Crank up the heat this June with this Summer 2022 Reading Challenge.
Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Trojan Women by Anne Carson
(Children Picture Book Lg BRUNO)
This is a new comic version of Euripides’s The Trojan Women, which follows the fates of Hekabe, Andromache, and Kassandra after Troy has been sacked and all its men killed.
Otto: A Palindrama by Jon Agee
(PZ7.A2678 Ot 2021)
This graphic novel is told entirely in palindromes! Otto’s dog Pip goes missing, and his search leads him into a strange world of talking owls, stacks of cats, storms and mazes, boats and trains and automobiles. Everything seems to be the same forward and backward, and Otto is unsure if he’ll be able to make it home to Mom and Pop.
Marshmallow and Jordan by Alina Chau
(PZ7.C405 Ma 2021)
Jordan’s days as a star on her basketball team were over when an accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. She is still the team captain but her competition days are behind her. When she meets a mysterious elephant named Marshmallow, she discovers a new sport- water polo. Will water polo be the way for her to continue her athletic dreams, or will it come between Jordan and her friends on the basketball team?
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
(PZ7.B7999 Be 2018)
All Vera wants to do is fit in, but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and attend the best summer camps, but Vera’s single mother can only afford to send her to Russian summer camp. Vera thinks this may be the one place she can fit in, but camp is very different than she imagined. Nothing had prepared her for the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, or outhouses straight out of nightmares!
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
(PZ7.C5444 Aw 2015)
On her first day at her new school, Penelope, or Peppi, reminds herself of her two rules for surviving school: don’t get noticed by the mean kids, and seek out groups with similar interests and join them. But when she trips into a quiet kid named Jaime in the hallway, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this? By shoving Jaime and running away. Falling back on rule number two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi can’t help but feel bad about the way she treated Jaime. To make matters worse, he is a member of her clubs archrivals, the science club. When the clubs go to war, Peppi realizes sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school.
Books with a blue cover
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
(Children Picture Book + MUHAM)
With her new backpack and light up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab. Her hijab is made of a beautiful blue fabric, but not everyone sees it that way. In the face of hurtful and confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.
Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer
(Children Picture Book ARCHE)
The people in Daniel’s neighborhood always say, “Have a good day!” But what exactly is a good day? Daniel is determined to find out, and as he strolls through his neighborhood, he finds a wonderful world of answers as varied as his neighbors.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
(PZ7.T245 Sm 2010)
Raina wants to be a normal sixth grader, but one night after Girl Scouts Raina trips and falls, which leaves her with two severely injured front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and a retainer with fake teeth. On top of all that, she is dealing with a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friend issues.
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell
(PZ7.S45696 Ca 2018)
Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into a cardboard kingdom! This summer, the sixteen kids will encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters, as well as their own inner demons, on one final quest before school begins.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(PZ7.R9553 Es 2000)
Esperanza thought she would always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico, with her fancy dresses, nice home, and servants. But a tragedy forces Esperanza and her mother to flee to California during the Great Depression and to settle into a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she is now facing. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances.
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
(PZ7 .L182 Pi 2019)
When eleven year old Jingwen and his family move to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is tough, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his little brother, Yanghao. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned on opening before he passed away. The only problem is he and his brother are not allowed to use the oven while their mom is at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll also have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from their mom.
Books about friendship
Words to Make a Friend by Donna Jo Napoli
(Children picture Book + NAPOL)
When a young Japanese girl moves into her new house, she is happy to see a girl her age playing in the snow next door. The only problem is the Japanese girl doesn’t speak English and the American girl doesn’t speak Japanese. Each girl’s love of play, snow, and making a new friend transcends the need to speak the same language, and by using simple words in both languages and charades, the girls find they have all they need to build a snow creature.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
(PZ7.J156 Ro 2015)
Twelve year old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. When Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too, but instead she chooses to do dance camp with a new friend instead. Astrid faces a tough summer of bumps and bruises as she learns who she is without Nicole and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
(PZ7.H1385 Re 2017)
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends since they were little, but one day Adrienne starts hanging out with the most popular girl, Jen, and her circle of friends called The Group. Everyone wants to be Jen’s best friend, and many will do anything to stay on top, including bullying others. Now everyday Shannon finds herself asking if she and Adrienne will stay friends, if she will stand up for herself, and if she is in The Group or is out.
Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
In winter, spring, summer, and fall, Frog and Toad are always together. We get a wonderful story about their friendship throughout the seasons of the year.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer to be the fastest kid in fifth grade. He almost is, until a new girl named Leslie Burke beats him. The two become friends and spend their time in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength from his friendship with Leslie to be able to deal with his grief.
Books about animals
Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band by Kwame Alexander
(Children Picture Book + ALEXE)
Acoustic Rooster forms a jazz band with Duck Ellington, Bee Holliday, and Pepe Ernesto Cruz to compete in the annual Barnyard talent show.
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
(Children Picture Book Lg ANDRE)
Gerald the Giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance until he finds the right music.
Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake
(PZ7.T479 Sk 2020)
The last thing Badger wants is a roommate, and certainly not a skunk for a roommate, but since the house does not belong to him he doesn’t have a choice. Soon everything in Badger’s quiet and ordered life is turned upside down. But after he drives Skunk away, he misses him and sets out to find him and make amends.
Skunk and Badger: Egg Marks the Spot by Amy Timberlake
(PZ7.T479 Eg 2021)
Buried in the heart of every animal is a secret treasure. For rock scientist Badger, it’s an agate he found as a cub that was stolen by his cousin, Fisher. For Skunk, the treasure is Sundays with the New Yak Times Book Review. When an old acquaintance, Mr. G. Hedgehog, announces his plan to come for the book review as soon as it lands on his doorstep, Skunk decides an adventure will solve both of their problems. Together they set off on an adventure.
Animal Rescue Agency #1: Case file: Little claws by Eliot Schrefer
(PZ7.S37845 An 2021)
When a polar bear cub ends up trapped on a piece of ice heading out to sea, his mother knows there is only one place to turn, the Animal Rescue Agency. Esquire Fox used to organize elaborate chicken raids, but after she met Mr. Pepper, she turned from a life of crime to form the Animal Rescue Agency. Esquire and Mr. Pepper coordinate with their agents to get them to the Arctic, where they learn that what happened to the polar bear cub was no accident. Saving him will pit them against the scariest predator in the world- a human.
Animal Rescue Agency. #2: Case file: Pangolin pop star by Eliot Schrefer
(PZ7.S37845 Cfp 2022)
After their frigid Arctic rescue, Esquire and Mr. Pepper get an invitation to Beatle the Pangolin’s private island concert. But when they arrive, the island is in chaos. Their field agent tells them that after an incident during dress rehearsal, Beatle is trapped underground. Foul play is suspected, and there are multiple suspects. This might be the Animal Agency’s most challenging case yet!
The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa by Julia Finley Mosca
(Children Picture Book + MOSCA)
Growing up in a family of immigrants, Ellen dreamed of becoming a professional flutist, but that changed when she discovered engineering in college. Though she was told that field of study wasn’t for girls, she refused to give up, and became a NASA astronaut!
Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer by Traci Sorell
(Children Picture Book + SOREL)
Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecrafts as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation’s first female engineer. This book shares how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.
Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz
(CT3202 .S26 2016)
This is a collection of forty biographical profiles, each with a striking illustrated portrait, highlighting extraordinary women from around the world. They are fresh, engaging, and inspiring stories of perseverance and success, and feature an array of diverse figures.
I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters by Lauren Tarshis
(GB5019 .T37 2014)
From the author of the “I Survived” series comes five true stories of survival, featuring real kids in the midst of disasters.
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
(+ F788 .C485 2017)
Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved there for millenia, the Grand Canyon is more than just a hole in the ground. Follow a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both past and present.
Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King by Zahi Hawass
(+ DT87.5 .H39 2005)
Learn about the life of King Tut, his burial, and the discovery of his tomb.
Books with “summer” in the title
Summer by Cao Wenxuan
(Children Picture Book CAO)
During a hot summer day in the grasslands, a group of animals race to claim the single spot of shade under one tiny leaf clinging to a branch. The animals fight until they are inspired by an act of love to offer shade to one another.
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
(PZ7.P3856 Su 2012)
Stella loves living with her Great-aunt Louise in her house near the water on Cape Cod. This summer, Louise has taken in a foster child named Angel. Angel couldn’t be less like her name, and the two hardly speak to each other. But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive and they learn they are stronger together than they could have imagined.
Summer Party by Cynthia Rylant
(PZ7.R982 Su 2002)
Nine year old cousins Lily, Rosie, and Tess are sad when it is time to leave Aunt Lucy. The cousins arrange a party and get a special surprise to look forward to in the near future.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
(PZ7.T14 Th 2014)
Every summer, Rose goes to a lake house in Awago Beach with her mom and dad. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there too. But this summer is different from the ones before. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction, they find themselves in a whole new set of problems.
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
(PZ7.B51197 Pe 2005)
While vacationing with their widowed father, four sisters discover the summertime magic of the Arundel estate’s sprawling garden, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and a cook who makes the best gingerbread. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner. Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble.
Books that take place near the water
We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
(Children Picture Book + LINDS)
Inspired by the Indigenous led movements across North America, this book issues an urgent rallying cry to protect the Earth’s water from harm. When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, a young water protector takes a stand.
Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently
(Children Picture Book + BENTL)
When brave mariners Jack, Zach, and Caspar build a ship and set off on an imaginary adventure at sea, they face pirates, a storm, and a shipwreck.
Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman
(PZ7.H6533 Aq 2001)
Hailey and Clare are spending their last summer together when they discover something at the bottom of the murky pool at Capri Beach Club. There in the depths is a mysterious and beautiful creature, a mermaid named Aquamarine, who has left her sisters to search for love on land. Now, as this mythological yet very real being starts to fade in the burning August sun, a rescue is begun.
Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
(PZ7.E724 Go 2000)
When Portia sets out to visit her cousin Julian, she expects their adventures will include exploring the woods, collecting stones and bugs, and playing games. But after their first day of exploring, they discover a boulder with a mysterious message, a swamp full of reeds and quicksand, and a ghost town on the far side of the swamp. At one time the swamp was a lake, and the fallen houses along its shore an elegant resort community. Though both are long gone, the houses still hold a secret- two people who never left and can tell the story of what happened there.
Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
(PZ7.G3626 Li 1997)
Every summer Lily and her dad go to the family’s house in Rockaway, near the Atlantic Ocean. But this summer, World War 2 has called Lily’s dad overseas and Lily is forced to live with her grandmother. But then a boy named Albert, a refugee from Hungary, comes to live in Rockaway. He lost most of his family to the war. Soon he and Lily develop a special friendship and share secrets. But they have both told lies, and Lily’s lie may cost Albert his life.
Lulu and the Dog From the Sea by Hilary McKay
(PZ7.M191 Lud 2013)
Lulu loves animals. When she goes on vacation, she finds a stray dog living on the beach. Everyone in town thinks the dog is trouble, but Lulu is sure he just needs a friend.
Main character is a person of color
Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
(Children Picture Book + HO)
A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers, who have big round eyes and long lashes. She realizes hers are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners ang glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.
Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon
(Children Picture Book + DOYON)
While her mother works magic styling her hair, a young Black girl recalls how her hairstyles can reflect the natural world and how her hair can be elegant, mischievous, or whimsical.
Dragons In A Bag by Zetta Elliott
(PZ7 .E46959 Dr 2018)
When Jax is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she is not his grandmother, but that she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they’ll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don’t let them out of the bag, and don’t feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends break both rules. Will Jax get the dragons delivered safe and sound, or will they be lost forever?
Fast Pitch by Nic Stone
(PZ7.S8825 Fas 2021)
Shenice Lockwood has her eyes set on the Fastpitch World Series. As team captain, she’d like nothing more than to help her team win the trophy and take the prize money home. And as one of the few brown faces on the field, it’d be a personal triumph to show up her rich, white opponents. But Shenice’s focus is shaken when her uncle reveals that a family crime may have been a set-up. Shenice will stop at nothing to uncover the past. But the closer she gets to the truth, the further she gets from her goals.
Stef Soto Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
(PZ7.T626 St 2017)
Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the embrace of her family’s taco truck, Tia Perla. It’s no fun being known as the “taco queen” at school. But when it looks like Stef is going to get exactly what she wants and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion.
The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang
(PZ7.W1785 Man 2021)
Meilan Hua’s world is made up of a few key things: her family’s beloved matriarch, Nai Nai, the bakery her family owns and runs in Boston’s Chinatown, and her favorite chinese fairy tales. When Nai Nai passes, her family has a falling out that sends Meilan, her parents, and her grandfather on the road in search of a new home. They land in Redbud, Ohio, which is the opposite of Chinatown. Meilan’s not quite sure who she is, and being renamed at school only makes it worse. She decides she is many Meilan’s, each inspired by a different Chinese character with the same pronunciation as her name. Meilan keeps her facets separate until an injustice at school shows her the power of bringing her many selves together.