Summer Reading Lists & Faculty Recommendations

Ah, summer! Students, parents and teachers alike have been counting down to summer break. It is a time for fun and relaxation, spending time with family and friends, and the beauty of schole.

As a part of their summer schole, students of all ages (and their families!) are strongly encouraged to make reading a part of their daily routine. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies, read individually or out loud together should inspire and fuel a sense of wonder and curiosity for both students and adults.

To this end, ILS offers families a list of suggested readings for both Upper and Lower School students. Students may enjoy reading books from their own grade level, or listening as parents read aloud from more challenging texts.

With so many excellent choices from which to choose, we asked our faculty to share some of their personal recommendations to help you get started! We'd love to hear from you, too. Do you or your kids have any favorites on these lists you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!

I would recommend so many of these, but the ones that jumped out to me today, from my own summers past, are:

My Side of the Mountain

Both are about children surviving in the wild against all odds, and caused me to wonder how I would survive in the wild. It inspired me to read more about animals, survival crafts, and a variety of terrains. Children can do extraordinary things!
— Ms. Kramer, Assistant Headmaster
Oooh! So many great books to choose from!

I definitely recommend reading (or re-reading!) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. The 6th grade class and I had a delightful time laughing over Anne’s very relateable mishaps and scrapes. Reading Anne always inspires me to enjoy the outdoors and find “scope for the imagination.”

Some wonderful, adventuresome summer reads are Redwall by Brian Jacques, The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, and Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Redwall is the story of a mouse-turned-war hero and combines animals, knights, bravery, and honor in a delightful tale. The Book of Three is the first in a fantasy-adventure series that were some of my favorites growing up! A Wrinkle in Time is one of those books that first made me realize that a book could change the way you think (plus, the movie will be coming out early next year!).

For older students (and adults!), I recommend The Screwtape Letters or The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Lewis has amazing skill in teaching truth through delightful story, and these are two of my favorites. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is both an intriguing and insightful story. Finally,The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite book of all time (yes, it is one book in three volumes). If you haven’t read it, DO!
— Miss Davis (Upper School Literature Teacher)
Mr. Poppers Penguins:
Mr. Popper’s Penguins was a favorite of last year’s second grade class. The students found the antics of Popper’s Performing Penguins hilarious which inspired creative suggestions of how we could feasibly get a penguin as a class pet!
— Miss Reistad (2nd Grade)
Green Eggs and Ham – might encourage you to try some yummy new foods!

Fish out of Water – because sometimes it’s okay to feel like a fish out of water.

Mouse and the Motorcycle – I still remember a project I did about this book when I was in elementary school, long long ago (but not in a galaxy far away).

Any of the historical books on the list dealing with the Civil War. Many of the battles and actions revolving around the Civil War happened in the summer. To think of soldiers fighting in wool coats and pants in summer, to think of slaves trying to obtain freedom in the north, travelling during hot summer nights, and with all the opportunities in the area we live in to see the places where those things took place, it’s all very exciting. I have fond memories of visiting the sites of the battles of Bull Run, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and Wilderness with my dad.
— Coach Able, Lower School PE
A Tale of Two Cities’ is one of my all time favorites. While I find the entire book compelling, my first read of it taught me perseverance as Dickens has no qualms with very slowly building up a story before he rewards you with a beautiful and dramatic finish. While I could never choose a favorite book, I can confidently say that Sydney Carton is my favorite character in all of literature. He teaches the reader empathy. Just when you think someone in your life is too difficult to love or have compassion for, through Sydney one sees that “every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
— Mr. Thompson, Upper School Teacher
I loved reading so many of these books as a child, and I still love to re-read them even now! A few highlights for me include:

* From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - One of my all-time favorites! I loved imagining if I could pull off hiding out and living in a museum. Add to that challenge of solving a mystery, and it is just a wonderful adventure.

*Pride & Prejudice - Truly anything by Jane Austen is delightful, and the more I re-read her work, the more I fall in love with the characters and their stories.

* Anne of Green Gables - I recently re-read this entire series after far too many years, and I was just as captivated as I had been when I’d first read about the fiery red-head with the most brilliant imagination fierce determination.
— Mrs. Work, Director of Advancement
Robinson Crusoe is one of the greatest books of all time!! I plan on at least starting the Lord of the Rings trilogy again this summer - it has become a regular summer read for me!
— Mr. Schultz, Upper School Teacher
The American Girl Series:
I loved reading The American Girl series growing up! My name was actually inspired by my cousin’s love of the Kirsten books, so those were obvious favorites. I was also fascinated by the Molly series and learning about life in the World War II era.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel:
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel is a timeless tale that last years first graders particularly enjoyed. The illustrations are delightful and really bring the story to life!
— Miss Reistad (1st grade)