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2021 Summer Reading Recommendations

Horn Book Summer Reading fans may notice something special about 2021’s list: it’s super-sized! Instead of recommending our usual top ten books for different age ranges (including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry), all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season, we’re providing thirteen of each. With COVID-19 having upended summer 2020, including camp and travel and work and libraries and the publishing cycle and every single thing else, we realized that “blowing the horn” for even more great books for young people in summer 2021 was the way to go. Besides, who doesn’t love a baker’s dozen, especially when they’re as enjoyable and satisfying as these? As always, support your local libraries and indies, and happy summer reading!

Elissa Gershowitz
Executive Editor, The Horn Book, Inc.

P.S. You can print out a handy PDF version of the Summer Reading list, featuring beautiful cover art from The Ramble Shamble Children and designed by our marketing graphic designer James Thorne. Find annotated descriptions of each book, by section, below.


[Art © 2021 by Lauren Castillo, from The Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.]


Picture Books | Easy Readers and Primary Grades
Intermediate | Middle School | High School


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.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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