ED Summer Reading 2023: Top Tens

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Happy summer, Rodeph Sholom School Elementary Division students!

Here’s some great new books to enjoy in between soccer, swimming, basketball, baseball, crafts, and maybe even some screen time.

For older recommendations, browse the summer reading tab in the navigation menu at the top of the website.

10 Best New Graphic Novels 2022-23 (ages 8 and up)

Four Eyes by Rex Ogle.
When Rex finds out he needs glasses, he’s beyond miserable. Dealing with the bullies at school, his family being broke, and an embarrassing lack of friends, he has way too much on his plate already

Bounce Back by Misako Rocks!
Lilico’s life in Japan is going well. She has great friends and is the captain of the school’s basketball team. She’s happy! Then comes her parents’ news: they’re moving to America! Before she knows it, Lilico finds herself forced to start all over.

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat
As one of the only Asian Americans in her school, Christina confronts both well-meaning ignorance and cruel racism, but in middle school fitting in is important, which is why she and her best friend Megan are both excited and nervous to try out for the popular cheerleading squad.

Lo & Behold by Wendy Mass and Gabi Mendez
With her life recently turned upside down, 12-year-old Addie is uncomfortable in her own skin until the world of virtual reality sparks her imagination and leads to an exciting new project, a new friend, and to reconnecting with who she’s always been.

School Trip by Jerry Craft
Eighth grader Drew Ellis recognizes that he isn’t afforded the same opportunities, no matter how hard he works, that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted, and to make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids and is finding it hard not to withdraw, even as their mutual friend Jordan tries to keep their group of friends together”

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees–until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears.

7 Good Reasons Not to Grow Up by Jimmy Gownley
The kids at prestigious Greycliff Academy are in for a surprise when their hero, Kirby Finn, turns out to be something he’s not.

Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo
A graphic novel about a girl who would rather do anything other than celebrate her quinceañera.

Doodles from the Boogie Down by Stephanie Rodriguez
A young Dominican girl navigates middle school, her strict mother, shifting friendships, and her dream of being an artist.

Twin Cities by Jose Pimienta
Luis Fernando and Luisa Teresa are twins who learn about who they are and what their sibling means to them when they are sent to different middle schools, Fernando in Mexicali, Mexico and Teresa in Calexico, California.

10 Best New Early Readers 2022-23 (age 6-8)

Bobo and Pup-Pup by Vikram Madan
What will hatch from the hairy brown egg Bobo and Pup-Pup find? This hilarious graphic chapter book by Geisel Honor winner Vikram Madan is perfect for fans of Elephant & Piggie who are ready to graduate to two new buddies!

Owl and Penguin by Vikram Madan
Two best friends, Owl and Penguin, are opposites but solve their conflicts with creative play, from conquering fears to flying a runaway kite.

Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate and Charlie Alder
When Cat announces that the Humans have given her a surprise present, Doggo and Pupper are all ears. But when they find out that Cat has a new bed and misses her old one, they set out to help her search for cozy.

Fox and Chick by Sergio Ruzzier
In the tradition of Frog and Toad, this critically acclaimed early reader series features Fox and Chick, two unlikely friends who, despite their differences, always manage to find a way to get along. In this fourth book in the series, Fox and Chick climb a tree, build a bookcase, and catch snowflakes!

Crabby by Jonathan Fenske.
Crabby is expecting just another boring day in the ocean, but Plankton decides to throw a best friends party–and even Crabby’s long list of things he wants at the party will not deter him.

Nat the Cat by Jarrett Lerner
The narrator and Pat the Rat prevent Nat the Cat from taking a nap.

Gigi and Ojiji by Melissa Iwai
Gigi wants to go by something besides her baby name–but her full name, Geraldine, is too long to write and Hanako, her middle name, doesn’t feel quite right. Will Gigi find the perfect name?

Spike It, Mo! by David Adler and Sam Ricks
When Mo and his dad join in a volleyball game at the beach and the score is tied, it is up to Mo, the smallest boy on the team, to secure the game-winning point.

Ty’s Travels by Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata
Ty and Corey love to visit the museum. When they step through the doors, they become scientists. They study bugs and hunt for fossils. They catch the wind. When Ty can’t participate in a lab activity because of his age, he uses his big imagination at home. Discovering new things is so much fun!

10 Best New Short Chapter Books 2022-23 (ages 6-9)

Fenway by Victoria Coe and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Fenway is flabbergasted when he meets a bird who speaks human, and he is even more surprised when they actually become friends!

Stitch Head by Guy Bass and Pete Williamson
When the Mad Professor suddenly leaves Castle Grotteskew, Stitch Head, the Creature, and the girl Arabella suddenly find themselves in charge of the Castle but an innocent game of pirates leads them to a plot by the evil Freakfinder, who still wants to control the Professor’s monsters.

Pet Rescue Adventures by Holly Webb
Harper loves spending time with her beautiful kitten; Sammy likes to sit in the window, explore their apartment, and play in the yard. But when Harper and her family move in with her grandmother, everything changes. Sammy doesn’t feel at home at Grandma’s, and he misses the smells and sounds of his old house. So when he sees a chance to go back, he takes it–but soon discovers that home is more than just a building where you live.

Mindy Kim by Lyla Lee and Dung Ho
Mindy Kim can’t wait to learn how to swim with her best friend, Sally! But during her first swim lesson, Mindy isn’t so sure she can keep up. With a little help from Sally and Theodore the Mutt, can Mindy learn how to make a splash?

Jada Jones by Kelly Starling Lyon and Nneka Myers
Jada is thrilled when she gets to go on an outdoor class field trip with her grandfather, a nature lover, as a chaperone, and she looks forward to showing him off to her friends–and show him what she knows.

Bug Scouts by Mike Lowery
To earn their “foraging” bug badge, Doug, Abby and Josh, the Bug Scouts, embark on an adventure in the wilderness to find an edible plant and encounter a clever, yet hungry, frog who distracts them from their mission.

The Questioneers by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
When pets go missing in Blue River Creek it is up to Ada to follow the scientific method by making a hypothesis, collecting data, and experimenting to find the missing animals.

Hot Dog by Anh Do
Meet Hotdog, the wiener dog, and his friends! In this colorful illustrated chapter book series, Anh Do introduces us to a small hero with a big heart.
Hotdog, Lizzie, and Kev are training for GAME DAY! They want to win the big prize–an awesome trip to Rainbow Island! That’s where Kev’s mom lives!
They’ll need skill, speed, and strength. Do they have what it takes to win?

Phoebe G. Green by Veera Hiranandani and Christine Almeda
Phoebe’s best friend, Sage, has the same lunch every day: a turkey sandwich, a cheese stick, and a bag of popcorn. Phoebe doesn’t understand why he won’t try new things, and is determined to convince him to. She and Camille come up with the perfect solution: a cooking club to show Sage how many exciting foods there are But will it be enough to convince Sage? Or will it spoil their friendship?

Stella Diaz by Angela Dominguez
Stella is getting ready for her next big step.
This year, she’s a fifth grader, which means she’s not only one of the big kids in her elementary school, but she’ll also have to start thinking about middle school. GULP!

10 Best New Middle Grade Novels 2022-23 (ages 9 and up)

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass
Ellen, an autistic thirteen-year-old, navigates a new city, shifting friendships, a growing crush, and her queer and Jewish identities while on a class trip to Barcelona, Spain.

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
Eleven-year-old Maizy Chen visits her estranged grandparents, who own and run a Chinese restaurant in Last Chance, Minnesota; as her visit lengthens, she makes unexpected discoveries about her family’s history and herself.

The Puttermans Are in the House by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman
Told from different points of view, the Putterman cousins, twins Sammy and Matty, and Becky, have been at odds, but when Hurricane Harvey hits Houston, they soon find that they need each other more than ever.

Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly
The twelve kids in the seventh grade at Fawn Creek K-12 have been together all their lives so when graceful Orchid Mason arrives, with exotic clothes and glorious hair, the other seventh graders do not know what to think.

Odder by Katherine Applegate
Odder spends her days off the coast of central California, practicing her underwater acrobatics and spinning the quirky stories for which she’s known. She’s a fearless daredevil, curious to a fault. But when Odder comes face-to-face with a hungry great white shark, her life takes a dramatic turn, one that will challenge everything she believes about herself–and about the humans who hope to save her.

A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow
Twelve-year-old Kela is still mourning her mother when she finds a mermaid’s comb while she and her friend are looking for sea glass on her Caribbean island; such combs have magic in them, and touching it opens a connection to the mermaid Ophidia who can grant her wish, to bring her mother back to life–but all wishes have consequences, and magic demands a price which may prove to be more painful than the loss of her mother.

Iceberg by Jennifer Nielsen
As disaster looms on the horizon, a young stowaway onboard the Titanic will need all her courage and wits to stay alive.

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz
When three children endure separate climate change disasters–a wildfire in the California woods, a close encounter with a hungry polar bear in Canada, and a massive hurricane in Florid–they emerge from their experiences committed to changing the world.

Wildoak by C.C. Harrington
Twelve-year-old Maggie’s stutter causes her much heartache and only her menagerie of pets, whom she can speak with fluidly, provide her comfort, but when she finds Rumpus, an abandoned snow leopard in a forest in Cornwall, their chance encounter will change their lives forever.

Bhai for Now by Maleeha Siddiqui
When Ashar and Shaheer meet, they quickly discover they’re twins and will stop at nothing to get to know the parent they’ve been separated from, learning along the way that they may not like each other, but they definitely need each other.

10 Favorite Authors to Check Out 2022-23 (all ages)

You can’t go wrong with one of the many books from these talented and prolific authors.


Things That Sometimes Happen (6+), Poppy (8+), Crispin and the Cross of Lead (9+)

Sharon Draper

Sassy (7-9), Clubhouse Mysteries (8-10), Out of My Mind (9+)

Varian Johnson

Twins (7+), The Parker Inheritance (9+), The Great Greene Heist (10+)

Hena Khan

Zara’s Rules (7-10), Zayd Saleem (7-10), More to the Story (9+)

Gordon Korman

Swindle (8+), UnGifted (9+)

Grace Lin

Ling and Ting (6-8), Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (8+), Dumpling Days (9+)

Kate Messner

Fergus and Zeke (6-8), Ranger in Time (8-10), History Smashers (9+)

Lensey Namioka

The Hungriest Boy in the World (6+), Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear (8+), Half and Half (9+)

Gary Paulsen

Dogteam (7-10), Hatchet (9+), Northwind (10+)

Louis Sachar

Marvin Redpost (6-8), Wayside School (6-10), Holes (9+)

More Lists and Resources

For other great books, you can browse our Sora Summer Reading (set up your Sora HVLA account if you haven’t already), scope out Bank Street College’s 2023 Best Books, and of course head over to the New York Public Library Summer Reading site.

Happy reading and a sunny summer to you!

All descriptions courtesy of the publisher.

Best Summer Realistic Fiction 2022

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These books are a mix of classic and new, perfect for a reader who likes realistic stories about kids (and some animals). They are loosely grouped by length and accessibility.

Early Reader (~32 pages, widely spaced large print)

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant and Suçie Stevenson

Ty’s Travels by Kelly Starling Lyons and Niña Mata

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Betsy Lewin

Annie and Snowball by Cynthia Rylant and Suçie Stevenson

Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi and Hatem Aly

Transitional Chapter Book Series (<120 pages, larger print, shorter chapters)

Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder and Emily Hughes

Sam and Charlie by Lesley Kimmelman and Stefano Tambellini

Lola Levine by Monica Brown and Angela Dominguez

Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater and Adam Stower

JoJo Makoons by Dawn Quigley and Tara Audibert

Starla Jean by Elana K. Arnold and A.N. Kang

The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau and Matt Myer

Chapter Book Series (<200 pages, interest level 1st-4th)

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina

Carver School Elementary by Karen English

BAT by Elana K. Arnold

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Life of Ty by Lauren Myracle

Nina Soni by Kashmira Sheth

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Middle Grade Novels (>150 pages, denser text, more complex themes )

Maybe, Maybe, Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelley

Summer of Brave by Amy Noelle Parks

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Flying Over Water by N.H. Senzai and Shannon Hitchcock

A Place at the Table by Laura Shovan and Saadia Faruqi

The Boys in the Back Row by Mike Jung

Life in the Balance by Jen Petro-Roy

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Want more kid’s fiction? Check out these recommendations from our own NYPL!

Elementary Division Summer Reading 2022

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Looking for something to read over the summer? Take a look at our Rodeph Sholom School top picks for 1st-5th grade summer reading. Select the Summer Reading tab from the navigation bar. and choose your rising grade from the drop down menu, There is overlap between the tags so don’t be surprised if the same books show up for more than one grade.

While our physical library is closed for the summer, ebooks and audiobooks are available for Rodeph Sholom Students through our Sora online collection. This is also a great way to discover new books and try the first chapter before getting a hard copy. Read in Sora here using your school Google email and password.

Did we miss something?

If you know a great book that isn’t on our site yet, tell us here by filling out this form.

Happy reading and see you in the Fall!

Summer Reading for the Elementary Division

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Free picture: daisy, flower, book, grass, reading, learning

Dear summer readers, we are wishing you the happiest, healthiest, most fun summer with a lot of time lying on the grass reading (or inside, in the air conditioning).

If you read with a device, remember that you still have access to our MackinVIA and Sora collections any time- new titles added weekly. On Mondays through Fridays, 8am to 4pm, you can also access our Epic and Pinna collections of books, audiobooks, and podcasts for kids. Your Epic class code is SNY9020 and your Pinna code is 6S1LJ9.

If you prefer a print book, don’t forget to get your MyLibraryNYC card that allows FINE-FREE BORROWING(!!) for Rodeph Sholom Students from the New York Public Library. Check out their summer reading goodies, too! Most NYPL locations are now open for curbside pickup and limited browsing. If you are going to buy, we highly recommend indie locals WORD bookstores and Books of Wonder for your ordering needs- and be sure to check out their summer book programming for author visits, book clubs, and more.

Slidebrary will remain open for business through the beginning of next school year. You can use Slidebrary to get to different websites for music, art, science, math, and coding. Slidebrary is now student-edited, so if you want to be an editor and add different sites that you enjoy over the summer, please email Ms. Shaw at eshaw@rssnyc.org.

The Best 100 Closing Lines From Books

Now for the big question: What should you read?!?! The linked lists below will get you off to a great start. Parents, you can use your students’ login to access MackinVIA lists, or login with username rodeph and password sholom.

Student Recommendations – Rodeph Sholom’s Favorites

Dare To Be Scared Spooky stories to chill your bones

Falling for Sports Books for sports fanatics of all genders

Fantasy Magic, spells, witches and myths.

Funny Illustrated Fiction Like Big Nate or Dog Man? Try these funny illustrated books.

Graphic Novels For fans of Smile and El Deafo.

1st Grade Recommendations Great books for a range of interests and a range of 1st grade reading levels

2nd Grade Recommendations Great books for a range of interests and a range of 2nd grade reading levels

3rd Grade Recommendations Great books for a range of interests and a range of 3rd grade reading levels

Great Middle Grade Novels for Middle Schoolers Great books for fully launched readers with more middle-school themes.

Word Bookstore’s Summer Picks for Kids

Sora Sweet Reads

NYPL’s Summer Picks for Kids

The first books I’m reading? Not Your All-American Girl by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang and All Thirteen: The incredible cave rescue of the Thai boys’ soccer team by Christina Soontornvat.

For any account issues or password resets for current or former students, please contact Ms. Shaw at eshaw@rssnyc.org! Happy reading and…

5 tips for your home while you're out on a summer vacation

2nd Grade DL Recommendations

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The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (A.D.R.S.)

Blblblblb (J.S.)

Saturday by Oge Mora

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This gentle story about expectation, disappointment, and gratitude is perfect for teaching about Shabbat, special days, and dealing with unexpected challenges. -Elizabeth Shaw

Weslandia by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes

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This is a fantastic book to talk about the activities that make up culture and civilizations. It’s a long one for little kids to sit through, but the vibrant illustrations make it delightful to pore over or use with older kids. -Elizabeth Shaw

Yo? Yes! by Chris Raschka

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I love the simplicity of this book and have found it to be a powerful tool with children who present with emerging language. The illustrations are emotive and the friendship has a universal feeling. -Zubeida Ullah-Eisenberg

Recommend a book!

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