Summer Reading Guide: Upper Elementary

I am done. Just. Done.

I am done with:

  • School lunches. My children have not eaten a vegetable in their lunches in weeks. And those notes I write to each kid every day for said lunches, yeah, those stopped about two weeks ago.
  • Unpacking school backpacks. Yes, I hear you, they are supposed to do it themselves. But I can’t anymore. I physically cannot say, “Did you empty your backpack?” or “Is there anything in your backpack I need to see?” one more time. I certainly am not reaching my hands inside that dark cavern of unseen pencil shavings, eraser putty, sticky candy wrappers (from the day they had that one sub who gives out candy), mildew from the leaky water bottle, and, what is now, paper pulp from a bevy of missed notices.
  • School clothes. Ugh! Just the laundry. And the everydayness of that laundry. Please, no more.
  • Organization of any kind. I want my Google calendar back. It has been co-opted by purple (my color for school events on the calendar). Each child has a different event every day that requires something different. I can no longer keep track. Don’t misunderstand. I am not complaining about school events. I absolutely love fairs, and awards assemblies, and talent shows, and open houses, and art nights, and field days, and field trips. Really, I do. But again with the everydayness?!

I call this doneness “May.”

But the thing is, the closer to the end of May, and thus being done, we get, the more undone I become.

My grip on sanity is loose, at best. All I can think about is summer when all this will stop and we can rest, relax, and read in peace, contentment, and quiet. (I know, I know, but I need something. Just let me have this innocent dream of what might be!) We will call this tranquil time reading camp. Yes, I like that. Reading camp is definitely a thing. And it is happening at my house…but not until the end of this endless month!

Reading camp requires zero dollars. It can be run from the comforts of your own home (or anywhere else that is comforting to you). It does not even require that you find the books (unless you are so inclined). You can find a recommended reading list for your middle school aged children here. Now you will be able to add a reading list for your older elementary school aged children.

For the animal lover:

  • Ginger Pye (Eleanor Estes) – This is a must-read, heartwarming story for any dog lover. It is the sweet story of one family bonding with their new dog.
  • White Fang (Jack London) – The perspective this book is written from contributes to its long lasting appeal to readers. The story itself is one that your reader will not soon forget.

For the adventurer:

  • The Book Scavengers (Jennifer Chambliss Bertman) – This series a very entertaining. The stories follow two friends who find themselves in a “life imitates art” scenario as they have to follow clues to find their favorite author.
  • The Wild Robot (Peter Brown) – What do you do when your child has read every “how to survive the wilderness” book there is? You give them a book about a robot doing just that. This will be a favorite. As an added bonus, my daughter tells me that the sequel is even better! I have not had a chance to read The Wild Robot Escapes yet, but I will trust her on this one.

For the fantasy lover:

  • Jupiter Storm (Marti Dumas) – Again, by now, you are aware of my great appreciation for all things written by Marti Dumas. Jupiter Storm is no exception. I loved this book and my two older daughter’s loved this book. Between the girl power, the scientific process, the family relationships, and the dragon, the kids will not be able to put this book down. When they finally do, they will spend days flipping through the pages to watch the surprise unfold on the bottom corners.
  • Gregor the Overlander (Suzanne Collins) – Before her Hunger Games fame, Collins wrote an excellent series about a human boy, Gregor, who discovers a fascinating world underground that is in great danger.
  • 100 Cupboards (N.D. Wilson) – This is the very engaging story about a boy who discovers a cupboard full of doors that lead to other worlds. As happens, drama ensues.
  • Tuesdays at the Castle (Jessica Day George) – If your fantasy fiction enthusiast is looking for a twist on the princess in a castle kind of story, this is the one. It is the first book in a five book series.

For the budding scientist:

  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Jacqueline Kelly) – This is the perfect story for your child who loves animals as much as they love science. But it is much more than a story about animals and science. It is a beautiful story about family, following through, and hope.
  • Hidden Figures (Margot Lee Shetterly) – As is usually the case, before it was a movie, it was a book. And, as is usually the case, the book is better.

For the detective:

  • Spy School series (Stuart Gibbs) – This highly enjoyable series follows an unlikely middle school aged boy who becomes a secret C.I.A. agent.
  • The Platypus Police Squad (Jarrett Krosoczka) – These books are funny, unique, and kids love them.
  • The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency (Jordan Stratford) – This series imagines a world in which Mary Shelley and Ada Lovelace met as young girls and found themselves entangled in intrigue, leading them to form their own detective agency. The books are very fun.

For the athlete:

  • The Track series (Jason Reynolds) – Yep, again. They are just that good. Really.
  • The Kicks series (Alex Morgan) – Part autobiographical, part fiction, US Women’s Soccer team star, Alex Morgan, writes about a young girl, Devin, trying to navigate a big move, a new soccer team, and trying to keep it all together.

Just for fun:

  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Karina Yan Glaser) – I love this book. It has become one of my most recommended books. This fantastic story about the children in a large family trying to save their family home is everything you look for in a story.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (Trenton Lee Stewart) – These books are my oldest daughter’s most recommended books. A group of kids volunteer to be a part of a special society, but after many tests and challenges only a few remain. Now they have to find a way to work together.

My work here is done. Just like me!



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