If you want more ideas, from other years, you’ll want to see my favorite choices on these lists:
New Chapter Books for Summer Reading 2017 (Ages 10 – 12)
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk REALISTIC
This beautiful story captures the essence of love, family, and self discovery. It’s compelling and exquisitely crafted. Osh, a solitary island man, rescued baby Crow when he found her in a small boat on the sea. Crow loves Osh but now at age 12, she wants to know where she came from — was it the island across the way where the leper colony was? She, Crow, and their friend, Miss Maggie journey to the island to find out. The island brings them closer to answers but also into danger, too.
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya REALISTIC
Values of family and local businesses entwine in this fantastic latin-flavored story of 13-year old Arturo whose family owns and works a restaurant in their neighborhood. When a land developer sets out to close their restaurant, Arturo and his crush, Carmen, plan to stop him. These characters are charming and lovable, and the story is very well-written. My only concern is that if you don’t speak Spanish like I do, you may have some trouble with comprehension since the Spanish words and phrases aren’t always understandable in context. I also found it unusual that the Spanish words weren’t italicized as in most other books.
The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi HISTORICAL
Action-packed from the first page, this is one historical fiction novel you don’t want to miss. Oliver wakes to find his house flooded and his father missing. After being thrown in the poorhouse for orphans, he manages to escape with stolen money only to be accosted by a highwayman. It’s one misfortune after another but Oliver is determined to find his father and sister in London. Somehow.
The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano GHOST
Deeply moving and thought-provoking, this book will immerse you in a world of ghosts and grief. After Emmaline’s mother dies, her father becomes obsessed with bringing her back. He works in the basement, ignoring all else, building a ghost machine. Emmaline decides that the only way to get her father back is to break the machine — she pours a cup of tea into it. And it works! Her mother comes back, if just for a few minutes. Only now the memory of her mother and tea is gone. Emmaline debates with her two best friends whether or not the machine is a good thing. Is it worth losing a memory? When tragedy strikes, we’re thrust into sharp grief and loss and must once again, ponder the value of such a machine.
Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever. by Betsy Bird HUMOR SHORT STORIES
I chuckled through most of these stories — especially Deborah Underwood’s story that continued throughout the book about a dog and cat advice writers. Hilarious! Funny stories from award-winning and bestselling authors including Cece Bell, Sophie Blackall, Libba Bray, Shannon Hale, Lisa Graff, and Raina Telgemeier.
Bug Girl by Benjamin Harper and Sarah Hines Stephens FANTASY
Superhero fans, this book should be your next read. Because it’s a compelling adventure of ex-best friends who get superpowers and must join together to rescue their kidnapped moms from an evil villain. And since Amanda loves bugs, and turns into a super-powered insect, you’ll read interesting bug facts throughout the story. The authors do a good job of making the unbelievable believable (superheroes) and capturing the trickiness of middle school friendships.
Boy X by Dan Smith SCI-FI / ADVENTURE
Action-packed with plenty of suspense, Ash wakes up in a medical facility on a remote island with gun wielding soldiers and a dangerous poison that will kill his mother and the other trapped scientists within hours. He works with a girl named Isabel to traverse the island in search for the antidote carried by the soldiers. Of course, it won’t be easy. And there are more dangers than he knows.
Vampires on the Run: A Quinnie Boyd Mystery by C. M. Surrisi MYSTERY
Intriguing, suspenseful, and tons of fun! Readers want to believe the mysterious authors vacationing in the small town really could be vampires. The main characters have passion and curiosity and the plot races along with twists and turns. (This is part of the series but you can read it out of order.)
Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski SCI-FI
Holly’s a normal human girl who doesn’t know aliens exist, until she, classmate Chester, and her teacher are kidnapped by alien pirates (!) who think she is the princess of the galaxy. Fortunately, Mr. Mendez has experience with outer space. Together the have an amazing adventure including escape the pirates, travel on a space cruise liner, face the ruler of the universe, search for the real princess, and escape evil insect librarians. You’ll want to join Holly as she experiences all that space has to offer — even the weird and crazy dangers. Fun and entertaining.
Mary Andromeda and the Amazing Eye by J.G. Kemp SCI-FI
When orphan Andromeda is sent to a boarding school, without her sister, their boat takes she and several other kids somewhere else — an island with homes and labs formerly belonging to Mary’s scientist mother and a secret society. As they search for clues, she figures out the secret to the Andromeda Galaxy but just as she does, she’s betrayed. Look for more books in this well-written STEM adventure series.
Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood FANTASY
Terrifically imagined, you’ll love the young heroine who stands up to adults, helps others, and saves the entire city. When the witches all vanish, including Miss Ellicott, Chantel determines to figure out what’s going on. She stands up to the town’s male rulers including the power-hungry king. Then her courage releases her bonds with a dragon who will help her save the townspeople from the outsiders and the rulers.