Middle Grade Monday: Summer Reading Lists

First off, I want to note that Be Kind To Yourself Week was a success. I went to bed on time, did my physio each day, I even spent more time in my garden then on my computer this weekend, so thanks anyone who joined me.

Also, I guest posted about writing/life balance over on Just Deb for her MGM this week.

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It’s that time of the year, when teachers and librarians and other book lovers pull together their summer reading lists. I’ve actually never compiled one before, preferring to read whatever swung my fancy at the time.

But I’ve been admiring other blogger’s Summer Reading Lists over the years and I need to address my GoodReads To Read list – it’s out of control.

I’m actually, right here and now, as I’m compiling, reserving these books at my library and scheduling them to “go off” every few weeks over the summer (you might be able to do this at your library, too. You can place a hold on a book online, and then suspend the hold until a specific date.) I’m making book bombs!

My goal is not only to read the more recent books that have been recommended to me, but to read some older books that I really can’t believe I’ve never read.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ersu.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” I’ve seen Breadcrumbs praised by friends countless times. Then last week I was looking through some agent profiles and one agent said, “I would love a middle grade manuscript with the literary quality of Breadcrumbs to cross my desk.” That kind of did it for me.

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places. The real question is, how many times can I read a rave review about this literary ghost story and not pick it up?

by R.J. Palacio
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. Called a “spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next.” From the very first review I read I knew this was a book for me.

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
Of all the reasons to read this book, this GoodReads Community Review by a man named Paul Hankins finally did it for me: “Think of all of the good stuff you loved about THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN and TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE and, instead of sitting with Enzo in a cozy living room watching the discovery channel or with Morrie in a study littered with books and notes, you’ll be sitting in a cage with Ivan, “the Ape at Exit 8,” a thoughtful gorilla tasked with one of the most difficult callings ever. . .caring for a new cast member in a broken down circus, a baby elephant.”

Chained by Lynne Kelly
After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. Wow.

A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness / Siobahn Dowd
From GoodReads: From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
by Catherynne M. Valente
I’ve wanted to read this simply because of the title.

From GoodReads: For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

Bridge to Terebitha by Katherine Paterson
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

These two books fall under the you-seriously-haven’t-read-this-book? category. I seriously haven’t read these two books. I know. This will be remedied over the summer. Hence the reading list. (and I call myself a Kate DiCamillo fan. for shame.)

NOTE: I would love to add a few more books to this list. I’d LOVE something that could crack me up as much as The True Meaning of Smekday and I’d love a few more multicultural books for the list. Suggestions welcome, please!

Other People’s Summer Reading Lists (OPSRL)


Kid’s Next List by Indie Bound

Metro.com’s Summer Reading List for Grades 4-6

Metro.com’s Summer Reading List for Grades 6-8

One school’s (Parkway Middle in St. Louis) recommended Summer Reading

There were a glut of summer reading lists from every school district across the nation, so if you need more lists they’re not hard to find.

How about you? Anything you’ve been meaning to read that you want to commit to right here and now?

You want MORE MGM MONDAYS? Pop over to Shannon Whitney Messenger for a list of who posted about what this week.


  1. I love lists! Thanks for sharing yours and the others. I definitely saw some I hadn’t put on my list!

  2. Barbara Watson
    May 14, 2012

    What great reads on that list! I have some books, like the two in your ‘you seriously haven’t read this book’ list that I need to get to also. Thanks for the push!

    • Yeah, these are all the books I kept coming across these past few months that caught my attention. I decided just to go for them all and have a great summer of reading. Now to create my YA and Adult reads lists and add them. I love my “book bombs” – I just schedule two to “release” from my hold suspension at the library an presto (!) every few days I’ll get another email from the library telling me my next book is in. 🙂

  3. Shannon O'Donnell
    May 14, 2012

    Many of those are on my list, too!! 🙂

  4. Joanne Fritz
    May 14, 2012

    Lists are so much fun. I’ve read most of the books on your must-read list. Hope you read ONE AND ONLY IVAN soon. Gosh, it’s gorgeous. I gushed about it on my blog (also about WONDER, and LIESL AND PO and BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE… And Barbara Watson was the one who convinced me to read WINN-DIXIE. )

    Nice of you to include the KidsNext list, which is indie booksellers’ recommended reads from all over the country.

    Suggestions for you, Danika: JAKE AND LILY, by Jerry Spinelli, which just came out (I think it’ll be on the NEXT kidsnext list), A SINGLE SHARD by Linda Sue Parks, which if you haven’t already read, fulfills both your multicultural and your seriously-haven’t-read-yet Newbery books, and STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA, which should make you laugh out loud as much as SMEKDAY. Come to think of it, I haven’t read SMEKDAY, so I’ll add that to my list.

    I also badly want to read THE FOURTH STALL.

    • I hope to, too, Joanne. My challenge is all the library books I have piled up that are due with more on hold. I think in August I will take a library hiatus and read the books I have!

      I’ll put Jake and Lily on my list but what I really want to read is Spinelli’s STARGIRL and I’ve been meaning to read Park’s LONG WALK TO WATER. Have you read either?

      And I think I’ll add ORIGAMI YODA or FOURTH STALL to my summer reads list.

      • Joanne Fritz
        May 16, 2012

        Yes, Danika, I’ve read both. I absolutely love STARGIRL. It’s my favorite Spinelli book of all time. And LONG WALK TO WATER was fascinating, and I learned a lot about the culture, but as far as the writing goes, I still prefer A SINGLE SHARD.

  5. Great titles from everyone. I think you might also enjoy Promise the Night, by Michaela McColl which is a fictional retelling of the childhood of Beryl Markham, kind of like an MG Out of Africa.

  6. 4amWriter
    May 16, 2012

    Sweet! Thanks for these suggestions. I am overwhelmed by the choices at the library when I take my kids, and I don’t know where to start. I need other people to get me pointed in the right direction!

  7. All of the books on my list are not only highly rated on GoodReads, people I trust have encouraged me to read them. So, there you go!


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