Archive for the ‘Summer Reading Lists’ Category

2014 Grade 9-12 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Most selected titles are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Many have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Note: There is little coverage of high school level titles by any of these organizations other than ALA and AAAS. (Download a .pdf of the list)


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister. Lexile:
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before Earth is demolished to make room for a galactic freeway, an earthman is saved by his friend. Together they journey through the galaxy. Lexile: 1000

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages. Lexile: 710

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right. Lexile: 900. Ebook can be downloaded for free here:

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
As seventeen-year-old Jill Jekel and classmate Tristen Hyde work together on a chemistry project, hoping to win a scholarship for her and a cure for his curse, they also uncover family secrets and a chemistry of their own. Lexile:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Charlie Gordon, born with an unusually low IQ, must face his gradual return to his former state when the astounding results of an experimental surgery that increased his intelligence prove to be only temporary. Lexile:

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd
In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control. Lexile: 690

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World. Lexile: 860. Sequels: The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
Battling aliens, space pirates, and competitors, Prince Khemri meets a young woman, named Raine, and learns more than he expected about the hidden workings of a vast, intergalactic Empire, and about himself. (Publisher) Lexile: 1070

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Dr. Moreau’s daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father’s island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle. Lexile: 640

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong. Lexile:

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin
Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering. Lexile: 690
NBA Finalist,

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them. Lexile: 690


How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial by Darryl Cunningham
Author-illustrator Darryl Cunningham looks at hot-button science topics and presents a fact-based, visual assessment of current thinking and research on eight different issues everybody’s arguing about. Lexile:

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Gris Grimly
Retells, in graphic novel format, Mary Shelley’s classic tale of a monster, assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies, who develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator.

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman’s exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered with his death. (Publisher) Lexile: 620


Steampunk Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
Presents a collection of Poe’s short stories and poems, including “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Raven,” accompanied by steampunk-inspired illustrations. Lexile:


Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes
Examines the advances in cloning technology, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world’s first cloned cat. Lexile:

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science by Marc Aronson
Sugar has left a bloody trail through human history. Cane–not cotton or tobacco–drove the bloody Atlantic slave trade and took the lives of countless Africans who toiled on vast sugar plantations under cruel overseers. And yet the very popularity of sugar gave abolitionists in England the one tool that could finally end the slave trade. This book traces the history of sugar from its origins in New Guinea around 7000 B.C. to its use in the 21st century to produce ethanol. Lexile: 1120

Gulp.: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Examines the alimentary canal and the digestive system, answering such questions as, can constipation kill a person, why the stomach doesn’t digest itself, how much can be eaten before the stomach bursts, and more. Lexile: . Or any book by Mary Roach.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Examines the experiences of the children and husband of Henrietta Lacks, who, twenty years after her death from cervical cancer in 1951, learned doctors and researchers took cells from her cervix without consent which were used to create the immortal cell line known as the HeLa cell; provides an overview of Henrietta’s life; and explores issues of experimentation on African-Americans and bioethics. Lexile: 1140
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson
A collection of essays on the cosmos, written by an American Museum of Natural History astrophysicist, includes “Holy Wars,” “Ends of the World,” and “Hollywood Nights.” Lexile: 1300

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
A study of what would happen to Earth if the human presence was removed examines our legacy for the planet, from the objects that would vanish without human intervention to those that would become long-lasting remnants of humankind. Lexile:


The Radioactive Boys Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein
This book recreates David Hahn’s nuclear quest to build a breeder reactor in his backyard garden shed. Lexile: 1300
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Favorites & Classics


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school. Lexile: 690

Kindred by Octavia Butler
A young African-American woman is mysteriously transferred back in time leading to an irresistible curiosity about her family’s past. Lexile: 580

Feed by M. T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble. Lexile: 770

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Set in the near future, America has become a puritanical theocracy and Offred tells her story as a Handmaid under the new social order. Lexile: 750

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race. Lexile: 780

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
A young girl living in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago ponders the advantages and disadvantages of her environment and evaluates her relationships with family and friends. Lexile: 850

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A series of letters to an unknown correspondent reveals the coming-of-age trials of a high-schooler named Charlie. Lexile: 720

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Follows nine-year-old Oskar Schell as he encounters a number of interesting characters in his search for information about his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and tries to find the lock that fits the mysterious key he left behind. Lexile: 940

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life. Lexile: 850

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-yearold boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. Lexile: 1180

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-yearold Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.Lexile: 670

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Contains black-and-white comic strip images in which the author shares the story of her life in Tehran, Iran, where she lived from ages six to fourteen while the country came under control of the Islamic regime. Lexile: 380

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Young Francie Nolan, having inherited both her father’s romantic and her mother’s practical nature, struggles to survive and thrive growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early twentieth century. Lexile: 810

Buried Onions by Gary Soto
When nineteen-year-old Eddie drops out of college, he struggles to find a place for himself as a Mexican American living in a violence-infested neighborhood of Fresno, California. Lexile: 850


Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Shiver trilogy by Maggie Steifvater
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Categories: Summer Reading Lists

2014 Grade 5 & 6 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Some of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE or are written or illustrated by Connecticut residents. Many listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle by Claudia Logan
An account of Dr. George Reisner’s 1925 discovery and excavation of a secret tomb in Giza, Egypt, based on archival documents and records, but told through the fictionalized experiences of a young boy who accompanies his father on the dig. Lexile: 900


One White Dolphin by Gill Lewis
When a baby albino dolphin caught in old fishing netting washes ashore, Paralympics sailing hopeful Felix and English school girl Kara work with veterinarians and specialists to save and reunite the dolphin with her mother, setting off a chain of events that might just save the reef from the environmental effects of proposed dredging. Lexile: 620

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
While working on a project for an after-school club, Julia, a Korean American girl, and her friend Patrick learn not just about silkworms, but also about tolerance, prejudice, friendship, patience, and more. Between the chapters are short dialogues between the author and main character about the writing of the book. Lexile: 690
Nutmeg Nominee 2008,


Whales on Stilts! by M. T. Anderson
Racing against the clock, shy middle-school student Lily and her best friends, Katie and Jasper, must foil the plot of her father’s conniving boss to conquer the world using an army of whales. Lexile: 760

Science Fair: A Story of Mystery, Danger, International Suspense, and a Very Nervous Frog by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists’ plans go awry. Lexile: 770

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. Lexile: 680. Or read The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Dallas Middaugh.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Lexile: . Or A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel adapted by Hope Larson.

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner
Ebook available. Jaden’s summer visit with her meteorologist father, who has just returned from spending four years in Russia conducting weather experiments not permitted in the United States, fills her with apprehension and fear as she discovers that living at her father’s planned community, Placid Meadows, is anything but placid. Lexile: 740
NSTA, Nutmeg Nominee 2015,

Herbert’s Wormhole by Peter Nelson
When almost-sixth-grader Alex, a video game fanatic, is forced on a “playdate” with his neighbor Herbert, an inventor, the two travel to the twenty-second century and face off against aliens, who are not as beneficent as most people think. Lexile: 780
Nutmeg Nominee 2012,

Tesla’s Attic by Neal Shusterman & Eric Elfman
With a plot combining science and the supernatural, four kids are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor, Nikola Tesla.


The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
Eleven-year-old Julian Calendar thought changing schools would mean leaving his “nerdy” persona behind, but instead he forms an alliance with fellow inventors Greta and Ben and works with them to prevent an adult from using one of their gadgets for nefarious purposes. Lexile: 470

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel. Lexile:


At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems by Leslie Bulion
An illustrated collection of poems that provides information about some of the creatures that live in the sea. Includes a glossary of scientific terms. Lexile: 1130
Connecticut Author,

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman
Poems and factual information about some of the creatures that live on Planet Earth. Lexile: 1300


When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm by Hannah Bonner
Describes life on Earth approximately 430 million years ago. Lexile:

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns
Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies such as the Audubon Bird Count and FrogWatch USA. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can put your nose to a monarch pupa or listen for raucous frog calls. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book, full of engaging photos and useful tips, will show you how. Lexile: 1050

The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins by H. P. Newquist
A thrilling and lively tour of the world of blood, from ancient history to modern science, to dark and often gruesome legends of vampires and plague, this book informs readers about the most important tissue in the body. (Publisher) Lexile:


Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd
Learn all about the life of Benjamin Franklin, from his childhood to his golden years, in this beautifully illustrated, thoughtful, and thorough book. Lexile: 1050

Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (And What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
Profiles 18 of history’s most noteworthy scientists, from Zhang Heng and Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein and Barbara McClintock, sharing lesser-known facts about their favorite activities, relationships, and eccentricities. Lexile: 1120

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
An authorized portrait about Grandin’s life with autism and her groundbreaking work as a scientist and designer of cruelty-free livestock facilities describes how she overcame key disabilities through education and the support of her mother. Lexile: 960

Favorites & Classics


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden. Lexile: 970

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
A Siamese cat, an old bull terrier, and a young Labrador retriever travel together 250 miles through the Canadian wilderness to find their family. Lexile: 1320

The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint,
Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963. Lexile: 1000

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the
perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. Lexile: 970

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
In 2194 in Zimbabwe, General Matsika’s three children are kidnapped and put to work in a plastic mine, while three mutant detectives use their special powers to search for them. Lexile: 660

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Eleven year old Harriet, who is a spy and plans to be an author keeps a secret notebook filled with thoughts and notes on her schoolmates and people she observes on her afterschool spy route, but when some of her classmates read the notebook, they seek revenge. Lexile: 760

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter. Lexile: 940

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, tenyear-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. Lexile: 670

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her. Lexile: 850

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock. Lexile: 780

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who
subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm. Lexile: 810

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
While staying with his aunt and uncle, Tom discovers a beautiful garden that is visible only at night and meets a little girl from the Victorian era with whom he travels back in time. Lexile: 860


Poppy series by Avi
John Bellairs Mysteries by John Bellairs
The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes
Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Dog Friday trilogy by Hilary McKay
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen
Dear America series by various authors

Categories: Summer Reading Lists

2014 Grade 3 & 4 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Many of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Most listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)  or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry
While trying to cross a moat, Archimedes the Goat and Skinny the Hen learn why objects sink or float. Lexile: 400

Family Pack by Sandra Markle
A young wolf, taken from her pack in Canada to Yellowstone National Park, struggles alone to master the skills of hunting and survival until she finds a lone male and begins a new pack with him. Lexile: 760

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka
When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with a curse and begins hearing nothing but science verses that sound verymuch like some well-known poems. Lexile: NP


Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows
When all the second grade students must enter the science fair, which has global warming as its theme, best friends Ivy and Bean team up to create an unusual project. Lexile: 550

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat by Anna Branford
As the youngest in her family, seven-year-old Violet identifies with small creatures in the natural world, but when she tries to help special ladybug, she learns an important lesson about animal habitats. Lexile: 1080

The Year of the Baby by Andrea Cheng
Fifth-grader Anna is concerned that her baby sister Kaylee, adopted from China three months ago, is not thriving so she and her best friends, Laura and Camille, create a science project that may save the day. Lexile: 640

The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School by Fowler DeWitt
When a mysterious illness sweeps through school, causing students to change color, sixth-grader scientist Wilmer Dooley tries to find the cause and cure. Lexile: 720

Hiss-s-s-s! by Eric A. Kimmel
When a Muslim American boy named Omar finally convinces his family that he should have a pet snake, it escapes and Omar learns why his mother is so scared of them. Lexile: 540

Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald
When Judy Moody gets serious about protecting the environment, her little brother Stink thinks she is overdoing it, but she manages to inspire her third grade class to undertake an award-winning, environment-saving project. Lexile: 500

How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills
Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his extremely overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class is studying the solar system. Lexile: 730


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
When young Zita discovers a device that opens a portal to another place, and her best friend is abducted, she is compelled to set out on a strange journey from star to star in order to get back home. Lexile: 310

Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm
Squish, a meek amoeba who loves the comic book exploits of his favorite hero, “Super Amoeba,” tries to emulate him when his best friend is threatened by a bully. Lexile: 230. And other books in the Squish series.

Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman
Two extraterrestrial friends land on Earth in the center of a farm ecosystem, where an argument forces them to separate, only to be brought back together in the stomach of a cow. Lexile: 270


Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies
Introduces the sights and sounds of the changing seasons, along city streets and in country meadow. Lexile:

Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space by Amy E. Sklansky
Offers lyrically presented facts about space and with perspective illustrations and additional explanations in the margins. Lexile:


Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
An island is about to be born- one that in time will become the home of plants and animals that exist nowhere else on Earth. This book is the biography of a Galápagos island- from birth, through adolescence, to adulthood, and beyond. Lexile: 900
Or other books by Jason Chin – Gravity, Coral Reefs, or Redwoods.

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival by Janet Wyman Coleman
Recounts the true story of eight bottlenose dolphins and their trainers who survived the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Lexile: 710

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines. Lexile: 990

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber
Demonstrates how Scout the bee searches for nectar to sustain her hive and pollinates flowers to produce seeds and fruits. Lexile: 840

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
An illustrated introduction to a variety of beetle species with information on unique characteristics and how these insects have adapted to survive. Lexile:

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
When 14-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought in 2001, everyone’s crops began to fail. His family didn’t have enough money for food, let alone school, so William spent his days in the library. He came across a book on windmills and figured out how to build a windmill that could bring electricity to his village. Everyone thought he was crazy but William persevered and managed to create a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps. Several years later he figured out how to use the windmill for irrigation purposes. (Publisher) Lexile: 910
IRA, NCSS, NSTA, Nutmeg Nominee 2015,

Survival at 120 Above by Debbie S. Miller
Introduces the variety of animals who call the Australian Simpson Desert home and shows how they have adapted to survive extreme temperatures. Lexile: . Also Survival at 40 Below.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
When you think of chocolate, you might think of a candy bar, a birthday cake, or a glass of chocolate milk. But where does chocolate come from? This book tells about the cocoa bean, which grows in the tropical rain forests and how the animals and other living things play an important part, even the monkeys. Lexile: 740


On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
Follows the life of the famous physicist, from his early ideas to his groundbreaking theories. Lexile: 680

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor
Retells the story of Rachel Carson, a pioneering environmentalist who wrote and published “Silent Spring,” the revolutionary book pointing out the dangerous effects of chemicals on the living world. Lexile: 890

Favorites & Classics


Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr.
Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions. Lexile: 910

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline, smallest and naughtiest of the twelve little charges of Miss Clavel, wakes up one night with an attack
of appendicitis. Lexile: 480

Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
Andrew wants freckles so badly that he buys Sharon’s freckle recipe for fifty cents. Lexile: 370

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tightlipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson. Lexile: 870

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
A young boy determines to rescue a poor baby dragon who is being used by a group of lazy wild animals to ferry them across the river on Wild Island. Lexile: 990

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls. Lexile: 710

The Tales of Uncle Remus as told by Julius Lester
A retelling of the Afro-American tales about the adventures and misadventures of Brer Rabbit and his friends and enemies. Lexile: 760

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Escapades of a lucky little girl who lives with a horse and a monkey–but without any parents–at the edge of a Swedish village. Lexile: 870

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are
captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay. Lexile: 560

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Southern troops. Based on a true story about the author’s great-greatgrandfather. Lexile: 590

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on
the author’s quilt painting of the same name. Lexile: 790

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries. Lexile: 560

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
By the time the Velveteen Rabbit is dirty, worn out, and about to be burned, he has almost given up hope of ever finding the magic called Real. Lexile: 820

Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
A strange little man helps the miller’s daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child. Lexile: 740

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer’s Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him. Lexile: 680


Amber Brown series by Paula Danziger
Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm
Bunnicula series by James Howe
Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
Gooney Bird series by Lois Lowry
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Calvin Coconut series by Graham Salisbury
The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
Commander Toad series by Jane Yolen



Categories: Summer Reading Lists

2014 Kindergarten to Grade 2 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Some of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE or are written or illustrated by Connecticut residents. Many listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list). These titles were selected as books that could be read by children going in grades K-2. Lexile measures are noted where known. According to the Lexile Framework for Reading, Lexile measures from 0-300 = Grade 1 and from 140-500 = Grade 2 reading levels.


Slow Down for Manatees by Jim Arnosky
Injured by a passing motorboat, a pregnant manatee is rescued and taken to an aquarium to recover and have her baby in a safe environment. Lexile: 860

I Took a Walk by Henry Cole
A visit to woods, pasture, and pond brings encounters with various birds, insects, and other creatures of nature. Flaps fold out to reveal the animals on each two-page spread. Lexile: 190

The Voyage of Turtle Rex by Kurt Cyrus
Follows the life of a giant prehistoric sea turtle. Lexile: 580

Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies
On her way to school, a young girl spots mallard ducks in the river and enthusiastically describes their appearance, habits, and behavior. Interspersed throughout the pages are facts about ducks. Lexile: 940

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming
In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.Lexile: 480

In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Illustrations and rhyming text describe the activities of animals living in and near a small pond as spring progresses to autumn. Lexile: NP

Yucky Worms by Vivian French
While helping Grandma in the garden, a child learns about the important role of the earthworm in helping plants grow. Lexile: 620

Rocks in His Head by Carol Otis Hurst
A young man has a lifelong love of rock collecting that eventually leads him to work at a science museum. Lexile: 440

Mousetronaut Goes to Mars by Mark Kelly
A small but plucky mouse named Mike is sure that he can help the Space Shuttle astronauts, and ends up saving the whole mission. Includes facts about NASA and space travel. Lexile:

Pluto Visits Earth! by Steve Metzger
Angry at being downgraded to a dwarf planet by Earth scientists, Pluto travels through the solar system, asking other planets along the way for support, in hopes of regaining his planetary status. Lexile: 380

11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offil
A young child tries a series of wacky experiments, such as seeing if a piece of bologna will fly like a frisbee and determining whether seedlings will grow if watered with expensive perfume, and then must suffer the consequences of experiments gone awry. Lexile:

A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas
In rhyming text and illustrations, explores some of the many things a leaf can be, from tree topper to rain stopper. Includes facts about leaves and a glossary. Lexile: 170

Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre
Follows a bear from the time she emerges from her den in April after four months without food, through months of eating fish, ants, and huckleberries, to midwinter when the arrival of two cubs interrupts her long winter’s rest. Includes facts about brown (grizzly) bears of the Yellowstone National Park/Glacier National Park region. Lexile:

Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka
On a mission to conquer planet Earth, tiny but fearless Robot Zot and his mechanical sidekick leave a path of destruction as they battle kitchen appliances. Lexile: 390

June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner
While her third-grade classmates are sprouting seeds in paper cups, Becky has a more ambitious, innovative science project in mind. Lexile: 750


Pearl and Wagner: Two Good Friends by Kate McMullan
Pearl and Wagner, a rabbit and a mouse, work together to build a robot for their science project. Lexile: 340

Robot, Go Bot!: A Comic Reader by Dana Meachen Rau
A young girl makes so many demands on the robot she has constructed that he runs away.


Oh No!, or How My Science Project Destroyed the World by Mac Barnett
After winning the science fair with the giant robot she has built, a little girl realizes that there is a major problem. Lexile:


In the Sea by David Elliott
A collection of poems for children featuring woodcut illustrations and rhyming text from David Elliot on the characteristics and behaviors of sea horses, sharks, urchins, whales, and other sea creatures. Lexile: NP

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
Celebrates the shape of a spiral in nature, from rushing rivers to flower buds and even the shape of an ear. Lexile: 330


Things That Float and Things That Don’t by David A. Adler
An apple floats in a tub of water, but a ball of aluminum foil sinks to the bottom. But wait. If that same ball of foil is flattened out and shaped into a boat, it floats! How can that be? David A. Adler’s clear, concise text and Anna Raff’s delightful illustrations explain the basic principles of flotation and density in a way that will really sink in. Lexile: 600

I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb
Introduces the characteristics and actions of the wind through simple hands-on activities. Lexile: 540

Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World by Allan Drummond
It’s windy on the Danish island of Samsø. Meet the environmentally friendly folks who, in a few short years, worked together for energy independence, and who now proudly call their home Energy Island. Lexile: 920

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
Simple text and bright pictures show how butterflies use flowers and identify several types of butterflies. Lexile: 160

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
During a cross country ski trip through the winter woods, adventurers can discover all sorts of animals living under the snow. Lexile: 700

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer
An evocative counting primer combines contrasting illustrations with engaging animal facts that invite young children to count a woodpecker’s 30 roosting holes, a giraffe’s 200 spots and 1,000 baby seahorses. Lexile: 860


Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
A biography of a self-taught scientist who photographed thousands of individual snowflakes in order to study their unique formations. Lexile: 830

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone
An introduction to the life and achievements of the first American female doctor describes the limited career prospects available to women in the early nineteenth-century, the opposition Blackwell faced while pursuing a medical education, and her pioneering medical career that opened doors for future generations of women. Lexile:

Favorites & Classics


Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
Numbers from ten to one are part of this lullaby which observes the room of a little girl going to bed.

The Mitten by Jan Brett
One by one, animals in a snowy forest crawl into Nicki’s lost white mitten to get warm until the bear sneezes, sending the animals flying up and out of the mitten. On each turn of the page, signature borders inspired by Ukrainian folk art hint at what animal is coming next. Lexile: 800

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight to each of the objects in the great green room: goodnight chairs, goodnight comb, goodnight air. Lexile: 360

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Harold goes for an adventurous walk in the moonlight with his purple crayon. Lexile: 490

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day. Lexile: 500

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Despite everyone’s dire predictions, a little boy has faith in the carrot seed he plants. Lexile: 230

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
One night a puppy, who is always late coming home, finds there is no dessert for him. Lexile: 640

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
An alphabet rhyme/chant that relates what happens when the whole alphabet tries to climb a coconut tree. Lexile: 530

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard proudly return to their home in the Boston Public Garden with their eight offspring. Lexile: 630

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Although she is not very big, the Little Blue Engine agrees to try to pull a stranded train full of toys over the mountain. Lexile: 680

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Adventurous Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother and wanders into Mr. McGregor’s garden. Lexile: 660

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king. Lexile: 740

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
A band of mischievous monkeys steals every one of a peddler’s caps while he takes a nap under a tree. Lexile: 480

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
On a day when everything goes wrong for him, Alexander is consoled by the thought that other people have bad days too. Lexile: 970

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
On a cold winter night many animals gather to party in the cave of a sleeping bear, who then awakes and protests that he has missed the food and the fun. Lexile: 280


Byron Barton
Margaret Wise Brown
Anthony Browne
Eric Carle
Donald Crews
Tomie de Paola
P. D. Eastman
Ed Emberley
Mem Fox
Ezra Jack Keats
Jon Klassen
James Marshall
Robert McCloskey
Jon Muth
Jerry Pinkney
Peggy Rathmann
Dr. Seuss
Maurice Sendak
David Shannon
Williams Steig
David Wiesner
Mo Willems
Karma Wilson
Jacqueline Woodson

Categories: Summer Reading Lists

2014 Grade 7 & 8 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Many of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Most listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), or the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA). (Download a .pdf of the list).


The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, The Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
Eel, an orphan, and his best friend Florrie must help Dr. John Snow prove that cholera is spread through water, and not poisonous air, when an epidemic sweeps across their London neighborhood in 1854. Lexile: 660

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father–but no one will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he’s working on a top secret government program. Lexile: 790


Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl. Lexile: 690

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale is chosen to participate in The Testing to attend the University; however, Cia is fearful when she figures out her friends who do not pass The Testing are disappearing. Lexile:

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
When fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes up and finds himself invisible, he and his parents and his new blind friend
Alicia try to find out what caused his condition and how to reverse it. Lexile: 690
ALA, Nutmeg Nominee 2006

Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam
When their plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean, three science students are left stranded on a tropical island and then imprisoned by a doctor who is performing horrifying experiments on humans involving the transfer of animal genes. Lexile: 690

When We Wake by Karen Healey
Enjoying her life filled with music, first love and protesting social injustices, 16-year-old Tegan unexpectedly
dies and reawakens 100 years in the future to discover that she is the first government guinea pig subject to be
cryogenically frozen and successfully revived, a situation that forces her to confront appalling secrets.. Lexile: 770

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd
In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control. Lexile: 690

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story. LexileL: 790

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Lexile: 770
ALA, Nutmeg Nominee,

Orleans by Sherry L. Smith
Set in a futuristic, hostile Orleans landscape, Fen de la Guerre must deliver her tribe leader’s baby over the Wall into the Outer States before her blood becomes tainted with Delta Fever. (Publisher) Virus diseases. Lexile: 750

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The adventures of a French scientist and his companions who travel the seven seas in the mid-nineteenth century as prisoners in the submarine of the mysterious Captain Nemo. Lexile: 1030


Primates by Jim Ottaviani
This is the true story of three scientists who risked their lives for research that forever changed the way we think of primates–including ourselves. Lexile:


Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem by Marilyn Nelson
A series of poems on the life of Fortune, an eighteenthcentury African-American slave in New England whose skeleton came to be an exhibit at Connecticut’s Mattatuck Museum; includes notes and archival photos. Lexile: NP


Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns
Describes the work of a man who tracks trash as it travels great distances by way of ocean currents. Lexile: 1200

Faces From the Past: Forgotten People of North America by James Deem
Describes the discovery of bodies in North America from fifteen to twenty thousand years ago, and discusses the evidence their remains reveal about themselves and the civilizations in which they lived. Lexile: 1190

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
Through the case history of Phineas Gage, a 19th century Vermonter who had an iron bar driven through his brain and lived, the book examines what is known of brain function. Lexile: 1030

Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives by Albert Marrin
A history of the slick and foul-smelling substance that drives our existence and that becomes scarcer as our dependence on it grows. Lexile: 1070

Eruption!: The Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch
An account of the work of volcanologists Andy Lockhart, John Pallister, and their team describes their life-risking efforts to investigate dangerous volcanoes that pose threats to more than one billion people worldwide. Lexile: 1000

Bomb: The Race to Build – And Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Recounts the scientific discoveries that enabled atom splitting, the military intelligence operations that occurred in rival countries, and the work of brilliant scientists hidden at Los Alamos. Lexile: 920

The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth by Anita Silvey
Presents the experiences and contributions of early adventurers, explorers, and scientists responsible for discovering and documenting new types of plants, showing how their often dangerous voyages help establish the field of botany. Lexile: ;1170


Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal
Traces the inspiring life and career of the late founder of Apple, covering topics ranging from his struggles as an adopted child and a college dropout to his Buddhist faith and friendship with Steve Wozniak, in a portrait framed around his inspirational Stanford University commencement speech. Lexile: 1110
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
A biography of English naturalist Charles Darwin that provides an account of the personality behind evolutionary theory and the affect of his work on his personal life, such as his relationship with his religious wife. Lexile: 1020

 Favorites & Classics


The Giver by Lois Lowry
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. Lexile: 760

Eva by Peter Dickinson
After a terrible accident, a young girl wakes up to discover that she has been given the body of a chimpanzee. Lexile: 1010

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman
While traveling to each corner of the country to build a whirligig in memory of the girl whose death he causes, sixteen-year-old Brian finds forgiveness and atonement. Lexile: 760

House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton
A black family of five moves into an enormous house once used as a hiding place for runaway slaves. Mysterious sounds and events as well as the discovery of secret passageways make the family believe they are in grave danger. Lexile: 670

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
A mysterious teenage boy harboring a dark secret helps Zoë come to terms with her mother’s terminal illness. Lexile: 690

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
After his anger erupts into violence, Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life. Lexile: 670

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Tiffany, a young witch-to-be in the land of Discworld, teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. Lexile: 680

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
A black family living in the South during the 1930’s are faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don’t understand. Lexile: 920

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever. Lexile: 590

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
When eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes. Lexile: 970

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. Lexile: 1000

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt
A car accident causes fifteen-year-old Izzy to lose one leg and face the need to start building a new life as an amputee. Lexile: 790

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
A teenage boy and girl, high school sophomores from unhappy homes, tell of their bizarre relationship with an old man. Lexile: 950

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death tells the story of a young German girl, Liesel, whose book-stealing and story-telling talents during World War II help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. Lexile: 730

Favorite Series

The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
The Tillermans series by Cynthia Voigt

Categories: Summer Reading Lists