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2015 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Intermediate

Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2014–2015 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.

For a handy take-along list of titles, download our printable PDF, or purchase them from our online bookstore at a 20% discount.

Picture Books | Early Readers and Primary Grades | Middle School | High School

Intermediate

Suggested grade level for all entries: 4–6

brown_hypnotize a tigerHypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything by Calef Brown; illus. by the author (Ottaviano/Holt)
This collection gives fresh energy to conventions such as the celebration of the outlier, weird animals, and complaints about school and yucky foods. Creatures prone to puns comment on the poems from the bottom margin. Humorous black-and-white drawings add to the joyous mood. 138 pages.

carson_park scientistsPark Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard [Scientists in the Field series] by Mary Kay Carson; photos by Tom Uhlman (Houghton)
Carson takes readers to three national parks — Yellowstone, Saguaro, and Great Smoky Mountains — to introduce a collection of scientists and researchers. Fascinating facts about the parks and supporting scientific information, along with arresting photographs, are interspersed. 75 pages.

curtis_madman of piney woodsThe Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic)
In this companion to the 2008 Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton, set in 1901, thirteen-year-old African Canadian boy Benji Alston befriends Irish Canadian boy Alvin “Red” Stockard. The two encounter the (supposedly mythical) Madman of Piney Woods, who brings the past into present for both boys. 370 pages.

gantos_key that swallowed joey pigzaThe Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos (Farrar)
Left alone with his new baby brother, irrepressible Joey takes seriously his mother’s admonition that he be “man of the house.” His blind friend Olivia helps to care for Carter Junior — and fend off Joey’s estranged (and unhinged) father’s attempts to kidnap the baby. This series-ender shares the gleeful mixture of mayhem and pathos of the previous books. 154 pages.

martin_reign rainRain Reign by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel)
2015 Schneider Family Book Award Winner
Autistic eleven-year-old Rose’s single father doesn’t have the resources, material or emotional, to be a parent. Luckily, Rose has her supportive uncle Weldon, her soothing collection of homonyms, and her dog Rain — until Hurricane Susan, during which Rain disappears. 226 pages.

nye_turtle of omanThe Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye; illus. by Betsy Peterschmidt (Greenwillow)
Aref is preparing to leave Oman for Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his family will live for three years. Though unhappy about the move, Aref is thrilled to spend his last few days in Oman going on small adventures with Sidi, his beloved grandfather. 299 pages.

parr_adventures with wafflesAdventures with Waffles by Maria Parr; illus. by Kate Forrester; trans. from the Norwegian by Guy Puzey (Candlewick)
Trille’s best friend is his fearless next-door neighbor Lena. Her penchant for thrill-seeking provides the pair with plenty of excitement in their small, contemporary Norwegian community — from a humorously disastrous reenactment of Noah’s ark to advertising for a new dad for Lena. 232 pages.

perkins_nuts to youNuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author (Greenwillow)
Jed the squirrel escapes a hawk (using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art”). Meanwhile, Chai and TsTs set off to find him. The friends make it home only to face their biggest challenge: convincing their community to relocate before humans destroy their homes. Very silly; also thought-provoking. 260 pages.

pizzoli_tricky vicTricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author (Viking)
Con man “Count Victor Lustig” (born Robert Miller) fleeced his way as a card shark back and forth across the Atlantic until WWI; went into a “money box” scam in Chicago; then returned to Europe for his greatest trick — taking a Parisian businessman’s cash bid for the “salvage” of the Eiffel Tower. 48 pages.

williams-gracia_gone crazy in alabamaGone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad/HarperCollins)
Vivacious sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern (One Crazy Summer, P. S. Be Eleven) visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and great-grandmother, Ma Charles, in Alabama. Delphine learns about her twisting family tree from those two spry old ladies, and from Ma Charles’s half-sister Miss Trotter. When a tornado strikes, the entire Gaither family comes together. 291 pages.

For past years’ summer reading lists from The Horn Book, click on the tag summer reading.

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