ReadKiddoRead Ultimate Summer Reading List 2013

Jump to your child's age group:

Great Advanced Reads, ages 12 and Up
Great Pageturners, ages 9 -12
Great Beginner Reads, ages 6 – 9
Great Illustrated Reads, ages 2 – 6

GREAT ADVANCED READS (for tweens and teens, ages 12 and up)

The Diviners

By Libba Bray

For ages 12 and up

A series of occult-based murders in 1920s New York City put Evie O'Neill and her uncle, curator of what's known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies," center stage in investigating the crimes. The tightly-woven plot and palpable setting combine with supernatural elements, rich themes, and terrific storytelling to make for a compelling read.

On the Day I Died

By Candace Fleming

For ages 11 and up
Scary is always in season, and summer is an especially good time to welcome a shivery chill.  On appropriately dark and moonless nights, kids will find themselves scaring friends with the stories in this collection, whether examinations of pure evil, ancient curses, alien encounters, or psychological dramas.

The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green

For ages 13 and up

Hazel Lancaster, a teen with cancer, dropped out of school at 13 to concentrate on getting well. Now 16, she meets Augustus Waters, a former basketball player who's lost a leg to cancer. Their connection is instantaneous. Green skillfully uses their lives to ask the big questions — Why me? Why now? Why risk love? What does being alive mean?

Scarlet: Lunar Chronicles Book Two

By Marissa Meyer

For ages 12 up

A second fresh view of a classic fairy tale – with another stop-you-in-your-tracks cover. Here Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood) and her street-fighter boyfriend Wolf are in search of Scarlet's grandmother.  Their search runs right into Cinder's story as the three race to keep ahead of the evil Lunar Queen Levana.  Or start with the first book in the series: Cinder

The False Prince

By Jennifer A. Nielson

For ages 13 and up

Carthya is on the brink of civil war.  Conner, one of the noblemen, has a treacherous plan to install an imposter on the throne. But first he must find just the right young man to play the part:  Could Sage win the role?  As in any high stakes game, all is not as it seems. Amid layers of deception and manipulation, readers are in for surprises as Sage draws closer to the goal.

Shadow on the Mountain

By Margi Preus

For ages 12 and up

Espen is fourteen, a Norwegian boy, whose country is occupied by the Nazis and who, with his friends, joins the Norwegian resistance.  Margi Preus reveals his story in an engrossing text that combines spy thriller with teen-coming-of-age story, enhanced by photographs, maps and brochures from the time.

Eleanor and Park

By Rainbow Rowell

For ages 14 and up

In 1980's Omaha, Eleanor, new to town and quirky, and Park, half-Korean, are outsiders in their high school.  It's worse for Eleanor, with an abusive stepfather and bullying classmates, so bad that she accepts Park's father's invitation for her to stay with their family.  In small steps, and completely believably, Eleanor and Park's friendship grows into love.  But Park realizes that the solution to Eleanor's troubles means that she will have to move away.

After Eli

By Rebecca Rupp

For ages 12 and up

Since his older brother was killed in Iraq, Danny Anderson has been keeping a Book of the Dead where he chronicles how people from the past have died.  It's his way of understanding loss.  But it is not until three years later that Danny begins to pull away from grief: he falls for a girl, finds a new friendship, and works on a farm.  A crisis at the end of that summer pushes Danny and his parents toward healing in this moving and emotionally-rich novel.

Out of the Easy

By Ruta Sepetys

For ages 14 and up

The Big Easy has been anything but easy on Josie. She's tried distancing herself from her mother — an addict, prostitute and thief.  Josie dreams of escaping Easy altogether, but doesn't believe she can make that happen … until she meets a tourist who offers the encouragement she needs.  Ruta Sepetys vividly describes the sights, sounds, and smells as well as the shady underbelly of New Orleans in 1950 and breathes life into her cast of characters.  Teens will be pulling for Josie as she moves  ahead, learning that some decisions are anything but easy.

The Raven Boys

By Maggie Stiefvater

For ages12 and up

For as long as Blue Sargent can remember, she's been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. And in her family – one filled with bona-fide psychics – predictions are never taken lightly. Now sixteen, Blue befriends three Raven boys from the posh private school nearby and gets caught up in their quest and adventures.  Blue fears that one of them just might be her true love. A compelling story from the outset, Stiefvater's first installment in a planned four-part cycle will have readers on the edge of their seats.

The Cay

By Theodore Taylor

For ages 12 and up

When World War II threatens the Dutch island of Curacao where 11-year-old Philip lives, he and his mother decide to return to the U.S.  On the journey their boat is torpedoed, and Philip is stranded on a life raft with a cat and Timothy, a black man. Later, when Phillip becomes blind, he has no choice but to overcome his prejudices and trust Timothy.  Their friendship develops beautifully in this exciting survival story.

5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!)

National Geographic

For ages 11 up

From 15 peanut butter facts that stick and 50 furry facts about bears to 100 facts about oceans to make your head swim, this big, colorful, packed-to-the-brim compendium is sure to fascinate, entertain, and be a source of great conversations for everyone who takes a look.  Photographs illustrate the great variety of information, a playful design makes every page inviting, and a ticker at the bottom of each spread counts the facts kids learn as they go through the book.  You'll find your teen dipping in and out of this book all summer long.


The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

GREAT PAGETURNERS (for ages 9-12)

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book

By Tom Angleberger

For ages 8 and up

In the third of the Origami Yoda books, Sara brings a paper fortune-teller in the form of Star War's Chewbacca. – a Fortune Wookiee – to school to fill in while Dwight and Origami Yoda are suspended.

Or start with the first book in the series:  THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA

Never Say Die 

By Will Hobbs

For ages 8 and up

Nick Thrasher, a fifteen-year-old Inuit hunter and his older half-brother Ryan, a wildlife photographer, are off in search of caribou.  Soon into their travels, they are thrown into the frozen Firth River. Back on land, their struggle to survive continues as they are pursued by animals, including a half-grizzly, half-polar bear. An exciting wilderness survival tale set in Canada's arctic — a perfect read to cool down a hot summer day.

Dog Days: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 4

By Jeff Kinney

For ages 8 and up

This is not the newest in The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but it might be the right book to begin with since it's all about summer vacation.  The weather's great, and all the kids are having fun outside. But not Greg Heffley! He's in his house playing video games and enjoying himself, thank you very much.  But Greg's mom has other ideas about outdoor activities and "family togetherness."  Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything?

 On the Road to Mr. Mineo's

By Barbara O'Connor

For ages 8 and up

When we remember summers, there's often a single event that stands out. For the folks in Meadville, South Carolina, this summer will be recalled as the one when a one-legged pigeon named Sherman flew into town.  Where did Sherman come from? Only Mr. Mineo seems to know.  For many young readers, this summer may be remembered as the one they met Stella and Amos and Sherman, of course, in the pages of this wonderful novel.

Hades: Lord of the Dead: The Olympians, Book 4

By George O'Connor

For ages 9 and up

Welcome to the Underworld.  In a mix of action comic, superhero characters and Greek mythology this graphic novel introduces Hades and Persphone.

Or start with the first book in the series:  ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS


R.J. Palacio

For ages 9-12

August Pullman, 10, was born with a deformed face. Even though he's been protected and homeschooled, he's felt the stares and heard the whispers when the boldest jerks called him Freak or Freddy Krueger. Now his parents have decided that it's time to enroll Auggie in school. The world he meets there doesn't only test his courage; it also takes the measure of everyone he comes in contact with.  A rare book that just might open a closed heart.

My Brother is a Big Fat Liar

James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou, Illustrated by Neil Swaab

How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill

By James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, Illustrated by Laura Park

For ages 9-13

Two great new stories in the wildly popular Middle School series.

When Georgia Khatchadorian heads off to her first day at Hills Village Middle School, everyone she meets immediately brands Georgia a problem child just like Rafe! When Rafe sneakily signs the band up to play at Georgia's first middle school dance, she's terrified she'll embarrass herself. Will she be able to overcome her fears?

Meanwhile, in How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill, Rafe is excited about summer camp, but is in for a letdown when he realizes it's summer school camp. Luckily, Rafe quickly makes friends with members of his "Loserville" cabin. And they need all the help they can get as they battle off against the "Cool" cabin all summer long.

Or start with the first book in the series:  Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

Where the Red Fern Grows

Wilson Rawls

For ages 8 and up

In an informal survey, I asked a bunch of grownups which childhood summer read they remembered most.  Where the Red Fern Grows was the most frequent answer. Set in the Ozarks, the adventure tale of a boy, Billy, and his two hunting dogs, Little Ann and Old Dan, is recalled not only for the trio's triumphs, but also for the story's tenderness.  Give your kiddos this long-lasting book this summer.

 The Egypt Game

Zilpha Keatley Snyder

For ages 8 and up

Before role-playing computer games became so popular, Zilpha Keatley Snyder took young readers to an antiques store in California where Melanie and April and later four other friends create and play "The Egypt Game."  With costumes, secret codes and elaborate stories, the kids become more and more involved until strange things start happening.  It just might be time to stop playing… Readers, too, will find themselves caught up in the game and in this characterful novel.

Hokey Pokey

Jerry Spinelli

For ages 9 and up

This is an allegorical tale where childhood is not just a stage, it is a place called Hokey Pokey. There readers meet Jack, who, like many of them, is starting to "age out" of Hokey Pokey. Spinelli's novel is sure to help them celebrate and cope with all that is past and all that is to come.

Navigating Early

Clare Vanderpool

For Ages 9 and up

Jack is adrift after his mother dies, so his dad, just back from WWII, enrolls him in a boarding school in Maine. There he befriends Early Auden, a loner who rarely attends classes and whose brother, a soldier serving in France, is presumed dead.  Early believes otherwise … and so begins the two boys' quest along the Appalachian Trail.

Angry Birds Playground Animals: An Around-the-World Habitat Adventure

Jill Esbaum; Illustrated with photographs

For ages 8-11

Those popular angry birds are tour guides on this photo-filled exploration of habitats: rainforests, deserts, oceans, grasslands, and polar regions. The birds, who are on a world-wide search for their stolen eggs, introduce readers to five major habitats and the animals that thrive in each. With animal vital statistics in sidebars, descriptions in text, and funny asides from the birds on every page, this is the kind of book that gives nonfiction a good name!


Cam Jansen and the Graduation Day Mystery #31

David A. Adler; Illustrated by Joy Allen

For ages 7-10

Cam Jansen, elementary school detective, is up to her 31st mystery.  She's got to be doing something right!  Children making the transition from picture books to chapter books have found Cam Jansen's books a great help and motivator.  In her latest case, Cam must use all her skills and her photographic memory to catch the thief who stole Eric's father's graduation present.

The One and Only Ivan

Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao Costa

For ages 8-10

"The Ape at Exit 8" is Ivan, a mighty Silverback Gorilla, who lives in a circus-themed shopping mall. Based on a true story, this first real novel for readers ready for that big step tells how Ivan uses his talent for drawing to rescue the other animals. Winner, 2013 Newbery Medal.

Ivy & Bean Make the Rules

Annie Barrows; illustrated by Sophie Blackall

For ages 7-9

Nancy, Bean's older sister, is going to camp, but Bean can't go: you have to be eleven to go to camp.  Never one to accept defeat, Bean and her best friend Ivy create a camp of their own.  A triumph of friendship, ingenuity, and fun!

Or start with the first book in the series: Ivy and Bean.

Hello Nebulon!

Ray O'Ryan; Illustrated by Colin Jack

Age Level: 5-8

It's 2120, and Zack Nelson and his family are leaving Earth to move to the planet Nebulon, Their space-aged house has all kinds of awesome gadgets that Zack will be using every day, but still Zack worries that he and his twin sister won't have any friends. Until he meets a fellow student and slowly starts to realize that things on Nebulon might just be alright after all. Young readers will zoom through the story to find out what happens to Zack, entertained and delighted along the way!

Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers

Dav Pilkey

For ages 7 and up

For once, the critics agree with what children have been saying for years: USA Today tells us: "Call Pilkey … the savior of the 'reluctant reader.'"  Newsweek says Captain Underpants is "a triumph of irreverence." And young readers say: "They are funny and crazy!"  Now, in the newest book in the series, everything is threatened.  Could it be the end for Captain Underpants?

Or start with the first book in the series, The Adventures of Captain Underpants."

Green Eggs and Ham

Horton Hatches the Egg

Oh! The Places You'll Go

Dr. Seuss

For ages 3-7, 4-8, 4-9

When it comes to new readers, we've got two words for you:  Dr. Seuss.  His Beginner Books (like Green Eggs and Ham) are not only comical adventures, but also great confidence-builders as brand new readers master them and can read them on their own.  And what proud reader wouldn't want to know Sam-I-am, who definitely, absolutely, never wants green eggs and ham.

As kids master their reading skills, they'll find reward in Seuss's classic picture books.  Yes, the language is often complicated, but it is always silly and fun.  Horton's a great place to start for there are loving lessons in the values of persistence and kindness in this story of the elephant who is faithful, one hundred percent.

If you want to give a child a pat on the back along with a gentle push to move on, try Oh! The Places You'll Go.  It is wise, optimistic, filled with encouragement, and great fun to read.

 Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse

Tamera Will Wissinger; illustrated by Matthew Cordell

For ages 6-9

Nine-year-old Sam and his dad are going to the lake:  For fishing tomorrow/it's just us two. Not Mom, not Grandpa/not Lucy…  In a series of engaging poems that narrate the day, they prepare their gear; plans change (Lucy does tag along); fish get caught; siblings get along; and all ends deliciously at dinner.  We're guessing that this delightful excursion will lead lots of kids to try their luck at fishing and to try their hands at poetry.

Nic Bishop Snakes

Nic Bishop; illustrated with photographs

For ages 5 and up

Super-sharp photographs show a great variety of snakes, sometimes at rest but often in action, while equally clear text presents basic facts about each.  The handsome design welcomes curious (and maybe even some fearful) children in to get up close and learn more.


Llama Llama Time to Share

Anna Dewdney

For ages 2-5

While Mama Llama and Nelly Gnu have tea, their two toddlers are left with a boxful of toys to share.  All goes well … until that Gnu girl decides to play with Llama's treasured Fuzzy Llama doll.  Llama's not ready for that much sharing.

Or start with the first book in this series: Llama Llama Red Pajama

 Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

By Ian Falconer

For ages 3-6

Olivia is one best-selling pig – and with good reason.  Strong-willed, high-spirited and, in this book, in search of her true identity – Olivia's been keeping young children smiling (and recognizing themselves) for a dozen books now. She's sure to please.

Or start with the first book in this series:  Olivia

This Moose Belongs to Me

>By Oliver Jeffers

For ages 4-7

For the "can I keep him?" would-be pet owner, this story of Wilfred and Marcel the Moose, is a great fit.  Wilfred and Marcel make a happy pair, but it isn't long before Wilfred notice little things about the very big moose.  It seems he has some secrets, like the neighbor who greets Marcel as "Rodrigo," and the fact that he prefers apples to, well… Wilfred. Still their friendship is real, their story is charming, and every page of this picture book is a visual treat.

Yes, Let's

By Galen Goodwin Longstreth; Illustrated by Maris Wicks

For ages 3-5

Preschoolers will happily follow one family's day in the country, from the dedication page with its maze-like roads leading three cars through the woods to a stream-side destination right to the evening return trip with the happily-exhausted parents and children barely making it up the stairs to their bedrooms.  The short rhythmic text is simple, fast, and fun to read aloud, while the detail-filled cartoony-like illustrations invite long looks at every spread.

Creepy Carrots!

By Aaron Reynolds; Illustrated by Peter Brown

For ages 4 and up

Jasper Rabbit loves to eat carrots—especially the ones that grow at Crackenhopper Field … until the day the carrots start following him. This slightly spooky book will please youngest fans of scary tales while it delivers a subtle message about being greedy.

Pete's a Pizza

By William Steig

For ages 4-8

Pete's dad turns a rainy day into lots of fun when he makes Pete into a pizza:  Pete's kneaded and tossed; covered with tomatoes (checkers) and cheese (bits of paper), put into the oven (the couch) and soon is ready to slice and be nibbled. But the sun comes out and the pizza runs out to play with his friends.  Absolutely silly and great fun!

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Summer Reading List