Summer Reading

In the context of relaxation and summer adventures, a moderate amount of summer reading is important for children to maintain their literacy skills.

Children in grades 5-8 have required summer reading in preparation for classroom activities early in the first trimester.

Our students appreciate that reading is a fun way to travel to far away lands, undertake countless adventures, and pursue their interests during the summer.

Required Summer Reading (Grades 5 - 8)

Students entering the following grades should have the listed book read before school starts:

5th grade: "Wonder" by RJ Palacio

6th grade: "Home of the Brave" by Katherine Applegate

7th grade: "Among the Hidden" by Margaret Peterson Haddix and select two books from the recommended reading list below (download PDF for the required assignment)

8th grade: Pick two from the recommended reading list (below) and complete the discussion questions (download PDF for the required assignment)

Purchases from local independent bookstore Hicklebee's benefit ACDS Library programs. Just mention "Almaden Country Day School!"

Recommended Reading

Our librarian and classroom teachers collaborate each year to compile a summer reading guide appropriate for each incoming grade level. These are the titles from which parents can choose; it's important to note that children are not expected to complete the whole list at each grade level. This list will continue to evolve so please check back for new additions.

Read head of school Dr. Ole Jorgenson's latest article, "Don't Let your Children Experience the 'Summer Slide,'" to learn more about how summer reading impacts literacy.


  • "Waiting" by Kevin Henkes
  • "Mix it Up" by Hervé Tullet (or Press Here)
  • "Who Done It?" by Olivier Tallec
  • Elephant & Piggie Series Mo Willems
  • "To the Sea" by Cale Atkinson


  • "Spot, the Cat" by Henry Cole
  • "Otis" by Loren Long
  • "Blackout" by John Rocco
  • "Elephant & Piggie Series" by Mo Willems
  • "One" by Kathryn Otoshi
  • "Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree" by Kate Messner

First Grade

  • "Red: A Crayon’s Story" by Michael Hall
  • "The Girl and the Bicycle" by Mark Pett
  • "The Book with No Pictures" by BJ Novak
  • "Elephant & Piggie Series" by Mo Willems
  • "I’m Trying To Love Spiders" by Bethany Barton
  • "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt
  • "You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You" by John Ciardi

Second Grade

  • "Journey" by Aaron Becker
  • "Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña
  • "The Princess in Black Series" by Shannon Hale
  • "Heidi Heckelbeck Series" by Wanda Coven
  • "Dory Fantasmagory" by Abby Hanlon
  • "Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package" by Steve Jenkins
  • Any Magic Tree House book
  • Any National Geographic For Kids publication
  • "Guess Who, Haiku" by Deanna Caswell
  • "OH NO, ASTRO!" by Matt Roese

Third Grade

  • The Who Was Series (Example: Who Was Gandhi? Dana Meachen Rau)
  • "Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth" by Judd Winick
  • Where on Earth? DK Publishing
  • "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear" by Lindsay Mattick
  • "A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans" by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder
  • "BFG" by Roald Dahl

Fourth Grade

  • "The Lemonade War" by Jacqueline Davies
  • The Percy Jackson Pentalogy
  • "Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume
  • "Bunnicula" by James Howe
  • "Lawn Boy" by Gary Paulsen
  • "The Chocolate Touch" by Patrick Skene Catling
  • "Chocolate Fever" by Robert Kimmel Smith
  • "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl
  • Any Andrew Clement book
  • Any Kate DiCamillo book
  • Any Humphrey book

Other outside summer reading lists can be used as well; Just read!

Fifth Grade

  • "Sisters" by Raina Telgemeier
  • "RollerGirl" by Victoria Jamieson
  • "Pax" by Sara Pennypacker
  • "Fish in a Tree" by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • "Secret Coders" by Gene Luen Yang
  • "Mastermind: Over 100 Games, Tests, and Puzzles to Unleash Your Inner Genius" (National Geographic Kids)
  • "Maker Lab" by Jack Challoner
  • The Basher series
  • The Penderwick Series
  • Any and all of David Walliams
  • "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

Sixth Grade

  • "Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars" by Nathan Hale
  • "The Nameless City" by Faith Erin Hicks
  • "The Worst Class Trip Ever" by Dave Barry
  • Rick Riordan books
  • The Accelerati Trilogy, Book One: "Tesla's Attic" by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman
  • "National Geographic Kids Brain Games: The Mind-Blowing Science of Your Amazing Brain" by Jennifer Swanson
  • Knowledge Encyclopedia Hardcover DK
  • "The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure" by Caroline Paul
  • "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio
  • The "Basher" series
  • "Space Case" and "Spy School" series by Stuart Gibbs
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" by Ingri d'Aulaire

Seventh Grade

Please select two books from this reading list (in addition to the required book) and answer the questions on this guide prior to the start of the school (download PDF)

  • "The City of Embers" by Jeanne DuPrau
  • "Legend" by Marie Lu
  • "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle
  • "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman
  • "The House of the Scorpion" by Nancy Farmer
  • "The Girl Who Could Fly" by Victoria Forester
  • "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld; Keith Thompson
  • "The Mysterious Benedict Society" by Trenton Lee Stewart; Carson Ellis
  • "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury
  • "Dreambender" by Ronald Kidd
  • "The Firefly Code" by Megan Frazer Blakemore
  • "Dark Lord of Derkholm" by Diana Wynne Jones
  • "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones
  • "Parched" by Melanie Crowder

Eighth Grade

Please select two books from this reading list and answer the questions on this guide prior to the start of the school (download PDF)

  • "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain
  • "Anne of Green Gables" by LM Montgomery
  • "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson
  • "Boxers and Saints" (Both volumes) by Gene Luen Yang
  • "Copper Sun" by Sharon M. Draper
  • "A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America" by Ronald Takaki
  • "Dracula" by Bram Stoker
  • "Farewell to Manzanar" by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
  • "The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again" by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou
  • "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
  • "Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "Legend" by Marie Lu
  • "The Martian" by Andy Weir*
  • "Monster" by Walter Dean Myers
  • "Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts" by Susan Cain
  • "Roots" by Alex Haley
  • "Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story about Brain Science" by John Fleischman
  • "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith
  • "Wonder" by RJ Palacio
  • "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle

* Strong language. Parents, please check Common Sense Media for further information. Also, please email Ms. Atkinson with any questions!