Spring Break Reading Tips

I know we are all excited about Spring Break. Although I know we all want to clear our heads, we also know that most children (and adults) actually have a hard time truly doing that. It’s actually a good thing to engage our brains in different ways. If you are on a road trip, I challenge you to turn the screens off and listen to an audiobook. If you are hanging out by the pool or at your house, try reading for pleasure. I always listen to audiobooks when I travel. They just keep me entertained, and I get to use my imagination to think about the various settings and plots of the books I am listening to.

In preparation for the break, I turned to our amazing library staff for age-appropriate reading recommendations. Here’s what they shared. Our libraries are open all day Friday, come by and pick up a book!

Allison Peter Jensen, Director of Libraries and Lower School Librarian

Early Readers

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder – This 2018 Geisel award winner is a beginning reader about brothers Charlie and Mouse. Join them on their unusual neighborhood adventures.

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper – In this 2018 Caldecott Honor book we meet a big cat, living alone happily, until little cat shows up.

Middle Grade Readers

The Real McCoys by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr – Fourth grader Moxie McCoy, full of confidence and bold opinions, is working on her toughest case yet, finding the school’s missing mascot, Eddie the Owl.

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey – Eddie, a tiny green bug who lives in a school, loves to read. When a new teacher tries to close the school library forever, Eddie, inspired by Charlotte’s Web, uses words to help save this special place.

Junior Fiction

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling – When Aven and her family leave the home she’s always known and move to Arizona for her parents to run a Western theme park, she has to start over. A girl who often joked about being born without arms, Aven struggles in her new home, where her new classmates stare at her and ask too many questions. Yet she remains optimistic, even when she uncovers a mystery involving disappearing tarantulas!

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August – Arlo thought that becoming a Ranger was about having excellent wilderness skills, but when he arrives in Pine Mountain, Colorado, he learns that there is a lot more to it. Can he harness the magic seeping from the woods to save himself and his friends?

Allie Bronston, Middle School Librarian

6th Grade & Up:

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore–When Lolly’s beloved older brother is killed in gang-related violence, Lolly is lost. But when he returns to a favorite childhood pastime, even Lolly is surprised by how competitive Lego building changes everything in his life for the better.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser–The charming, funny story of a family who is on the brink of being evicted from their apartment in New York City, and the lengths to which they will go to try to change their landlord’s mind.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate–This story features an unexpected but wonderful protagonist: a talking tree named Red who protects a new family in the neighborhood when their arrival isn’t met with kindness by their other neighbors.

7th/8th Grade & Up:

Warcross by Marie Lu–The first book in a gripping new science fiction series. Warcross lands the videogame-hacker protagonist in a futuristic Tokyo, where she must track another hacker who is threatening to sabotage the virtual reality game finals that have become an obsession for much of the world’s population.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton–This new dystopia series was released in February and has already gotten rave reviews from MS readers who loved The Selection series!

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson–A beautifully written 2018 Newbery Honor Book that follows Jade, a lower-income student at an affluent independent school in Portland, as she tries to bridge her home life and her school life and make sense of how different they are. This lovely story embodies the CA character and culture values of kindness and courage, and will inspire readers to deepen their own sense of empathy.

Lindsey Beatty, Upper School Librarian

If you liked Big Little Lies or just want a book you won’t be able to put down, try Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.  Reese Witherspoon writes, “To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.”

If you liked Enrique’s Journey or want to learn more about the immigration debate, try The Lines Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu.  “Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River goes behind the headlines, making urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.”

The Lines Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu.

The Lines Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu.

If you liked All The Light We Cannot See or enjoy Historical Fiction, try The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  “A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival―and the essence of what makes us human” (Family Circle).

If you liked The Martian, try Artemis, Andy Weir’s latest book.  “Narrated by a kick-ass leading lady, this thriller has it all–a smart plot, laugh-out-loud funny moments, and really cool science. A four-star read” (Library Journal).

If you liked We Were Liars or are looking for a suspenseful, fun read that will keep you guessing, try One of Us.

Thanks to our librarians for their great suggestions and advocacy for the power of reading. I hope everyone has a great break!