Like many parents, I worry about summer slide every year. I want my kids to have an amazingly fun summer, but I also want them to challenge themselves and keep their minds fresh.
I used to be way more rigid in my summer expectation, but I’ve grown to the point where I have only one requirement: READ! Reading is the perfect combination of learning and fun, and it can be done inside or out, all summer long.
Check out all of our Summer Reading Lists!
I chose the books on this summer reading list with kids moving to 3rd grade in mind. However, it’s important to remember that recommended grade levels on books are only guidelines; each child learns at their own pace.
Take this list as a suggestion, not an indicator of where your child should be! The best books for your child are the ones they can read and enjoy, no matter the suggested age or grade level.
3rd Grade Summer Reading List
Akissi: Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet
This book follows a young girl named Akissi through her days living in a small town in the Ivory Coast, Africa. As Akissi moves through simple tasks, she finds great adventure! Akissi strives to find the balance between having fun and getting into trouble as she explores the town with her varied cast of friends. This book is also on our list of Graphic Novels with Strong Female Characters.
Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith
This collection of stories captures the relationship between a young boy and his grandfather. Ray Halfmoon goes to live with his Grampa Halfmoon in Chicago after his parents are killed in a tornado. Ray seems to find his way into crazy situations, but his Grampa is always there to help him out. The two share a special bond, and Ray gets to learn more about his family and his heritage through his Grampa’s stories.
Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar
Set in 1942 India, this novel follows Anjali’s changing home life as her mother is jailed for being a freedom fighter against the British occupation of India. Supriya Kelkar doesn’t sugarcoat the complexities of the struggle for freedom and raises many moral and ethical questions, in addition to telling children about an important time in Indian history.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Cat isn’t excited about moving to Northern California, but she knows it’s what best for her sister Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. When they arrive in their new home of Bahía de la Luna, they learn from a neighbor that the area is haunted. Cat is definitely not interested in seeing a ghost, but she has to put aside her fear to help her sister. This graphic novel is a moving story about the power of love.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Minli has grown up hearing her father’s stories of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man in the Moon. Minli’s family is struggling, and she wonders if these magical figures can show her how to change their luck. She sets out on a journey to find the Old Man in the Moon, and along the way she meets a dragon who joins her on her travels. What she learns along the way will change her forever.
Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah
Dara Palmer and her best friend Lacey know they are destined to be stars. So when Dara isn’t cast in the school’s production of The Sound of Music, she knows something must be wrong. Is it because she’s Cambodian-American and doesn’t look like an Austrian nanny?
What follows is a story of growth and humility, as Dara sets out on a path that teaches her more about herself and more about her background. Dara learns she may not know everything about acting just because she wants to be famous, but she also learns that her story is important, unique, and beautiful.
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
This novel tells the story of Aru Shah, a curious Indian girl who accidentally unleashes an ancient demon in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture. Like many others in the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, the novel’s plot is steeped in its title character’s culture, religion, and mythology. Get ready for a fantastical ride through Indian mythos!
This is the first book in a fun and magical series.
Lety Out Loud by Angela Cervantes
Lety loves volunteering at the animal shelter. The dogs and cats are so cute (especially Spike!), and the animals don’t care that English isn’t her first language. When the shelter needs someone to write profiles for the adoptable animals, Lety gladly volunteers. She’s excited for the opportunity to perfect her English.
When another volunteer at the shelter wants Lety’s profile-writing job, he proposes a competition to see whose profiles are best. Lety is afraid to lose, and afraid that if they get caught, she’ll lose her volunteering spot and won’t get to adopt Spike. Can Lety win a contest where writing in English seals your fate?
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
When Jax is taken to spend the day with a grumpy old woman his mother calls Ma, he assumes that she must be his grandmother. Imagine his shock when he learns that not only is Ma NOT his grandmother, she’s a witch. Ma gives Jax an important mission: to deliver some baby dragons safely to their new home in a magical world.
Jax recruits his friends Vikram and Kavita to help, and things quickly start to spiral out of control. Jax has to think fast and act quickly if he’s going to get the dragons to where they belong.
Jada Sly, Artist and Spy by Sherri Winston
Jada Sly is moving back to New York City after living in Europe for several years. She has two goals while she’s there; the first is to study the art of her hero Jackie Olmes, an African-American cartoonist. Her second goal is to find her missing mother.
Most people think that Jada’s mother died in a plane crash, but Jada is convinced that her mom is alive. She’s also convinced that her mom is a spy — just like Jada, who considers herself to be a spy-in-training. But will Jada be able to find the evidence she seeks?
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Ten-year-old Bud has lost his mother, and never met his father. But his mother left behind a clue to his father’s identity, on a flyer for a well-known musical act. Bud is determined to find his father, no matter the cost.
Set in Flint, Michigan during the Great Depression, this story follows a spirited young boy who is not only searching for his father, but also finding out just how strong he is.
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
An early installment of the Rick Riordan Presents Imprint, aimed at centering mythology and folklore from all over the world, Sal and Gabi Break the Universe is a fantasy with lots of humor and quirks.
Sal and Gabi are polar opposites, and they start the book as enemies. But when Gabi isn’t scared off by Sal’s magical powers, they form a powerful partnership.
The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti
Mafalda keeps a list of all the things she loves to do; things like playing soccer and climbing her favorite cherry tree. She started this list because she knows one day she won’t be able to enjoy any of these things. Mafalda has a rare genetic illness called Stargardt disease, and she is losing her vision.
Mafalda can already sense that people are treating her differently because of her illness, so she works hard to hide the fact that her vision is deteriorating rapidly. But as the story progresses, Mafalda finds that losing her sight gives her clarity on many things in her life.
Ben, Frank, Oliver, and Bean love to pull pranks. Disguised as the school pickle-making club, the come together to create some of the most hilarious hi-jinx Fountain Point Middle School has ever seen. But can the League of Pickle Makers keep pulling pranks without getting caught?
The Mystery of the Moon Tower by Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian
An unlikely group of five kids gets thrown together at summer camp, with a challenging mystery to solve. They follow a series of clues to the castle of old Henry Merriweather, which is not only beautiful, but also magical.
Can Kyle, Vic, Beth, Harry, and Nate work together to solve the mystery Merriweather has left for them, and find the long-lost treasure of Windrose? It will take intelligence, bravery, and most of all, collaboration.
For more diverse book ideas, sign up for our weekly newsletter:
Only 27% of about 3700 children’s books published in 2018 featured a protagonist of color. That may be higher than the 11% seen a decade ago in 2009, but it still doesn’t meet the needs of the...
As a feminist mom to three white sons, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can raised my privileged kids to be good humans. I want my boys to be kind, empathetic people who understand...