Suggested Summer Reading List: Elementary

By Jess Corinne and Erin Verticchio
May 20, 2022

Summer reading is so important for maintaining learner momentum. Without it, your child could easily lose progress they gained last school year and enter the classroom feeling less successful and confident overall. As a parent of four little learners myself, I constantly struggle to inspire our children to read throughout the summer. So, in order to make summer reading as fun, engaging, meaningful and rewarding as possible, a few of our Educational Specialists have compiled a list of Learnfully’s favorite titles to make your lives easier as parents and to ignite joy in your whole family!

Looking for an independent bookstore to secure your copy of a summer reading title? Take a look at this list of some of the best 18 independent book sellers across the U.S.

See a list of our favorite middle school titles here.

Suggested Summer Reading List: Elementary

Genre/Text Type
K-2Ada Twist, ScientistBeaty, AndreaNonfiction2016Inspired by real-life makers Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, this beloved #1 bestseller champions STEM, girl power and women scientists in a rollicking celebration of curiosity, the power perseverance, and the importance of asking “Why?”STEM, Fascinating People
K-2We Are Water ProtectorsLindstrom, CaroleFiction, Native American Folklore2022Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruptionSTEM
K-2Chick and Brain: Smell My FootBall, CeceFiction, Graphic Novel2019Meet Chick and Brain. And their friend Spot. Chick likes to follow the rules. Brain might not be as smart as he looks. And Spot just wants to eat lunch.Silly Stories, Social Emotional Development, Friendship
K-2Yasmin the ChefFaruqi, SaadiaFiction, chapter book2019Yasmin loves hosting parties! Music, friends, fun! But what she doesn’t love is the spicy food her Pakistani family serves. Yasmin puts on her chef hat and plans to make her own amazing, fantastic recipe…as soon as she figures out what that is!Cultural connections
K-2What About Worms!?Higgins, Ryan T.Fiction2020Tiger is BIG. Tiger is BRAVE. And Tiger is NOT afraid of anything . . . except WORMS! Are Tiger’s worm worries worse than worms?Silly Stories, Social Emotional Development
K-2Snail and Worm: Three Stories about Two FriendsKugler, TinaFiction, short stories2016Told in three comical, episodic shorts and ranging in topic from adventuring to having pets, Snail and Worm will have readers laughing at the friends’ silly antics, making it a perfect book for readers transitioning between picture books and chapter books.Silly Stories, Social Emotional Development, Friendship
K-2Sofia Martinez: My Family AdventureJules, JacquelineFiction2015Little Sofia Martinez has a big personality and big plans, which makes every day memorable. Between her sisters and cousins, her family is the focus of her many adventures. From taking school pictures to doing chores, this 7-year-old knows how to make every moment count. Sofia loves her family and loves her life. Family, Cultural Connections
K-2Hair LoveCherry, Matthew AFiction2019Story about self-love and self-care. Adapted into a Pixar short.Family, Cultural Connections
K-2Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved ReptilesValdez, PatriciaNonfiction2018Biography of a pioneering scientist.STEM, Fascinating People
K-2Flow, Spin, Grow: Looking for Patterns in NatureBarss, PatchenNonfiction2018Introduction to identifying patterns in nature.STEM
K-2Power UpFishman, SethNonfiction2019Introduction to how the human body is powered by energy.STEM
1-3In the PastElliott, DavidNonfiction, poetry2018A poetic introduction to the world of dinosaurs.STEM, Animals
1-3A Boy and a JaguarRabinowitz, AlanNonfiction, autobiography2014Alan Rabinowitz, a famous jaguar expert, tells the story of how becoming an advocate for animal conservation helped him overcome his stutter.STEM, Animals, Fascinating People, Social Emotional Development
1-3King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost ToothHillestad Butler, DoriFiction, mystery2018Kayla and her dog, King, investigate another mystery. Part of a series told King’s point of view.Social Emotional Development, Animals
1-3Summer in Savannah (Ana & Andrew)Platt, ChristineFiction2019Ana & Andrew travel to visit their grandparents in Savannah, Georgia. While they are there, they learn Grandma and Grandpa’s church was built by slaves. Part of the Ana & Andrew series.History, Social Emotional Development, Equity
1-3ImagineHerrera, Juan FelipeNonfiction, poetry, autobiography2018Poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera tells his own story about leaving home and finding yourself through an illustrated poem.Social Emotional Development, Fascinating People
1-3The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to ReadHubbard, Rita LorraineNonfiction2020The story of Mary Walker, who was born into slavery and learned to read at 116 years old.History, Social Emotional Development, Fascinating People
1-3Zoe & Sassafrass Book 1: Dragons and MarshmallowsCitro, AsiaFiction, Sci-Fi, Fantasy2018Each story in the Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science.STEM, Adventure
1-3Most Perfect YouSimon, JazmynFiction2022Irie’s mother helps her come to love herself just as she is.Social Emotional Development
1-3Poppy & Sam the Leaf ThiefCathonFiction, Mystery2018Poppy and her panda friend, Sam, lead an investigation into a suspicious commotion.Friendship, Animals
1-3Dragon MastersTracey WestFiction, Fantasy2014Illustrated chapter book filled with dragons, wizards, and magic. Part of a series.Adventure
2-4Gross as a Snot Otter: Discovering the World’s Most Disgusting AnimalsKeating, JessNonfiction2019A collection of some of the world’s weirdest, wildest, and grossest creatures (and how what makes them gross also helps them survive).STEM, Animals
2-4Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space RaceShetterly, Margaret LeeNonfiction2018This book explores the pivotal contributions of African-American women mathematicians to America’s space program.STEM, Space, History
2-4Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories From IndiaSoundar, ChitraFiction2018A series of stories inspired by traditional Indian folktales featuring best friends Prince Veera and Suku.Adventure, Friendship, Cultural Connections
2-4The Dragon Slayer: Folktales From Latin AmericaHernandez, JaimeNonfiction, Graphic Novel2017Jaime Hernandez transforms beloved myths into bold, stunning, and utterly contemporary comics.Adventure, Cultural Connections
2-4Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food RemixMarin, Jacqueline BriggsNonfiction2017Famed chef Roy Choi explores how food not only means culture, but love.Cultural Connections
2-4Frankie Sparks and the Class PetBlakemore, Megan FrazerFiction2019Frankie Sparks, the self-proclaimed “best inventor int he third grade,” creates a tool to try to persuade her classmates that a rat would be the perfect class pet.STEM, Animals
2-4The Birchbark HouseErdrich, LouiseHistorical Fiction1999A seven-year-old member of the Ojibwe tribe lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.History, Cultural Connections
2-4Wedgie & GizmoFisinger, BarbaraFiction2017Gizmo, an evil genius guinea pig, is constantly thwarted by the lovable Corgi, Wedgie.Animals
2-4Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi QueenFlorence, Debbi MichikoFiction2017Eager to do something her big sister has not done first, Jasmine Toguchi decides to pound mochi with the men and bous when her family gets together to celebrate the New Year.Cultural Connections, Family
2-4Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orechestra of ParaguayHood, SusanNonfiction2016The true story of Favior Chavez, a music teacher who transforms Ada and her small town with a love of music.STEM, Fascinating People
3-5Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be YouSotomayor, SoniaFiction2019A book about how our differences make each of us unique.Social Emotional Development
3-5Kitten Construction CompanyGreen, John P.Fiction, Graphic Novel2018Marmalade is a trained architect who isn’t taken seriously because, well, she’s a kitten.Social Emotional Development, Equity
3-5Peter and Ernesto: A Tale of Two SlothsAnnable, GrahamFiction, Graphic Novel2018Peter and Ernesto are sloths. Peter and Ernesto are friends. But Peter and Ernesto are nothing alike.Social Emotional Development, Friendship
3-5Stella Diaz Has Something to SayDominguez, AngelaFiction2018Stella wants to be able to speak in front of the class, but sometimes she accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English, which makes her turn roja.Social Emotional Development, Cultural Connections
3-5Emmy in the Key of CodeLucido, AimeeFiction2019Emmy has never felt more out of place, but when she takes her first coding class things start to look up.STEM, Social Emotional Development, Friendship
3-5Front DeskYang, KellyFiction2018English is not Mia Tang’s first language, but she wants to be a writer. That’s not her only secret, either — her family lives and works in a motel. In the empty rooms they hide other immigrant families like theirs.Social Emotional Development, Cultural Connections
3-5Selena: Queen of Tejano MusicLopez, SilviaNonfiction2020The story of Selena Quintanilla, who faced an uphill battle to be come a star in a genre dominated by male performers.Cultural Connections, Fascinating People
3-5Rocket to the MoonBrown, DonNonfiction, Graphic Novel2019The history of rocket building, from ancient Chinese rockets to the moon landing.STEM
3-5Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a DisabilityBurcaw, ShaneNonfiction, autobiography2017A humorous, relatable, and honest glimpse into the life of Shane Burvaw, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy.Social Emotional Development, Equity
3-5Rutabega the Adventure ChefColossal, EricFiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy2015Rutabaga and his magic cooking pot, Pot, join young adventurers Winnifred, Manny, and Beef on a quest to defeat a dragon, discover new ingredients, find monsters to have for and/or to dinner, and to save the day through cooking. Adventure, Friendship
3-5Wow in the World presents Wow in the Wild: The Amazing World of AnimalsThomas, Mindy and Guy RazNonfiction2022A hilarious guide to creatures big and small.STEM, Animals
3-5The Magical Adventures of Phoebe and Her UnicornSimpson, DanaFiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy2020Phoebe and her unicorn best friend explore a world full of magical mysteries and adventure, taking on everything from cruel classmates to candy-breathing dragons.Adventure, Friendship
3-5Cucubmber Quest Book 1: The Donut KingdomD.G., GigiFiction, Webcomic, Graphic Novel2017The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a hero, Instead, they have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician, and his way more heroic sister, Almond.Adventure
3-5+Zita the SpacegirlHatke, BenFiction, Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi2011When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. First book in a series.Adventure, Space
3-5+The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian #1: The Fuzzy ApocalypseMessinger, JonathanFiction, Graphic Novel Sci-Fi2020When Explorer Troop 301 gets stuck on a planet that’s about to explode, Finn and his friends will have to face giant aliens, a leader with mind control powers, and one evil, fluffy bunny rabbit in order to save the planet and themselves.Adventure, Friendship, Space
4-6Pilu of the WoodsNguyen, Mai K.Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy2019A beautiful and bittersweet story of friendship, loss, and finding your way home.Social Emotional Development, Family
4-6Your Place in the UniverseChin, JasonNonfiction2020A book all about the mind-boggling scale of the known Universe.STEM, Space
4-6Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science Behind Your Favorite MonstersBeccia, CarlynNonfiction2019The historical and cultural origins of eight famous monsters.History, STEM
4-6Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and InjusticeChambers, VeronicaNonfiction2018The stories of 35 people who changed the world by taking a stand.History, Social Emotional Development
4-6Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the WildThimmesh, CatherineNonfiction2018How humans are helping China’s panda population make a comeback.STEM, Animals
4-6Chasing SpaceMelvin, LelandNonfiction2017After his football career was cut short by an injury, Leland Marvin found a new dream that was literally out of this world.STEM, Space, Fascinating People
4-6StargazingWang, JenFiction, Graphic Novel2019Growing up in the same Chinese-American suburb, perfectionist Christine and impulsive Moon become unlikely best friends.Cultural Connections, Friendship, Social Emotional Development
4-6PashminaChanani, NidhiFiction, Graphic Novel2017Indian-American teen Priyanka attempts to reconnect to her mother’s homeland through a magical shawl.Cultural Connections, Family
4-6Witches of BrooklynEscabasse, SophieFiction, Graphic Novel2020When Effie moves to Brooklyn she discovers that her strange aunt might actually be a witch.Family
4-6Becoming RBGLevy, DeborahNonfiction, Graphic Novel2019The illustrated origin story of the one and only RBG.History, Fascinating People
4-6Each Tiny SparkCartaya, PabloFiction2019Emilia Torres struggles with ADHD, her controlling abuela, her mother’s job, and her father’s challenges after returning from deployment on top of her struggles with friendships and growing up. Family, Friendship, Social Emotional Development
4-6Finding LangstonCline-Ransome, LesaFiction2018A book of Langston Hughes’ poetry in the library helps a boy cope with the loss of his mother, moving north, and being bullied.Social Emotional Development, Fascinating People
4-6StarfishFipps, LisaFiction2021Ellie has been bullied for her weight, but now a swimming hobby, a kind therapist, and a new neighbor help her embrace her true self.Social Emotional Development, Friendship
4-6Get a Grip, Vivi CohenKapit, SarahFiction2020KEleven-year-old knuckleball pitcher Vivy Cohen, who has autism, becomes pen pals with her favorite baseball player after writing him a letter as part of a school assignment for a social skills class.Social Emotional Development
4-6Simon B. Rhymin’Reed, SwayneFiction2021Chicago fifth grader Simon Barnes is forced to confront his shyness and fear of public speaking to demonstrate his talens during an oral presentation at school.Social Emotional Development
4-6TwinsJohnson, VarianFiction, Graphic Novel2020Twins Maureen and Francine try to distinguish themselves by pursuing different interests at the beginning of 6th grade.Family, Social Emotional Development
4-6A PHO Love StoryLe, LoanFiction2021Two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.Family, Social Emotional Development, Cultural Connections
4-6Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story)Nayeri, DanielFiction, Autobiographical2020In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family’s history, stretching back years, decades, and centuriesCultural Connections, Family
4-6American as Paneer PieKelkar, SupriyaFiction, Autobiographical2020As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs.Cultural Connections, Family
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