Summer Book List for Struggling Readers: Mystery, Action, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction, Sports, Horror/Suspense
Do you want your child to develop a love for reading? The best way to make that happen is to match their interests to their books. Create a summer book list for your struggling reader!
Action/Adventure/Mystery/ScienceFiction, History/Historical Fiction, Supernatural/Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Sports, Science Non-Fiction
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Let them choose whatever book they want, regardless of their reading level. Yes, you heard me right. . . Struggling readers are often just exposed to the books that are on their reading level. And unfortunately, those easy reader level books are often not the most intriguing. So if a child believes that this (not so exciting early reader books) is the most interesting books get, then they walk away disenchanted with reading.
Here are two important ways you can change that:
1-Read aloud to them.
Let them choose whatever book they are most interested in and you read it to them. You can have them help with some of the reading here and there as you see fit, but allow them to sit back and enjoy the story.
2-Let them listen to books.
There are so many great audio-book services available including Audible, from Amazon, Learning Ally.org, and Bookshare.org. And don’t forget the greatest FREE option–your local library.
Here is a list of books by subject to get you started for your child.
Action/Adventure/Mystery/ScienceFiction, History/Historical Fiction, Supernatural/Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Sports, Science Non-Fiction
*If you would prefer a certified librarian to create a personalized book list that aligns with your child’s interest and reading level, CLICK HERE to find out more!
*Each of the following descriptions for the books are quoted from the publisher.
“Kidnapped and drugged, Ash wakes up on a remote tropical island. Meanwhile, his mom, a genetic scientist has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. Where is he?
And what’s he doing there? As Ash sets out to cross the jungle and rescue his mother, he realizes he can move more quickly and his senses are sharper than before. And there’s something else; why are the animals all watching him? Can he use the jungle and his newfound powers to his advantage to defeat a deadly foe?”
“When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the key to time travel, a handheld device known as the Infinity Ring, they’re swept up in a centuries old war for the fate of humankind. Recruited by a secret society named the Hystorians, the kids learn that history has done disastrously off course. Now it’s up to Dak, Sera, and young Hystorian Riq to travel back in time to fix the great breaks.”
Doing homework becomes a thing of the past!
Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher’s pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don’t want when you are keeping a secret. Before long, things start to get out of control, and Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Now the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail…or worse!
“The first book in the #1 bestselling phenomenon sends readers around the world on the hunt for the 39 Clues!
Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her descendants an impossible decision: “You have a choice – one million dollars or a clue.” Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world’s most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family’s secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what’s important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.”
“Readers can discover all the foul facts about Cruel Kings and Mean Queens, including which king died after falling off the toilet, why people thought King John was a werewolf and why Queen Anne’s feet were covered in garlic. With a bold look these bestselling titles are sure to be a huge hit with yet another generation of Terry Deary fans.”
“Nathan Hale, the author’s historical namesake, was America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War hero who famously said “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” before being hanged by the British. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format.
One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale—from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer—and America during the Revolutionary War.”
“Lida thought she was safe.. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away, but Lida is not Jewish.. She will be fine, won’t she? But she cannot escape the horrors of World War II. Lida’s parents are ripped away from her and she is separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukrainian children are forced into backbreaking labor. Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners, but none of them know if they’ll live to see tomorrow. When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs, and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught? And if she’s freed, will she ever find her sister again?”
“Nothing exciting happens on the Hill of Dust, in the remote mountains of Mexico in the 1950s. There’s no electricity, no plumbing, no cars, just day after day of pasturing goats. And now, without his sister and mother, eleven-year-old Teo’s life feels even more barren. And then one day, the mysterious young Esma, who calls herself the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, rolls into town like a fresh burst of color. Against all odds, her caravan’s Mistress of Destiny predicts that Teo and Esma will be longtime friends. Suddenly, life brims with possibility. With the help of a rescued duck, a three-legged skunk, a blind goat, and other unexpected allies, Teo and Esma must overcome obstacles, even death, to fulfill their impossible destiny. Inspired by true stories derived from rural Mexico, The Lightning Queen offers a glimpse of the encounter between two fascinating but marginalized cultures, the Roma and the Mixtec Indians, while telling the heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship that spans generations.”
“A tour de force from acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), this timely and powerful novel tells the story of three different children seeking refuge. JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087, Projekt 1065 ) delivers an action-packed novel that tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.”
I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis
“Ten-year-old George Calder can’t believe his luck: He and his little sister, Phoebe, are on the famous Titanic, crossing the ocean with their aunt Daisy. The ship is full of exciting places to explore, but when George ventures into the first class storage cabin, a terrible boom shakes the entire boat. Suddenly, water is everywhere, and George’s life changes forever. Lauren Tarshis, the award-winning author of Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, brings history’s most exciting and terrifying events to life in this fictional series. Readers will be transported by stories of amazing kids and how they survived. Includes black and white illustrations throughout. An excellent pick for reluctant readers.”
The Keeper, by David Baldicci
“Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but the Quag, a wilderness filled with danger and death. And she believed it — until the night she stumbled across a secret that proved that everything she knew was a lie.Now just one thing stands between Vega Jane and freedom — the Quag. In order to leave Wormwood and discover the truth about her world, Vega and her best friend Delph must find a way to make it across a terrifying land of bloodthirsty creatures and sinister magic. But the Quag is worse than Vega Jane’s darkest imagining. It’s a living, breathing prison designed to keep enemies out and the villagers of Wormwood in. The Quag will throw everything at Vega Jane. It will try to break her. It will try to kill her. And survival might come at a price not even Vega Jane is willing to pay. Bestselling author David Baldacci unleashes a hurricane of action and adrenaline that takes readers to the breaking point.”
“Nothing can save Alex Sennefer’s life. That’s what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it’s not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells, five evil ancients–the Death Walkers–are also brought back to life.”
“Danny Dragonbreath can’t breathe fire, but he has no fear. And that comes in handy when a bad grade at school inspires him to enlist his cousin the sea-serpent’s help with a research project. Using a hybrid of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon introduces an irresistible set of characters that will have readers laughing until smoke comes out of their noses!”
“Ella Coach has one wish: revolution. Her mother died working in a sweatshop, and Ella wants every laborer in the Blue Kingdom to receive fairer treatment. But to make that happen, she’ll need some high-level support… Prince Dash Charming has one wish: evolution. The Charming Curse forced generations of Charming men to lie, cheat, and break hearts but with the witch Envearia’s death, the curse has ended. Now Dash wants to be a better person, but he doesn’t know where to start… Serge can grant any wish and has: As an executive fairy godfather, he’s catered to the wildest whims of spoiled teenagers from the richest, most entitled families in Blue. But now a new name has come up on his list, someone nobody’s ever heard of… Ella Coach.This is a story about three people who want something better and who together find the faith to change their worlds. It’s “Cinderella,” brilliantly reimagined, and a delightful expansion of the wonderful world of Tyme.”
“London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and diseases. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders, the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer. Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?”
“Rapunzel is having the ultimate bad day. She’s been stolen from home by an evil witch, locked in an incredibly high tower, and doesn’t even have a decent brush for her hair. Prince Benjamin is in a pretty uncomfortable situation himself. His father wants him to be more kingly, his mother wants him never to leave her sight, and his cousin wants to get him into as much trouble as possible. Plus, there’s the little matter of prearranged marriages… Both Rapunzel and Prince Benjamin are trapped…in very different ways. It’s only when their paths cross that things change.”
“A thrilling new series begins. The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy, a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice.”
“Welcome to Fortune Falls, a magical town where superstitions are real. Four-leaf clovers really do bring good fortune, and owning a rabbit’s foot is the secret to success. However, there aren’t enough charms in the universe to help Sadie Bleeker. She can’t pass a ladder without walking under it, and black cats won’t leave her alone. That’s because Sadie is an Unlucky. And things will only get worse as she gets older, which is why Unluckies are sent away at age twelve to protect those around them. Sadie can’t stand the thought of leaving home, so she and her friend, Cooper, devise a plan to reverse her bad luck. But when their scheme accidentally results in a broken mirror, the situation turns dire. Because for Sadie, seven years bad luck isn’t an inconvenience it’s practically a death sentence. Can a girl who’s never so much as found a single lucky penny change her fortune? Or will she be forced to celebrate her twelfth birthday by saying farewell to everyone she loves?”
“Blizz Richards is a great guy, a caring boss, and a loyal friend. Oh, yeah…he’s also a yeti! He’s made it his life’s mission to study cryptids like him, hidden animals who have taken a powerful oath to never be seen by the outside world. So when a photo of Cousin Brian becomes a media sensation, Brian can’t handle the guilt and disappears. But it’s time for the annual Bigfoot family reunion, and it won’t be the same without him. Luckily, Blizz and his devoted team are on the case. Can they find their furry friend before their secret gets out for good?”
“Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I’m not the only kid who lives here. There’s my sister, Natalie, except she doesn’t count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook’s or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don’t want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.”
Just Grace and the Trouble with Cupcakes (The Just Grace Series) by Charise Mericle Harper
“It’s time for the school fair, and Just Grace’s class has chosen a cupcake theme. But the fair’s highlight, a cupcake competition, causes quite a stir when Grace gets paired with dreadful Owen 1 and not with her best pal, Mimi. Grace is devastated. And just when she thinks things can’t get worse, her team votes down her idea to build a cupcake Eiffel Tower in favor of building Spiderman. It’s a challenging time for Grace. Will she be able to overcome her disappointment and lead her team onward? Will Grace’s team ever figure out how to make a Spiderman out of cupcakes?”
Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance (Book 6) by Annie Barrows
“Finally! After months of begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want . . . well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not cover karate chops and roundhouse kicks. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises.”
“With the real-kid humor that has earned Dan Gutman millions of fans around the world, and featuring weird-but-true American tourist destinations, The Genius Files is a one-of-a-kind mix of geography and fun.
As Coke and Pepsi dodge nefarious villains from the Pez museum in California all the way to the Infinity Room in Wisconsin, black-and-white photographs and maps put young readers right into the action.
And don’t miss the next leg of the journey in The Genius Files: Never Say Genius!”
“Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact. Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald is the hilarious story of an avid non-reader and the extreme lengths to which he’ll go to get out of reading a book.”
“Theo Rollins is starting eighth grade six inches taller, and his new height is making everyone expect more from him. Coach Mandrake wants to transform him from invisible science geek into star basketball player, even though Theo has little experience with the game. When Theo tries to hone his skills by playing pick-up ball in the park, kids are eager to include him at first; then they quickly see that he has no control of his gangly body. A girl named Rain even dubs him “Sasquatch.” To make matters worse, all his time spent on training is starting to hurt his science club’s chances of winning the “Aca-lympics,” the school’s trivia competition. Just when Theo thinks he can’t handle any more pressure, he’s accused of stealing. Can he find the real thief before he is kicked off the basketball and science club teams, or will his attempt at sleuthing be yet another air ball?”
“Why are three goals called a hat trick? Why is “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sung during the seventh-inning stretch? Why don’t the Cleveland Browns have a logo on their helmet? Why do golf balls have dimples? Why do Olympic swimmers flip when they turn at the end of the pool? Divided into four levels of difficulty – a professional level, an All-Star level, an MVP level and a Hall of Fame level – each answer is provided not only with an in-depth explanation on the science, history or origin of the particular subject matter, but with photos and illustrations that help make the information easy to digest. A must-have book for any curious young sports fan, the dynamic content is distinctly “Sports Illustrated Kids” in the way it entertains as it informs, focusing on the fun kids derive from their enjoyment of sports and presenting big, exciting action photos from the Sports Illustrated collection. A four-part interactive quiz at the back of the book invites readers to find the biggest adult sports fans they know and attempt to stump them with the fascinating insider knowledge the book provides.”
“The Boy Who Never Gave Up is the inspiring true story of NBA superstar Stephen Curry. This Fully illustrated picture book biography tells the story of a young boy who many said was too short to play in high school, too weak to play in college and not good enough to play in the NBA.
Against all odds, this small boy who follows his dream, not only makes it to the NBA, but becomes one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.”
“Get ready for the Olympics! Everything has its weird side–even sports! Add wacky stats, facts, and stories to your arsenal of sports trivia with this new slam-dunk addition to the very popular Weird but True series! Discover tons more zany fun, focused totally on the subject of sports! So step up to the plate to get 300 ALL-NEW amazing facts plus photos.”
“Browsers and young students alike will enjoy these lively question and answer books with their unique mix of realistic illustration and engaging cartoons. The enticing questions will amaze, amuse and inspire, while the highly visual format encourages kids to keep reading.”
“100 FACTS – EXPLORING SPACE is bursting with exactly 100 fantastic facts, incredible images and fun activities. Children aged 7+ will learn everything they need to know about the wonders of space exploration. Kids learn more easily with bite-sized information. Photographs and artworks aid children who learn through visual prompts. Activities allow children to put what they have learned into practice. 100 Facts Exploring Space includes key topics about deep space and other worlds in easily-digestible, numbered facts. Every page showcases amazing illustrations and photographs that clarify difficult points for children. A fantastic kids’ space book for both confident and reluctant readers.”
Weird But True Human Body: 300 Outrageous Facts about Your Awesome Anatomy by National Geographic Kids
“Get ready to have your mind blown with some hair-raising, eye-popping facts! This latest addition to the crazy popular Weird but True series is all about YOU! It’s an exciting internal journey through your own wacky, weird, sometimes gross, but always fascinating human body. Did you know that your stomach is shaped like the letter J? Or that if you lined up all your blood vessels they’d circle the Earth twice? Or that your body gives off a light you can’t see? From your head to your toes, you’ll be surprised and amazed by what you discover.”
P.S. For another great source for books for dyslexic children, check out my post HERE! All the books on this list are recommended by the world-renowned dyslexia expert, Dr. Sally Shaywitz in Overcoming Dyslexia.