Mason Prep’s Teacher-Recommended and Student-Approved Summer Reading List

When you ask your child what he or she would like to do over the summer, you may not hear, “Read books!” But you can make reading an enjoyable part of your child’s summer – and here’s why you should. Research suggests that students who are engaged in reading over the summer will then excel in reading achievements in the fall. Daily summer reading is a crucial activity to avoid the “summer slide,” where students can lose up to three months’ reading comprehension progress. Not only is progress lost, but often students’ interest and passion for reading declines with the summer slide.

- Visit the library and see what they are featuring on their shelves. Let your child browse the covers to see what sparks his or her interest. You can make picking a book part of a larger outing to the library which might include a puppet show, guest reader, or a group art project.

- Make reading a part of your child’s day by providing fun places to read – in a hammock, under a tree, or in a nook enjoying some air conditioning. Pack a book for trips and take one to the beach and the pool for swim breaks. You can even reward finishing a book with a trip to the park – extra points for discussing the plot of the book and the characters on the way! Many public library systems have their own summer reading programs that reward children for reading certain numbers of books.

- To help with choosing books, we have put together a summer reading list of teacher-recommended (and student approved!) titles by age range. Don’t forget to pick up a book for yourself so you can model reading as a lifelong activity. Happy reading!



Please note that the age ranges listed are simply suggestions. Children of similar ages read at different levels, so titles listed in one age range may be of interest to children of other ages. 

Beginning Readers Series
Bink and Gollie, Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Elephant and Piggie, Mo Willems
Fly Guy, Tedd Arnold
Pete The Cat, James Dean and Eric Litwin
Biscuit, Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Ling and Ting, Grace Lin

Chapter Books Series
Ivy and Bean, Annie Barrows
Flat Stanley, Jeff Brown
A to Z Mysteries, Ron Roy
Time Warp Trio, Jon Scieszka
Geronimo Stilton/Thea Stilton, Elisabetta Dami
Stink, Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds
Mercy Watson, Kate DiCamillo
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew Series, Carolyn Keene
Ballpark Mysteries, David A. Kelly

GRADES 5 & 6
All’s Faire in Middle School, Victoria Jamieson
Beyond the Bright Sea, Lauren Wolk
Home of the Brave, Katherine Applegate
A Night Divided, Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling

GRADES 7 & 8
Chasing King’s Killer, James L. Swanson
Walk on Earth a Stranger, Rae Carson
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition), by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick

See the end of the article for descriptions of the books for grades 5-8, which include the themes that are explored.

GRADES 3 & 4
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
Max and the Midknights, Lincoln Peirce
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History, Chelsea Clinton
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
Author Judy Blume Books

I Survived, Lauren Tarshis
Magic on the Map, Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky
Magic Tree House, Mary Pope Osborne
Who Was, multiple authors
Whatever After, Sarah Mlynowski
Judy Moody, Megan McDonald
Scout, Jennifer Li Shotz
Hardy Boys (Early Readers Series), Franklin Dixon
The Kicks, Alex Morgan
The Land of Stories, Chris Colfer
The 78-Story Treehouse, Andy Griffiths
My Weird School, Dan Gutman
The Boxcar Children, Gertrude Chandler Warner
Black Lagoon, Jared Lee and Mike Thaler
Hilo, Judd Winick



Here are some additional sources for finding interesting books:

Charleston County Public library summer reading programs

South Carolina Book Awards lists
- Picture Books (grades K-2)
- Children’s Books (grades 3,4,5,6)
- Junior Books (grades 7,8)

Newberry Medal and Honor books (grades 4 and up)
Caldecott Medal and Honor books (grades K-3)


Grades 5 & 6
All’s Faire in Middle School is a new graphic novel by Victoria Jamieson. Imogen, homeschooled her whole life by Renaissance Faire enthusiasts, has a hard time adjusting to public school in the sixth grade. Themes include friendship, family, balancing emotions, fitting in, and rectifying mistakes.

In Lauren Wolk’s novel Beyond the Bright Sea, protagonist Crow washed ashore on a tiny Massachusetts island as a baby. A series of events leads Crow on a quest to find her birth parents, although this quest is fraught with danger. Themes include family (especially adoption), identity, and belonging.

Home of the Brave is a novel in verse by Katherine Applegate. Kek comes to Minnesota as a refugee from Sudan, Africa. He experiences snow for the first time, but many of the Americans he meets are as cold as the Minnesota winter. Kek slowly makes new friends as he journeys from hardship to hope. Themes include friendship, personal identity, patriotism.

Jennifer A. Nielsen’s A Night Divided is a suspenseful novel about 12-year-old Gerta who helps plot her family's escape from 1960s East Berlin, as her family is divided across the Berlin Wall. Themes include perseverance, right versus wrong, love of family, and challenging unjust laws during periods of political unrest.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a graveyard-motif twist on The Jungle Book. Nobody “Bod” Owens is raised by ghosts, werewolves, and other inhabitants of the graveyard. Can Bod master growing up as a citizen of the realms of the dead and the living? Themes include growing up, identity, and how things are not always how they seem.

J. K. Rowling rose to fame with her novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Harry, rescued from neglect by his aunt and uncle, learns he is a wizard and attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry makes friends, gets into trouble, and learns more about his true identity. Themes include good versus evil, growing up, and self-image.

Grades 7 & 8
Chasing King’s Killer by James L. Swanson is an action-packed, detailed, illustrated history of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership role in the Civil Rights movement. The text, which includes photographs of primary documents, is divided into sections pitting Martin Luther King, Jr. against criminal James Earl Ray. Like his other books, James L. Swanson brings a manhunt to life in this enthralling text.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first in a trilogy by Rae Carson, follows protagonist Lee. Lee has a magical ability to find gold within the earth, and she travels to California to evade persecution and strike a fortune. Themes include the injustice of racism, injustice of gender inequality, and resilience through hardships.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the first in a series by Ransom Riggs. Sixteen-year-old Jacob encounters an abandoned orphanage, a curious collection of odd photographs, and a horrific family tragedy. Through reading text and vintage photographs, the reader will travel through time loops with Jacob to find the peculiar children and learn the reason for their quarantine on a deserted island. Themes include the importance of family, the struggle of growing up, and overcoming fear.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is the start of the greatest fantasy epic of our time. Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit wanting a quiet life, is challenged by wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves to cross Middle Earth. On their quest to defeat dragon Smaug and reinstate the dwarves’ reign over their kingdom, Bilbo discovers his own valor in ways he never thought possible. Themes include bravery, friendship, hospitality, and luck.

The Hunger Games, the first novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, is a dystopian tale of a reality show where 24 teenagers must kill one another until only one survives. Katniss makes decisions to choose humanity and love over self-preservation and survival. Themes include philosophy, adventure, survival, and romance.

The Young Readers Edition of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick is an inspiring memoir of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. She was ten years old when the Taliban took over her area of Pakistan and stripped her of her human rights. While fighting to restore women’s rights, Malala was shot point-blank by the Taliban. Malala survived to change the world and inspire young adults globally. Themes include social justice, hope, truth, and determination.

Mason Preparatory School
56 Halsey Blvd Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-0664 (843) 723-1104