This is not your school's summer reading list


The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano


Evelyn lives with her mother and her feisty grandmother in Spanish Harlem, New York City in the 1970s. The Black Panthers and the Young Lords are insisting on social change—and they’ll use sit-ins and a church takeover to get their point across to city officials, if necessary.

I admire this novel for its look at the Civil Rights era in New York City—especially through the Latino lens. Sonia Manzano offers up a story about girl awakening to the impact of culture and racism on her community—and what it takes to do something about it.

The Glass Sentence (Book One: The Mapmaker’s Trilogy)


by S.E. Grove
Viking Penguin, 2014
Upper middle grade(due to complexity), fantasy
Grades 5 and up, Ages 10 and up
ISBN: 978-0-670-78502-5
Additional formats: ebook and paperback

First, the background: In the Great Disruption of 1799, the world broke apart.

Continents were unfastened not only physically but also from time. Now the world is a strange mix of different Ages. Europe, for example, was plunged into a remote century, while the United States became an uneasy mix of adjoining Ages: the Baldlands in the West, Prehistoric Snows to the north, and New Patagonia to the south. Sophia’s Boston is now in New Occident.

It is 1891, and Sophia lives with her uncle, the great “cartologer” Shadrack, who is looking after her in the absence of her parents who, eight years earlier, left on a mission and never returned.

Together in Boston, Shadrack teaches Sophia to read all kinds of maps—some that are locked tighter than the hardest puzzles and those that also chart time. When Shadrack is brutally kidnapped, it’s up to Sophia and her friend, Theo, to find him. The only trouble is, she has never seen any other part of the world except through maps. Can she do it? The world-building is amazing in this smart, girl-led adventure.

Sage Carrington: Eighth Grade Science Sleuth


by Justin Scott Parr
Gum Shoe Press, 2012
Young adult
Ages 12 and up
ISBN-13: 978-1939001290

Best friends, Sage Carrington and Isabel Flores, waste no time making the most of their summer vacation. When they discover a vintage treasure map near the Washington Monument, they get busy solving clues and following leads. Obstacles abound! The biggest one being neighborhood bully, Edwin. With their smarts, creativity, and savvy mentor, Aunt Druscilla, the bfs set out to find the hidden treasure.

Adventure unfolds and bonds of friendship grow strong in Washington D.C., a perfect backdrop for a Nancy Drew type sleuth story involving history, science, and aerodynamics.

Fly Away


by Patricia MacLachlan
McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2014
Chapter book
Ages 7 and up
Additional formats: ebook and paperback

Lucky and her family are driving from Minnesota in their Volkswagen to visit Aunt Frankie in North Dakota. It’s flood time, and an elder probably needs help. Unfortunately, Aunt Frankie wants no help preparing for possible floods, thank you very much.

From the Newbery-award-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, this early chapter book set in rural America has plenty of age-appropriate drama, including storms and the temporary disappearance of one of the family children.

But what sets it apart is that it is lyrical—a rare treat in chapter books. The writing is so beautiful, built on metaphors of poetry and song as a way to find your strength and voice.

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage


by Selina Alko, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
Grades 1- 5
ISBN: 978-0-54-47853-3
Arthur Levine Books, 2015
Society of Illustrators Original Art Show 2015 * NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award 2015 * Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015 * Book Links 2015 Lasting Connection * A New York Public Library Notable Book for Reading and Sharing

Author-illustrator, husband-wife duo Selina Alko and Sean Qualls collaborate to present this celebratory portrait of a bi-racial family in The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. Through intimate, simple language readers follow the courtship of Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred “String Bean” Jeter, a woman of African American and Cherokee descent.

The two fall in love, but according to Virginia law in 1958 interracial marriage is illegal, so they exchange vows in D.C. Soon after the newlyweds return home, the police raid their bedroom in the night and arrest them both. “Tell the court I love my wife, and that it’s just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia,” Richard told his lawyers.

Their legal battle rose all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, after which Richard and Mildred returned to Central Point, having won the right for themselves and other interracial couples to marry. This book gives young readers the opportunity to reflect upon racial justice, self-identity, and ways in which historical narratives shift over time. A mixed medium of paint and collage contrasts bold, stark images of injustice against whimsical, uplifting panels that leave no doubt about it: love will prevail.

The Princess and the Pony


by Kate Beaton
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015
Ages 4-8
ISBN: 978-0545637084
Kirkus Best Books of 2015 * Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year * Children’s Choice Book Award * ALA Notable Children’s Book * E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor

Princess Pinecone is nobody’s frilly, silly princess! She’s bold, ferocious, and ready for battle! She’s all set to lead an army except for one key, missing ingredient: a great battle horse of her own.

When Pinecone’s birthday rolls around, does she get what she wants? Nope! No battle stallion for this little lady, at all. Instead, the tiny princess gets a tiny pony. Is he bold, ferocious, and ready for battle like Pinecone? Hardly. Try cute, fluffy, and prone to farting.

Will the princess learn a lesson in diplomacy from her royal steed? After all, who can resist the allure of a pony?

Rosie Revere, Engineer


by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013
Ages 5-7, Grades K and up
ISBN: 978-1419708459
Parent’s Choice Award * Amelia Bloomer Project * ReadBoston Best Read Aloud

Have you ever invented something cool but were too afraid to show anyone? That’s how Rosie Revere feels all the time. Rosie is a creative girl who likes to invent new gadgets for her family and then hide them under her bed. She is too afraid of failing or having people think they are not very good.

One day her great-great aunt, Rosie the Riveter, visits and teaches little Rosie that the only time you fail is when you quit trying something new. Not everything always works the way you want it to at the beginning. You just need to keep trying and fixing and NOT be afraid to show off your inventions.

A great tie-in with Rosie the Riveter history, this book reminds us never to give up on our dreams or things we love.