Summer Reading

Tails and Tales

Summer Reading 2021

The 2021 Summer Reading Book List was created by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Titles on this list were selected by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee

Click here to quickly go to the following sections:

Birth – Pre-K

Antiracist Baby

by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
KOKILA, 2020
ISBN: 9780593110416

Racial consciousness develops younger than many people realize, and this picture
book will give parents and caregivers a launchpad for having these important conversations with their little ones.

Future Doctor

by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allison Black
ISBN: 9781338312256

A board book teaching the basics of being a doctor, and encouraging Baby that they can be anything.

The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish

by Lil Miss Hot Mess, illustrated by Olga de Dios
ISBN: 9780762467655

Written by one of the first Drag Queen Story Hour performers, this picture book will get kids moving and proudly flaunting their most glamorous selves.

Hurry Up! A Book about Slowing Down
by Kate Dopirak, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

BEACH LANE BOOKS, 2020 ISBN: 9781534424975

With repeating refrains, this picture book follows a busy morning and afternoon of a young girl. After school, she learns to slow things down and enjoy what is around her.

I Love My Tutu Too!

by Ross Burach

SCHOLASTIC, 2020 ISBN: 9781338504279

Every animal loves their tutu and wants to find more animal friends who love their tutus
as well. Clever rhymes and a vibrant color palette make this a highly re-readable board book.

I Love You, Baby Burrito

by Angela Dominguez

ROARING BOOK, 2021 ISBN: 9781250231093

With a mix of both English and Spanish languages, this book takes you through the act of swaddling a newborn.

Me & Mama

by Cozbi A. Cabrera

SIMON & SCHUSTER, 2020 ISBN: 9781534454217

A young child enjoys a day with her mama, splashing in the rain and being cozy at home.

A New Green Day

by Antoinette Portis

HOLIDAY HOUSE, 2020 ISBN: 9780823444885

Poetic riddles create a guessing game as readers explore nature during a summer day.

Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak

by Roy Henry Vickers and

Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy

Henry Vickers

HARBOUR PUBLISHING, 2020 ISBN: 9781550179040

The sounds of the Pacific Coast are shared in this board book with simple text accompanied by colorful illustrations from an Indigenous artist.

Sing with Me / Canta conmigo

by José-Luis Orozco, illustrated

by Sara Palacios

SCHOLASTIC, 2020 ISBN: 9781338121186

Enjoy six classic children’s songs in both English and Spanish, with charming illustrations.

The Solar System with Ellen / El sistema solar con Ellen

by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein, illustrated by Citlali Reyes LIL’ LIBROS, 2020
ISBN: 9781947971400

Text in English and Spanish brings our youngest bookworms on a trip through outer space with Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.

This Is a Book of Shapes

by Kenneth Kraegel

CANDLEWICK, 2020 ISBN: 9781536207019

This board book begins as a simple introduction to shapes and gets sillier and more complex as other shapes that might not be so simple get added!

Two Many Birds

by Cindy Derby

ROARING BROOK, 2020 ISBN: 9781250232540

A monitor shouts rules as birds line up to sit in a tree, but when the tree reaches capacity and two more birds hatch, things start to get a little wild.

We All Play

by Julie Flett

GREYSTONE KIDS, 2021 ISBN: 9781771646079

With a simple text in English and Cree and soft, beautiful illustrations, this book explores how both animals and humans play.

We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go
by Brook Sitgraves and Archaa Shrivastav

LITTLE FEMINIST, 2020 ISBN: 9781734182415

A board book celebration of how we move, featuring colorful photographs of a variety of people moving in many different ways, highlighting the diversity of people and abilities in our community.

What Sound Is Morning?

by Grant Snider

CHRONICLE BOOKS, 2020 ISBN: 9781452179933

This simple and beautiful
book encourages its readers to consider their morning routines, paying special attention to the sounds and silences that accompany them.

Whose Bones? An Animal Guessing Game

by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated

by Sam Brewster

PHAIDON, 2020 ISBN: 9781838661519

An informative board book about animal bones and anatomy in the form of a fun guessing game.

You Matter

by Christian Robinson

ATHENEUM, 2020 ISBN: 9781534421691

An uplifting and inspiring book encourages readers to explore the many different people
we encounter in our world and our connection to them, highlighting the important mantra of the title, “You matter.”

K – 2nd

Baloney and Friends

by Greg Pizzoli

DISNEY-HYPERION, 2020 ISBN: 9781368054546

This funny graphic novel for beginning readers stars Baloney the pig alongside his friends Bizz (a bee), Peanut (a horse), and Krabbit (a very cranky rabbit).

Black Is a Rainbow Color

by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
ISBN: 9781626726314

There’s no black in rainbows, but Black is more than a color. It’s a culture. This picture book celebrates African American history and identity.

Carpenter’s Helper

by Sybil Rosen, illustrated by Camille Garoche
ISBN: 9780593123201

A sweet story about a girl and her family bonding while building a birdhouse in their home. 

The Electric Slide and Kai

by Kelly J. Baptist, illustrated by Darnell Johnson
LEE & LOW, 2021
ISBN: 9781643790527

Kai’s family is excited for his aunt’s upcoming wedding, but since every family celebration means dancing, Kai’s worried he will make a fool of himself on the dance floor again. A picture- book celebration of family, love, and overcoming one’s fears.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

by Joanna Ho, illustrated by

Dung Ho

HARPERCOLLINS, 2021 ISBN: 9780062915627

A picture book filled with wonderful illustrations that encourage children to be proud of who they are and how they look.

A Hatful of Dragons: And More than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems
by Vikram Madan

WORDSONG, 2020 ISBN: 9781684371501

A silly collection of interactive poems and rhymes in a variety of formats with fun illustrations about mummies, dragons, and more!

I Am a Bird

by Hope Lim, illustrated by Hyewon Yum
ISBN: 9781536208917

A little girl, riding on the back of her father’s bike, is wary of the mysterious woman with a bag they pass. One day, she finds out what the bag is for, and her wariness grows into kinship.

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend

by Dawn Quigley, illustrated by

Tara Audibert

HEARTDRUM, 2021 ISBN: 9780063015371

This early chapter book follows Jo Jo, a young Ojibwe girl,
as she navigates the troubles and tribulations of being in elementary school. This story also includes snippets of the Ojibwe language with more information in the back matter. 


by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
ISBN: 9781368036924

Frustrated with her little brother taking over her job of pushing the elevator button, a girl takes a discarded button to transform her closet door into a magical elevator. In the process, she discovers that adventures are more fun when you share them.

Milo Imagines the World

by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson PUTNAM, 2021
ISBN: 9780399549083

While on the subway, Milo imagines different stories for the people he sees, but he soon realizes you can’t tell who people really are just by their appearance.

A Place inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart 

By Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon

FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX, 2020; ISBN: 9780374307417

A Black boy, shown all over his neighborhood, experiences a range of emotions: fear, pride, sorrow, and joy.

Sadiq and the Green Thumbs

by Siman Nuurali, illustrated by

Anjan Sarkar

PICTURE WINDOW, 2020 ISBN: 9781515845676

Sadiq, a Somali American third- grader, starts a gardening club focused on helping neighbors. Part of a series.

Sharuko: El arqueólogo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello

by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
LEE & LOW, 2020
ISBN: 9780892394234

In this Spanish-English picture- book biography, readers find out about this Indigenous scientist who found skulls and artifacts in the mountains of Peru as a child and went on to become the founder of modern Peruvian archaeology.

Story Boat

by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
ISBN: 9780735263598

Join a little girl and her younger brother as they leave behind the place they know as home and, along the way, make the best of times with what they find. A wonderful refugee story.

We Laugh Alike / Juntos nos reímos: A Story That’s Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun

by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez CHARLESBRIDGE, 2021
ISBN: 9781623540968

Two groups of friends meet in the park, but one group only speaks English, and the other only speaks Spanish. Watch how they play together and discover all sorts of similarities!

What about Worms!?

by Ryan T. Higgins

HYPERION, 2020 ISBN: 9781368045735

Tiger is big and brave—except when it comes to worms! When faced with a worm-themed book and then a big group of worms, he must try to overcome his fear.

Your Mama

by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara VERSIFY, 2021
ISBN: 9781328631886

This super fun book is a spin on the “yo mama” jokes. The twist with this book is that everything included here is pleasant, comforting, and warm, with more than just a hint of humor.

Your Place in the Universe

by Jason Chin

HOLIDAY HOUSE, 2020 ISBN: 9780823446230

An introduction to size, scale, and distance that goes from comparing an eight-year-old’s height with a stack of books to examining the vastness of the universe.

Zonia’s Rain Forest

by Juana Martinez-Neal

CANDLEWICK, 2021 ISBN: 9781536208450

Explore Zonia’s home, the Amazon rain forest, and learn as Zonia respects and protects the Peruvian wildlife and her heritage.


3rd – 5th Grade

Any Day with You

by Mae Respicio

WENDY LAMB BOOKS, 2020 ISBN: 9780525707578

Kaia enters a filmmaking
contest, drawing inspiration from the many Filipino tales her great-grandfather tells. When Tatang decides to return to the Philippines, Kaia will do whatever it takes to keep him in California.


by Ben Queen, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
ISBN: 9781684155316

This graphic novel follows a seeing-eye dog, Bear, as he loses his vision and embarks on an exciting adventure to return home after getting lost.

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch

by Julie Abe

LITTLE, BROWN, 2020 ISBN: 9780316493888

Eva has only a pinch of magic, which makes passing the test to become a novice witch difficult. When she lands in a small coastal town, she sets up a magical repair shop to prove her worth.

The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and All the Guts in Between 

by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle

HMH BOOKS, 2021 ISBN: 9780358306634

A fully illustrated comical tour of the human body focusing on disgusting, incredible, and hilarious facts about our very own, ever-oozing piece of machinery.

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero

by Kelly J. Baptist

CROWN, 2020
ISBN: 9780593121368

Now the man of the house, a boy finds passion in poetry after discovering his late father’s journal while struggling to hold his house together.

The Last Bear

by Hannah Gold

HARPERCOLLINS, 2021 ISBN: 9780063041073

April’s father has always told her that there are no more polar bears left on Bear Island. When April sees something that looks like a polar bear across the horizon, she is determined to save it.

Pepper Page Saves the Universe!

by Landry Q. Walker, illustrated

by Eric Jones

FIRST SECOND, 2021 ISBN: 9781250216922

Twenty-fifth-century Pepper Page is obsessed with old comics, but when a high-school science experiment goes wrong and Pepper lands in the middle of a cosmic adventure of her own, Pepper’s reading may not be enough to save her.

Shaking Up the House

by Yamile Saied Méndez

HARPERCOLLINS, 2021 ISBN: 9780062970725

Two sets of First Daughters shake up the White House with hysterical pranks on each other that escalate into an international affair!

Skunk and Badger

by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen
ISBN: 9781643750057

No one wants a skunk as a roommate, but Badger doesn’t have a choice. His quiet, solitary life is turned upside down by cheery Skunk in this odd-couple tale of friendship.

A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games

by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allan Drummond

HMH BOOKS, 2020 ISBN: 9781328580795

Jewish neurologist Ludwig Guttmann, who escaped Hitler’s Germany, had a revolutionary idea—sports might help patients labeled as “incurables.” Discover

how his work evolved into the international Paralympic Games in this biography that includes photos and other illustrations.

Stella Díaz Dreams Big

by Angela Dominguez

ROARING BROOK, 2021 ISBN: 9781250763082

Stella learns how to navigate fourth grade, participate in several clubs, and have fun with her family and friends. Third book in a series.

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester Book #1

by Cale Atkinson
TUNDRA, 2021

ISBN: 9780735267428

A hilarious first volume in a new graphic novel series centered around ghost Simon and human Chester solving the case of a mysterious dog who shows up in their house one day.

Three Keys: A Front Desk Novel

by Kelly Yang

SCHOLASTIC, 2020 ISBN: 9781338591385

The sequel to Front Desk finds Mia, now part owner of a motel, working to keep the motel afloat while facing anti-immigration sentiment and helping her best friend Lupe when her father is detained as an illegal immigrant.

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

by Adrianna Cuevas

FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX, 2020 ISBN: 9780374313609

Nestor wants to keep his ability to talk to animals a secret, but that’s a challenge when animals go missing in Nestor’s new town and rumors fly about a creature who lives in the forest.

Truman the Dog

by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer PICTURE WINDOW, 2020
ISBN: 9781515844754

First in the My Furry Foster Family series of illustrated chapter books about eight-year- old Kaita, whose family fosters

pets until they can find new homes for the animals.

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know

by Traci Sorell, illustrated by

Frané Lessac

CHARLESBRIDGE, 2021 ISBN: 9781623541927

A creatively organized picture book gives both Native and non-Native readers an overview of important topics including forced assimilation, sovereignty, and language.

We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World

by Aileen Weintraub, illustrated

by Sarah Green

RUNNING PRESS, 2021 ISBN: 9780762497805

With amazing facts and detailed information, this nonfiction book shines a spotlight on amazing female athletes at the top of their game. New players and retired competitors alike are showcased for the mark they have made on the world.

When You Trap a Tiger

by Tae Keller

RANDOM HOUSE, 2020 ISBN: 9781524715700

Lily makes a deal with a magical tiger in an attempt to heal her sick halmoni in this tale celebrating Korean folklore, strong women, and the power of the imagination.

The Year I Flew Away

by Marie Arnold

ISBN: 9780358272755

When 10-year-old Gabrielle moves from Haiti to Brooklyn, she finds that America isn’t quite what she expected. With the help of a magical friend, Marie transforms into the perfect American girl but makes sacrifices in the process.


6th – 8th Grade

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

by Christina Soontornvat

CANDLEWICK, 2020 ISBN: 9781536209457

This multi-award-winning nonfiction book tracks the survival story of a Thai boys’ soccer team, showing both the challenges facing rescuers and the bravery and ingenuity of those trapped in a flooded cave.

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir

by Robin Ha

BALZER + BRAY/HARPER ALLEY, 2020 ISBN: 9780062685100

A graphic novel memoir recounting the author’s experience as a middle-schooler uprooted from her home in South Korea to live in Alabama, and the power of the arts to connect us.

Amari and the Night Brothersby B. B. Alston

ISBN: 9780062975164

After Amari’s brother disappears, she is nominated to train at the secret government organization he worked for. At this camp, Amari learns she is
a magician and trains to be a junior agent for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. First in a series.

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

HEARTDRUM, 2021 ISBN: 9780062869944

An anthology of intersecting stories by Native authors about families from Nations across the U.S. and Canada as they gather at an intertribal powwow to honor Native traditions.

Beetle & the Hollowbones

by Aliza Layne

ATHENEUM, 2020 ISBN: 9781534441538

Teen goblin and witch-in-training Beetle uses her wits and magical

powers to save her friend Blob Ghost from being destroyed by her ex–best friend Kat’s aunt’s dastardly plans in this rollicking graphic novel.

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

by Kaela Rivera

HARPERCOLLINS, 2021 ISBN: 9780062947550

Cece walks the fine line between humans and creaturas (powerful spirits) on her search to rescue her sister from an evil spirit. Traveling a dangerous desert, Cece finds a kind spirit to help her on the way.


by Kate Messner

BLOOMSBURY, 2020 ISBN: 9781547602810

Mia moves to Vermont to help her grandmother with her cricket farm. She joins a STEM and
Ninja Warrior camp and starts
to become more empowered
to deal with sexual harassment from a gymnastics coach.

Efrén Divided

by Ernesto Cisneros

QUILL TREE BOOKS, 2020 ISBN: 9780062881687

When 12-year-old Efrén’s mother is sent back to Mexico by U.S. authorities, his life becomes increasingly difficult. Hope lives in Efrén’s heart as long as there’s a chance his family can be reunited.

Everything Sad Is Untrue

by Daniel Nayeri

LEVINE QUERIDO, 2020 ISBN: 9781646140008

Daniel, an Iranian refugee, struggles to fit in with his Oklahoma community. Through the lens of Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights, Daniel weaves stories about his past.

Fighting Words

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

DIAL, 2020
ISBN: 9781984815682

Through a hard childhood, Della has always relied on her older

sister, Suki. When their mom’s boyfriend does something awful, the sisters run away and must start a new life in a foster home, but their past still haunts them both.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

by Janae Marks

KATHERINE TEGEN BOOKS, 2020 ISBN: 9780062875853

Zoe has a lot of things on her plate: an important internship at a bakery, which would help her get onto a kid’s baking television show, and secret communication with her father, who is imprisoned but may be innocent. Zoe must balance her baking with proving her father didn’t do the crime he was convicted of.

King and the Dragonflies

by Kacen Callender

SCHOLASTIC, 2020 ISBN: 9781338129335

King is convinced his brother who died has returned as a dragonfly. In confronting his grief, King also must navigate
a changed relationship with his parents and evolving feelings for his best friend, the son of the town’s racist sheriff.

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance 

by Nikki Grimes

ISBN: 9781681199443

This collection of poems styled with the Golden Shovel poetic method uses the original works of female poets of the Harlem Renaissance coupled with new poems written by Grimes.

Root Magic

by Eden Royce

WALDEN POND, 2021 ISBN: 9780062899576

In 1963 South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, begin to learn the legacy of their family: rootwork, Gullah Geechee folk magic.

The Shape of Thunder

by Jasmine Warga

BALZER + BRAY, 2021 ISBN: 9780062956675

After an unimaginable tragedy impacts both of their siblings, best friends and neighbors Cora and Quinn haven’t spoken in a year. To save their friendship and help their families, the pair decide to travel back in time.

Show Me a Sign

by Ann Clare LeZotte

SCHOLASTIC, 2020 ISBN: 9781338255812

The year is 1805, and eleven- year-old Mary lives in a small, isolated community where almost everyone is fluent in sign language. She’s unaware of the prejudices against Deaf people, until a stranger visits her town.


by Lisa Fipps

NANCY PAULSEN BOOKS, 2021 ISBN: 9781984814500

A body-positive novel in verse about a middle-schooler,
Ellie, who, with the help of her therapist, begins standing up for herself against those who bully Ellie for her size—including confronting the worst tormentor of all, her mother.

Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem

by Kate Messner

MILLBROOK, 2020 ISBN: 9781541557062

How do you catch an animal that is so good at hiding? You enlist the help of those you’ve already captured. Accompany researchers as they work to control the numbers of pythons in Florida in this book filled with photos, diagrams, and QR codes for online videos.

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