“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
Summer reading season is in full effect and, with most places still sheltering in place, it’s a great time to curl up with a good book or two (or three!). From classics to literary newcomers—we have you covered with this summer’s must-read books. Here are 13 of our favorite books for all ages, best enjoyed in a comfy reading nook with plenty of free time to spare.
For when you think you can, you think you can…(age range 3-5 years)
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
A small engine helps a stranded train full of toys and teaches readers the importance of optimism.
For when you love the outdoors… (age range 4-6)
Call Me Tree/Llamame Arbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez
A bilingual poetic tale that follows one child/tree from the depths of Mami/Earth to the heights of the sky, telling a story about being free to grow and be who we are meant to be and honoring our relationship with the natural world.
For those who dance to the beat of their own drum…(age range 4-7)
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret.
For when things are, well, wild…(age range 4-8)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A troublesome young boy sails to an island of “Wild Things” and becomes their king.
For when you miss spooky campfire stories (boo!)… (age range 4-8)
In a Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz
Seven scary stories to tell at night in front of a fire or in the dark, based on traditional stories and folktales from various countries.
For when you’re looking for a book by a new author…(age 8-12)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed.
For the mother-daughter duo… (age 8-12)
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.
For when ball is life…(age range 10-12)
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Twins brothers with a gift for basketball contend with the challenges of life in this novel in verse.
For when you spy with your little eye…(age range 8-12)
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
An aspiring writer’s keen observations about her peers land her in hot water at school.
For when your imagination is out of this world…
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita is determined to find her way home to Earth while dealing with intergalactic fame.
For those who like books that are movies, too…
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Khalil died.
For when you believe in the power of love…
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Lastly, for those who can’t imagine a world without reading (seriously, neither can we)…
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.