• Department of Academics


  • Summer Reading Book Recommendations by Grade Level

    Selected by East Brunswick Language Arts Teachers


    Title/ Author



    The Sandcastle that Lola Built  by Megan Maynor

    This funny and modern take on The House that Jack Built is sure to make your whole family want to pack up and head to the beach. Lola is building a dreamy sandcastle and has visions of mermaids moving in. But the beach is crowded, and her sandcastle falls again and again. Undaunted, Lola recruits the responsible parties to help out, and her sandcastle (and circle of friends) gets bigger and bigger — until a wave crashes in. Will the sandcastle — and Lola’s cheerful can-do attitude — recover? With messages of cooperation and perseverance, this book is sure to become a favorite.


    And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner

    This positively delightful, nostalgic book is an ode to summer, from a child’s joyful anticipation of the last day of school to all the sweaty, sticky, glorious moments that follow.


    Goldfish on Vacation  by Sally Lloyd-Jones

    What seems like a pretty boring summer vacation quickly becomes exciting when an unkept fountain in New York City is fixed up and turned into a goldfish pond. The entire community comes together to bring their goldfish for a little vacation and listen to stories about the olden days. With bright retro-style illustrations and a sweet storyline based on true events, this book will draw in young and old readers alike.



    First Grade

    Title/ Author



    Henry and Mudge First Book by Cynthia Rylant

    The first book in the acclaimed Ready-to-Read series from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant featuring Henry and his lovable 180-pound dog, Mudge. Henry, feeling lonely on a street without any other children, finds companionship and love in a big dog named Mudge.

    Puppy Mudge Finds a Friend by Cynthia Rylant

    Puppy Mudge and his new friend, Fluffy, play and play until they get so tired that they curl up together for a nap. Who says cats and dogs can't be friends? Young readers can begin to read this story on their own!


    Jasper & Ollie by Alex Willan

    Best friends Jasper and Ollie decide to go to the pool. On your mark, get set . . . WAIT! As Jasper races ahead—crashing into the mailman, speeding past the ice cream truck—Ollie takes his sweet time, pausing to admire a butterfly, smell a daisy, and help the mailman pick up his letters!



    Second Grade 

    Title and Author



    Gooney Bird Greene by Lowis Lowery

    This ALA Notable Children's Book by two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry introduces the reader to a new girl in town — Gooney Bird Greene. There's never been anyone quite like her at Watertower Elementary School. What other new kid comes to school wearing pajamas and cowboy boots one day, and a polka-dot t-shirt and tutu on another? Best of all, Gooney Bird keeps her teacher and classmates on the edge of their seats with her "absolutely true" stories during storytime.


    Stink The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald



    Shrink, shrank, shrunk! Every morning, Judy Moody measures Stink and it's always the same: three feet, eight inches tall. Stink feels like even the class newt is growing faster than he is. Then, one day, the ruler reads — can it be? — three feet, seven and three quarters inches! Is Stink shrinking?

    He tries everything to look like he's growing, but wearing up-and-down stripes and spiking his hair aren't fooling anyone into thinking he's taller. If only he could ask James Madison — Stink's hero, and the shortest person ever to serve as President of the United States.

    In Stink's first solo adventure, his special style comes through loud and strong — enhanced by a series of comic strips, drawn by Stink himself, which are sprinkled throughout the book. From The Adventures of Stink in Shrink Monster to The Adventures of Stink in Newt in Shining Armor, these very funny, homespun sagas reflect the familiar voice of a kid who pictures himself with super powers to deal with the travails of everyday life — including the occasional teasing of a bossy big sister!


    Houndsley and Catina by Marie-Louise Gay and James Howe

    The subtle dance of friendship is played out in three sweetly humorous tales about an unlikely, likable pair. Howe's funny and endearing world of ginger tea, no-bean chili, and firefly watching is brought to life in cozy watercolors by Gay in this tender chapter book about what it means to be friends.



    Third Grade

    Title/ Author



    The Princess in Black 

    By Shannon Hale

    What do you get when you combine a princess and a superhero? The Princess in Black, a superhero working hard to save the goats from the monsters who want to eat them AND to keep her alter-ego, Princess Marigold, meeting all the social conventions a princess is expected to meet!


    Geronimo Stilton

    by Elisabetta Dami

    Geronimo Stilton is working hard at his newspaper when his sister shows up with a treasure map she's found at a flea market. In no time at all the two of them are heading out to sea toward the deserted island. Just getting to the treasure may take every ounce of courage this fearless journalist can muster! Seasickness, bad clams, sinking ships—Geronimo and his sister encounter them all. 

    And the deserted island may not be so empty after all!

    With the whiz-bang action of a Saturday morning cartoon, this humorous book launched a hugely successful international series.


    Lola Levine

    by Monica Brown


    Lola Levine is a soccer-obsessed, word-loving second-grader who has a loving family, a believably affectionate/antagonist relationship with her younger brother, and not as many friends as she’d like. Lola embraces both sides of her Peruvian/white Jewish family and grows and changes in her own lovable way!




    Fourth Grade 

    Title/ Author



    One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko

    Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he’s over a lot. And then there’s Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.

    Recently, Cupcake has a problem–she’s peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn’t stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

    When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season’s crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family’s life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William’s windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

    Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy’s brilliant idea can light up the world. Complete with photographs, illustrations, and an epilogue that will bring readers up to date on William’s story, this is the perfect edition to read and share with the whole family.

    Escape This Book! Titanic by Bill Doyle

    Reader, beware! Once you open this book, there is no turning back. You will have three chances to survive the Titanic‘s fateful voyage. Decide which path to take first.


    In the Escape This Book! series, YOU are the star of history! Doodle your way through adventures as you decide the best path for survival. Don’t be afraid to rip or fold a page. . . . Your escape may depend on it!




    Fifth Grade




    Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson, haunted by his secret knowledge of his mother’s infidelity, is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since the divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

    At first consumed by despair and self-pity, Brian slowly learns survival skills—how to make a shelter for himself, how to hunt and fish and forage for food, how to make a fire—and even finds the courage to start over from scratch when a tornado ravages his campsite. When Brian is finally rescued after fifty-four days in the wild, he emerges from his ordeal with new patience and maturity, and a greater understanding of himself and his parents.


    Wonder by R.J. Palacio

    August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. Wonder begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.


    Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

    Greg Kenton has two obsessions — making money and his long-standing competition with his annoying neighbor, Maura Shaw. So when Greg discovers that Maura is cutting into his booming Chunky Comics business with her own original illustrated minibooks, he's ready to declare war.

    The problem is, Greg has to admit that Maura's books are good, and soon the longtime enemies become unlikely business partners. But their budding partnership is threatened when the principal bans the sale of their comics in school. Suddenly, the two former rivals find themselves united against an adversary tougher than they ever were to each other. Will their enterprise — and their friendship — prevail?



    Sixth and Seventh Grade

    The Testing 

    by Joelle Charbonneau

    It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.


    The Maze Runner

     by James Dashner

    The first book of the Maze Runner series, James Dashner sends us into a thrilling ride in an unusual post-apocalyptic world. It all starts when Thomas arrives in The Glade, an enclosure surrounded by hundreds of mazes. In order to leave the place, Thomas and the other occupants of the Glade have to maneuver themselves through the maze and find an exit. A bestselling novel with a movie adaptation, The Maze Runner is a powerful and gripping James Dashner novel that is truly a page turner.



    by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was a big deal. Then he and a neighbor, Chip, who finds out he's also adopted, begin receiving mysterious letters, saying things such as: "You are one of the missing," and, "Beware! They're coming back to get you." 

    Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's little sister Katherine are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere—and people who seem to disappear and reappear at will...and make a staggering discovery: Jonah and Chip, and some other kids are actually the missing children from history, stolen for profit by time travelers. Now, they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for them--and their choices will determine the course of their own lives, and the lives of their friends.