JLMS Summer Reading List 2019

Open the Book Title links to read the summaries

Good Enough

Far Away

Louisiana's Way Home

Nevermoor Trial of Morrigan Crow

Storm Runner

City of Ghosts

The Journey of Little Charlie

The Absence of Sparrows

Song for a Whale

The Friendship War 

The Next Great Paulie Fink

Hurricane Season

Sweeping Up the Heart

Batting Order

Finding Orion

Schomburg The Man Who Built a Library

Eyes & Spies How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know

Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and Unexplained Creatures

Rabbits Eat Their Own Poop and Other Facts About Animals

The Psychology of Sports Basketball

Nature-Inspired Contraptions

The Witch Boy

All Summer Long



Good Enough by Jen Petro-Ray

Before she had an eating disorder, twelve-year-old Riley was many things: an aspiring artist, a runner, a sister, and a friend.

But now, from inside the inpatient treatment center where she's receiving treatment for anorexia, it's easy to forget all of that. Especially since under the influence of her eating disorder, Riley alienated her friends, abandoned her art, turned running into something harmful, and destroyed her family's trust.

If Riley wants her life back, she has to recover. Part of her wants to get better. As she goes to therapy, makes friends in the hospital, and starts to draw again, things begin to look up.

But when her roommate starts to break the rules, triggering Riley's old behaviors and blackmailing her into silence, Riley realizes that recovery will be even harder than she thought. She starts to think that even if she does "recover," there's no way she'll stay recovered once she leaves the hospital and is faced with her dieting mom, the school bully, and her gymnastics-star sister.

Written by an eating disorder survivor and activist, Good Enough is a realistic depiction of inpatient eating disorder treatment, and a moving story about a girl who has to fight herself to survive.

Grades: 5-8

Far Away by Lisa Graff

CJ's Aunt Nic is a psychic medium who tours the country speaking to spirits from Far Away, passing on messages from the dearly departed. And CJ knows firsthand how comforting those messages can be -- Aunt Nic's Gift is the only way CJ can talk to her mom, who died just hours after she was born.

So when CJ learns that she won't be able to speak to her mother anymore, even with Aunt Nic's help, she's determined to find a work-around. She sets off on road trip with her new friend Jax to locate the one object that she believes will tether her mother's spirit back to Earth . . . but what she finds along the way challenges every truth she's ever known. Ultimately, CJ has to sort out the reality from the lies.

Grades: 3-7

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo *available on Sora app by Overdrive

Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her in the middle of the night, saying it is time for them to leave. Louisiana isn’t worried at first -Granny often has middle-of-the-night wild ideas. Sadly, this time they are not coming back. Louisiana must find a new home and her place in the world.

Grades: 5-8

Nevermoor 1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend *available on Sora app by Overdrive

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks - and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It's there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart. Except for Morrigan, who doesn't seem to have any special talent at all. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests - or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Grades: 3-7

Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Zane Obispo explores the sleeping volcano in his backyard to escape being teased because he walks with a cane. Then a mysterious girl reveals a prophecy, and soon Zane is on a quest that tests him to the very core in this fresh and funny take on Mayan mythology.

        Grades: 5-9

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn't like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost. So things are already pretty strange. But they're about to get much stranger. When Cass's parents start hosting a TV show about the world's most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her "gift," she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil -- and herself. And she'll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Grades: 5-8

A Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis *available on Sora app by Overdrive

Twelve Year old, poor , white and raised by sharecropper parents in South Carolina in the 1850s, Charlie Bobo is forced to help the plantation’s overseer track down and retrieve “stolen property” in Canada. When Charlie realizes the property is escaped slaves and he is along to help return them to slavery, he questions the racism and ignorance of his upbringing. Can he change the outcome of the mission he’s been forced to join?

Grades: 5-8

The Absence of Sparrows by Kurt Kirchmeier

In the small town of Griever's Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in.   Old Man Crandall is the first to change--human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it's happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky and, at random, people are turned into frozen versions of themselves. There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it.   With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town's missing sparrows will return with everyone's souls before the glass plague takes them away forever.

Grades: 3-7

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Twelve-year-old Iris has never let her deafness slow her down. A whiz at fixing electronics, she's always felt at home in the world of wires and vacuum tubes.

School, on the other hand, isn't quite as simple. Between her frustrating teacher Ms. Conn and her overly helpful classmate Nina, Iris can't seem to catch a break.

But during science class, Iris learns about Blue 55—the loneliest whale in the world. Saddened by the animal's inability to speak to other whales, Iris uses her tech skills to come up with a plan communicate with Blue 55.

One small problem: the whale is swimming off the coast of Alaska, nearly 3,000 miles from her Texas home. But, nothing stops Iris, and with her Deaf grandmother by her side, she sets out on a road trip to meet the whale and make sure he's finally heard.

Grades: 3-7

The Friendship War by Andrew Clements *available on Sora app by Overdrive

Grace and Ellie have been best friends since second grade. Ellie’s always right in the center of everything–and Grace is usually happy to be Ellie’s sidekick. But what happens when everything changes? This time it’s Grace who suddenly has everyone’s attention when she accidentally starts a new fad at school. It’s a fad that has first her class, then her grade, and then the entire school collecting and trading and even fighting over . . . buttons?! A fad that might also get her in major trouble and could even be the end of Grace and Ellie’s friendship. Because Ellie’s not used to being one-upped by anybody. There’s only one thing for Grace to do. With the help of Hank–the biggest button collector in the sixth grade–she will have to figure out a way to end the fad once and for all. But once a fad starts, can it be stopped?

Grades: 3-6

The Next Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin

When Caitlyn Breen enters the tiny Mitchell School in rural Mitchell, Vermont, she is a complete outsider: the seventh grade has just ten other kids, and they've known each other since kindergarten. Her classmates are in for a shock of their own: Paulie Fink--the class clown, oddball, troublemaker, and evil genius--is gone this year.

As stories of Paulie's hijinks unfold, his legend builds, until they realize there's only one way to fill the Paulie-sized hole in their class. They'll find their next great Paulie Fink through a reality-show style competition, to be judged by the only objective person around: Caitlyn, who never even met Paulie Fink. Who was this kid, anyway--prankster, performance artist, philosopher, or fool? Caitlyn's quest to understand Paulie is about to teach her more about herself than she ever imagined.

Told via multiple voices, interviews, and other documents, The Next Great Paulie Fink is a lighthearted yet surprisingly touching exploration of how we build up and tear down our own myths... about others, our communities, and ourselves.

Grades: 5-8

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.

Grades: 5-8

Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes

Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father—a cranky and conservative English professor—has decided Florida is too much adventure. Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her local art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embark on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

Grades: 3-7

Batting Order by Mike Lupica

On or off the field, Matt and Ben couldn’t be more different. Ben Roberson is an all-or-nothing player: he’s big, he’s bold, and he’s brash. Ben’s swing can hit a ball right out of the park—but that’s if he can get a hit at all. Matt Baker is small, and shy, and his stutter has him avoiding the spotlight—even if he’s the best all-rounder on the team. But while Matt knows he’s got the chops, a part of him has always envied “Big Ben” and his attention-grabbing charm. So it’s a total shock when Ben asks Matt to help him work on his swing. Because Ben can’t put the ball into play, and his showboating comes at the expense of the team. And even though Matt’s trying to help, Ben doesn’t seem to take him seriously, especially when it means toning things down. The end of the season is fast approaching—is there enough time for Ben to realize bigger isn’t always better? For Matt to understand that sometimes, being the bigger person means standing up for yourself? Or will they have to accept defeat?

Grades: 3-7

Finding Orion by John David Anderson

An unforgettable story of family, loss, and jelly beans, from the beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted. Rion Kwirk comes from a rather odd family. His mother named him and his sisters after her favorite constellations, and his father makes funky-flavored jelly beans for a living. One sister acts as if she’s always onstage and the other is a walking dictionary. But no one in the family is more odd than Rion’s grandfather, Papa Kwirk. He’s the kind of guy who shows up on his motorcycle only on holidays, handing out crossbows and stuffed squirrels as presents. Rion has always been fascinated by Papa Kwirk, especially since his son—Rion’s father—is the complete opposite. Where Dad is predictable, nerdy, and reassuringly boring, Papa Kwirk is mysterious, dangerous, and cool. Which is why, when Rion and his family learn of Papa Kwirk’s death and pile into the car to attend his funeral and pay their respects, Rion can’t help but feel that that’s not the end of his story. That there’s so much more to Papa Kwirk to discover. He doesn’t know how right he is. The beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted returns with an unforgettable tale of love and laughter; of fathers and sons; of what family truly means; and of the ways in which we sometimes need to lose something in order to find ourselves.

Grades: 3-7


Non Fiction

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford *available on Sora app by Overdrive

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Arturo Schomburg asked his teachers why his textbooks omitted black people. During the course of his lifetime he sought to change this by collecting Africana literature that became the foundation for Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In free verse, this book describes Schomburg’s widespread impact on literature, art and music and includes quirky details such as his habit of organizing books by color and size (“like a bouquet”) instead of by subject.

Grades 4-7

Eyes & Spies How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know by Tanya lloyd Kyi

Eyes and Spies looks at the way information and data about us is collected and used by individuals, governments, companies, and organizations. Each chapter covers one aspect of the subject, from data collection to computer surveillance to personal privacy. Arguments for both increased security and increased privacy are offered, which encourages readers to think critically about issues and decide for themselves.

The book asks three simple questions: Who’s watching, and why? Where is the line between public and private? How can you keep your secrets to yourself? “Creepy Line” sidebars highlight controversial real-life scenarios and ask readers where they would set their own boundaries. Action Alerts encourage readers to find out more about how surveillance and data mining affects them.

Other topics include how students are tracked at school; cyberbullying, and cyber safety.

Color illustrations and a dynamic design make this an enlightening and engaging read.

Grades: 5-9

Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Unexplained Creatures by Matt Bougie

For many centuries, unexplained creatures have caused people to go on epic searches around the world. Some enduring legends that have tested and tried many an adventurer are Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. This book explores the best-known tales associated with these legends and presents scientific approaches that many have undertaken to prove these legends true. Full of photographs, eyewitness accounts, hoaxes, and scientific evidence, this book examines the status of these creatures, from the legendary to the real.

Grades: 5-9

True or False? Rabbits Eat Their Own Poop and Other Facts About Animals by Jan Payne and Steven Wilder

When broken down into their biological elements, people and animals are fascinating creatures that exhibit unique characteristics and go through very interesting life processes. Through engaging text enhanced by whimsical color illustrations and a fun quiz, students can discover just how much they know about animals.

Grades: 5-8

Mind vs. Muscle The Psychology of Sports Basketball by Cathleen Small

The top basketball players know that it's more than their physical strength that helps them play a good game. If they aren't focused and aren't using their heads, all the muscle in the world won't help them in the game. This book explores how the mind works together with muscle strength and memory to create basketball players to be reckoned with. Readers are introduced to the basics of the game, learn their favorite players' strategies and tips, and discover the importance of mental toughness.

Grades: 5-8

Nature-Inspired Contraptions by Robin Koontz

Did you know that nature is the world's largest science and engineering lab? Learn how designers and engineers use biomimicry to create or improve products.

Grades: 5-8

Graphic Novels

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Aster was born into a magical family where all boys are expected to become shape-shifters, but Aster discovers he has a talent for witchcraft. Could revealing his secret help save a missing boy’s life?

Grades: 3-6

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Follow 13-year-old Bina  as she navigates her first summer without her best friend, Austin, by her side.

Grades: 5-8

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Priyanka Das discovers a magical pashmina that connects her to her mother’s past and India.

Grades: 6-9