My Kids 2021 Diverse Summer Reading List

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Each year, I love putting together a reading list for my kids. I love letting them choose books they love, and summer is a great time for us to introduce a few new titles that they wouldn’t have considered otherwise. My kids love to read so it’s never felt pushy, and it’s super fun for me to find some new titles in genres that they love.

It’s also a chance for me to ensure they’re getting some diverse perspectives in their reading. Of course, I want reading to be fun and fulfilling for them. I also want it to be an opportunity for “windows” as well as “mirrors.” Since they do so much reading over the summer, anyway, it’s nice to include a few titles that either might not have crossed their radar or may be just a bit outside their comfort zones.

Here are the books I’ve chosen for our 2021 diverse summer reading list!

Family Read Alouds

In addition to individual books, we always have a few family read alouds. They’re perfect for family book club discussions, to listen to in the car, or as bedtime reading. Here’s what’s on the docket for this summer!

3 Global Children’s Book Club Chapter Books

We’ve truly loved every single chapter book we’ve read so far this year for the Global Children’s Book Club. If you haven’t yet read some of them, summer is the perfect time to pick them up, whether or not you’re interested in the accompanying activities.

For the 3 months of summer, we’ll be reading the following:

10 Year Old Summer Reading List: Rising 5th Grade Summer Reading

My 10 year old is an absolutely voracious reader who adores fantasy and light sci-fi. He also enjoys some historical fiction, but often prefers well-written nonfiction history instead. Here’s what I chose for him!

8 Year Old Summer Reading List: Rising 3rd Grade Summer Reading

My 8 year old also always has her nose in a book, and especially loves Harry Potter. I’m excited to share some new-to-her titles that I think she’ll really enjoy.

6 Year Old Summer Reading List: Rising 1st Grade Summer Reading

My 6 year old is my more reluctant reader. He’s been a capable reader for a couple years now, but didn’t often choose it on his own. However, his reading really took off in terms of enjoyment and confidence when he started Savvy Reading a few months ago. Since then, he’s read tons of early chapter books of his own volition. It couldn’t make me happier! (Here’s more about our experience with Savvy.)

Still, he struggles with getting started with new books, so I’m planning to read the first few pages or chapter of these to get him going. He typically takes off reading after he’s hooked and I think these are ones he’ll really love.

3 Year Old Summer Reading List: Preschool Summer Reading

To me, preschool summer reading is all about having fun and enjoying reading, even if it means reading certain books over and over and over. My 3 year old truly could be read to all day long so I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to join in with his siblings.

  • Juana and Lucas. We read this for the Global Children’s Book Club last year and we all LOVED it. I think my 3 year old will find it even funnier now (and probably doesn’t remember much from before.)
  • 100 Picture Books. We’re practicing counting to 100, so this will be perfect!

I’d love to hear – do you put together summer reading lists? Do you make suggestions or do your kids take the lead on all their reading? Or is it a mix like in our family? I’d love to hear (and please share any book titles you’ve loved recently!)!

5 Responses

  • Bonnie Lieu says:

    Love this! Thanks for the recs! Put a bunch on hold for my 8 year old girl and 6 year old boy!

  • I have a 5yo and 3yo so I placed almost all of these books on hold at my local library, thank you so much for putting together this list! I let them chose their own books but I also pick some out for them too. Some picture books they’ve really loved lately are Swashby by the Sea, Jules vs. the Ocean, The Shark Lady, King Hugo’s Huge Ego, Grandma’s Purse, and Unstoppable. All of these books kept my kids engaged and also have a great message behind them. You should also check out the “Ordinary People change the World” series if you haven’t already, it’s a series of excellent non-fiction books that my kids have loved, my son really liked the ones about Sonya Sotomayor and Jackie Robinson the most!

  • Jacqueline says:


    I haven’t done specific summer reading lists for my kids (aged 4 and 6), but I do have a few themes I’ve been working on.

    One is girls in sports/sports stories with girl characters. My first grader has been coming home from school with ideas like only boys can play soccer and girls aren’t fast, so I wanted to give her some different ideas. So far we’ve read “Mia Hamm – Winners Never Quit” (soccer) – which was a huge hit, especially with my 4 year old, “We Are Girls Who Love to Run”, and “The Quickest Kid in Clarkesville” (running). I’ve also got “Junko Tabei Masters the Mountains” (hiking and mountain climbing), “My Favorite Run”, “The Field” (soccer), “Nadia the Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still” (gymnastics), “Curious George Joins the Team” (basketball); “Get Set! Swim!”, and “Sisters: Venus and Serena Williams” (tennis) lined up. I’m still working on the list though. It’s been harder to find the stories than I would have hoped, especially as I don’t want all of them to be about girls being told they can’t do something (even if they go ahead and achieve it anyway). I’ve spent hours on it trying to do a mix of not only famous athletes, but also just regular girls and boys playing sports together/sports stories with girl characters. In some cases, I came up empty handed. For example, I spent hours looking for a picture book about softball, but couldn’t find one.

    Another theme we will start is Native American picture books. We live abroad and from what I’ve seen so far, I think what my kids might otherwise absorb here is out of step from what they would be taught back home. As a first step, I thought we’d read a variety of children’s stories. We started with “Dragonfly’s Tale”, which was a gift from a friend. And then I’ve got lined up “We are Grateful”, “How the Stars Fell into the Sky”, “Jingle Dancer”, “We Are Water Protectors”, “The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses”, and “I Sang You Down from the Stars.” I think I’ll need some resources to complement in this area, but this is how far I’ve gotten so far.

    Apart from that, we will do a mix of picture book biographies, science books (they love the “Let’s Read and Find Out” series), social/emotional skills/resilience-related books, books about America and immigrant experiences and books about other cultures and countries (including a bunch from your blog posts and book clubs that we haven’t managed to do all of yet). We also have a few early chapter book series that the kids really like – “Zoey and Sassafras”, “Violet Mackerel”, “Ling and Ting” and “Lily the Elf”, so I’ll bring a few new ones of those out along the way.

    Anyway, I really enjoy reading your blog and sharing your resources with the kids, and so I just thought I’d respond to your post 😊

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer!

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