Encourage your primary grade kiddos to journey to places unfamiliar to them with this summer 2020 reading list. Just because we’ve been asked to postpone our travels doesn’t mean we can’t allow a great book to take us somewhere special.

In this list I have tried to include a mix of newly published books with some old favorites that have a hearty dose of summer time fun. I hope you enjoy it!

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The Good Egg by Jory John

The Good Egg is the second book in the Bad Seed series. The protagonist from this story learns that perfectionism can have some negative consequences. I appreciate the gentle reminder this book offers us to accept others for who they are because that is not easy with this long season of being home together.

Each of these books were enjoyable for their overall message that teaches kids to have a better understanding of their own character and how it affects others.

In The Bad Seed the main character learns that “being bad” doesn’t have to define him. It’s okay to make mistakes and you can change over time.

Then, in The Cool Bean, the lesson is that it’s much cooler to be kind than to fit in with the popular crowd.

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan

Nothing says summer like a nice, cold glass of lemonade. And what better (even though surprising!) way to get it than from a lemon tree gifted to you by grandma?

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree is about a little girl who receives an unexpected gift of a lemon tree. She decides to put the time into caring for the plant, and the whole experience blooms into much more than she originally imagined. She learns to enjoy patience, the beauty of the outdoors, and good community.

Hats Off to Mr. Pockles! by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I read this book. It’s quirky, fun, and drives home a great lesson: in kindness, we should be intentional about making sure others feel welcome and loved.

Mr. Pockles is an interesting dog with an extraordinary hat collection. He owns a hat for every occasion imaginable. Honestly, you name it; there’s a hat for it. In the story, he befriends a panda bear in her time of need and finds himself included in a very special event along with a number of other new friends.

What summer hats have you decided to sport this season? Find some inspiration from Hats Off to Mr. Pockles!

Stella Diaz Never Gives Up by Angela Dominguez

This book is the second in a series, which is about a very shy Mexican-American girl. The author very creatively incorporates Spanish words into the text. It is a great way to teach context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

I have had the pleasure of reading the first book, but this one is on my personal summer reading list. Stella’s interest in becoming an environmental activist is why it is so appealing to me! This is always an important message to start encouraging to our younger kids, and what better time than during the summer when many of us are out exploring the beaches and parks around us.

Join Stella on her family vacation to Mexico to learn about marine animals and what she can do to reduce the pollution in the ocean!

Jackie & Me by Dan Gutman

America’s favorite pastime is the great sport of baseball. This summer, grab some peanuts and cracker jacks and curl up with this Dan Gutman book.

Joe Stoscack is a boy with special baseball cards that allow him to travel through time. For a school report, he uses his Jackie Robinson card to learn more about the man who broke through the color barrier in the major leagues.

Each of Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventure books focuses on one player from a significant period of history. It’s fascinating to learn about the important American events, the big cities where they took place, and the players who have helped to shape our country’s history.

Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe

One summer I had the pleasure of running around in a grassy field with a wide-mouth mason jar catching fireflies. It was mesmerizing to observe their tiny bodies blinking on and off in a slow cadence.

That is why I enjoy reading this book! It describes this experience so well. You can almost smell the fresh cut grass and the warmth of the evening coming over you. Grab Fireflies! and share it with your kids!

Flotsam by David Wiesner

In the story of Flotsam, the setting is the beach. It’s the quintessential way to spend your summer! David Wiesner’s illustrations allow you to feel like you are right there, toes in the sand. This book won a Caldecott Medal the year it was published.

This is a creative book that I enjoy sharing with kids of all ages. Flotsam refers to the floating remains of something washed up by the sea. With that in mind, Wiesner uses only illustrations to tell his story of a camera that has been washed ashore. It is discovered by a young boy who, through the power of observation, is able to determine what has happened with this unusual looking camera…it’s definitely not a cell phone!

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhamma

I feel this is a wonderful book to add to our summer reading list because it allows readers the opportunity to experience a culture that might not be familiar to them. The author is an Olympic medalist who competed for the United States wearing a hijab in honor of her Muslim heritage.

In this story she describes the first day of school for a young girl named Faizah. This day is special because it is also her older sister’s first day of hijab. She sees her sister as beautiful, but she quickly begins to realize that not everyone around her feels the same way. People begin to make fun of what they find to be confusing and different.

Faizah learns to be strong and proud of her family and what they stand for. Her sister’s hijab is The Proudest Blue. This story will likely bring up some great questions and the opportunity to share the importance of loving others for who they are.

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Grumpy Monkey has an important lesson for kids to learn: it’s okay to experience negative feelings! I enjoyed reading this book because it reminded me of the many times that I try to cover up my frustration and put on a happy face for those around me.

Jim, the chimpanzee, struggles with the same idea. His friends want him to get over the grump because it’s a beautiful day. However, that is not always the best way to deal with our feelings. By the end, he realizes he shouldn’t let his emotions affect others, but it is okay to express himself.

This is another great read for this time when we are experiencing so many emotions. Even as an adult, I need to hear this message again!

Nancy Clancy by Jane O’Connor

Summer is an excellent time to start reading through a series. Nancy Clancy is a great option because many younger kids might already be familiar with and love Fancy Nancy. She has grown up, but she still has a strong affinity towards excellent vocabulary.

Super Sleuth is the first in the series. Nancy and her best friend are working together to solve a crime in their classroom. Join the team and follow the clues.

Let us know your favorite books from this summer 2020 reading list and what others you have added to your own. We hope you are able to learn something new and enjoy some meaningful reading this summer!

We also have recommendations for your older or younger kids, too:
Middle Grades (3rd – 5th)
Board Books (Baby – Age 4)