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2021 Summer Reading List


Picture Books

Suggested grade level for all entries: PS–2


I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. James (Paulsen/Penguin)

Cave Paintings by Jairo Buitrago; illus. by Rafael ­Yockteng; trans. from Spanish by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration by Loree Griffin Burns; photos by Ellen Harasimowicz (Charlesbridge)

The Night Walk by Marie Dorléans; trans. from French by Polly Lawson (Floris)

Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper by Candace Fleming; illus. by Julie Downing (Porter/Holiday)

We All Play by Julie Flett (Greystone Kids)

Time for Kenny by Brian Pinkney (Greenwillow)

Try It!: How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff; illus. by Giselle Potter (Beach Lane/Simon)

The Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat; illus. by Lauren Castillo (Paulsen/Penguin)

The Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer; illus. by Mariachiara Di Giorgio (Candlewick)

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki (Abrams)

How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward; illus. by Diana Sudyka (Beach Lane/Simon)


Easy Readers and Primary

Suggested grade level for all entries: 1–3


Starla Jean by Elana K. Arnold; illus. by A. N. Kang (Roaring Brook)

Too Small Tola by Atinuke; illus. by Onyinye Iwu (Candlewick)

Willa the Wisp [The Fabled Stables] by Jonathan Auxier; illus. by Olga Demidova (Amulet/Abrams)

Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown; illus. by Elisa Chavarri; trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez (Children’s/Lee & Low)

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds by Elise Gravel (HarperAlley/HarperCollins)

Billy Miller Makes a Wish by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow)

The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)

The Biggest Roller Coaster and The Great Bunk Bed Battle [Fox Tails] by Tina Kügler (Acorn/Scholastic)

The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation by Alice B. McGinty; illus. by Shonto Begay (Schwartz & Wade/Random)

Tag Team and Training Day [El Toro & Friends] by Raúl the Third; color by Elaine Bay (Versify/Houghton)

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley; illus. by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien (Millbrook)

Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Diana Sudyka (Houghton)



Suggested grade level for all entries: 4–6


A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games by Lori Alexander; illus. by Allan Drummond (Houghton)

Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz (Tu/Lee & Low)

Rise of the Halfling King [Tales of the Feathered Serpent] by David Bowles; illus. by Charlene Bowles (Cinco Puntos)

No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen (Groundwood)

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse (RH Graphic/Random)

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi (Quill Tree/HarperCollins)

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez (Riordan/Disney-Hyperion)

Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Marianna Raskin (Dlouhy/Atheneum)

Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia (Riordan/Disney-Hyperion)

Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems by Jack Prelutsky; illus. by Ruth Chan (Greenwillow)

Ways to Grow Love [Ryan Hart] by Renée Watson; illus. by Nina Mata (Bloomsbury)

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk (Dutton)


Middle School

Suggested grade level for all entries: 6–8


Turning Point by Paula Chase (Greenwillow)

Flamer by Mike Curato (Godwin/Holt)

The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by María García Esperón; illus. by Amanda Mijangos; trans. from Spanish by David Bowles (Levine Querido)

Starfish by Lisa Fipps (Paulsen/Penguin)

Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon (Scholastic)

Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera (Levine Querido)

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte (Scholastic)

Merci Suárez Can’t Dance by Meg Medina (Candlewick)

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (RH Graphic/Random)

Everything Comes Next: Collected & New Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye; illus. by Rafael López (Greenwillow)

Becoming Muhammad Ali: Based on the Story of Young Cassius Clay by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile (Patterson/Little, Brown/Houghton)

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Heartdrum/HarperCollins)

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat (Candlewick)


High School

Suggested grade level for all entries: 9 and up


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Quill Tree/HarperCollins)

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Holt)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore (Dial)

In the Shadow of the Moon: America, Russia, and the Hidden History of the Space Race by Amy Cherrix (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley (Little, Brown)

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth (Levine Querido)

Skyhunter by Marie Lu (Roaring Brook)

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Swoon/Feiwel)

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury)

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon (Putnam)


From the May 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book: Summer Reading. For past years’ summer reading lists from The Horn Book, click on the tag summer reading.

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