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Summer Reading 2021
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Welcome to the Redwood Day Library’s Summer Reading Guide! Keep reading to find recommended picture books, chapter books, and novels for middle grade and young adult readers. You will also find links to local public libraries’ summer reading programs and other fun literary activities to keep your children busy and learning this summer. We hope you have a wonderful summer filled with joy, relaxation, and plenty of reading!


Your Redwood Day Library Team


Table of Contents

Picture Books (All Ages!)

Early Chapter Books (1st - 3rd Grade)

Middle Grade Books (3rd-7th Grade)

Young Adult Books (6th Grade +)

Reading Links, Activities, and Resources


Picture Books (All Ages!)

The ABCs of Black History

by Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer

The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy. It’s a story of big ideas––P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments––G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures––H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcom X. It’s an ABC book like no other, and a story of hope and love.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

by Meg Medina and Sonia Sanchez

Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela's best friend, her mejor amiga. But after today, everything will be different. Today Evelyn Del Rey is moving away. The two girls spend one last afternoon together in Evelyn's apartment, playing among the boxes, until the apartment is empty and it's time to say their goodbyes

Eyes that Kiss at the Corners

by Johanna Ho and Dung Ho

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother's, her grandmother's, and her little sister's. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future. She recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self love and empowerment.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

Eric Rohmann's exquisitely detailed illustrations bring the great outdoors into your hands in this poetically written tribute to the hardworking honeybee. Award-winning author Candace Fleming describes the life cycle of the honeybee in accessible, beautiful language.

If You Come to Earth

by Sophie Blackall

If you come to Earth, there are a few things you need to know. . . We live in all kinds of places. In all kinds of homes. In all kinds of families. Each of us is different. But all of us are amazing. And, together, we share one beautiful planet.

Lift

by Minh Lê and Dan Santat

Eric Rohmann's exquisitely detailed illustrations bring the great outdoors into your hands in this poetically written tribute to the hardworking honeybee. Award-winning author Candace Fleming describes the life cycle of the honeybee in accessible, beautiful language.

Milo Imagines the World
by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. Milo realizes that you can't really know anyone just by looking at them.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora

Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation's oldest student who did just that. In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read.

The Old Truck

by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family’s young daughter.

Our Little Kitchen

by Jillian Tamaki

In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen, and a friendly meal, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and coming together.

 R-E-S-P-E-C-T : Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

by Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison

This authoritative, rhythmic, Coretta Scott King Illustration Award–winning picture book biography will captivate young readers with Aretha’s inspiring story.

Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters

by Suzanne Slade and Don Tate

The true story of the high-flying Harlem Globetrotters — the team that changed basketball forever.

Try it! : how Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat

by Mara Rockliff and Giselle Potter

Meet fearless Frieda Caplan—the produce pioneer who changed the way Americans eat by introducing exciting new fruits and vegetables, from baby carrots to blood oranges to kiwis—in this brightly illustrated nonfiction picture book!

Unspeakable : the Tulsa Race Massacre

by Carole Boston Weatherford and Floyd Cooper

Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
by Raúl the Third

Little Lobo returns to share his love of food and wrestling in this delicious follow-up to Vamos! Let’sGo to the Market from Pura Belpré Medal-winning illustrator Raúl the Third.

Windows

by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale

Walking his dog at dusk, one boy catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood, and coming home

Early Chapter Books (1st - 3rd Grade)

The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp

by Jonathan Auxier

Welcome to the Fabled Stables, a magical building filled with one-of-a-kind creatures. Creatures including the Gargantula, the Yawning Abyss, the Hippopotamouse . . . and Auggie. Auggie is the only human boy at the Stables, and he takes care of all the other animals. The Fabled Stables have a mind of their own, and every so often, the building SHAKES and SHUDDERS, TWITCHES and SPUTTERS—it’s making room for a new arrival!

Katie the Catsitter (Graphic Novel)

By Colleen AF Venable

Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp--something that's way out of Katie and her mom's budget, UNLESS Katie can figure out a way to earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job catsitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life gets . . .  interesting.

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business

by Lyla Lee

On her first day of school, Mindy’s school snack of dried seaweed isn’t exactly popular at the lunch table. Luckily, her new friend, Sally, makes the snacks seem totally delicious to Mindy’s new classmates, so they decide to start the Yummy Seaweed Business to try and raise money to get a puppy! When another student decides to try and sabotage their business, Mindy loses more than she bargained for—and wonders if she’ll ever fit in. Will Mindy be able to overcome her uncertainty and find the courage to be herself?

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us

by Lauren Castillo

Hedgehog lives on a teeny-tiny island with only her stuffed dog, Mutty, for company. When a great storm carries Mutty away, she embarks on a quest to find her friend. Following the trail of clues Mutty left behind, brave Hedgehog meets a wiggly Mole, a wordy Owl, a curmudgeonly Beaver, a scatterbrained Hen and Chicks, and a girl who's new to the neighborhood, Annika May. With bravery and teamwork, there's nothing that can stop these seven from finding Mutty, but along the way they discover something even more important: each other.

She Persisted: Harriet Tubman

by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Chelsea Clinton

Born enslaved, Harriet Tubman rose up to become one of the most successful, determined and well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad. With her family's love planted firmly in her heart, Harriet looked to the North Star for guidance--and its light helped guide her way out of slavery. Her courage made it possible for her to help others reach freedom too.

Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote

by Andrea Beaty

Miss Lila Greer announces it’s time for Grade Two to get a class pet, and she wants the kids to participate in choosing which one. After all, they will all have to share the responsibility of caring for it. The class narrows it down to two options: Team Turtle and Team Bird. Sofia is named Election Commissioner, in charge of overseeing a fair and honest election between the two teams. There’s a class-wide campaign, complete with posters, articles, and speeches. Then it’s time for the election! But when the votes are counted, there’s a tie, and one vote is missing. How will the class break the tie? And what happened to the vanishing vote? It’s up to Sofia Valdez and the Questioneers to restore democracy!

Ways to Make Sunshine

by Renée Watson

Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind--school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she's got the talent that matters most: it's a talent that can't be seen, she's nice, not mean!

Yasmin the Writer

By Saadia Faruqi

Ms. Alex has assigned Yasmin's class to write about their heroes. Yasmin loves to write, but she can't decide who her hero is. After dismissing lots of ideas, could it be that Yasmin's hero has been right beside her all along?


Middle Grade Books (3rd-7th Grade)

All Together Now (Graphic Novel)

by Hope Larson

When her band's drummer and fellow guitarist start dating, life gets awkward for eighth-grader Bina, a talented musician and songwriter, whose discomfort only multiplies when her best friend Austin develops a crush on her.

Before the Ever After

by Jacqueline Woodson

ZJ's friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss that spell the end of his career.

 Black Heroes of the Wild West  (Graphic Novel)

by James Otis Smith

This graphic novel celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West.

The Canyon’s Edge

by Dusti Bowling

A year after the death of her mother in a restaurant shooting, Nora is left struggling to stay alive when a climbing trip with her father goes terribly wrong.

Echo Mountain

by Lauren Wolk

After losing almost everything in the Great Depression, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed wilderness of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy after a terrible accident leaves her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

by Janae Marks

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

King and the Dragonflies

by Kacen Callender

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself

Land of the Cranes

by Aida Salazar

Nine-year-old Betita and her parents fled violence in Mexico and settled in Los Angeles seeking political asylum and safety in what her father calls Aztlan, the land of the cranes; but now they have been swept up by by the government's Immigration Customs Enforcement, her father deported back to Mexico, and Betita and her mother confined in a family detention camp. Betita finds heart in her imagination and the picture poems her father taught her, but each day threatens to further tear her family apart.

The List of Things That Will Not Change

by Rebecca Stead

After her parents' divorce, Bea's life became different in many ways. But she can always look back at the list she keeps in her green notebook to remember the things that will stay the same. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other.

Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream

by Blair Imani

Over the course of six decades, an unprecedented wave of Black Americans left the South and spread across the nation in search of a better life--a migration that sparked stunning demographic and cultural changes in twentieth-century America. Through gripping and accessible historical narrative paired with illustrations, author and activist Blair Imani examines the largely overlooked impact of The Great Migration and how it affected--and continues to affect--Black identity and America as a whole.

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

by Jonathan Auxier

In nineteenth-century England, after her father's disappearance Nan Sparrow, ten, works as a "climbing boy," aiding chimney sweeps, but when her most treasured possessions end up in a fireplace, she unwittingly creates a golem.

Tresspassers (Graphic Novel)

by Breena Bard

Thirteen-year-old Gabby Woods is looking forward to another summer vacation at her family's lake house, even though she would rather bury herself in a mystery novel than make new friends. But soon Gabby befriends Paige, a snarky kid from Chicago, and they get caught up in a local mystery: the sudden disappearance of a glamorous couple and the extravagant lake house they left behind.

Three Keys

by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang thinks she's going to have the best year ever. She and her parents are the proud owners of the Calivista Motel, Mia gets to run the front desk with her best friend, Lupe, and she's finally getting somewhere with her writing! But as it turns out, sixth grade is no picnic.

Twins (Graphic Novel)

by Varian Johnson

Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran -- a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there's nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?

When Stars are Scattered (Graphic Novel)

by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp, and when an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal of family and daily life in a refugee camp.

When You Trap a Tiger

by Tae Keller

When Lily, her sister Sam, and their mother move in with her sick grandmother, Lily traps a tiger and makes a deal with him to heal Halmoni.

A Wish in the Dark

by Christina Soontornvat

Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat’s twist on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice — and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.

The Year I Flew Away

by Marie Arnold

In this magical middle-grade novel, ten-year-old Gabrielle finds out that America isn’t the perfect place she imagined when she moves from Haiti to Brooklyn. With the help of a clever witch, Gabrielle becomes the perfect American -- but will she lose herself in the process?

Young Adult Books (6th Grade +)

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team

by Christina Soontornvat

A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight.

Almost American Girl (Graphic Novel)

by Robin Ha

For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation, Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.

Amari and the Night Brothers

by B.B. Alston

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good. So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers
by Michelle Obama

Michelle Robinson was born on the South Side of Chicago. From her modest beginnings, she would become Michelle Obama, the inspiring and powerful First Lady of the United States.

Clean Getaway

by Nic Stone

Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with this New York Times bestseller and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem--his G'ma included.

Clap When You Land

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story)

by Daniel Nayeri

In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family's history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel's story of how they became refugees—starting with his mother's vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense, and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane-to-anywhere. Anywhere becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy, and then finally asylum in the U.S.

Go With the flow (Graphic Novel)

by Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams

Sophomores Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha are fed up. Hazelton High never has enough tampons. Or pads. Or adults who will listen. Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, the girls confront a world that shrugs―or worse, squirms―at the thought of a menstruation revolution. They band together to make a change. It’s no easy task, especially while grappling with everything from crushes to trig to JV track but they have each other’s backs. That is, until one of the girls goes rogue, testing the limits of their friendship and pushing the friends to question the power of their own voice

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jean Mendoza, and Debbie Reese

Going beyond the story of America as a country “discovered” by a few brave men in the “New World,” Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity.

Prairie Lotus

by Linda Sue Park

Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives. 

Superman Smashes the Klan (Graphic Novel)

by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru

The year is 1946. Teenagers Roberta and Tommy Lee just moved with their parents from Chinatown to the center of Metropolis, home to the famous hero, Superman. Tommy makes friends quickly, while Roberta pines for home. Then one night, the family awakens to find their house surrounded by the Klan of the Fiery Kross! Superman leaps into action, but his exposure to a mysterious green rock has left him weak. Can Roberta and Tommy help him smash the Klan?

Take Back the Block

by Chrystal D. Giles

Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That--and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games--is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to. But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes.

Thanks a Lot, Universe

by Chad Lucas

Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court.After he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn't know if things will ever be normal again. Ezra's always been popular. He's friends with most of the kids on his basketball team, even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. Ezra worries if he's too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . . But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they're willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they'd rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves and each other.

We are Not Free

by Traci Chee

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.


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