Our Summer Reading Picks – Kids Edition

 

 

When the final bell rings on the last day of school, kids are looking forward to time with friends, camps or vacations and all the summer adventures that lie ahead. And what better adventure than getting lost in a good book?

 

We asked local readers for their recommendations to keep kids engaged, creative and inspired – all while helping to fight the summer slide.

 

 

 

For Building Self-Esteem (Preschool)

I Like Myself!

 

By Karen Beaumont

 

Full of energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves – inside and out.

 

-Mark Keeley, President & CEO, St. Louis Arc

 

 

 

Exploring Emotions (Preschool)

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings

 

By Jo Witek

 

With poetic but direct language, readers encounter new words and opportunities to practice articulating emotions.

 

-United Way staff pick

 

 

 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Ages 4-8)

Mixed: A Colorful Story

 

By Arree Chung

 

In the beginning, the reds, the yellows, and the blues all think they’re the best in this vibrant, thought-provoking picture book about acceptance and unity.

 

-Toni Jackson, Center Director, Cornerstone Center for Early Learning

 

 

 

Lessons About Disability (Ages 7-10)

My Brother Charlie

 

By Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

 

Actress and national autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete collaborated with her daughter Ryan to write this story about Callie and her twin brother Charlie, who has autism.

 

-Mark Keeley, President & CEO, St. Louis Arc

 

 

 

Local History (Ages 8-12)

Growing Up with the River: Nine Generations on the Missouri

 

By Dan and Connie Burkhardt

 

Readers meet nine generations of children who grew up along the Missouri River, from Hermann to St. Charles, in this story that is beautifully illustrated by Missouri landscape painter Bryan Haynes.

 

-United Way staff pick

 

 

 

For Inspiring Kindness (Ages 8-12)

Wonder

 

By R. J. Palacio

 

Adapted into an acclaimed major motion picture, this unforgettable story follows Auggie, who was born with a facial difference, and his community’s struggle with empathy, compassion and acceptance.

 

-Susan Kidder, CEO, Safe Connections

 

 

 

Friendship and Grief (Teens and Young Adults)

What I Leave Behind

 

By Alison McGhee

 

After his dad takes his own life, Will begins secretly helping the people around him – acts of kindness that eventually empower him to process his trauma.

 

– Lisa Krystosek, Counselor, Provident

 

 

 

Complexities of Race and Gender (Teens and Young Adults)

Piecing Me Together

 

By Renée Watson

 

Acclaimed author Renee Watson offers a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it’s trying to break her.

 

-Troy Metheney, Executive Director, Illinois Center for Autism

 

 

Take action now:

  • Looking for ideas for your own summer reading? Check out our list for grownups!
  • Share this story with friends and family!
Emily Becherer
Emily Becherer

Emily Becherer is a proud native St. Louisan, writer and lover of stories in all their forms. Faced with a captivating question, she will research her way down a rabbit hole and emerge with words that educate and inspire. You can probably find her taking in a musical, bingeing through a new podcast series, exploring the trails at local parks or curating her extensive library of Spotify playlists.