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My Summer Reading Stack

Normally, I like to create top-ten lists, but for this post I’m including twelve books. I already was one past the ten limit when I attended my critique group last night. Everyone began raving about a title and I couldn’t leave it off the list. Here we go!

This book released in May this year. It’s about how a girl overcomes loneliness in her new neighborhood by connecting with a treefrog. We need as many honest books that connect to the heart as possible. After hearing how the author wrote this book in response to a loss in her own life, this title rose to the top of my pile.

This is another 2021 release I just learned about. After a boy reads a haiku his grandfather wrote, the boy wonders where poems come from. The boy and the grandfather take a walk through the city to find out. I’m always looking for grandparent and poetry books to add to my classroom connection, so this book feels like a must read!

Ann Braden is one of the most honest and powerful writers I know. I’ve heard this book is about the ripple effects of kindness and is reminiscent of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and makes me think about Sarah Scheerger’s outstanding Operation Frog Effect.


I had the pleasure of presenting with Donna Higuera at nErDcampCT. After hearing her read her hilarious first line and explain how the beginning chapter ties into the last chaper, I knew I had to read this book. Plus it’s a 2020 Pura Belpre Honor book and it incorporates baseball, the perfect summer sport!

While we’re on the topic of baseball, this book released yesterday. Rajani is an amazing writer and my students love the companion book to this title Midsummer Mayhem. Full disclosure, I also had the absolute honor of critiquing earllier drafts of this work. So happy to see it out in the world!

Here’s another tip of the hat to a classic-“Beowulf.” I love supporting debut authors and supposedly this is a hilarious epic in the vein of Rick Riordan. This title sounds fun enough to take to the Outer Banks!

The amazing bookstore, The Silver Unicorn hosted the launch for this book and one of the other authors who was there compared this title to Narnia. I was hooked. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read the Narnia series and Lucy will forever be one of my best friends I’m hoping Cece finds a place in my heart, too!

Rebecca Caprara is an incredibly kind person who works hard to develop a passion for literacy in young readers in her central Massachusetts community. Middle grade readers can join her book club at The Silver Unicorn. Supposedly band geeks save the world in this novel. Who can beat a story that celebrates the healing power of music?

Look at this gorgeous cover! Who wouldn’t want to read this book? It makes me want to dance around in a boa singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T at the top of my lungs in my living room. Plus it’s by the amazing Carole Boston Weatherford who I cannot wait to interview on my podcast, Chalk + Ink, this upcoming school year.

Speaking of my podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Sanders this past season. Although I read many of his outstanding books to prepare for the interview such as Pride, Stonewall and The Fighting Infantryman, I didn’t get to Bling Blaine and after talking to Rob, this title sounds like a must have for my classroom. If you’d like to know more about Rob’s work as well as the work of other amazing authors who also teach, Rob, Carole Boston Weatherford, Michelle Schaub, Ernesto Cisneros and I will be presenting at nErDcampPA. Hope you can join us!

This is the title all my writer friends raved about last night. Not only is it a gripping topic, but it has a graphic format which my students absolutely love. Since I didn’t have any graphic books on this list, I figured I had to add it.

Summertime Sleepers by Melissa Stewart

Although I read early versions of this book by the amazing Melissa Stewart and Sarah Brannen duo, I’m embarassed to say I still haven’t read the final copy. I think it’s because I’ve been waiting to add myself to the summertime sleeper list as well-not that I’ll be estivating but I will be taking naps whenever I’m not reading or writing. Happy summer everyone!

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