A co-educational, non-sectarian, independent school serving grades PreK through 8th since 1982

Summer Reading

In the context of time to relax and enjoy summer adventures, a moderate amount of summer reading is important for children to maintain their literacy skills.

Children in grades 4-8 have required summer reading in preparation for classroom activities early in the first trimester.

Our students appreciate that reading is a fun way to travel to far away lands, undertake countless adventures, and pursue their interests during the summer.

Required Summer Reading (Grades 4 - 8)

Students entering the following grades should have the listed book read before school starts:

4th grade: "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate

5th grade: "Counting by 7s" by Holly Goldberg Sloan

6th grade: "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" by Ingri d'Aulaire

7th grade: "Among the Hidden" by Margaret Peterson Haddix

8th grade: "American Born Chinese" by Gene Luen Yang (reading guide with questions for download)

Purchases from local independent bookstore Hicklebee's benefit ACS Library programs. Just mention "Almaden Country School!"

Recommended Reading

Our librarian and classroom teachers collaborate each year to compile a summer reading guide appropriate for each incoming grade level. These are titles from which parent can choose from; it's important to note that children are not expected to get through the whole list at each grade level. This list will continue to evolve so please check back for new additions.

Read head of school Dr. Ole Jorgenson's latest article, "Don't Let your Children Experience the 'Summer Slide,'" to learn more about how summer reading impacts literacy.


  • "Waiting" by Kevin Henkes
  • "Mix it Up" by Hervé Tullet (or Press Here)
  • "Who Done It?" by Olivier Tallec
  • Elephant & Piggie Series Mo Willems
  • "To the Sea" by Cale Atkinson


  • "Spot, the Cat" by Henry Cole
  • "Otis" by Loren Long
  • "Blackout" by John Rocco
  • "Elephant & Piggie Series" by Mo Willems
  • "One" by Kathryn Otoshi
  • "Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree" by Kate Messner

First Grade

  • "Red: A Crayon’s Story" by Michael Hall
  • "The Girl and the Bicycle" by Mark Pett
  • "The Book with No Pictures" by BJ Novak
  • "Elephant & Piggie Series" by Mo Willems
  • "I’m Trying To Love Spiders" by Bethany Barton
  • "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt
  • "You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You" by John Ciardi

Second Grade

  • "Journey" by Aaron Becker
  • "Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña
  • "The Princess in Black Series" by Shannon Hale
  • "Heidi Heckelbeck Series" by Wanda Coven
  • "Dory Fantasmagory" by Abby Hanlon
  • "Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package" by Steve Jenkins
  • Any Magic Tree House book
  • Any National Geographic For Kids publication
  • "Guess Who, Haiku" by Deanna Caswell
  • "OH NO, ASTRO!" by Matt Roese

Third Grade

  • The Who Was Series (Example: Who Was Gandhi? Dana Meachen Rau)
  • "Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth" by Judd Winick
  • Where on Earth? DK Publishing
  • "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear" by Lindsay Mattick
  • "A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans" by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder
  • "BFG" by Roald Dahl

Fourth Grade

  • "El Deafo" by Cece Bell
  • "Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin" by Liesl Shurtliff
  • "Weird but True: 300 Outrageous Facts National Geographic Children’s Books"
  • "National Geographic Kids Why?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything Hardcover" – October 13, 2015 Crispin Boyer
  • "Coding Games in Scratch Paperback" by Jon Woodcock
  • Any of the "I Survived" series
  • "Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome"
  • Andy Griffith’s "Tree House" series
  • "THE WILD ROBOT" by Peter Brown

Fifth Grade

  • "Sisters" by Raina Telgemeier
  • "RollerGirl" by Victoria Jamieson
  • "Pax" by Sara Pennypacker
  • "Fish in a Tree" by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • "Secret Coders" by Gene Luen Yang
  • "Mastermind: Over 100 Games, Tests, and Puzzles to Unleash Your Inner Genius" (National Geographic Kids)
  • "Maker Lab" by Jack Challoner
  • The Basher series
  • The Penderwick Series
  • Any and all of David Walliams
  • "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

Sixth Grade

  • "Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars" by Nathan Hale
  • "The Nameless City" by Faith Erin Hicks
  • "The Worst Class Trip Ever" by Dave Barry
  • Rick Riordan books
  • The Accelerati Trilogy, Book One: "Tesla's Attic" by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman
  • "National Geographic Kids Brain Games: The Mind-Blowing Science of Your Amazing Brain" by Jennifer Swanson
  • Knowledge Encyclopedia Hardcover DK
  • "The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure" by Caroline Paul
  • "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio
  • The "Basher" series
  • "Space Case" and "Spy School" series by Stuart Gibbs

Seventh Grade

  • "The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics Daniel" by James Brown
  • "Apollo: The Brilliant One" by George O’Connor
  • "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander
  • "Raymie Nightingale" by Kate DiCamillo

Eighth Grade

  • "I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)" by Malala Yousafzai
  • "Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War" by Steve Sheinkin
  • "The Hired Girl" by Laura Amy Schlitz

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”— Confucius

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