Our Top Picks for Books to Read This Summer

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Students may experience a decrease in reading and math scores after a long vacation, which we refer to as the “summer slide.” Reading is a great way to keep young minds active during a break, and is an excellent option for students of all ages! Here are Tutor Doctor’s top picks for books to read this summer for every age group. Make sure to check out the full list (with book covers) at the end!

Ages 3-6:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. Using his trusty purple crayon, a small boy is able to draw his own ideas and surroundings and make them come to life. Harold travels far and wide, creating his own adventure in this timeless classic that emphasizes the power of imagination.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. In this heartwarming story about unconditional love and lasting gratefulness, a boy's companionship with a generous tree is followed throughout his lifetime. As the boy grows up his needs change, but the tree's dedication to his happiness never falters.

Ages 7-8:

George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Eight-year-old George often finds himself home alone with his rude and cranky grandmother. Tasked with the duty of preparing her daily medicine, one day George decides to teach her a lesson by formulating his own concoction – with some unexpected results.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. After pulling a series of practical jokes at school, fourth graders George and Harold are caught by the school's principal, Mr. Krupp. To avoid punishment, the boys decide to hypnotize him – leading to the creation of a surprising alter ego.

Ages 9-11:

Matilda by Roald Dahl. Matilda is an incredibly bright young girl whose intelligence is disregarded by her less than supportive parents. After a school teacher begins to encourage her, Matilda develops powerful telekinetic powers that she must use to teach Miss Trunchbull, the evil school principal, a well-deserved lesson.

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. This children's classic is a story of friendship between barnyard creatures, specifically a runt pig named Wilbur and a wise spider named Charlotte. Once learning that Wilbur may be in trouble, Charlotte begins spinning out messages on her web – much to the amazement of the local townspeople – to help save her friend.

Ages 12-14:

Holes by Louis Sachar. Stanley Yelnats has always had bad luck, due to a curse placed on his great-great-grandfather generations ago by the mysterious Madame Zeroni. Continuing his family's string of misfortunes, Stanley is charged with a crime he did not commit and sent to a juvenile detention camp. Tasked with the duty of digging endless holes in the desert, Stanley and the other boys begin to discover there may be something more sinister in the works.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Brian Robeson is a teenage boy that decides to fly to Canada to visit his father, who is currently working there. After the small plane is involved in an unfortunate crash, Brian miraculously survives. With winter coming, Brian must find a way to survive alone in the wilderness while he awaits rescue.

Ages 15-16:

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. The precursor to The Lord of the Rings series, this novel follows the story of Bilbo Baggins – a dwarf-life “hobbit” creature – and his fantastical adventure with Gandalf the wizard to take back “the Mountain” from the evil dragon Smaug.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This coming-of-age novel is told from the perspective of Esperanza, a Mexican-American teenager, and her experience growing up in a run-down house in a poor Chicago neighborhood. As she matures, Esperanza must learn to emotionally deal with physical changes, traumatizing experiences, and using writing as a tool for self-expression.

Ages 17-18:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In a dystopian American future where books are banned, Guy Montag is a “fireman” whose job is to find and burn illegal books – as well as the houses that contain them. As Guy becomes unhappy and disillusioned with his purpose over time, he begins to question the reasons for this censorship.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Scout Finch and her brother Jem live in a small Alabama town with their widowed father, Atticus – a respected lawyer. When Atticus becomes the legal defense for Tom Robinson, an African-American man wrongly accused of a crime, Scout is exposed to the reality of racial prejudice in their community and the importance of withholding judgment.

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