BtB’s Summer Reading List – Young Readers

Get ready to embark on a summer full of GREAT books!

Summer is fast approaching, and with school coming to an end until the fall, it’s vital that children continue their reading throughout the break. We’ve seen a lot of activity on our Facebook page and Twitter feed about summer reading this month and with good reason. Every September, when we re-enter classrooms after the long break, we see first hand the impact of the ‘summer slide’ in the classroom.  And according to Educational Leadership, up to “two-thirds of students’ achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities”.

We also notice that younger students who are still finding their feet as readers can easily regress over the summer. So to help keep you stocked with book recommendations this summer our Program Coordinators have compiled three lists of the BtB authors and books they worked with this year – the books that inspired our early readers, middle grade and YA readers.

For our first installment, here are some of the books that BtB’s younger students read this year. We hope you have as much fun with them as we did!

Summer Reading List for Young Readers

B is for Brooklyn by Selina Alko

“What do Prospect Park, Coney Island, and Atlantic Avenue have in common? They are all located in Brooklyn, New York, a magical place where you can listen to jazz music, eat bagels and lox, and sit on the stoop of a brownstone and daydream. Children will recognize aspects of their own neighborhoods in this celebration of urban culture and community.”

b is for bkln 2

This book offers great insight into notable sites in Brooklyn while also teaching children about the diversity of urban living.

Virgil and Owen by Paulette Bogan

“Every great friendship started somewhere, but here’s a story of how not to make friends… When Virgil the penguin finds a lost polar bear, Owen, he wants Owen all to himself. With a gentle twist on this classic childhood dilemma, Paulette Bogan introduces a new charming and lovable duo to readers.”


This book enables children to grasp the idea of sharing in a simple and relatable manner as well as emphasizing the importance of having a variety of friendships.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

“This scrumptious New York Times bestseller has a whole lot of kick! Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. The award-winning team behind Those Darn Squirrels! has created an unforgettable, laugh-until-salsa-comes-out-of-your-nose tale of new friends and the perfect snack.”


Dragons Love Tacos is an ideal way to introduce young children to new foods in a deliciously fun way!

Supertruck by Stephen Savage

“When the city is hit by a colossal snowstorm, only one superhero can save the day. But who is this mysterious hero, and why does he disappear once his job is done? Find out in this snowy tale about a little truck with a very big job.”


Want to start a conversation with your child about every day heroes? This is the perfect book to illustrate the importance of all the superheroes who don’t wear capes!

Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renee Watson

“Zora and Langston. Billie and Bessie. Eubie and Duke. If the Harlem Renaissance had a court, they were its kings and queens. But there were other, lesser known individuals whose contributions were just as impactful, such as Florence Mills.”


Through the story of Florence Mills, this book encourages children to embrace a sense of courage, to sing out for equal rights and to follow their dreams. Watson takes concepts like the Harlem Renaissance and gives them an interesting twist to give children a sense of the era and the historical figures that helped shape it.

Quilt Alphabet by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

“From apples to cows, kettles to scarecrows, warm country images abound in this delightful alphabet poem.”


For readers who are catching on to the basics, this beautifully illustrated book is a great way to make learning the alphabet just that little bit more fun. The quilted jacket cover gives children their task: “Each letter has a poem. Each poem is a clue. The answers are in the back.” Our students loved using the poems to guess the right word for each letter.

Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural by Raquel Ortiz

“When Sofi walks through her barrio to the local store, she always passes a huge mural with images from Puerto Rico: musicians, dancers, tropical flowers and her least favorite a vejigante, a character from carnival that wears a scary mask. After reading this book, children and some adults too will want to make and share their own artistic creations!”


Not only will it inspire your child to embrace their creative side but it will also teach them about Puerto Rican culture and introduce them to a new language through its bilingual storytelling.

Urban Animals by Isabel Hill

“Come to the city and you will find, animals, animals of every kind! Discover donkeys on grilles, boars guarding stoops, and elephants supporting flagpoles. The fantastic architectural animals and playful illustrations in this rhyming book will introduce children to the fanciful world of our built environment.”

urban animals

This book helps children hone their skills of observation by looking at animals on urban buildings. Can you see see the animals that are in plain sight on buildings in your neighborhood? You will after you read this book!

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

“Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family’s new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren’t treated very well in some towns. Ruth’s story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow is historical fact.”


It’s never too early to cultivate a child’s understanding of history and reading is the perfect tool to do so. With the help of a diverse cast of characters and a great story, this book will help children understand the historical context of Jim Crow in an age appropriate way.