Summer 2020: Recommended Books for Children

Reading five or six books over the summer holidays can help your child to become a better learner throughout their school years. Here's a list of our recommended reads for pre-schoolers to teens.
Summer 2020: Recommended Books for Children
By Carli Allan
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Don’t hit the pause button on your child’s reading skills this summer. Yes, children do need this time to unwind and relax, but they also need to keep up with reading to avoid losing important academic skills learned during the year. And, after several months of distance learning, reading is perhaps more important than ever to avoid the so-called summer slide.

Studies show that children can lose up to two months’ of reading performance over the summer months, and research suggests that the unstructured activity of reading for fun will do more to keep children’s minds sharp and engaged than weeks of maths and science holiday homework.

Yvonne Krishnan, high school librarian at St Joseph's Institution International (SJI), says: “It’s important for children of all ages to continue reading over the summer holiday so that children of all ages can retain knowledge and skills that they have learned in school.

“It helps to strengthen their reading skills and build up their knowledge and therefore maintain their literacy skills. Regular reading during the summer also helps them keep pace and not fall behind their peers.”

Kim Klein, librarian at Stamford American International School (SAIS) adds: “There are many reasons to read… to learn something new, to keep reading skills sharp, and also to dream, to laugh, to wonder, to grow! That is why we invite our students and their families to read over the holiday.

The more students read, the more proficient they become at reading and writing. Reading research supports summer reading as a tool that helps maintain gains achieved through the previous school year. We recommend students, based on interest, read a variety of books over the summer including fiction, non-fiction and mother-tongue.”

There’s growing awareness of why reading really matters. According to research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report 2019, 80% of children aged six to 17 years agree that summer reading will help them during the school year. The survey of students in the US by the global children’s publisher also found that, on average, children read eight books over the summer – but this varies widely by age.

Whether you’re heading to the bookshop or the library, you’ll find a wide selection of books targeted at children of different age groups. A great starting point is the shortlisted titles in the 2019-20 Red Dot Book Awards; this annual initiative is run by The International School Libraries Network (ISLN) in Singapore. Books are chosen by a committee of teacher-librarians in Singapore, and eight titles in each category were announced in June.

Early Years (ages 3–7) 

  • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
  • Hic by Anushka Ravishankar
  • Imagine That by Yasmeen Ismail
  • They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  • Mopoke by Philip Bunting
  • The Night Monster by Sushree Mishra
  • I Am Bat by Morag Hood
  • This is Not a Normal Animal Book by Julie Segal-Walters

Younger Readers (ages 7–10)

  • Rosie Revere by Andrea Beaty
  • Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
  • Hot Dog! by Ahn Do
  • The Boy and The Globe by Tony Bradman
  • A Dog Like Sam by Edward van de Vendel
  • Ida, Always by Caron Levis
  • The House on Silat Road by Si-Hoe SS and Sim Ee Waun
  • Stories for Kids Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks

Older Readers (ages 10-14) 

  • Posted by John David Anderson
  • The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop
  • William Wenton and the Luridium Thief by Bobbie Peers 
  • The Missing Barbegazi by H S Norup
  • Natural Born Loser by Oliver Phommavanh
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  • Onibi by Cecile Brun
  • Rising Water by Marc Aronson

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