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 entering 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: "One realistic fiction book and bring one to share at the start of school. Explore Fifth Grade tab for book ideas

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

7th grade: "Uglies" by Scott Westerfield and select two books from the recommended reading list below. Download and complete the required discussion questions prior to the start of school.

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 our Blacktop Blog article, "How to Prevent 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
  • "Box Meets Circle" by Aaron Hartline
  • "The Rabbit Listened" by Cori Doerrfeld
  • "I Walk with Vanessa" by Kerascoët


  • "Spot, the Cat" by Henry Cole
  • "Otis" by Loren Long
  • "Blackout" by John Rocco
  • "Elephant & Piggie Series" by Mo Willems
  • "One" by Kathryn Otoshi
  • "Baby Monkey, a Private Eye" by David Serlin and Brian Selznick
  • "Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree" by Kate Messner
  • "Wordy Birdy" by Tammi Sauer






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
  • "Journey" by Aaron Becker
  • "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
  • "After the Fall" by Dan Santat
  • "The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse" by Mac Barnett
  • "The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade" by Justin Roberts

Second Grade

  • Any Geronimo Stilton series book
  • "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
  • Any Peter Brown picture book










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
  • Most books by Roald Dahl
  • "Wishtree" by Katherine Applegate
  • "The Unicorn Rescue Society" by Adam Gidwitz
  • "The Wild Robot" by Peter Brown
  • "The Year of Billy Miller" by Kevin Henkes
  • "Clementine" series by Sara Pennypacker
  • "Lola Levine is Not Mean" by Monica Brown
  • "Three Ring Rascals (series) by Kate Klise

Fourth Grade

Here are some ideas of where reading might take you this summer. Select a few titles that interest you most to read before you join us in fourth grade.

  • The Year of the Book” by Andrea Cheng
  • “Sophie Simon Solves Them All” by Lisa Graff
  • “The Great Cake Mystery” by Alexander McCall Smith
  • “All About Sam” by Lois Lowry
  • “The Math Wiz” by Betsey Duffey
  • “Ada Lace” Adventure Series
  • "Waylon" by Sara Pennypacker
  • "Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets" by Kwame Alexander
  • "Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters" by Rachel Vail
  • “Riding Freedom” by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • “Pie” by Sarah Weeks
  • “Who Stole the Wizard” of OZ by Avi
  • “Summer Reading is Killing Me,” Time Warp Trio Series by Jon Scieszka
  • “Max and the Midknights” by Lincoln Pierce
  • “Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker” by Shelley Johannes
  • “Stem Lab” by Jack Challoner
  • "The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies
  • “Bob” by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Snead
  • “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind” by Elizabeth Zunon
  • “Wingwalker” by Rosemary Wells
  • “A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Star, Planets, and Constellations. . .” by Michael Driscoll    

Other outside summer reading lists (like this one) can be used as well; Just read!

Fifth Grade

Please read one realistic fiction book of your choosing over the summer and bring a different realistic fiction book that you have not started or have just started. Feel free to read from the below selection or choose books from this website.

  • The Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson et al.
  • "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)
  • "Be Prepared" by Vera Brosgol
  • "Maker Lab" by Jack Challoner
  • The Basher series
  • The Penderwick Series
  • Any and all of David Walliams
  • "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

At ACDS, we love to read! As your middle school Literature teachers, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what books you might be most excited to read this summer. We know you have a diversity of interests, opinions, identities, and experiences, and we want the books you choose to reflect that diversity. So we’ve chosen a variety of books that include a wide array of characters, including people of different cultures and races, people from different countries and families, people in the LGBTQ+ community, and more. We hope you get to see yourselves in the books you read, and also that you take some time to learn about others who might be different than you. Above all, we hope you find a book or two that captivates you, that challenges you, and that inspires you. Happy reading, everyone!

Sixth Grade

  • "Ghost" by Jason Reynolds
  • "The Mysterious Benedict Society" by Trenton Lee Stewart; Carson Ellis
  • Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series
  • "The Nameless City" by Faith Erin Hicks
  • "Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow" by Jessica Townsend
  • "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
  • "Confidence Code for Girls" by Katty Kay
  • "Space Case" or "Spy School" series or "Waste of Space" by Stuart Gibbs
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" by Ingri d'Aulaire
  • "York: The Shadow Cipher" by Laura Ruby

Seventh Grade

Please select two books from this reading list (in addition to the required book) and complete these discussion questions before the start of school. Parent signature required.

  • "Swear to Howdy" by Wendelin Van Draanen (parent permission required due to mature themes)
  • "Flipped" by Wendelin Van Draanen

  • "Out of My Mind" by Sharon M. Draper

  • "Notes from a Liar and Her Dog or Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko

  • "Turtles All the Way Down" by John Green (parent permission required due to triggering content for those with OCD)

  • "Maniac Magee", "Stargirl", or "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli

  • "Millicent Min", "Girl Genius" or "Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time" by Lisa Yee

  • "Lily’s Crossing" by Patricia Reilly Giff

  • "Razzle" by Ellen Wittlinger 

  • "Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell (parent permission required due to mature themes, such as neglect and abuse)

  • "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin

  • "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George

Eighth Grade

  • Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz*
  • Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson
  • Book Thief  - Marcus Zusak
  • Boxers and Saints (Both Volumes) - Gene Luen Yang
  • Copper Sun - Sharon M. Draper
  • A Different Mirror For Young People: A History of Multicultural America - Ronald Takaki
  • Dracula - Bram Stoker
  • The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon*
  • Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • Farewell to Manzanar - Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Ghost - Raina Telgemeier
  • The Lord of the Rings (any novel in the trilogy) - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
  • Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 
  • Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton*
  • Killer Angels - Michael Shaara
  • Legend - Marie Lu
  • Love, Hate, and Other Filters - Samira Ahmed
  • Monster - Walter Dean Myers
  • The Martian - Andy Weir*
  • Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts - Susan Cain
  • Refugee - Alan Gratz
  • Roots - Alex Haley*
  • Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story about Brain Science - John Fleischman
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Abertalli*
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
  • Queen Victoria's Gene: Hemophilia and the Royal Family - D.M. Potts and W.T.W. Potts
  • The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA - James D. Watson

*Mature language or content - Please check Common Sense Media or email with any questions!