Summer Reading List!!

Now that school’s out you have more free time on your hands! And instead of spending it playing video games or watching TV, why not try reading some new books? Reading is the perfect pastime activity, and you can read anywhere! Sit out by the pool, find a cool shady spot, go to a local coffee shop, or just curl up on your couch with a good book.

Reading has many benefits, and it’s probably no surprise that reading helps you develop your comprehension skills and knowledge bases. The more you read over the summer, the more prepared you’ll be to do well during the next school year, and these skills will also help you in your career later in life. But did you also know that reading can help you become a more empathetic person? Studies show that reading fiction helps you better understand other people and view the world from others’ perspectives. Reading helps you develop a “theory of mind,” or a mental model of others’ intentions. So not only does reading make you smarter, but it can also make you kinder.

Most importantly, however, reading is fun! Getting lost in the lives of characters is exciting, and you can create mental images in your head that are way cooler and more elaborate than any movie scenes. So don’t hesitate to get started, and use this list of good books (in no particular order) as a starting place!

1. The Giver: Lois Lowry

Eleven-year-old Jonas lives in a futuristic society that has eliminated all pain, war, and hatred. There’s no prejudice or competition, and everyone is polite. Sounds great, right? Jonas thinks so too until his twelfth birthday, when he is assigned an uncommon job. He begins meeting with a wise old man called the Giver, and Jonas learns things his family members and friends have never known. What strange things is he learning about his society? And how will he handle problems when they arise? Read The Giver to find out more! It’s creative and well-written, and it makes you think and want to keep reading!

2. Banner in the Sky: James Ramsey Ullman

Sixteen-year-old Rudi Matt lives in the small Swiss mountain village of Kurtal. His dream is to climb the Citadel, the treacherous mountain that looms over his village. Unfortunately Rudi’s father died on the mountain when Rudi was one, and everyone thinks the mountain is cursed, so Rudi’s mother and uncle have forbidden him from climbing the Citadel. Rudi, however, cannot bring himself to follow their orders, so he sneaks out of his job in the hotel kitchen and sets out to climb the mountain, passing his father’s grave on the way. He begins a crazy and risky journey, and the story of his adventure is suspenseful and exciting. If you’re interested in books about outdoor adventure and courage, Banner in the Sky is for you!

3. The Thief Lord: Cornelia Funke

A group of orphans living in Venice, Italy, join forces on a quest to steal a treasured wooden wing. As they carry out their plan, however, they begin to realize that their friends are not all who they say they are. Things get even more mysterious when questions arise about the wing’s possible magical powers, and the characters get immersed in a crazy adventure. If you’re interested in fantasy, mystery, and creative plots, The Thief Lord is the book for you! Also try any of Cornelia Funke’s other books, including Inkheart, Inkspell, and Dragon Rider. You won’t be disappointed by any of them!

4. Esperanza Rising: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza is an only child living in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in the 1930s. Her father is a wealthy landowner, and Esperanza’s life seems close to perfect. Unfortunately, however, there is resentment toward rich landowners, and Esperanza’s life changes dramatically when her father is killed by bandits. Esperanza’s awful uncle takes over the property, and Esperanza’s mother must choose whether to marry her brother-and-law or flee to the States with Esperanza. Esperanza continues to face challenges, and Esperanza Rising tells the inspiring story of her bravery, strength, and hope. If you’re interested in reading historical fiction and learning about real-life struggles, this is the book for you!

5. The City of Ember: Jeanne DuPrau

Lina and Doon are twelve-year-olds living in the post-apocalyptic city of Ember, a confined place surrounded by darkness. The two graduate school and get assigned jobs, and Doon agrees to switch with Lina so she can deliver messages around town while he spends time in the Pipeworks. Delivering messages is a great way to hear the city gossip, and Lina begins to learn about the city’s dwindling food supply. Meanwhile, Doon finds out that the city’s generator is slowly degrading. Without food or electricity the city’s inhabitants cannot survive, so Lina and Doon work to uncover secrets and develop a plan. Soon they set out on a crazy adventure, seeing sights they’d never even dreamed of. This is one of the best dystopian fiction books out there, so you won’t be disappointed. You should also check out the other books in the series: The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold.

6. Homeless Bird: Gloria Whelan

Koly is a teenager growing up in India, and even though she’s only thirteen at the start of the story, her mother says it’s time to find her a husband. As Koly prepares for her wedding she works on a beautiful quilt for herself. She covers it with scenes from her home, a place she’ll never see again once she gets married. Her husband-to-be, Hari Mehta, is supposedly sixteen, but when the wedding comes Koly’s family discovers he’s only thirteen and has tuberculosis. His family is convinced that a trip to the holy city of Varanasi and a bath in the Ganges River will cure him, and they use the money from Koly’s dowry to make a trip. This is the first of multiple long travels for Koly, and her situation goes from bad to worse. She perseveres, however, and the story of her journey, courage, and hope is powerful. If you like learning about other cultures and want to read an inspiring historical fiction story, Homeless Bird is the book for you!

7. Number the Stars: Lois Lowry

Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are ten-year-olds living in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1943. The Nazis have occupied their country for three years, and Annemarie, Ellen, and Annemarie’s little sister Kirsti have unpleasant encounters with German soldiers on their way to school. Things get worse for Jews in Copenhagen, and Ellen’s parents, who are Jews, leave the city suddenly. Ellen stays with Annemarie’s family, and when officers come to the Johansen’s house looking for the Rosens, Ellen has to pretend to be Annemarie and Kirsti’s sister. The next day Annemarie’s parents tell the girls they’re going to visit Uncle Henrik, a family member who lives in a northern fishing village right across the sea from neutral Sweden. The adults say they’re going for Great-Aunt Birte’s funeral, but Annemarie is suspicious because she’s never heard of Great-Aunt Birte. Read the book to find out what happens—you won’t be able to put it down!

8. Hatchet: Gary Paulson

Thirteen-year-old Brian is flying to Canada for the summer when the pilot dies from a massive heart attack. Brian tries to land the plane, but crashes into a lake in the forest. He only has a hatchet with him, but it proves to be his best survival tool. Over the course of the summer he uses the hatchet to help him get food, shelter, warmth, and more. He appears to be thriving in the wilderness, but inside he struggles with bitter memories of home and the past. Then a tornado hits, and it’s up to Brian to figure out how to survive and get help. This is an excellent read if you enjoy exciting adventure stories, survival stories, or anything to do with the outdoors.  Also, don’t miss books 2-5 in the series: The River, Brian’s Winter, Brian’s Return, and Brian’s Hunt.

9. Because of Winn Dixie: Kate DiCamillo

Ten-year-old Opal and her father just moved to the small town of Naomi, Florida, and Opal is not happy about the transition. She misses her old home, her old friends, and her mother who left her when she was young. She meets an unlikely friend, however, at a Winn-Dixie grocery story. This “friend” is actually a stray dog, and Opal names him the first thing that comes to mind: Winn-Dixie. Through Winn-Dixie Opal befriends the town’s so-called “witch,” the old librarian, and the shy pet store owner. As Opal begins learning the stories of the three ladies, she begins to open up about her own life as well. Unfortunately when a storm comes and Winn-Dixie goes missing, Opal almost reaches her breaking point. Read the book yourself to find out what happens. It’s an easy read and a heart-warming story, and you’ll become wrapped up in the lives of all the characters!

10. Dragon’s Milk: Susan Fletcher

Kaeldra’s sister is terribly ill, and it’s up to Kaeldra to find help. Kaeldra knows dragon’s milk is the only thing that will cure her sister, so she sets off on a journey to find some. Eventually she finds Fiona, a mother dragon with three young draclings. In return for milk, Kaeldra agrees to watch the draclings while Fiona goes out in search of food. Things take a turn for the worst, however, when Fiona is killed, leaving Kaeldra with three vulnerable draclings. Will she be able to keep them safe? Will she be able to get milk to her sister in time? Read the book to find out! The story is fascinating and gripping, especially if you enjoy fantasy. And don’t miss the other books in The Dragon Chronicles! Books two and three are called Flight of the Dragon Kyn and Sign of the Dove.

Read all of these already? Need more suggestions? Never fear! I loved young adult novels when I was growing up, so I have a long list for you to choose from! Here are more:

Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini (slightly older audience)
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Khaled Hosseini (slightly older audience)
The Book Thief: Markus Zusak (slightly older audience)
Paper Towns: John Green (slightly older audience)
A Fault in Our Stars: John Green (slightly older audience)
Looking for Alaska: John Green
Divergent: Veronica Roth
Gregor the Overlander: Suzanne Collins (Try all the books in the Underland Chronicles!)
Artemis Foul: Eoin Colfer
Ender’s Game: Orson Scott Card
The Secret Garden: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Island of the Blue Dolphins: Scott O’Dell
Walk Two Moons: Sharon Creech
Ruby Holler: Sharon Creech
Tuck Everlasting: Natalie Babbitt
The Westing Game: Ellen Raskin
Where the Red Fern Grows: Wilson Rawls
The Witch of Blackbird Pond: Elizabeth George Speare
The Tale of Despereaux: Kate DiCamillo
My Sister’s Keeper: Jodi Picoult
Double Identity: Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Maze Runner: James Dashner
A Wrinkle in Time: Madeleine L’Engle (Try other books by Madeleine L’Engle too!)
The Hobbit: J.R.R. Tolkien
Holes: Louis Sachar
Stargirl: Jerry Spinelli
Wonder: R.J. Palacio
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Stephen Chbosky
Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine
Bridge to Terabithia: Katherine Paterson

Hopefully this list will keep you busy for a while! Let us know which books in the list are your favorites, and tell us about more books that we haven’t mentioned. Enjoy your summer reading!

~Natalie

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Posted on July 1, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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