The Best of Sonlight Summer Readers, Part Two

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Sonlight Summer Readers

Every year, Sonlight compiles packs of summer readers filled with quality books that keep children's minds busy, while also adding some summer fun. There’s no better way to keep relaxed learning going through the summer months, but these readers aren't just for summer. They can be enjoyed anytime that your family needs some new, appropriate, edifying literature to add to the collection!

By popular request, we’re creating a list of our summer reader recommendations from over the years, so that you have a library of book choices available to you whenever you need a great literature suggestion. It’s the ultimate book list for elementary, middle school, and high school students! Check out part one here, and then keeping reading for more great book picks from Sonlight.

The following links to Amazon are affiliate links.

Summer Readers for Elementary Boys

  • When their whale-watching boat capsizes, Travis and Marina have to figure out how to survive. First the ice-cold sea, then once they reach the deserted shore. – Survivor Diaries: Overboard!
  • Classroom pets unite to save their school from the evil mouse rat. Some graphic novel-style illustrations, interwoven with text. – Super Turbo Saves the Day
  • Two brothers, missing their mother, decide to be tough like their dad. But they keep accidentally helping instead of harming, until a sweet resolution at the end. – The Infamous Ratsos
  • When James goes to the beach, his beetle friend Marvin stays home. Marvin survives a harrowing ordeal (who knew pencil sharpeners could be so terrifying?!) and wonders if his friend misses him, and they reaffirm their friendship in the end. – The Miniature World of Marvin and James
  • Henry Whiskers is the 25th generation of mouse to live in Queen Mary's historical dollhouse at Windsor Castle. But when the dollhouse needs repairs, Henry's sister Isabel goes missing. Henry and his cousin Jeremy go to Rat Alley to stage a rescue. – The Adventures of Henry Whiskers
  • When Uncle Murray agrees to house-sit Bad Kitty, he underestimated the task before him. Bad Kitty doesn't mean to be bad, but they don't understand each other very well. Uncle Murray survives the week … but just barely. – Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray
  • This delightful early reader features a short Captain, and a tall Mate who sail on their pirate ship. In their four adventures together, they don't always agree, but they are sure funny in their disagreement. – Captain and Matey Set Sail
  • Two young scientists solve four mysteries using their knowledge of science. Similar to Encyclopedia Brown, but modern, and scientific. – The Case of the Mossy Lake Monster
  • Hey, did anyone see which way the skeleton went? And what's he running from, anyway? A Halloween-night whodunit, it turns out that a lot of people have something to hide. – Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man
  • A boy has the perfect plan to take over the world: wear a fake mustache. But first, the presidency! Watch what happens when his best friend discovers and tries to derail his plans. – Fake Moustache
  • Welcome to the amazing Whippet Hotel, where there's an adventure on every floor, the guests are either mad or mysterious, and ducks are everywhere! - Floors
  • GOLD! GOLD! scream the headlines in July 1897. James is mesmerized when he sees the first ship of prospectors enter the San Francisco harbor. Caught up in the fever, he books passage on a steamer up to Alaska. - A Tale of Gold
  • Many years ago, the storytellers say, King Arthur held court with his gallant Knights of the Round Table. A loyal and gallant knight never refuses an adventure! - The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated
  • Before they were the Boxcar Children, they lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm. A loving tribute to the classic novel. - The Boxcar Children Beginning
  • When Nick is released from the hospital, he walks with a limp and is dependent on a leg brace. Then he meets Satchel Paige, arguably the best baseball pitcher in the world. - King of the Mound
  • A classic tale of the flying, floating, drive-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • When Babe is taken in by a sheepdog, it's only natural he would want to follow in his foster mum's steps. After saving the sheep from rustlers and wild dogs, the idea of a sheep-pig might not be so silly after all. - Babe the Gallant Pig
  • Clay is accustomed to trouble: there's a folder of incident reports in the principal's office that's as thick as a phonebook. He decides to change his own mischief-making ways, but can't seem to shake his reputation. - Troublemaker
  • When a local potato chip tycoon invites area kids to an all-day puzzle hunt, Winston Breen is psyched. But it turns out the day is not all fun and games. - The Potato Chip Puzzles
  • Steve Brixton is about to get a chance to put the detective tactics he's read so much about into practice. He's out to solve a mystery being investigated by America's most secret crime solving agency. - The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity
  • Ted loves a good mystery, and he's working on a big one. How can his school in the little town of Plattsford stay open next year if there are going to be only five students? - Room One
  • Walter can't believe his eyes when he sees the eviction notice. But what about the old soldiers, the last surviving members of a World War II rescue force?  Two very different generations band together to outwit a cunning adversary - General Butterfingers
  • The children of President Roosevelt embark on a treasure hunt throughout the White House. And as they explore, they learn secrets of American history! - Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major

Summer Readers for Elementary Girls

  • The true story of the first of the St. Barnard rescue dogs. Barry served in a monastery in Switzerland, where he was credited with over 40 rescues. - Dog Diaries: Barry
  • Charming illustrated book about a mouse girl who has to overcome her fear and prejudice to make a new friend. - Sophie Mouse: A New Friend
  • Best friends Emily and Maddie love to create. When new student joins their class, they discover that she, too, is really crafty. Is the Emily and Maddie friendship doomed? - The Un-Friendship Bracelet
  • When all three of the top dessert-makers in the community suffer vandalism right before a bake-off, young reporter Hilde investigates. - Hilde Cracks the Case: Hero Dog
  • Flora the pig longs for adventure. After seeing sled dogs in training, she is determined to join a sled team. - The Adventures of a South Pole Pig
  • Animal-lover Lulu wants her new neighbor to enjoy more in life than his video games. So she comes up with clever ways to entice Arthur to take an interest in his pet rabbit, and make a new friend along the way. - Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door
  • How to bathe a kitty? It's not easy. Real cat facts and an amusing epilogue, make this a this laugh-out-loud, feel good book. - Bad Kitty Gets a Bath
  • Tall, stately Gollie and short, untidy Bink are opposites yet true friends. A mix of picture book, graphic novel, and early reader. - Bink and Gollie
  • Sammy, the mystery-solving gal, witnesses a robbery. Unfortunately, he sees her, too. What follows is an intriguing tale. - Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
  • Set in the 1950s, Ivy runs a pet-sitting service for the summer and tries to keep the boy next door from destroying everything. He's not bad, just thoughtless. Sweet and honest depictions of friendship. - Ivy Takes Care
  • Deidre is turning eight years old. The birthday party theme? Mermaids. When someone sabotages the fun with a squirmy snake in the pool, Nancy Drew and her pals set out to find the culprit. - Nancy Drew and the Pool Party Puzzler
  • Anna wants to learn how to be a good sister to a baby girl her family adopted from China. - The Year of the Baby
  • Someone's been digging up Mrs. Ruston's tomatoes, and she thinks Noelle's dog, Rover, is to blame. It's time to find the culprit and save Rover from certain trouble. - The Mystery of the Hairy Tomatoes
  • A refreshing classic compilation of heartwarming stories with an old-time feel. Practical lessons that remain relevant today.Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic
  • When a ferocious storm hits their ship, two young girls become stranded on a deserted island. But they're not the only survivors; with them are four babies. - Baby Island
  • Over the summer, fashion-loving Zoey gets the best news ever: her school is getting rid of uniforms! With a little help from her best friends, she learns to make her own clothes. - Sew Zoey: Ready to Wear
  • Violet is a small girl with brilliant ideas. Follow her as she finds small things, gives small things, helps small things, and leaves small things behind. - Violet Mackerel's Outside-the-Box Set
  • When tragedy befalls their poetry teacher, her students are prepared to create the most important poem they've ever written. - Gooney Bird is so Absurd
  • Vikings capture Bree and her brother and take them from their home in Ireland. As they travels the dangerous road home, they both must trust their God in the midst of difficult situations. - Raiders from the Sea
  • Jordan is average. Not short, not tall. Not gifted, not flunking out. Feeling doomed to a life of wallowing in the middle, she makes a goal to discover her great talent. - Above Average
  • The Pepper family has little in the way of luxury, but they have such fun together that when a rich little boy discovers the warmth and happiness that floods home, he feels lucky. - Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
  • Their friend has inherited money from his great uncle, but he left town before he could find out. So Trixie, Honey, and her governess, set out to find him. The first night, they stop next to a mysterious red trailer. - Trixie Belden: The Red Trailer Mystery
  • Princess Amy of receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her sisters, Amy would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries...or become a Queen. - An Ordinary Princess
  • The Cuthberts are in for a shock. They are expecting an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables, but a skinny red-haired girl turns up instead. - Anne of Green Gables
  • Because of a big, ugly, happy dog, Opal learns ten things about her long-gone mother, makes new friends among the residents of her new hometown, and more. - Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Trixie's summer is going to be so boring with her older brothers away at camp. But then a millionaire's daughter moves into the next-door mansion, and an old miser hides a fortune in his decrepit house! - Trixie Belden: The Mystery of the Mansion
  • It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one's passion in life. - The Year of the Dog

Summer Readers for Middle School Boys

  • When Milo is sucked through the back of his dryer, this is only the beginning of his adventures. A fun and unexpected world. - Milo Speck
  • A boy is on the run, and ends up in a wide variety of fun places, solving various puzzles. Includes robots, a door that gets a headache from loud knocking, and subterranean WWII machinery. - William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle
  • In this sci-fi thriller, biofuel multiplies, then mutates. When this mutation accidentally ends up in a forest, it multiplies unseen until two young people touch it, with dire consequences. - Fuzzy Mud
  • Superhero-loving Luke had just stepped away when an alien turned his brother Zack into a superhero. How unfair! Zack knows nothing about being a superhero! - My Brother is a Superhero
  • Max continues to solve puzzles to support himself, but almost dies when he runs into a vicious teen. Book two in the series. - Mister Max: The Book of Secrets
  • Max has to figure out how to get the king to send him off on a diplomatic mission to the country where his parents are held hostage. Third book in the brilliant trilogy. - Mister Max: The Book of Kings
  • Princes Charming leave their homes (one to pursue a girl, one to escape a girl, one to prove himself, and one because he got lost). Will they foil the wicked witch? - The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
  • Five books about a group of friends trying to save their beloved school from demolition. Action-packed mystery series.- Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School Book Collection
  • When his father dies, Dave knows nothing will ever be the same. He lands in an orphanage far from the life he once knew. Perhaps somewhere, Dave can find a place that feels like home. - Dave at Night
  • Danny's home is a gypsy caravan. He's the youngest master car mechanic around. And his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. - Danny the Champion of the World
  • Ozymandias Levinson's problems are more severe than his mouthful of a name. A run-in with two bullies brings him into contact with a clever spy mouse in the middle of a critical assignment: to take down the evil rat leader. - Spy Mice: The Black Paw
  • The year is 1862, and P.K. Pinkerton is on the run from a gang of ruthless desperados. He's determined to hold on to Ma's last priceless possession: the deed to land and silver mines in the Nevada Mountains. - P.K. Pinkerton and the Deadly Desperados
  • When the engine of their float plane fails during a water landing, what began as a sightseeing detour turns into a survival mission for two boys and their elderly companion. - Far North
  • How do you rescue a coyote trapped in the elevator of an office building? How do you save an injured seal at the bottom of a cliff with the tide coming in? Two siblings are about to find out as they spend a summer at a wildlife center. - Jackie's Wild Seattle
  • Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center where he spends every day digging holes. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's something else going on here. - Holes
  • A teen boy finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash with nothing but a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present--and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent's divorce. - Hatchet
  • Pieter Van Dirk is part of the Resistance movement in World War II Holland. As he takes more chances, he realizes that there is a traitor in his village--someone who would reveal his identity to the Nazis if his undercover work is discovered. - A Traitor Among Us
  • Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin when their parents leave for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. How will they ever escape? - The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
  • Ash is still falling from the sky two years after a series of globally devastating volcanic eruptions. Miles knows that the only chance his family has of surviving is to escape to their cabin in the woods. - Memory Boy

Summer Readers for Middle School Girls

  • Izzy might be out of sync with her classmates, and not quite sure of her place in her family. But she is smart and creative, and when she starts to earn new charms for her charm bracelet, she meets with many surprises along the way. - The Charming Life of Izzy Malone
  • When Roby turns twelve, she has a list of things she's been waiting to do, most of which turn out to have horrifying (but hysterical) consequences. But no matter what happens, she is kind and true to herself and doesn't give in to peer pressure. - Finally
  • Avalon wins a place in a spring break getaway contest. Once in NYC, she and her roommates have to track down a missing contestant using clues they find in photos. - Spring Break Mistake
  • When Hero moves to a new town, her elderly neighbor befriends her. Mrs. Roth tells her of a missing diamond, and Hero sets out to find it. Theories about Shakespeare's writing are interwoven into the story--excellent historical tidbits. - Shakespeare's Secret
  • Set in the fantasy realm of Pern, gifted musician flees her village after her father forbade her music. In a sheltering cave, she discovers baby fire lizards...and so the story begins. - Dragonsong
  • It's not easy to rescue a castle full of princesses…particularly when your magic carpet is threadbare and disagreeable. Everything changes for a young merchant when the mysterious stranger sells him a ratty rug. - Castle in the Air
  • Three full books in one. Marvelous retellings of Beauty and the BeastThe Magic Flute, and The Snow Queen. Gorgeous prose and insightful comments on life make fairy tales believable. - Kissed
  • When Sophie unknowingly attracts the attention of the Witch of the Waste, a spell is cast, turning her into an old woman. The only way to undo the enchantment is inside of the ever-moving Wizard Howl's castle. - Howl's Moving Castle
  • A coming-of-age story about a sixth grader who just wants to be normal. One night after Girl Scouts, Raina falls and injures her two front teeth. The result? An epic battle with braces, surgery, and embarrassing headgear! - Smile
  • Colophon Letterford has a serious mystery on her hands. As she struggles to find the link between her family's literary legacy and Shakespeare's tomb, she must navigate secret passages, mausoleums, and a whole cast of zany characters. - Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave
  • When Trixie and Honey explore an abandoned gatehouse, they discover more than dust and spiderwebs. Stuck in the dirt floor is a huge diamond! Could a ring of jewel thieves be hiding out in Sleepyside? - Trixie Belden: The Gatehouse Mystery
  • When Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody's business. But will their past catch up with them? - Close to Famous
  • Raine O'Rourke's mother takes a job at Sparrow Road, a dilapidated mansion that houses a group of eccentric artists in the idyllic Midwestern countryside. Raine is left to figure out why they're really here. - Sparrow Road
  • Christian was clueless when he started spying on the royal family through his telescope. If Dad had only warned him about all that mind-boggling love stuff, maybe things wouldn't be such a mess. But now he's fallen for the princess... - Once Upon A Marigold
  • A little migrant girl, who wants most of all to have a real home and to go to a regular school, hopes that the valley her family has come to will be their permanent place. Groundbreaking portrayal of working-class life in America. - Blue Willow
  • When her aunt and uncle whisk Dinnie away to an international school in Switzerland, she's suddenly surrounded by kids from many different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Can she adapt? - Bloomability
  • The state of Maine plans to shut down her island's schoolhouse, which would force Tess's family to move to the mainland–and Tess to leave the only home she's ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan: increase the numbers of students by taking in foster children. - Touch Blue
  • What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold? By order of the king, two boys, Tousle and Innes, must find the answer to this puzzling riddle within seven days or be killed. - Straw Into Gold
  • Cornelia is the daughter of world-famous pianists--a legacy that should feel fabulous, but instead feels just plain lonely. But when a glamorous neighbor moves in next door, she discovers that the world is a much more exciting place than she had originally thought. - Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters
  • It's 1953 and Penny dreams of a summer of butter pecan ice cream, swimming, and baseball. But nothing's that easy in Penny's family. - Penny from Heaven
  • After her mother's death, Julie goes to live with Aunt Cordelia, a spinster schoolteacher, where she experiences many emotions and changes as she grows up. - Up a Road Slowly
  • How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse? At her birth, Ella was the unfortunate recipient of the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, but strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. - Ella Enchanted
  • In this mystery set in a fictional city, we meet a girl who moves to her opera-singer uncle's apartment after her father's death. A rumor that gold coins are hidden in the building where he performs distracts from the heartache of relocation. - Twenty Gold Falcons

Summer Readers for High School Boys

  • When Sage has to impersonate a prince, he pushes the envelope as far as he can. A story of court intrigue and perilous survival. - The False Prince
  • Micah believes the stories his dying grandpa tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus. An invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and a magician more powerful than any other. He sets out to find the Circus and save his grandfather. - Circus Mirandus
  • Entertaining stories from both sides of the Civil War. Rousing explanations of triumphs and battles in this epic story of history. - Guts and Glory: The American Civil War
  • Meet Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee and retired detective. When a woman dies of poison in a locked bedroom, Poirot must determine whodunit: the fortune-hunting new spouse, the aimless stepsons, her private doctor, her hired companion? - The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • Teen rock climbing expert Peak Marcello goes to climb in Afghanistan. When several of the group are kidnapped, Peak goes to the rescue. A survival-of-the-fittest chase. - The Edge
  • Mysterious flying creatures. Pirate attacks. Matt has spent his life as a cabin boy on an airship that ferries wealthy passengers through the air. One night he meets a dying balloonist whose ravings he can't fathom. - Airborn
  • Four ambassadors from earth go forth to demonstrate their strengths to an alien Confederation. Battle, political intrigue, an escape attempt…and a courtroom drama. - Randoms
  • After the oceans rise, some pioneers go undersea to farm and live on the continental shelf. Fast-paced and inventive adventure. - Rip Tide
  • Kyle loves games: board games, puzzles, word games, and of course, video games. When a notorious and creative game maker is tasked with constructing the new town library, Kyle wins a spot as one of the students chosen for a game-themed sleepover there--and must solve a mystery to escape. - Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library
  • Rigg is well-trained to keep secrets. Only his father knows the truth about his strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. When Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain. Three riveting books. - Pathfinder Trilogy
  • Doug just moved to a new town with no friends. In Lil, he finds an unlikely ally and a safe haven in the local library. - Okay for Now
  • "I can steal anything." After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task--to steal a hidden treasure from another land. - The Thief
  • Prince Roger makes everyone hysterically happy--to the point of being incapacitated with laughter. The only solution, obviously, is a quest to find the person he does not make laugh. Misadventures await. - A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears

Summer Readers for High School Girls

  • The kingdom is on edge when stories spread of an army of giants. Now, only a tailor girl with courage and cunning can see beyond the tales to discover the truth and save the kingdom again. - Valiant
  • At wizarding school, Ged trained to be a sorcerer, but in his youthful pride, he released a terrible shadow on the world. This is the tale of his attempts to make things right. - A Wizard of Earthsea
  • Detective Mo is ready to testify and put a kidnapper in jail for a long time. But when the convict escapes from jail right before his trial, so much quickly goes wrong. - The Odds of Getting Even
  • When Martha is expelled from school, she's hired as a dishwasher in a fancy house. The owner of the house has a crazy wife kept in the attic. The wife loves her art, and so commences a mystery of pomegranates and Jane Eyre, of vaudeville and anarchists. - The Gallery
  • The ancient Moonstone, stolen from a monastery, must be returned to its proper owner to end a curse. Blackmail, impending imprudent marriage, and Victorian manners add intrigue. - The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth
  • When Willow's adopted parents die in a car accident, an odd assortment of acquaintances come alongside her. She finds a new family, hope, and connection. - Counting by 7s
  • True-to-life characters with real-life issues (like the grandfather who leaves the grandmother after their 50th anniversary; like how an accident can affect your outlook; like how friends can build you up or tear you down). A beautiful, positive book. - Goodbye Stranger
  • What's the Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy to do when its goal is to groom marriage-minded gals…but there's nary a male to be found in the land? Things change when a young man with a broken leg hobbles into town. - A School for Brides
  • The headmistress and her brother were poisoned, rather inconveniently, at dinner on Sunday. Sure, there's a murderer on the loose, but that won't stop the girls of St. Etheldreda School from trying their hardest to keep everything "normal" in this creative msytery. - The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
  • Ten strangers, each with a dark secret, are lured to a mansion on an island. Upon arrival, their host accuses each guest of murder. Unable to leave, the guests begins to share their darkest secrets. And then they begin to die, one by one. - And Then There Were None
  • When Theodora spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather's painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath! There's just one problem: her grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen. - Under the Egg
  • The four Tillerman children finally have a home at their grandmother's rundown farm on the Maryland shore. It's what Dicey has dreamed of for her three younger siblings, but after watching over the others for so long, it's hard to let go. She experiences the trials and pleasures of making a new life. - Dicey's Song
  • Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he can't bear to name. Before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal. A Retelling of Cinderella. - Before Midnight
  • "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. But in the end just four very special children will succeed. - The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • When an orphan girl comes to live in the desert country, her life is quiet and ordinary--until the night she is kidnapped by the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. - The Blue Sword
  • An art-school student answers an ad for a job as a painter's assistant. In her duties of cleaning paintbrushes and answering the door, she becomes involved in the painter's mysterious affairs, as well of those of his downstairs neighbors. - The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues

Sonlight Curriculum
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