Monthly Archives: May 2014

Summer Reading Recommendations!

Dear AWS Parents,

Summer is such a wonderful time for informal learning and reading, where our children can freely deep dive into the topics, activities, and stories that capture their great interests and imaginations. What follows is a list of of non-required summer reading suggestions for our rising Preschool to Fifth Grade students. Many of these may serve as perfect launchpads for a summer of learning, creation, and imagination. I hope you consider sharing these titles with your children through daily read-alouds and conversations, as this is one of the most proven ways for parents to encourage academic success.

For more reading recommendations and techniques, you may consider Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook or Diane F. Frankenstein’s Reading Together.

Additionally, there are many summer reading events planned at our local public libraries, and they themselves are great resources for reading recommendations, as well. Here are links to the children’s programming for several local libraries:

Tacoma Public Library

Pierce County Public Library

Kitsap Regional Library

Timberland Regional Library

If you have any questions regarding reading opportunities, suggestions, or activities, never hesitate to e-mail us:

Thanks for a great year of reading and learning. We’ll be excited to reopen the library in August.

All the best,

Joe Romano

Library Media Specialist

Reading Lists for Rising Grade Levels

Preschool and PreKindergarten


First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade


Fifth Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente

A twelve-year old girl is invited on an adventure to help retrieve a talisman from the enchanted woods of Fairyland. This multi-award winning novel is considered the new classic of the fantasy-adventure genre.

The Puzzler’s Mansion, by Eric Berlin

A famed musician plans a weekend puzzle competiion, and he invites puzzle-master Winston and his friends along. When the competition is halted by the disappearance of the competition’s prizes, Winston resolves to unlock the mystery, and we readers are challenged to take on many puzzles, riddles, and games, as well.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo

Flora is a young girl obsessed with stories of superheroes. Ulysses is a squirrel who discovers super powers after a near fatal encounter with a vacuum cleaner. Flora & Ulysses is the most recent Newbery Medal winning novel from Kate DiCamillo, and it’s also the most recent book of hers that will capture any reader’s imagination.

The Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell and Terry Fan (illus.)

As a baby, Sophie found afloat in a cello case. While deemed an orphan and raised by a guardian, the older Sophie has faint memories of her mother, and sets off on a quest to unearth her past. Being chased by the authorities, Sophie is helped by a network of rooftoppers: street people who live on the rooftops of London.

The Dead Boys, by Royce Buckingham

Teddy Matthews moves to a new town hoping to make new friends. He soon notices that boys throughout the town have disappeared. He also realizes that trees are stretching their branches towards him, hoping to steal him away, as well. Might he unlock the mystery of the disappearances before the trees take hold?

Other Recommendations

Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Paperboy, by Vince Vawter

The Glass Sentence, by S. E. Grove

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation, by Tommy Greenwald and J.P. Coovert (illus.)

Fourth Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Thanks to our outgoing 4th graders for offering up some of these titles for our rising fourth graders!

Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo’s classic is the perfect choice for summer reading. One summer, 10 year old Opal moves to a new hometown with her father and adopts a dog, Winn-Dixie. This goofy dog helps Opal unearth incredible, heartwarming and heartbreaking stories: stories of her absent mother, of her local librarian, and the wonderful townspeople she encounters. And ultimately, these stories and Winn-Dixie help Opal change her outlook on friendship and family.

Lost & Found, by Shaun Tan

The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits were three short graphic novels that garnered Shaun Tan critical acclaim throughout Australia, although they were never widely distributed in the United States. Lost & Found is the official release of these incredibly loved imaginative stories.

Dying to Meet You, by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise (illus.)

Hoping to escape distractions and work on his novels, a former best-selling children’s author named Ignatius B. Grumply moves into a mansion only to discover that it’s already occupied by a boy, his cat, and a ghost.


Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick

In 1972, a boy named Ben wishes for a father that he’s never had. In 1927, a girl named Rose creates a scrapbook to keep track of the life of a famous actress. Both children start exciting journeys of discovery in this wonderful story that weaves together the stories of Rose and Ben into a unique adventure.

Lincoln’s Graverobbers, by Steve Sheinkin

When a lead conspirator finds himself in jail, his cronies hatch a plan: steal Lincoln’s body from its grave and hold it until the feds release their boss and cough up some cash. This thriller chronicles the secret service agents, the vigilantes, and the gangsters themselves in an action packed mystery and adventure.

Other Recommendations

The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau

The Sky Jumpers, by Peggy Eddleman

The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon, by S.S. Taylor and Katherine Roy (illus.)

Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene du Bois

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch


Third Grade Summer Reading Recommendations


Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining, by Anne Mazer

Abby Hayes is a young girl with several incredibly talented siblings. While she feels rather average and insignificant compared to her family, Abby sets out to master soccer and encounters frustrations, setbacks, and successes along the way.

The DragonSlayers, by Bruce Coville

In search of revenge against the king, Grizelda creates a fiercesome dragon. Princess Wilhelmina, a young girl with the ambitions of slaying a dragon, disguises herself as a man and sets off on a quest to fight the beast.

The No. 1 Car Spotter, by Atinuke and Warwick Johnson Cadwell

Ouwalase Babatunde Benson can spot cars before anyone else in his village can. He is also quite good at solving problems. This book tells several stories  of how this boy uses his ingenuity to overcome several challenges for his village.

Binky the Space Cat, by Ashley Spires

Everyone else things Binky is a regular old house cat. Binky, however, believes he is a space cat who has never left the family’s spaceship. In the first of a graphic novel series, Binky takes on the mission of going on his first space walk to discover what exactly exists in the outer universe.

 The Field Guide, by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (illus.)

Three siblings move into an old house and find a mysterious field guide in the attic. This field guide shows them a parallel world rampant with faeries, goblins, magic and danger. This work serves as the first of the renowned series, The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Other Recommendations:

Fake Mustache, by Tom Angleberger

Look Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard, by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Liar and Spy, by Rebecca Stead

Greek Mythology: The Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guide #1, by Ken Jennings and Mike Lowry (illus.)

The Storm, by Cynthia Rylant and Preston McDaniels

Second Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Marty McGuire Digs Worms, by Kate Messner and Brian Floca (illus.)

Marty and her fellow third graders are given a challenge: complete a project that saves the earth. In this first book of a chapbook series, Marty overcomes several obstacles as she develops a plan to turn food waste into fertilizer.

Odd Duck, by Cecil Castelluci & Sara Varon (illus.)

Theodora is a fairly normal duck, especially compared to Chad. Chad dyes his feathers odd colors and has several strange habits. Can Theorod and Chad possibly be good friends?

The Cloud Spinner, by Michael Catchpool and Alison Jay (illus.)

A boy holds the special power of weaving garments from the clouds. When a king demands an overabundance of cloaks and gowns, the boy must draw too much material from the sky, and the entire world begins to change around him.

Sophie’s Squash, by Pat Zietlow Miller and Anne Willsdorf (illus.)

When Sophie brings a squash home from the farmer’s market, she doesn’t let the vegetable be cooked. Instead, she names her squash Bernice and hauls her new friend everywhere, despite her parents’ warnings that the squash will soon rot.

Young Zeus, by G. Brian Karas

Zeus wasn’t always the god of gods. Young Zeus chronicles the adventures he experiences and characters he encounters during this young god’s awkward teenage years.

Other Recommendations:

Carnivores, by Aaron Reynolds

Zita the Spacegirl: Far From Home, by Ben Hatke

The Adventures of South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz

The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope, by George E. Stanley

Magic Pickle, by Scott Morse

Kindergarten Summer Reading Recommendations

Sophie’s Fish, by A.E. Cannon and Lee White (illus.)

After Jake accepts the responsibility of taking care of Sophie’s fish for the summer, he soon realizes that he is wholly unprepared for the job in this hilarious and informative tale.

The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (illus.)

Duncan loves to color, but his crayons are feeling used. So, these crayons refuse to color any more until their complaints are heard. This series of letters, each from a different colored crayon, is fun and imaginative.

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

After a young girl becomes inspired to create “The Most Magnificent Thing,” she quickly becomes frustrated by the obstacles she encounters in her attempts to make this thing. With the sage advice and assistance of her dog, the girl is able to overcome her frustration and build a wonder that matches her inspiration. This book will be the perfect companion to any invention project your child may undertake these summer months.

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey, by Emily Winfield Martin

A spectacular nighttime read-aloud, Dream Animals chronicles several children and their dream animal discoveries as the creatures whisk them off on fantastical adventures in this beautifully illustrated book.

Symphony City, by Amy Martin

When a girl becomes lost in a city, she discovers that the music that surrounds her will help her find home in this beautifully designed children’s book.

Other Recommendations

Warning: Do Not Open This Book, by Adam Lehrhaupt and Matthew Forsythe (illus.)

It’s Mine, by Leo Lionni

We Need a Horse, by Sheila Heti and Clare Rojas

The Chicken of the Family, by Mary Amato and Delphine Durand (illus.)

Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister

Preschool and Prekindergarten Summer Reading Recommendations

Paul Meets Bernadette, by Rosy Lamb

Until he met Bernadette, Paul the Goldfish led an insular life, repeatedly circling his bowl. But once Bernadette arrives, Paul is helped to realize the grand and imaginative world that surrounds him.

The Adventures of Beekle: the Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat

An imaginary friend is born on an island full of imaginary beings. After waiting to be imagined by a child, he becomes impatient and adventures into the real world hoping to find a friend.

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping, by Mélanie Watt

If you know Scaredy Squirrel, you’ll know that he would hate camping. How will our favorite fearful squirrel overcome his anxiousness?

I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen

Bear has lost his hat, and he hopes to get it back. Join Bear as he tracks down the whereabouts of his headwear.

Z is for Moose, by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky (illus.)

When Zebra wants to put on a dramatic performance of the alphabet, Moose becomes a little too excited to participate and ends up disturbing the performance in several hilarious ways.

Other Recommendations

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, by Mo Willems

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

That is NOT a Good Idea, by Mo Willems

This Monster Cannot Wait!, by Bethany Barton

 Journey, by Aaron Becker

First Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, by Torben Kuhlmann

The mice of Europe have fled to America to escape newly invented mechanical mousetraps. One mouse remains, but with steamship ports blocked by gangs of cats, this last remaining rodent must learn to fly in order to achieve liberation.

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, by Bob Shea

Goat always thought well of himself: his bike was cool, he was known for a marshmallow dessert, and he was a pretty well regarded animal. Until Unicorn shows up. Unicorn flies. Unicorn makes the skies pour cupcakes. Unicorn makes Goat feel inadequate. However, everything changes when Goat and Unicorn have a heart-to-heart over a pizza one day.

Cardboard, by Doug TenNapel

When Cam is disappointed to receive a cardboard box for his birthday gift, he bends it into a human-like creature. When the creature suddenly comes to life, the neighborhood bully becomes quite interested in this magical creature’s abilities to execute the bully’s evil plots.

Bink & Gollie, by Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee, and Tony Fucile (illus.)

This 2011 Theodor Geisl Award Winner chronicles two friends bound by their love of rollerskating adventure. While Bink and Gollie may face surprises and challenges, they always remain friends.

Billy and Milly, Short and Silly, by Eve Feldman and Tuesday Morning (illus.)

Each episode in this series of very short stories features only three to four words, and early readers enjoy the fun, adventurous pair of Billy and Milly.

Other Recommendations

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce and Joe Bluhm (illus.)

Boy and Bot, by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino (illus.)

Chloe and the Lion, by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex (illus.)

The Miniature World of Marvin and James, by Elise Broach