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Summer Reads for Children and Young Adults

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Kate DiCamillo, 2014-15 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
Kate DiCamillo, 2014-15 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Each year as summer approaches the Library sees an increase in questions from parents and librarians about whether we make available recommended reading lists for children. The answer, I’m please to tell you, is Yes! Our Center for the Book, through its literacy website, includes several excellent New Worlds Booklists that provide “a sampling of suggested books that will spark imagination and transport readers to new and exciting places.” You can select a particular list (e.g., “Classics” or “Adventure and Sports”) to bring up recommended titles for young readers. Separate book lists for kids and for teens also are available.

Need a few more suggestions? Look no further than the Library’s current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Kate DiCamillo. In a recent feature for NPR, she recommended six summer reads for children ages 8-13.

A few weeks ago, when responding to a question about children’s book lists, I contacted our Young Readers Center to learn whether it makes any recommended lists available to the public. I learned that while the Young Readers Center does not create reading lists of its own, staff there do frequently recommend children’s book lists from other organizations. Foremost among those organizations is the American Library Association (ALA), the national library association of the United States. Through ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), young readers looking for a good book can review lists of notable children’s books and award-winning books. Even more, ALA’s page on library summer reading programs, which gives an excellent overview of the widespread adoption of summer reading programs by U.S. libraries, includes links to ALSC’s summer reading list for elementary and junior high students, as well as recommended lists from the Young Adult Library Services Association. For a comprehensive set of reading lists from ALA, which includes lists for children, young adults, and adults, you can review its “Recommended Reading” fact sheet.

From the Catbird Seat hopes that you can use some of these lists to find the perfect summer read.  Have a wonderful, book-filled summer!


  1. Looking for good reads both narrative and expository for an alert, aware 13 year old.
    Thank you, this reader’s great aunt.

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