NEH Announces Children’s Booklist for Summertime Reading

E. Ethelbert Miller reads book of poems
Photo caption

E. Ethelbert Miller reads poetry to students at the C.W. Harris Elementary School.

Chris Flynn

WASHINGTON, (June 13, 2012)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced a new NEH summer reading booklist for children in kindergarten through the 8th grade.

Organized by grade level, the NEH Summer Booklist offers suggestions of 238 books recommended for young readers.  The titles range from such classics as Madeline and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to Fahrenheit 451 and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but also include newer works such as CoralineThe Invention of Hugo CabretHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and The Book Thief.

NEH has published a summer reading list for children since 1988. The criterion for inclusion is that a book have “lasting value.” This year the list has been updated with 90 new books recommended by the American Library Association (ALA) and vetted by NEH staff and other readers.

The updated reading list was released just as schools across the nation are getting out for the summer vacation to assist students and parents in making summer reading selections.  It was announced today by NEH Chairman Leach at the C.W. Harris Elementary School in Washington DC, where a class of 4thgraders gathered to hear a selection of Langston Hughes poems from The Dream Keeper and Other Poems —recommended for readers in grades 4-6 — read by E. Ethelbert Miller, an award-winning poet and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University.

The updated reading list forms part of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, which engages the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.  “The joy of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to our children,” said Chairman Leach. “We hope this list will help kids discover the enormous pleasures and rewards of sitting down with a great book.”  


The updated NEH Summertime Booklist appears below:



Recommended for K-3, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

Aardema, Verna and Leo & Diane Dillon

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale


Aesop’s Fables

Allard, Harry and James Marshall

Miss Nelson Is Missing!

Atwater, Richard and Florence

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Barrows, Annie and Sophie Blackall

Ivy + Bean

Becker, Bonny and
Kady MacDonald Denton

A Visitor for Bear

Bemelmans, Ludwig


Blume, Judy

Freckle Juice

Brown, Marcia

Stone Soup

Brunhoff, Jean de

The Story of Babar, The Little Elephant

Burton, Virginia Lee

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Cameron, Ann and Ann Strugnell

The Stories Julian Tells

Cleary, Beverly

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Cronin, Doreen and Harry Bliss

Diary of a Worm

DePaola, Tomie

Strega Nona

Dorros, Arthur and Elisa Kleven


Duvoisin, Roger


Estes, Eleanor and Louis Slobodkin

The Hundred Dresses

Freeman, Don


Gag, Wanda

Millions of Cats

Gannett, Ruth Stiles and
Ruth Chrisman Gannett

My Father’s Dragon

Garza, Carmen Lomas and
Harriet Rohmer

In My Family / En Mi Familia

Grahame, Kenneth and
Michael Hague

The Reluctant Dragon

Grimes, Nikki and Javaka Steptoe

A Pocketful of Poems

Guest, Elissa Haden and Christine Davenier

Iris and Walter

Hamilton, Virginia and
Leo & Diane Dillon

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

Harper, Charise Mericle

Just Grace

Henkes, Kevin


Hoban, Russell and Garth Williams

Bedtime for Frances

Hodges, Margaret and Trina Schart Hyman

Saint George and the Dragon

Hoff, Syd

Danny and the Dinosaur

Hoffman, Mary and Caroline Binch

Amazing Grace

Howe, James and Marie-Louise Gay

Houndsley and Catina

Johnson, Crockett

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Keats, Ezra Jack

The Snowy Day

Kraus, Robert and Jose Aruego

Leo the Late Bloomer

Krauss, Ruth and Crockett Johnson

The Carrot Seed

Kvasnosky, Laura McGee

Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways

Le Guin, Ursula K. and S.D. Schindler


Leaf, Munro and Robert Lawson

The Story of Ferdinand

Lear, Edward

A Book of Nonsense

Lin, Grace

The Year of the Dog

Lionni, Leo


Lobel, Arnold

Frog and Toad are Friends

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

Paul Revere’s Ride

Lopshire, Robert

Put Me in the Zoo

Marshall, James

George and Martha

McDermott, Gerald

Anansi the Spider

Milne, A.A. and Ernest H. Shepard


Minarik, Else Holmelund and
Maurice Sendak

Little Bear

Munsch, Robert and
Michael Martchenko

The Paper Bag Princess

Myers, Christopher


Noble, Trinka Hakes and
Steven Kellogg

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash

Numeroff, Laura Joffe and
Felicia Bond

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Parish, Peggy and Fritz Siebel

Amelia Bedelia

Pennypacker, Sara and
Marla Frazee


Piper, Watty and Loren Long

The Little Engine that Could

Portis, Antoinette

Not a Box

Potter, Beatrix

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Prelutsky, Jack and Marc Brown

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

Rey, H.A.

Curious George

Ringgold, Faith

Tar Beach

Rylant, Cynthia and
Suçie Stevenson

Henry and Mudge

Say, Allen

Grandfather’s Journey

Scieszka, Jon and Lane Smith

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

Sendak, Maurice

Where the Wild Things Are

Seuss, Dr.

Green Eggs and Ham

Sharmat, Marjorie Weinman
and Marc Simont

Nate the Great

Silverman, Erica and Betsy Lewin

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

Silverstein, Shel

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Slobodkina, Esphyr

Caps for Sale

Smith, Jeff

Little Mouse Gets Ready

Steig, William

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Steptoe, John

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

Stevenson, Robert Louis

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Thurber, James and Louis Slobodkin

Many Moons

Udry, Janice May and Marc Simont

A Tree is Nice

Ungerer, Tomi


Van Allsburg, Chris

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi

Viorst, Judith and Ray Cruz

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

White, E.B. and Garth Williams

Charlotte’s Web

Willems, Mo

There is a Bird on Your Head!

Wood, Audrey and Don Wood

The Napping House

Yashima, Taro

Crow Boy

Yee, Wong Herbert

Mouse and Mole: A Winter Wonderland

Zion, Gene and
Margaret Bloy Graham

Harry the Dirty Dog

Zolotow, Charlotte and
William Pène Du Bois

William’s Doll



Alexander, Lloyd

Prydain Chronicles

Andersen, Hans Christian

Fairy Tales

Avi and Brian Floca


Babbitt, Natalie

Tuck Everlasting

Baum, L. Frank

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Birdsall, Jeanne

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Boston, L.M.

The Children of Green Knowe

Brooks, Gwendolyn and Faith Ringgold

Bronzeville Boys and Girls

Burnett, Frances Hodgson

The Secret Garden

Byars, Betsy

The Summer of the Swans

Carroll, Lewis

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Clements, Andrew and
Brian Selznick


Collins, Suzanne

Gregor the Overlander

Collodi, Carlo

The Adventures of Pinocchio

Cooper, Susan

The Dark is Rising

Creech, Sharon


Curtis, Christopher Paul

Bud, Not Buddy

D’Aulaire, Ingri and
Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths

Dahl, Roald and Quentin Blake

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

DiCamillo, Kate

Because of Winn-Dixie

Dowd, Siobhan

The London Eye Mystery

DuPrau, Jeanne

The City of Ember

Eager, Edward

Half Magic

Erdrich, Louise

The Birchbark House

Estes, Eleanor

The Moffats

Farley, Walter

The Black Stallion

Fitzhugh, Louise

Harriet the Spy

Freedman, Russell

Lincoln, A Photobiography

Gaiman, Neil


Gantos, Jack

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

George, Jean Craighead

My Side of the Mountain

Grahame, Kenneth

The Wind in the Willows

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm

The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Henry, Marguerite

Misty of Chincoteague

Hiaasen, Carl


Hoberman, Mary Ann and
Wendy Anderson Halperin

Strawberry Hill

Howe, Deborah & James
and Alan Daniel


Hughes, Langston

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems

Ibbotson, Eva and Sue Porter

Secret of Platform 13

Irving, Washington

Rip Van Winkle

Jansson, Tove

Moominland Midwinter

Juster, Norton and Jules Feiffer

The Phantom Tollbooth

Kipling, Rudyard

The Jungle Book

Konigsburg, E.L.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Lamb, Charles and Mary

Tales from Shakespeare

Lawson, Robert

Ben and Me

Lenski, Lois

Strawberry Girl

Lewis, C.S.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Lin, Grace

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Lindgren, Astrid

Pippi Longstocking

Lofting, Hugh

Doctor Dolittle

Lovelace, Maud Hart


Lowry, Lois

Number the Stars

Macaulay, David


MacLachlan, Patricia

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Mathis, Sharon Bell and
Leo & Diane Dillon

The Hundred Penny Box

McCloskey, Robert

Homer Price

Merrill, Jean

The Pushcart War

Montgomery, L.M.

Anne of Green Gables

Murphy, Jim

The Great Fire

Nesbit, E.

The Railway Children

North, Sterling


Norton, Mary

The Borrowers

O’Brien, Robert C.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Park, Linda Sue

When My Name was Keoko

Paterson, Katherine

Bridge to Terabithia

Pearce, Philippa

Tom’s Midnight Garden

Perrault, Charles

The Complete Fairy Tales

Reiss, Johanna

The Upstairs Room

Rowling, J.K.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Ryan, Pam Munoz

Esperanza Rising

Sachar, Louis


Selznick, Brian

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Sewell, Anna

Black Beauty

Sharp, Margery

The Rescuers

Sperry, Armstrong

Call It Courage

Spyri, Johanna


Stewart, Trenton Lee and
Carson Ellis

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Sutcliff, Rosemary

The Wanderings of Odysseus

Taylor, Sydney and Helen John

All-of-a-Kind Family

Travers, P.L.

Mary Poppins

Wilder, Laura Ingalls and
Garth Williams

Little House on the Prairie

Woodson, Jacqueline


Wyss, Johann

Swiss Family Robinson



Alcott, Louisa May

Little Women

Almond, David


Bagnold, Enid

National Velvet

Bradbury, Ray

Fahrenheit 451

Cleaver, Vera and Bill Cleaver

Where the Lilies Bloom

Cooper, James Fenimore

The Last of the Mohicans

Defoe, Daniel

Robinson Crusoe

Douglass, Frederick

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Dumas, Alexander

The Count of Monte Cristo

Eckert, Allan W.

Incident at Hawk’s Hill

Engdahl, Sylvia

Enchantress from the Stars

Forester, C.S.

The Horatio Hornblower Series

Frank, Anne

The Diary of a Young Girl

Frost, Robert


George, Jean Craighead

Julie of the Wolves

Hamilton, Virginia

M.C. Higgins, the Great

Hautzig, Esther

The Endless Steppe

Hilton, James

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Hinton, S.E.

The Outsiders

Hoose, Phillip

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Hugo, Victor

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hunt, Irene

Across Five Aprils

Hunter, Mollie

A Stranger Came Ashore

Irving, Washington

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Johnson, Angela


Keith, Harold

Rifles for Watie

Keller, Helen

The Story of My Life

Korman, Gordon

No More Dead Dogs

LaFleur, Suzanne

Love, Aubrey

Le Guin, Ursula K.

A Wizard of Earthsea

L’Engle, Madeleine

A Wrinkle in Time

Lester, Julius and Tom Feelings

To Be a Slave

London, Jack

Call of the Wild

Malory, Sir Thomas

Le Morte d’Arthur

McCaffrey, Anne


O’Dell, Scott

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Oppel, Kenneth


Paterson, Katherine

Jacob I Have Loved

Paulsen, Gary and Drew Willis


Peck, Richard

A Long Way from Chicago

Peck, Robert Newton

A Day No Pigs Would Die

Pratchett, Terry

The Wee Free Men

Pyle, Howard

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan

The Yearling

Rawls, Wilson

Where the Red Fern Grows

Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de

The Little Prince

Schaefer, Jack


Schmidt, Gary D.

The Wednesday Wars

Scott, Sir Walter


Shelley, Mary


Smith, Betty

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Speare, Elizabeth George

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Steinbeck, John

The Red Pony

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Treasure Island

Taylor, Mildred D.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Tolan, Stephanie S.

Surviving the Applewhites

Tolkien, J.R.R.

The Hobbit

Twain, Mark

TheAdventures of Tom Sawyer

Uchida, Yoshiko

Journey to Topaz

Verne, Jules

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Webster, Jean


Wells, H.G.

The War of the Worlds

Wilder, Thornton

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Yep, Laurence


Zindel, Paul

The Pigman

Zusak, Markus

The Book Thief


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