW, 2020
In this Spanish-English picture-book biography, readers find out about this Indigenous scientist who found skulls and artifacts in the mountains of Peru as a child and went on to become the founder of modern Peruvian archaeology.
by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
TUNDRA BOOKS, 2020
Join a little girl and her younger brother as they leave behind the place they know as home and, along the way, make the best of times with what they find. A wonderful refugee story.
Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat
by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Giselle Potter
BEACH LANE BOOKS, 2021
A look into Frieda Caplan’s life of being a produce trailblazer, introducing new fruits and vegetables, like baby corn and kiwi, to the American diet.
We Laugh Alike / Juntos nos reímos: A Story That’s Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun
by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
Two groups of friends meet in the park, but one group only speaks English, and the other only speaks Spanish. Watch how they play together and discover all sorts of similarities!
What about Worms!?
by Ryan T. Higgins
Tiger is big and brave—except when it comes to worms! When faced with a worm-themed book and then a big group of worms, he must try to overcome his fear.
Your Place in the Universe
by Jason Chin
HOLIDAY HOUSE, 2020
An introduction to size, scale, and distance that goes from comparing an eight-year-old’s height with a stack of books to examining the vastness of the universe.
Zonia’s Rain Forest
by Juana Martinez-Neal
Explore Zonia’s home, the Amazon rain forest, and learn as Zonia respects and protects the Peruvian wildlife and her heritage.
The 2021 Summer Reading Book List was created by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Titles on this list were selected by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee.