Top Bar

Lower Merion School District


Middle School Suggested Summer Reading

Greetings Parents and Guardians!

Reading is very important to your students’ futures. The higher their level of literacy, the greater the opportunities they will have in education. Please keep your child reading this summer by checking out the summer reading programs at your local public library or by using the attached Summer Reading Challenge and list of suggested titles.

We would like to credit educator Charnaie Gordon and illustrator Briana James for creating the attached Reading Together Summer Reading Challenge. During the summer, color in as many of the books and objects on the page as you can. You may use the checklist to help track your progress and cross off boxes as you complete each challenge. The Summer Reading Challenge is optional but completed activities will be eligible for a reading prize the first week of school. This challenge highlights diverse perspectives, identities, and experiences represented in current children’s literature. We hope you enjoy!

The attached Summer Reading Challenge and Suggested Summer Reading List may help you and your student select books of interest. Much of the Suggested Summer Reading List was compiled from student and teacher suggestions as well as professional journals. Many genres are represented. If your student gets hooked on an author, you may want to check out other titles by that same author! We understand that our readers like to use the public libraries and book stores, so the Summer Reading Challenge may also be completed with titles of your own choosing.

The provided list is alphabetical by book title. Book summaries are compliments of the publishers on the Library’s online public access catalog Destiny and eBook platform MackinVIA. You can find directions for how to access Destiny and MackinVIA by following the hyperlinks.

Please remember that we have not personally read each book on the list or all of the books by each author. Although these books have been recommended for middle school readers by a variety of sources, the list represents a wide range of reading levels as well as levels of sophistication.

Therefore, it is very important that you screen the books personally for content that you feel might not be appropriate for your child.

Have a wonderful and relaxing summer.

Happy Reading!

  • Ms. McDermott, Bala Cynwyd Middle School Librarian
  • Dr. Nichols, Black Rock Middle School Librarian
  • Ms. Brennan, Welsh Valley Middle School Librarian

Read Together Summer Reading Challenge

Looking for a summer reading challenge that celebrates diversity and inclusivity?

Let’s kick off the summer by reading together to prevent the summer slide.

  • Read a book outside
  • Read a book about immigration
  • Read a book with a LGBTQ+ main character
  • Read a book with an indigenous main character
  • Visit a Little Free Library in your area
  • Read a chapter book or an easy reader chapter book
  • Read a book with a flashlight
  • Read aloud to a grown-up
  • Read to someone younger than you
  • Read from a newspaper or magazine
  • Read a book written by a Latinx author
  • Read a poetry picture book
  • Read a book about biodiversity
  • Read a book with a main character who has a disability
  • Read a book released in Summer 2020
  • Read a book set in the Caribbean
  • Read a book written by a Black female author
  • Read a book written by an author of Asian descent
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Read a book with a biracial main character
  • Read a book written by an Asian male author
  • Read a nonfiction book about different cultures
  • Read a book set in a different country
  • Read a book with a Muslim main character
  • Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you
  • Read a book set in your country or state
  • Read a book about camping or the outdoors
  • Read a book outside
  • Read about a topic you don’t know much about
  • Read a book about adoption
  • Read a book set in Africa
  • Read a book about a type of African-American music
  • Read a classic book your parent or grown-up loved as a child
  • Reread one of your favorite books
  • Read a book published the year you were born
  • Read a book with a Filipino main character
  • Read a book with a Japanese main character
  • Read a book about a famous celebrity
  • Read a book published in the year 2020
  • Read a book with a Jewish main character
  • Read a Caldecott Honor award-winning book
  • Read an affirming picture book with the words “I Am” in the title and then make your own affirmation cards
  • Read a book about self-love, self-acceptance, or body positivity
  • Read a book about kindness
  • Read a book about friendship
  • Read a book about summer

Summer Reading List

Title - Author - Description Genre Category
All Three Stooges by Erica Perl
“While preparing for their bar mitzvahs, comedy-obsessed Noah and Dash find their friendship threatened by a personal tragedy.”
Realistic Book with a Jewish main character
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha
“The author recounts how she and her mother moved from South Korea to the United States.”
Graphic Novel Book about immigration
Amina’s Song by Hena Khan
“Feeling pulled between two cultures after a month with family in Pakistan, Amina shares her experiences with Wisconsin classmates through a class assignment and a songwriting project with new student Nico.”
Realistic Book with a Muslim main character
Camp by Kayla Miller
"Olive and Willow are happy campers! Or are they? Olive is sure she'll have the best time at summer camp with her friend Willow--but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows--Olive. It's s'more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow's living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long . . . the girls aren't just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?"
Graphic Novel Book about summer
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
"Gene Luen Yang understands stories -- comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins. But Gene doesn't get sports. As a kid, his friends called him 'Stick' and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men's varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that's been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championship. Once Gene meets these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he's seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn't know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons' lives, but his own life as well"
Graphic Novel Book written by an Asian male author
Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
"While his father works two jobs, seventh-grader Efrén Nava must take care of his twin siblings, kindergartners Max and Mia, after their mother is deported to Mexico.”
Realistic Bilingual book
The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez
“Twelve-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales (who really prefers to be called Malú) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang--violating the dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.”
Realistic Book written by a Latinx author
Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman
“In the summer of 1987 in Venice, California, ten-year-old Bug and her new friend Frankie learn important lessons about life, family, being your true self, and how to navigate in a world that is not always just or fair.”
Realistic Book about friendship
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams
“Thirteen-year-old Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family's troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is.”
Realistic Book written by a Black female author
A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Blinder
“After researching Glenn Burke, the first major league baseball player to come out as gay, sixth-grader Silas Wade slowly comes out to his best friend Zoey, then his coach, with unexpected consequences.”
Realistic Sports Book with LGBTQ+ main character
How to Change Everything: The Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other by Naomi Klein
“A young reader’s guide to understanding and battling climate change. Full of stories of young leaders all over the world, this book offers young readers a comprehensive look at the state of the climate today and how we got here, while also providing the tools they need to join this fight to protect and reshape the planet they will inherit.”
Nonfiction Book about biodiversity
I Am Human: a Book of Empathy by Susan Verde
“A child recognizes his own humanity, his capacity for doing harm and being harmed, his ability to feel joy and sadness, and his belief in hope and promise to keep learning.”
Picture Book Book with ‘I Am’ in the title
I am Malala : How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick
“Malala Yousafzai describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.”
Nonfiction Book with ‘I Am’ in the title
I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib
“The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.”
Graphic Novel Book with a Filipino main character

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda
“In this ... dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends--and better people--through their long-distance exchange as pen-pals.”

Nonfiction Book set in Africa
Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell
“In 1957, ten-year-old Regina Petit's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and forced to leave Oregon, but in Los Angeles her family faces prejudice and she struggles to understand her identity as an Indian far from tribal lands.”
Historical Fiction Book with an indigenous main character
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Blake
“Twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed in a tornado, and in the aftermath of the storm, she begins to develop feelings for another girl at school.”
Realistic Book with LGBTQ+ main character
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
“Eleven-year-old Corinne must call on her courage and an ancient magic to stop an evil spirit and save her island home.”
Fantasy Book set in the Caribbean
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barbara Higuera
“A girl named Petra Pena, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children - among them Petra and her family - have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet - and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard - or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?”
Science Fiction Book written by a Latinx author
The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman
“Twelve-year-old Imani, the only black girl in Hebrew school, is preparing for her bat mitzvah and hoping to find her birthparents when she discovers the history of adoption in her own family through her great-grandma Anna's Holocaust-era diary.”
Realistic Book about adoption
Miles Morales: Shockwaves by Justin A. Reynolds
“Miles Morales is a normal kid who happens to juggle school at Brooklyn Visions Academy while swinging through the streets of Brooklyn as Spider-Man. After a disastrous earthquake strikes his mother's birthplace of Puerto Rico, Miles springs into action to help set up a fundraiser for the devastated island. But when a new student's father goes missing, Miles begins to make connections between the disappearance and a giant corporation sponsoring Miles' fundraiser.”
Graphic Novel Book about kindness
A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen
“When the Berlin Wall went up, Gerta, her mother, and her brother Fritz were trapped on the eastern side where they were living, while her father, and her other brother Dominic were in the West--four years later, now twelve, Gerta sees her father on a viewing platform on the western side and realizes he wants her to risk her life trying to tunnel to freedom.”
Historical Fiction Book set in a different country
To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan
“Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through emails.”
Realistic Book about camping or the outdoors
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander
“Text and illustrations present twenty poems that look at well-known poets from around the world.”
Picture Book Poetry picture book
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
“Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town, accepts his teacher's challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. His idea is simple: do a good deed for three people and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to 'pay it forward' to three others who need help.”
Realistic Book about kindness
A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan
Sixth-graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a Jewish girl, connect in an after school cooking club and bond over food and their mothers' struggles to become United States citizens
Realistic Book with a Jewish main character
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
In the summer of 1988, twelve-year-old Chuck Bell is sent to stay with his grandparents, where he discovers jazz and basketball and learns more about his family's past
Realistic Novel in Verse Book that takes place in the summer
Roll With It by Jamie Summer
Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's Disease.
Realistic Book with a main character who has a disability
Showtime at the Apollo: the Epic Tale of Harlem's Legendary Theater by Ted Fox
“A graphic novel adaptation of "Showtime at the Apollo," which presents the history of the noted Apollo Theatre, where many Black stars have made the big step into the big time, and where most of the established stars have performed.”
Graphic Novel Book about a type of African- American music
Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kuzki
“Twelve-year-old Nozomi's understanding of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 is transformed when she learns how those she knows and loves were affected by the event.”
Realistic Book with a Japanese main character
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
“Bullied and shamed her whole life for being fat, twelve-year-old Ellie finally gains the confidence to stand up for herself, with the help of some wonderful new allies.”
Realistic, Novel in Verse Book about self-love, self-acceptance, or body positivity
Strike Zone by Mike Lupica
“Twelve-year-old Nick García dreams of winning MVP of his summer baseball league, of finding a cure for his sister, of meeting his hero, Yankee pitcher Michael Arroyo, and of no longer living in fear of the government and ICE agents.”
Fiction Sports Book about friendship
Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba
“A fantastical and mysterious adventure filled with the living dead, a magical pearl, and a suspiciously nosy black cat named Kiriko featuring beautiful illustrations from Miho Satake. Kazu knows something odd is going on when he sees a girl in a white kimono sneak out of his house in the middle of the night—was he dreaming? Did he see a ghost? Things get even stranger when he shows up to school the next day to see the very same figure sitting in his classroom. No one else thinks it’s weird, and, even though Kazu doesn’t remember ever seeing her before, they all seem convinced that the ghost-girl Akari has been their friend for years!... Kazu soon learns that not everything is as it seems in his hometown”
Fantasy Book with a Japanese main character
Totally Joe by James Howe
“As a school assignment, a thirteen-year-old boy writes an alphabiography--life from A to Z--and explores issues of friendship, family, school, and the challenges of being a gay teenager.”
Realistic Book with LGBTQ+ main character
Trace by Pat Cummings
“An African-American middle schooler who has recently lost both his parents sees a ghost wearing old-fashioned clothing in the basement of the New York Public Library.”
Fantasy Mystery Book that takes place in a library
Undefeated : Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin
“A great American sport and Native American history come together in this true story of how Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner created the legendary Carlisle Indians football team”
Nonfiction Book that takes place in Pennsylvania
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
“A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.”
Historical Fiction Book set in a different country
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
“Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all. When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource.”
Picture Book Caldecott award-winning book
We Belong by Cookie Hiponia Everman
“Through a bedtime story to her daughters, a woman weaves together her immigration story and Filipino mythology”
Realistic, Novel in Verse Book with a Filipino main character
What Lane? by Tony Maldonado
“Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him when he hangs out with his white friends and learns about the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Realistic Book with a biracial main character
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
“Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.”
Fantasy Book Written by an author of Asian descent
You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly
Charlotte, twelve, and Ben, eleven, are highly-skilled competitors at online Scrabble and that connection helps both as they face family issues and the turmoil of middle school.
Realistic Book that takes place in Pennsylvania