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Summer Reading Recommendations for Elementary Schoolkids, by Librarians

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

Short Chapter Book Series Your Elementary School Aged-Child Will Love: Recommendations from Librarians.

All parents understand how important reading is to a child’s academic success. Finding a book you know will captivate your child is a gift; learning of a series that will engross them is a windfall. The librarians at your child’s school and your local public library will have marvelous recommendations. We’re passing on a few of the suggestions they very kindly shared with us to get you started.

The Flashback Four series, by New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman, blends history with action and adventure. A mysterious billionaire selects four very different kids to travel through time and photograph important events, such as Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. As the characters work together to achieve their goal and avoid getting caught, their creative and entertaining antics make for a captivating read, while the photographs included in the book add depth to the historical perspective. This series of four books is typically most appropriate for students in grades three and up.

Award-winning author Fran Manushkin’s Katie Woo series features engaging characters navigating the successes and disappointments of everyday life, making them very relatable. The stories are lighthearted and fun, yet they relay positive, simple, and impactful messages. There are eight books in this multicultural series, and they are typically most appropriate for children in the early elementary school years.

The Mac B. Kid Spy series by New York Times by bestselling author Mac Barnett takes the reader on thrilling adventures all over the world. Mac B is a spy, a kid spy, for the Queen of England. Mac B. is smart, and he is funny. These fast-paced, historically-inspired tales combine mystery with intrigue and humor. The first book in this six-book series was published in 2018, and the books are typically most appropriate for students in grades 2 through 5.

5 Worlds, by Mark Siegel, is a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated series of fantasy graphic novels. On a quest to save their worlds from ecocatastrophe, the characters are confronted with a complex landscape of communities, characters, and belief systems, and must resolve their own conflicting agendas to achieve their goals. The stories are evocative of myths and legends, engaging and wise. This five-book series is typically most appropriate for older elementary school-age children.

Megan McDonald’s Stink series features the highly entertaining antics of Stink Moody and his friends. Stink loves facts; he’s smart and he likes knowing things. The books highlight his insatiable curiosity and follow his adventures as he investigates and discovers the world around him with the support of a relatable cast of characters. Comic strips drawn by Stink appear periodically in the books and further enhance the tales. This series of 17 books is typically most appropriate for readers in grades 1 through 3.

Newbery Medal winner Beverly Cleary’s Ramona and Beezus series has been adored by young readers since 1955 when the first of the eight books was published. The stories focus on Beatrice, nicknamed Beezus, the nine-year-old narrator, and her engagement with her four-year-old sister Ramona, whose vivid imagination and capacity for chaos make life in the Quimby household a daily adventure. These books are typically most appropriate for students in the mid to late elementary school years.

Nikki & Deja are neighbors and best friends who do everything together. In this six-book series by Karen English, the first of which was published in 2009, the girls navigate the complexities of third-grade social dynamics. With a particular focus on friendship and cliques, the author offers subtle and warm insights into the range of emotions and feelings that the girls experience. These books are typically most appropriate for students in grades 1 through 4.

The Klawde series, by Johnny Marciano, is smart and funny. The books are heavily illustrated and are narrated in two separate voices: that of Klawde, an evil alien warlord cat, and that of Raj, a human being living in Brooklyn. When Klawde is exiled to Earth and Raj is forced to move away from his hometown, they form an unlikely friendship. Each learns to adapt in myriad entertaining ways, and this series of six books has been eagerly embraced by older elementary school-aged children.

The Jigsaw Jones books, by James Preller, are mysteries featuring detective Theodore “Jigsaw” Jones and his friend and fellow detective Mila Yeh. Knowing that solving mysteries is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, the two carefully track all the details as they uncover clues and decipher codes. The relatable characters and engaging storylines have made this series of over 30 books a consistent favorite, most typically among readers of early elementary school age.

The Henry and Mudge series by Newbery Medal winner Cynthia Rylant engages young readers in the many adventures of Henry and his lovable 182-pound English Mastiff, Mudge, highlighting the bond between a child and their pet and illustrating the power of friendship. The 28 books in this series are among the most beloved for emergent readers and are typically most appropriate for students in the early elementary school years.

Happy reading, and enjoy!

Annemiek Young is an Independent Educational Consultant based in Philadelphia. Once the Director of Lower School Admissions at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and formerly Director of Admission and Enrollment Management at Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Annemiek has more than a decade of experience in guiding families through the complexities of understanding a school’s curriculum, community, and program. She has worked with families from all around the world, offering them a framework with which to assess school options as they navigate an unfamiliar education system and determine which setting would be optimal for their child. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University School of Law, Annemiek completed her final year of law school at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and most recently has been accepted as an IECA associate member.

Bennett International Education Consultancy works directly with hundreds of families each year across the globe. We support families by helping them make informed decisions about the best-fit schools for their children; with our guidance, they secure placement in preschools, private day schools, public/state schools, boarding schools, colleges & universities, including schools with particular programs, such as special needs support.


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