Monthly Archives: June 2015

2015 Lower School Summer Reading Recommendations!

Dear AWS Parents and Community Members,

Summer presents itself with such wonderful opportunities for informal reading and learning. Our children have more chances to freely dive into the topics, activities, and stories that do not always fit into the hectic pace of school life. What follows is a list of non-required reading recommendations that I hope will capture the interests and imaginations for our rising Preschool through Fifth Grade students.

Many of these will serve as perfect launchpads for a summer flush with learning, creation, and imagination. I hope you consider sharing these stories with your children through read alouds and conversations, as this is one of the most proven ways for parents to encourage academic success in children of all ages. Each title also presents opportunity for an accompanying activity, whether our young readers write a sequel, invent new stories with the same theme, or tackle a project that may have been presented within the narrative.

For more reading recommendations and techniques, you may consider Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook or Diane F. Frankenstein’s Reading Together. We have copies of these in our library should you wish to check them out this summer.

Likewise, you may be interested in pursuing guides like UnBored: the Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors. These are flush with ideas for summer projects you may like to explore with your child, the projects will surely spark new interests and develop invaluable skills.

Additionally, there are many summer reading events and activities 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

A note on these lists:

When available, we have provided links to the e-book editions of our summer reading recommendations, as many of them are available through Overdrive, our digital lending service. You can access these titles through your home computer, an e-reader, a tablet device like the iPad or the Kindle Fire, or even your smartphone. Click here to learn how your device can access our e-reading services. During this process, you will be prompted to enter your student’s username and password. This username and password are both your student’s AWS ID number. If you need assistance in accessing OverDrive, please visit our library or send along an e-mail, and we are more than happy to help.
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Fourth Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. (from publisher’s note)
Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullen

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Think you know the real story behind the Greek myths? Think again. Most people only know what Zeus wants them to. But the truth is, Zeus is a total myth-o-maniac. Hades, King of the Underworld, is here to set the record straight on how he ended up as Ruler of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods. (from publisher’s note)

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she “does” want: to fight dragons! (from publisher’s note)

Jinx, by Sage Blackwood

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library!

In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus. (from publisher’s note)

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., by Greg Pincus
Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he’d be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents’ permission he’s going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he’s been playing fast and loose with the truth: “I LOVE math” he tells his parents. “I’ve entered a citywide math contest!” he tells his teacher. “We’re going to author camp!” he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he’s going to have to make good on his promises.(from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall | Click here for an e-book edition

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo | Click here for an e-book edition

Holes, by Louis Sachar | Click here for an e-book edition

Lincoln’s Graverobbers, by Steve Sheinken

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Third Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dicamillo

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. (from publisher’s note)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But what is weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. (from publisher’s note)

The Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked , by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

When a call comes in about a crime down at the docks involving a missing schoolteacher and a duffle bag full of illegal fish, Zengo and O’Malley are going to have to learn to set their differences aside if they want to get to the bottom of this. Especially when the clues all point to Frank Pandini Jr., Kallamazoo’s first son and its most powerful, well-respected businessman. (from publisher’s note)

El Deafo, by Cece Bell

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. (from publisher’s note)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Big, Bad Ironclad, by Nathan Hale | Click here for an e-book edition

The Sasquatch Escape, by Suzanne Selfors & Dan Santat

The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnet, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell (illus.)

Fake Mustache, by Tom Angleberger | Click here for an e-book edition

The Fairy Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley | Click here for an e-book edition

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Second Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet, by Tony Abbott

Eric, Julie, and Neal have just found something magic in Eric’s basement. They have discovered a staircase to another world! The world of Droon is amazing – full of magic, flying lizards, and fun, furry creatures. But how will Eric, Julie, and Neal find their way home? (from publisher’s note)

Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts (illus.)

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. (from publisher’s note)

Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill

Young, up-and-coming illustrator William Grill weaves a detailed visual narrative of Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica. Grill’s beautiful use of colored pencils and vibrant hues effortlessly evokes the adventure and excitement that surrounded the expedition. His impeccably researched drawings, rich with detail, fastidiously reproduce the minutiae of the expedition. (from publisher’s note)

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

A girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. (from the publisher’s note)

Guinea Dog, by Patrick Jennings

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Rufus has been dreaming of getting a dog. His best friend has one. His worst friend has one. But his dad has a few objections: They whine. They gnaw. They bark. They scratch. They beg. They drool. Rufus pays no attention when his mom offers her think-outside-the-box suggestion, because she can’t be serious. She can’t be. She can be. And she actually comes home with a guinea pig. And if Rufus’s dad thinks dogs are a problem, he won’t know what hit him when he meets the Guinea Pig that Thinks She’s a Dog. She barks. She bites. She’ll eat your homework. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate | Click here for an e-book edition

Me…Jane, by Patrick McDonnell

Do Not Open this Book, by Michaela Muntean & Pascal Lemaitre (illus.)

Mercy Watson to the Rescue, by Kate DiCamillo & Chris Van Dusen (illus.)  | Click here for an e-book edition

Stuart Little, by E.B. White & Garth Reynolds (illus). | Click here for an e-book edition

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First Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever—or Snack Time? Tammi Sauer and Michael Slack (illus.)

In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget’s trust, Fang takes desperate (and hilarious) measures. But it’s not until his big sharp teeth save the entire school that minnows learn this shark is no foe. Fantastically stylized artwork adds even more humor to this undersea story of unlikely friendship. (from publisher’s description)

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero, by Deb Pilutti

In this handy guide, Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy, take young readers on an adventure to learn all ten rules of being a good superhero. (from publisher’s note)

11 Experiments that Failed, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (illus.)

By reading the step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the answers to such all-important questions along with the book’s curious narrator. Here are 12 “hypotheses,” as well as lists of “what you need,” “what to do,” and “what happened” that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!) (from publisher’s note)

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons, by John J. Muth

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth–and his delightful little panda bear, Koo–challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.  (from publisher’s note)

My Name is Yoon, by Helen Recordist & Gabi Swiatkowska (illus.)
Helen Recorvits’s spare and inspiring story about a little girl finding her place in a new country is given luminous pictures filled with surprising vistas and dreamscapes by Gabi Swiatkowska. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Reading Recommendations

This is a Moose, by Richard T. Morris & Tom Lichtenheld (illus.)

Around the World on Eighty Legs, by Amy Gibson & Daniel Salmieri (illus.)

Diary of a Fly, by Doreen Cronin & Harry Bliss (illus.)

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, by Jennifer Fisher Bryant & Melissa Sweet (illus.)

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Ariceman | Click here for an e-book edition

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Kindergarten Summer Reading Recommendations

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

In Ling & Ting, Lin crafts a charming tale about a pair of Chinese-American twins who insist that, despite their physical appearance, they are NOT alike. (from publisher’s note)

Kel Gilligan’s DareDevil Stuntshow, by Michael Buckley and Dan Santat

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Narrated by Kel himself as he attempts his “stunts” with Evel Knievel–like flair, the story unfolds as a performance in which readers themselves become part of the audience, encouraging Kel to get dressed all by himself (without a net!), eat new foods like broccoli (eww!), and take a bath (gasp!). Bold, interactive, and downright silly, this is a book to make kids cheer and attempt some “stunts” of their own. (from publisher’s note)

The Adventures of Beetle: The Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle. (from publisher’s note)

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce

Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. But every story has its upsets. Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. But the power of story will save the day. (from publisher’s note)

Froodle, by Antoinette Portis

In a normal neighborhood, on a typical day, the birds chirp, the dogs bark and the cats meow. When Little Brown Bird decides she doesn’t want to sing the same old song, out comes a new tune that shakes up the neighborhood and changes things forever in this funny, innovative book that kids will love to read outloud. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover, by Cece Bell

Wolfie the Bunny, by Ame Dyckman & Zachariah OHora (illus.)

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, by Bob Shea

Zorro Gets an Outfit, by Carter Goodrich

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Litchenheld | Click here for an e-book edition

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PreKindergarten & PreSchool Summer Reading Recommendations

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen (illus.)

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect. (from the publisher’s note)

Creature Features: Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Look The Way They Do, by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

Packed with many cool facts and visuals on where certain animals live and what they eat, this book captures twenty-five humorous—and very true—explanations of why animals look the way they do in order to exist in this world. (from publisher’s note)

Dory Fantasmagory, by Abby Hanlon

Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for. (from publisher’s note)

Old Mikamba Had a Farm, by Rachel Isadora

This fabulous version of the classic nursery song “Old MacDonald” introduces children to a menagerie of African animals and their sounds. It is beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora, with her signature collage-style artwork. (from publisher’s note)

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown

Are you bored with being so proper? Do you want to have more fun? Mr Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild. But does he go too far? There is a time and place for everything…even going wild. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Dino-Soccer, by Lisa Wheeler & Barry Gott (illus.) | Click here for an e-book edition

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip C. Stead & Erin E. Stead (illus.)

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