Summer is always a great time for kids—away from the everyday structure and stresses of school, they set their brains on pause and look forward to a few months of fun and relaxation. Although they’re out of the classroom, it’s still important for teachers to help their students avoid the “summer slide” and keep them reading through those days of freedom. Some great new titles are being released this summer, and below I’ve listed a few of my favorites, at a variety of grade levels, in the hopes that some of them find their way onto a summer reading list or two.

The Grudge Keeper

(Grades P-3, Level M, Lexile AD820)The Grudge Keeper - Booksource

Old Cornelius has been keeping the grudges for the townspeople of Bonnyripple for many years. All their insults, squabbles, arguments, snits, tiffs and huffs were tucked away in every corner of his rickety, rambling cottage. One day, a huge wind storm strikes Bonnyripple; inkpots are overturned, pies are blown off windowsills and the schoolmaster’s toupee flies right off his head (and into the mouth of the village goat)! Once the wind settles, the townspeople march up to Cornelius’ cottage with their new set of grievances, only to find that their grudges have been blown from the house, scattered and piled all over the place. Finding the elderly grudge keeper buried under mountains of grudges, the people of Bonnyripple work together to rescue him, and decide to get rid of the bitterness that buried him (and them!) once and for all. The illustrations by Eliza Wheeler are beautiful works of watercolor and ink that help give the story the feel of an old fashioned fairy tale. This book is a lovely way to teach children not only what grudges are but also the futility in keeping them.

Information Graphics: Animal Kingdom

(Grades 1-4)Information Graphics Animal Kingdom - Booksource

This appealing science book makes learning about animals fun. The first in a new series, this title presents a huge amount of scientific information in a compact but visually entertaining way. The book is divided into tabbed sections, each about a different aspect of the animal kingdom, which makes finding information easy. Each section has a short introduction, following by pages of animal infographics. This format allows the author to deliver large amounts of information in a small space. The illustrations are very colorful, with crisp and bold images that convey scientific information in an easily understood format. The different chapters include information on Habitats, Species, Senses, Killers, and even a special section on Man’s Best Friend (dogs!). Although some students might miss the more traditional photography included in most animals books, most will enjoy learning about their favorite species through these amusing yet informative infographics.

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

(Grades 3-7)File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents - Booksource

Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean your students should stop exercising their brains! Strange things have been happening in Stain’d-by-the-Sea, backdrop to Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions series. Young Snicket is called upon by Stain’d’s citizens to help investigate a variety of puzzles and mysteries that have been plaguing the small town. Enough clues are given in these short stories to give young readers a chance to solve each crime. If junior detectives get stumped, solutions for all mysteries (plus some extras!) are given in the back of the book. This title is numbered as book 2.5 in the Wrong Questions series, so favorite characters, including librarian Dashiell Qwerty and Snicket’s chaperone S. Theordora Markson, make appearances in many of the stories. However, readers unfamiliar with the series should still enjoy figuring out these short mysteries.

Red Rising

(Grade 7-12)

Are your older students looking for a new dystopian series after finishing The Hunger Games and Divergent? Red Rising is the first book in a new series from debut author Pierce Brown. Meet Darrow, a member of the Red caste. In the color-coded society of the future, RedRed Rising by Pierce Brown- Booksources are the lowest of the low, and all of them work underground on planet Mars, willingly spending their short lives toiling to make the planet livable for future generations. They’ve been assured by the ruling members of the Gold caste that the Reds are the strongest of the strong: only they have the strength and endurance to make the planet ready for their betters. But after a horrible tragedy, Darrow discovers that he and his fellow Reds have been lied to and betrayed. Saved from death by the terrorist group The Sons of Ares, Darrow himself is transformed into something new, something better: a Gold. Working for The Sons of Ares, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the Golds from inside, working hard to ensure he’s accepted to The Institute: school and training ground for young Golds. There, he’s forced to compete for his life and his cause, stopping at nothing to bring his enemies down from within. Red Rising has all the usual tropes of dystopian fiction: a familiar world divided into an unfair and unjust caste system, with a downtrodden hero risking his life to bring that system down. With a male protagonist and an off-world setting, this new series should offer something a little different for dystopian fans.