It’s summer, which means, hopefully, that the kids are done with remote learning and they can finally start reading for fun! If you haven’t registered for our completely online Paint Your Story: Summer Reading Challenge yet, you can do that here and log all your child’s reading to earn some cool rewards. Of course, in anticipation of all that recreational reading, you might be looking for ideas. As always, the library has got you covered. On our website, check out Your Next Read to receive personalized recommendations emailed straight to you from one of our expert librarians. Also, there are some great summer reading suggestions provided by the Association for Library Service to Children. You’ll see the lists are broken down by grade level and there are some fantastic suggestions.
As you encourage your child to read, be sure to provide a wide range of diverse material. In discussing the Black Lives Matter movement with your children, it can be helpful to use books that naturally spark those discussions. There are lots of resources online, such as this PBS Kids List of Books on Race and Diversity . Embracerace.org also has a wealth of information, including this list of books that encourage kids to be inclusive and empathetic, as well as many other helpful lists.
Here are just a few titles that center around Black characters and Black stories. Add them to your summer reading list! Many of these are downloadable so you can access them straight from your device.
Mae Among the Stars : This is a picture book about astronaut Mae Jemison, who dreams of going to space, even as a child. Your budding astronaut or stargazer will love it. For pre-k to grade 2.
Trombone Shorty : Troy Andrews tells the story of how he became a famous New Orleans musician when he was just a young boy. For pre-k to grade 2.
Firebird : I adore Misty Copeland and everything she does, so I had to include her picture book in which she inspires a young dancer to persevere. Just beautiful! For grades k-2.
Ron’s Big Mission : Future astronaut Ron McNair isn’t allowed to check out books from his South Carolina library in the 1950s until Ron puts his foot down and protests that rule in this inspiring picture book. For grades k-2.
Don’t Throw it to Mo : Ideal for your new reader, this book is all about Mo, the smallest player on his football team, who sets out to help his team win. For grades 1-2.
Zoey and Sassafras : This series is a favorite of mine and will be appreciated by any kid who loves magical creatures, animals, or science. Zoey finds out that her mother helps heal injured magical creatures and becomes her assistant, aided by her cat Sassafras. For grades 1-3.
Rip and Red: A Whole New Ballgame : Rip and Red both love basketball and hope to play on the team this year but are shocked when they find out they have a new fifth grade teacher who is also the new basketball coach! Sports fans, this one’s for you! For grades 3-6.
Dactyl Hill Squad : This is a Civil War story but with DINOSAURS! For grades 3-6.
Harbor Me : Six middle school students get to spend one afternoon a week discussing their lives, and find out they have more in common than they thought. For grades 5-8.
The Jumbies : Corinne doesn’t believe in jumbies, evil spirits who lure people into peril, until one follows her out of the forest. Perfect for readers who like their fairy tales with a side of spooky! For grades 4-6.
New Kid : Jordan is the new kid at fancy Riverdale Academy Day School, where he’s one of only a few black students. Everyone will enjoy this graphic novel. For grades 5-8.
Miles Morales : Your comic fan will love this chapter book about Miles Morales’ Spider-Man. For grades 7 and up.