At seven years of age, most children (but not all, and that's okay) are starting to read independently. It's an exciting time for young readers when suddenly whole new worlds open up to them. Summer reading is a great opportunity for them to discover new books. This diverse summer reading list for 7-9 year olds includes early chapter books and series, graphic novels and even some fascinating nonfiction so your developing reader can find their next favorite genre!
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Would you like a printable version of this summer reading list for 7-9 year olds? Grab it at the end of the post!
These chapter book series and stand alone novels introduce fun new characters and adventures kids will love. Large print, lots of illustrations and short chapters make them easy to read.
JOJO MAKOONS (series) by Dawn Quigley, illustrated by Tara Audibert
JoJo is a clever, spunky heroine and she makes lots of mistakes–but she's learning! JoJo's narrative voice is irresistible, and Quigley includes wonderful word play and sly humor throughout. The story centers around JoJo's experiences at school and with her friend, Fern, with whom she's having some difficulties. A wonderful series!
HOCKEY NIGHT IN KENYA by Danson Mutinda and Eric Walters, illustrated by Claudia Dávila
Set in modern day Africa, this book about boys dreaming of playing ice hockey is an inspiring read for your sports-crazy kid. Two boys, Kitoo and Nigosi, learn about Canadian ice hockey from a book they check out from the library. They are determined to play this intriguing sport, despite the lack of snow and ice in their home country. It's a wonderful, positive story about friendship and perseverance.
POLLY DIAMOND AND THE MAGIC BOOK (series) by Alice Kuipers, illustrated by Diana Toledano
Polly is a charming heroine and this is a relentlessly (in a good way!) cheerful book. One day, Polly gets a book and is delighted to find out that whatever she writes comes true. But there is a catch, Polly must get the wording exactly right. Luckily, Polly loves words and stories. As you can imagine, things get a little out of hand but all is well in the end!
BADIR AND THE BEAVER by Shannon Stewart, illustrated by Christian Down
One day Badir, a recent Tunisian immigrant to Canada, spots a beaver. He is entranced by the animal, which he thinks is a large swimming rat. Badir soon learns that the beaver is the national animal of Canada and that some residents want the "pest" removed from the park because of damage to trees. Badir and his friends rally to learn all they can about beavers and help the animal. Stewart deftly weaves themes of belonging and cultural diversity into this marvelous story.
AVEN GREEN, SLEUTHING MACHINE (series) by Dusti Bowling, illustrated by Gina Perry
I adored Bowling's middle grade novel, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, and its heroine, Aven Green, is now the star of her very own early chapter book series. Green is a third-grader born without arms, and has a penchant for solving mysteries. A funny series with a unique and tremendously likable protagonists.
BOBBY THE BRAVE (SOMETIMES) by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat
Bobby Ellis-Chan struggles with the fact that he is not interested in football even though his dad is a retired professional. "The Freezer," as his dad is known, is now a stay-at-home dad and while the siblings have their usual back-and-forths, it is a functional, loving family. Bobby's family is bi-racial and his friends come from diverse backgrounds.
CUCKOO FEATHERS (Simply Sarah Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, illustrated by Marcy Ramsey
A diverse group of friends have adventures in Chicago. Plots revolve around main protagonist, Sarah Simpson, who gets big ideas and wants to put them into action. In first book, Cuckoo Feathers, the apartment-dwelling kids attempt to adopt a pigeon who visits their fire escape.
DONOVAN'S WORD JAR by Monalisa DeGross, illustrated by Cheryl Hanna
Donovan loves words so much he keeps them on slips of paper in a jar. When he sees a new word, he drops it in his jar. He begins to worry about the jar filling up; does that mean he won't be able to learn any new words? I was enamored with the idea of the word jar and I love the conclusion Donavan comes to about the benefits of sharing words with others.
Graphic novels are not a lesser form of reading! They offer a good opportunity for voracious and reluctant readers to dive into a book, especially if they love fantasy or science fiction.
RISE OF THE HALFLING KING by David Bowles, illustrated by Charlene Cosette Bowles
Bowles draws upon Mesoamerican mythology to tell the story of Sayam, a boy who was born from an egg and raised by Almah, a witch who lives in the Yucatán peninsula. Sayam may be the one to fulfill the prophecy that the cruel king, Kinich Kak Ek, will be overthrown by a boy not born of a woman. This is the first in what is set to be a 10 book series. Ages 8 and up.
WHERE'S HALMONI by Julie Kim
This is such a wonderful and unique book! Two siblings arrive at halmoni’s house (grandmother's house) but their grandmother is missing; instead, they see paw prints! They go looking for her and what follows is a splendid adventure inspired by Korean folklore. The story is separated into several sections based on their encounters with a rabbit, goblins and the tiger. Human dialogue is in English, non-human is in Korean but non-Korean speakers will have no problems following the story, and a translation is provided. Don't miss this one!
WHEN PIGS FLY (series) by Rob Harrell
This new graphic novel series is hilarious! Video game and comics-loving Gary the pig gets a radioactive bite from Brooklyn the bat and transforms into the superhero, Batpig! Fast-paced, super silly adventures follow, but this book is not at all ridiculous. Friendship dynamics offer social-emotional learning, as well.
THE STORY OF.. (series)
I absolutely adore this series of biographies published by Lee & Low. Each book focuses on an influential figure, most of whom will be unfamiliar to young readers. Chock full of more information than you might expect in a children's book biography, the stories are fascinating.
All 12 books with teacher guides are listed here at the publisher's website.
BLACK HEROES OF THE WILD WEST by James Otis Smith
Yes, indeed, there were many Black heroes in the Wild West and they led fascinating lives, as this graphic novel will show you. Smith shares the tales of Mary Fields, aka “Stagecoach Mary,” Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi, and Bob Lemmons, a talented horseman. The stories will transfix you, and Smith shares interesting historical facts and background in extensive endnotes. Ages 7 and up.
HIDE AND SEEK HISTORY (series) by Jonny Marx, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat
I love putting wild cards on my book lists and this oversized lift-the-flap tour of Ancient Egypt brings welcome variety to summer reading! The book contains tons of facts delivered in over 80 flaps, some of which are flaps-within-flaps. Great fun!