It’s no secret that reading is an essential life skill—the more we read, the more knowledge we gain.

Reading exposes us to words and ideas that help build our foundations for ideas, expressions, opinions, and beliefs. Studies show that people who read often tend to experience success throughout their lives.

Now that we’re entering our second full month of summer, New York City families still have plenty of time to encourage their children to catch up on their reading. And with summer being the season for adventures, discovery, and relaxation, there is no better time of year for children to dive into new books.

Child sitting at a chair reading comic books

Don’t worry about being able to find books that will interest you—with all the books available, there’s bound to be a few you’ll enjoy!

Below, you will find a listing of books organized by grade ranges (3-K/Pre-K, Grades K–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–8, and High School) that we put together after consulting with our NYC Reads 365 reading lists and the official summer reading lists released by the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Public Library. Check out each of these titles, and let us know what you and/or your families think about them!

Grades 3-K/Pre-K

  • Alma and How She Got Her Name by Jauana Martinez-Neal
  • Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Tarpley
  • Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
  • The Boy & the Bindi by Vivek Shraya, art by Rajni Perena
  • A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui
  • Cerca (Close) by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Blanca Gomez
  • Float by Daniel Miyares
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña
  • This Beach is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill
  • What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Beson

Grades K–2

  • The Cranky Ballerina by Elise Gravel
  • A Gift from Abuela by Cecilia Ruiz
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
  • Lon Po Po: a Red Riding Hood Story from China translated and illustrated by Ed Young
  • Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
  • Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
  • The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy
  • Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh
  • Under My Hijab by Hena Khan
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell
Child lying down on top of a TV stand next to a window fan while reading a book

What’s your favorite reading spot?

Grades 3–5

  • Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeeed
  • Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story by S.D. Nelson
  • Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
  • Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot
  • Drawn Together by Minh Lê
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Our House is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet by Jeanette Winter
  • Sisters: Venus and Serena Williams by Jeanette Winter
  • I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
  • Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise
  • Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks

Grades 6–8

  • Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha
  • Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya
  • Fault Lines in the Constitution by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson
  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier
  • Inside and Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
  • One Last Word by Nikki Grimes
  • Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  • The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
  • We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai

High School Students (Grades 9–12)

  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard by Echo Brown
  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Here to Stay by Sara Farizan
  • Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
Open book sitting on a wooden bridge, pages flapping

No matter where you go this summer, make sure you take a book with you!

Finally, did you know that City families have free access to hundreds of eBooks and audiobooks through the eBook reader, Sora? All summer long, NYC families with children of all ages can access titles available on Sora, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on any web-enabled device. To log into Sora, students should use their DOE Student Account usernames and passwords. For more information about Sora, visit our Summer Reading webpage to learn more.

Also, the New York City School Library System has curated a special collection of K–12 fiction and non-fiction eBooks for City public school students. Visit the Library System’s website to view the complete collection. To access the eBooks, please email libraries@schools.nyc.gov from an official DOE email address to receive a username and password.

There is a whole world of books out there waiting for each of you; we hope you use the rest of this summer to discover them.

Enjoy your reading!

Jerry reading a book while sitting on a pool chair on a pool deck

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019