Reading Lists

Book lists for ages 3-17
We want U to read, write, and think throughout the summer!

Why summer reading is important:

Summer reading is critical for students to retain knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year. In addition to helping kids maintain learning while school is out, summer reading also fosters social-emotional development, discovering the joy of stories, and elevating the importance of lifelong learning.

Reading is an essential skill and is required throughout our lives in most environments that we find ourselves in. For this reason alone, reading skills are an important part of building confidence and self-esteem, as students who fall behind can experience socio-emotional adjustment challenges when interacting with their peers.

In addition to the academic and socio-emotional challenges caused by poor reading skills, representation in literature plays a huge part in identity-formation, as children—from the youngest to the oldest—are constantly internalizing new information to help figure out who they are and what role they play in society. Literature, like other forms of media, broadens our scope of perception of society and the world.

We hope you enjoy this resource and find yourself coming back as your child grows.

Pre Kindergarten

A Map Into the World by Yang, Kao Kalia

Binny's Diwali by Thrity Umrigar

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Ho, Joanna

Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question by Brown, Aviva

Freedom Soup by Charles, Tami

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Maillard, Kevin

Here is the World: A year of Jewish Holidays by Lesléa Newman

I am Mixed by James C. Webster

I am One by Susan Verde/Peter Reynolds

In a Garden by Tim McCanna

Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayer

Layla’s Happiness by Tallie, Mariahadessa

Leila in Saffron by Guidroz, Rukhsanna

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn

My Brother, Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

Our Favorite Day by Oh, Joowon

P is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Bashi, Golbarg

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry

Red by Michael Hall

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Saturday by Oge Mora

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Muhammad, Ibtihaj

The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter by Larkin, Shabazz

Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat by Raul the Third

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty

We Are Grateful: Ostaliheliga by Traci Sorrel

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

Young Kap by Osei, Kingsley

For 25 years, the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education has been a leader in training educators on the value of Structured Literacy for all students, founded on the Science of Reading. 

Click here for a PDF
of IMSE's K-2 Inclusive
Summer Reading List
and Journal

For more information and other free resources, visit

Wit & Wisdom Reading Lists
These Volume of Reading texts help students of all abilities expand their knowledge of each module topic.
The texts vary in genre and level of complexity and are a great way for students to get extra practice building vocabulary and content knowledge, and to develop a love of reading!


A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

Geraldine, The Music Mouse by Leo Lionni

Hello Ocean by Pam Muñoz Ryan

No One Saw Ordinary Things Through the Eyes of an Artist by Bob Raczka

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr.

Rain by Manya Stojic

The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Animal Tales by Naomi Adler

Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson

Follow the Dream by Peter Sís

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Emily Haynes and Sanjay Patel

Koala Lou by Mem Fox 

Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton

¡Olinguito, from A to Z! Unveiling the Cloud Forest* by Lulu Delacre

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Cindy Trumbore; Susan L. Roth

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel

Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf

1st Grade

Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies

Rain School by James Rumford

Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

The Library by Sarah Stewart

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild

Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky by Barb Rosenstock

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra

A Bird or 2: A Story About Henri Matisse by Bijou Le Tord

Cinderella/Cenicienta by Francesc Boada

Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella by Jewell Reinhart Coburn

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Youn

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters An African Tale by John Steptoe

Pablo Picasso (Revised Edition) (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia 

Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story by Robert D. San Souci

Spotlight on South Korea by Bobbie Kalman

The Friendly Postman: The Art of Van Gogh by Yu-Ri Kim

The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story by Rebecca Hickox 

This Is Ireland by Miroslav Šašek

Vincent’s Colors by Vincent van Gogh 

Yeh-Shen A Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie

2nd Grade

Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant

The House of Four Seasons by Roger Duvoisin

The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown

Bill Pickett: Rodeo-Ridin’ Cowboy by Andrea Davis Pinkney

A Moose Boosh by Eric-Shabazz Larkin

Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Sopa de frijoles / Bean Soup by Jorge Argueta

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

The Quest to Digest by Mary K. Corcoran

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

Your Digestive System by Rebecca L. Johnson

Yum! Mmmm! Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings by Pat Mora

3rd Grade

Down, Down, Down A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins

Narwal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

The Great Wave: Inspired by a Woodcut by Hokusai Hokusai and Véronique Massenot

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenberg

Edgar Degas: Paintings That Dance Paintings That Dance by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Firebird by Misty Copeland

Sandy’s Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel

Sharks by Seymour Simon

Surprising Sharks Read and Wonder by Nicola Davies

Swimming with Sharks by Heather Lang

Tentacles!: Tales of the Giant Squid by Shirley-Raye Redmond

Explorers on the Moon by Hergé

Find the Constellations by H. A. Rey

Footprints on the Moon by Alexandra Siy

Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton

At Ellis Island: A History in Many Voices by Louise Peacock

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Wiliams and Khadra Mohammed

Hannah’s Journal: The Story of an Immigrant Girl by Marissa Moss

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers

Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi

Lowji discovers America by Candace Fleming

Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff

Paper Son: Lee's Journey to America by Helen Foster James

Statue of Liberty by Elizabeth Mann

4th Grade

Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved Blue Babies and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero by Patricia McCormick

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Tiny Stitches: Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks

Who Was Clara Barton? By Stephanie Spinner

Adventures of the Greek Heroes by Anne M. Wiseman

Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories of Greek and Roman Mythology by William F. Russell

Cupid and Psyche by Marie Charlotte Craft

Fables by Arnold Lobel

Pegasus by Marianna Mayer

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5th Grade

As Long As the Rivers Flow by Constance Brissenden

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell

Zia by Scott O’Dell

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jennifer Bryant

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley

America’s Champion Swimmer Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler

Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion by Russell Freedman

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

Mr. Matisse and His Cutouts by Annemarie van Haeringen

Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates (Reprint) by Jonah Winter

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jennifer Bryant

Bat Boy and His Violin by Gavin Curtis 

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy

Who Was Roberto Clemente? by James Buckley 

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull

6th Grade

A Long Way From Chicago: A Novel in Stories by Richard Peck

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt

On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Odyssey by Geraldine McCaughrean

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart* by Candace Fleming

Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates by Jill Rubalcaba

The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China by Jane O’Connor

The Lost Colony of Roanoke by Jean Fritz

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot” by Michael O. Tunnell

Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Shackleton’s Stowaway by Victoria McKernan

Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy by Rhoda Blumberg

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert by Marc Aronson

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand 

7th Grade

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E. L. Konigsburg

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz 

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park

The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa by Fredrick McKissack and Patricia McKissack

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Navajo Code Talkers by Nathan Aaseng

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís

Oh Rats!: The Story of Rats and People by Albert Marrin

8th Grade

19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices by Walter Dean Myers

I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman

Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

Witness by Karen Hesse

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Emma by Jane Austen

King Of Shadows by Susan Cooper

Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers by Edith Nesbit

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Midsummer Night's Dream the Graphic Novel: Original Text by John McDonald

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman

Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Edition) by William Kamkwamba

The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics (Young Readers Adaptation) by Daniel James Brown

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Peterson and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose

The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

We’ve Got a Job The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

High School (9th-12th Grades)

Grade_9_Independent_Reading_List (1).pdf

9th Grade

Grade_10_Independent_Reading_List (1).pdf

10th Grade

Grade_11_Independent_Reading_List (1).pdf

11th Grade


12th Grade

Why reading is important for the development of identity:

Children are able to detect the differences in skin color as early as six-months-old and are capable of internal racial biases before entering kindergarten. That means by the time a Black child is in kindergarten, they’re able to see books in class and recognize when they aren’t in them.

In order for parents to foster a love for reading in their child, it helps for Black children to see themselves or people they can relate to in the characters. It’s a crucial element to keeping them engaged and staying on track—not just for school, but for life itself.

How To Use This Recommended Resource: 

The Great Black Book List

For each recommended book, we’ve included a short synopsis. Picking one is as simple as finding the age-appropriate category, reading the brief summary, and finding one or two books you think your child will enjoy. At the end of every age group section, we’ve included a list of suggested activities. 

This list is a guide on how to interact with your child and ensure they understand what they’re reading. It includes games, questions, and a few strategies if you notice they’re having trouble with the book. 

The books are both age and subject-appropriate: