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2016 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 2015–2016 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.

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


Suggested grade level for all entries: 4–6

dicamillo_raymie nightingaleRaymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)
To gain the attention of her absentee father, ten-year-old Raymie Clarke vows to win the (1975) Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest. While taking baton lessons, she meets two other girls with their eyes on the prize. They share a beautifully layered set of adventures and end up rescuing one another, physically and emotionally. 264 pages.

gino_georgeGeorge by Alex Gino (Scholastic) 2016 Stonewall Book Award Winner
Ten-year-old George is, outwardly, a boy. But inside, she’s a girl, and that disconnect is becoming impossible to endure. There are setbacks along the way, but by book’s end, George has become Melissa — at least for one perfect day — and clearly a preview of what life has in store for her. 198 pages.

holm_sunny side upSunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; illus. by Matthew Holm; color by Lark Pien (Graphix/Scholastic)
In this graphic novel, ten-year-old Sunny is sent to Florida for the summer to stay with Gramps in his less-than-thrilling retirement community. The truth surrounding Sunny’s visit — back home her teenage brother is struggling with substance abuse — gradually emerges, but the story itself is mainly upbeat and affirming. 218 pages.

mlynowski_upside-down magicUpside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins (Scholastic)
Nory’s father, a Flicker (he turns things invisible), is headmaster of Sage Academy of Magic and Performance. Nory’s own magic is “wonky,” and after a disastrous showing at her Sage Academy entrance exam, Dad sends her to a school that offers a special program. 200 pages.

montgomery_octopus scientistsThe Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk [Scientists in the Field series] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Keith Ellenbogen (Houghton)
Montgomery tags along with four scientists studying the Pacific day octopus in the French Polynesian island region of Moorea. To do so, they first have to find the elusive octopuses. Abundant, stunningly clear underwater photographs highlight a range of marine species. 71 pages.

orgill_jazz dayJazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill; illus. by Francis Vallejo (Candlewick)
On August 12, 1958, fifty-plus jazz musicians gathered in Harlem for a group photo shoot. This iconic photo is the springboard for a series of twenty-one poems and a set of personality-rich illustrations. 54 pages.

sachar_fuzzy mudFuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar (Delacorte)
Tamaya (fifth grade) and Marshall (seventh) take a shortcut through the woods to evade bully Chad. After slinging a handful of mud, Tamaya develops a mysterious rash — which is nothing compared to what happens to Chad. Interspersed are excerpts of testimony from “secret Senate hearings” about a microscopic manmade organism that escaped a laboratory. 181 pages.

smith_hoodooHoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (Clarion) 2016 CSK/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award Winner
Folks in the insular 1930s African American community of Sardis, Alabama, believe in folk magick, or hoodoo. Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher’s father tried to cheat death by transporting part of his soul into Hoodoo. To free him, Hoodoo must destroy the evil Stranger. A creepy Southern Gothic ghost story steeped in time and place. 206 pages.

viorst_what are you glad aboutWhat Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem by Judith Viorst; illus. by Lee White (Dlouhy/Atheneum)
This collection of over fifty poems expresses wry humor and sharp observation about the range of feelings children experience in their everyday lives. Subjects include school, friends, and family. The illustrations bring zany humor and sometimes add their own little twists. 102 pages.

weatherford_voiceoffreedomVoice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Ekua Holmes (Candlewick) 2016 Caldecott Honor Book, CSK/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner, Sibert Honor Book
This majestic biography chronicles the life of civil rights icon Hamer from her beginnings as the child of Mississippi sharecroppers to her lasting impact on the civil rights movement. Conversational free-verse text incorporates direct quotes; richly colored collage illustrations add emotional heft. 56 pages.

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

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