2016 Cool Summer Reads for 3-5 graders

School may be out, but reading is IN! You're made in the shade with these cool summer reads.

  • The Boy Who Invented TV : the story of Philo Farnsworth

    2009 by Kathleen Krull

    What would life be like if TV had never been invented? In this picture book biography, fourteen year old Philo was interested in machines and electricity and, while plowing his fields one day, saw more than straight lines. He saw parallel lines of light which he realized could be reassembled and used to transmit an electronic signal. This ultimately led to him inventing the television, one of the greatest inventions of our time.

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  • Crenshaw

    2015 by Katherine Applegate

    Ten-year-old Jackson, whose parents are unemployed, is worried that his family will be evicted from their home and have to live in their car. Again! And he’s frustrated because his parents make jokes and won’t tell him what’s really going on. Imagine Jackson’s surprise when he is revisited by his old pal Crenshaw, a seven-foot-tall talking cat! Is Jackson going crazy?

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  • Dear Max

    2004 by Sally Grindley

    Max, who is 9, writes to an author to tell her how much he likes her book. She writes back and, through a year of writing back and forth, they help each other and form an unexpected friendship. This is a great book for anyone who is struggling with writing a story.

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  • Greetings from Nowhere

    2008 by Barbara Connor

    Aggie isn’t expecting anybody to come to her motel and has in fact put it up for sale. When three families arrive however, they find that their lives are transformed by each other and by this run-down motel. The story is told in the form of alternating perspectives in which we get to know and care about the well-developed characters. This would make a great read-aloud for any classroom.

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  • Look Both Ways In the Barrio Blanco

    2015 by Judith Robbins Rose

    Eleven-year-old Jacinta is caught between life in the barrio--with its fear, distrust, and poverty--and life in the middle-class with French and gymnastics lessons. When her family faces a crisis, will she be able to find the courage to cross the lines? This book will give readers insight into the difficult lives of undocumented immigrants and the fears they face.

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  • Love That Dog

    2001 by Sharon Creech

    Have you ever felt as if your brain is empty? Jack does! His teacher is introducing poetry to the class, but Jack says poetry writing is for girls, not boys. Jack’s story is told slowly and through a series of free-verse poems. All the poetry selections mentioned in the book are included at the end.

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  • The Map Trap

    2014 by Andrew Clements

    Alton is a sixth-grader who loves to draw maps and knows that maps can show more than just places; they can contain information, like what kind of tie his teacher wears on quiz days, where the popular kids sit in the cafeteria, and what he really thinks of his friends. But, when his secret maps are stolen, will he be able to get them back before everyone sees them? A great story and great for anyone who likes maps or wants to learn about them!

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  • Roller Girl

    2015 by Victoria Jamieson

    In this graphic novel, twelve-year-old Astrid falls in love with roller derby and knows she’ll be a star. What she doesn’t expect is how hard it is or that she may lose her best friend because of it. Will she be able to keep up with the older girls and make it to the big derby at the end of the summer?

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  • Stella by Starlight

    2015 by Sharon M Draper

    For eleven-year-old Stella, who lives in the segregated South during the 1930s life is not only unfair but also scary. When she and her brother see a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan practically in their own backyard, she knows that things need to change. Is there anything she can do?

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  • A Tale Dark & Grimm

    2010 by Adam Gidwitz

    Do you like to be scared? Then this book is for you! Did you know that Hansel and Gretel had their heads chopped off? By their parents!? In these Grimm-inspired fairy tales we are warned to hurry small children off to bed and that timid readers should close the book. But, if you like classic fairy tales and great storytelling, this one is a delight!

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  • The War That Saved My Life

    2015 by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    England, World War II. Ada, who has a clubfoot and whose mother uses her disability to make her a virtual prisoner in her own home, longs to escape from her life of abuse. When she sneaks away and joins other children who are being evacuated from London, she is sent to live with Susan, a woman who knows nothing about caring for children. Life for both of them takes a very unexpected turn!

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  • The Willoughbys

    2008 by Lois Lowry

    Who doesn’t love a story with awful parents, a horrible nanny, an abandoned baby, and a bereaved benefactor? Four children, who are not very fond of their parents, hatch a plan to get rid of them. And it so happens that the parents are not very fond of the children. What ensues is a truly entertaining parody of an old-fashioned story. Will anybody live happily ever after?

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