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Summer Reading: If You Liked The Wizard of Oz

Summer Reading: If You Liked The Wizard of Oz

If you loved reading The Wizard of Oz, these books have similarly magical storylines.

Summer Reading: If You Liked Anne of Green Gables

Home in these books takes many forms, but it’s always the place where you just belong.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

When 16-year-old Hattie inherits her uncle’s Minnesota homestead claim, she sets off to build a home for herself in pioneer country. (Middle grades)


When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad

When orphaned Inge Marie comes to live with her grandmother in a little island village, she’s not sure what to expect—but what she finds is just what she needed. (Elementary)


Bright Island by Mabel Louise Robinson

Island-reared Thankful wants to be a sea captain like her grandfather, but her parents send her to boarding school on the mainland. (High School)


My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Sam runs away from his crowded New York City apartment to live—alone—in the Catskill Mountains. (Middle grades)


Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm 

Sent to live with relatives in Key West during the Great Depression, 11-year-old Turtle finally starts to come out of her shell. (Middle grades)


The House at World's End by Monica Dickens

Four siblings create a home of their own in a rundown old inn when they’re sent to live with their wealthy-but-unpleasant relatives while their mother is recovering in the hospital. (Middle Grades)


Summer Reading: What to Read Next If You Like Roald Dahl

Summer Reading: What to Read Next If You Like Roald Dahl

If you love the fantasy, fun, and humor of Roald Dahl, you’ll enjoy these books that capture some of that same playful spirit.

Summer Reading: If You Liked The Hobbit

Epic adventure awaits in these fabulously constructed fantasy worlds.

The Fog Diver
By Joel Ross

When a deadly fog envelopes the Earth, people take to the skies, where a ragtag bunch of scavengers is ready to risk everything for a better life. First in a series. (Middle grades)

The Vengekeep Prophecies
By Brian Farrey

Jaxter Grimjinx was born to be a master thief—but it turns out that with disaster bearing down on his world, he may need to become a hero instead. (Middle grades)

Moril’s witnessed his father’s murder and his brother’s imprisonment, but that’s just the beginning of his problems. First in a quartet. (Middle grades)

Russian spies, magical potions, and a mysterious book star in an adventure that begins in 1950s California. First in a series. (Middle grades)

The Girl from Everywhere
By Heidi Heilig

Nix’s pirate father can sail his ship to any place, real or imagined, as long as he has a map. But the place he’s most determined to go may spell doom for his daughter. (Young adult)

The Mists of Avalon
By Marion Zimmer Bradley

Bradley reimagines the Arthurian legends from a feminist, pagan perspective in this dense volume told mostly from the perspective of the traditionally vilified Morgan le Fay. (Young adult)

Though it’s often recommended for middle grades, I think this subversive retelling of Paradise Lost is more likely to appeal to teens. (Young adult)

Another London—filled with magic and intrigue—exists parallel to the city Richard Mayhew knows—and Mayhew is about to slip through one of the cracks between worlds. (Young adult)

Seraphina
By Rachel Hartman

Spectacular world-building lights up this fantasy about a world where humans and intelligent dragons live in an uneasy truce. (Young adult)

Story Thieves
By James Riley

When Owen finds out his friend Bethany is half-fictional, he can’t wait to join her next jump into his favorite books—but fictional adventure proves more hazardous than he’s anticipated. (Middle grades)

On the Blue Comet
By Rosemary Wells

Witnessing a murder wins Oscar a seat on a magical train that travels through time and space. (Middle grades)

The Two Princesses of Bamarre
By Gail Carson Levine

Addie’s always been happy in the shadow of her adventurous sister Meryl, but when Meryl catches the Gray Death, Addie must summon her own courage and set out alone to save her sister. (Middle grades

This list is reprinted from the summer 2016 issue of HSL.


Summer Reading: If You Liked The Fault in Our Stars

Love and life get complicated in these young adult novels. Bring your own tissues.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Misfits Park and Eleanor fall in love in high school, but both of them are smart enough to know that first love never lasts forever.

 

 

 

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Stoic Zac meets fiery Mia in the hospital, where they’re both undergoing treatment for leukemia.

 

 

 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

A suicide attempts lands anxiety-ridden Craig in an institution, where he meets a motley crew of residents who help him face his fears.

 

 

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Ponyboy isn’t sure where he fits into the sharply divided social castes of his 1960s Oklahoma town, but when trouble strikes, he’s forced to choose sides.

 

 

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

It doesn’t pay to be different in Standish Treadwell’s world, where a Nazi-like government keeps everyone living in fear and hope is hard to find.

 

 

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

One bad decision changes Lucy’s life forever. Now she—and her friends and family—must deal with the fallout.

 

 

 

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher 

Social outcasts Sarah and Eric forge a deep friendship, but when Eric’s life takes a different turn and Sarah ends up in a mental hospital, refusing to speak, everything they think they know about each other will be challenged.

 

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Grieving the loss of her universally beloved older sister, Lennie finds herself in an unexpected love triangle: drawn to one boy who shares her grief and one boy who pulls her toward joy.

 

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

When the world’s population is decimated by a global pandemic, a small troupe of Shakespearean actors travels between far-flung communities, bringing art and music with them.


Summer Reading: If You Liked Swallows and Amazons

Summer Reading: If You Liked Swallows and Amazons

Summer means adventure in these old-fashioned stories about independent children making their own fun.

Summer Reading: If You Liked the Warrior Cat Books

Epic tales starring animal heroes? Yes, please! These books share some of the things we love most about the Warrior Cats series.

YOUR NEXT PICTURE BOOK

The Grannyman
By Judith Byron Schachner
 

In The Grannyman, an old cat who’s had a long, happy life meets a young kitten eager to learn about the world.

 

YOUR NEXT CHAPTER BOOK

An intrepid young house cat finds his calling—and an unexpected mentor—in Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria.

 

YOUR NEXT READALOUD

Firstborn
By Tor Seidler
 

You’ll feel like you’re roaming the wilds with Blue Boy and his wolf pack, including all the hope and heartbreak of life in the wilderness, when you read Tor Seidler’s Firstborn.

 

Your next teen read

Dive into a complex world of feline mythology and set off on a Watership Down-esque quest with cat hero Fritti Tailchase in Tailchaser's Song, an absorbing fantasy novel.

 

Your next grown-up book

Felidae
By Akif Pirincci
 

Curious house cat Francis sets out to solve the murders of some neighborhood cats in the engaging, lively mystery Felidae (translated from the original German).


Summer Reading: If You Liked the Percy Jackson Series

Secret worlds, real-life mythology in action, and heroes-in-the-making—who can resist the lure of stories steeped in legend?

 

Your next picture book

Young Zeus
By G. Brian Karas
 

In Young Zeus, the future king of the gods enlists the assistance of a motley crew of super-powered creatures to become the ruler on Mount Olympus.

 

Your next chapter book

Odysseus in the Serpent Maze (Young Heroes)
By Jane Yolen, Robert J. Harris
 

What were the great Greek heroes like when they were Percy and Annabeth’s age? You can find out in Odysseus and the Serpent Maze, in which teenage Odysseus (and some other kids you might recognize) are kidnapped by pirates.

 

Your next readaloud

Fablehaven
By Brandon Mull
 

Like Percy and his Camp Half-Blood pals, Kendra and Seth discover that mythology is very real—and very, very dangerous. In Fablehaven, first in a series, they find out their grandparents’ farm is actually a preserve for mythic creatures.

 

Your next teen read

In The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, holistic detective Dirk Gently finds himself caught up in a mystery surrounding some pretty disgruntled Norse deities. 

 

Your next grown-up book

American Gods
By Neil Gaiman
 

Neil Gaiman’s dark, complicated American Gods is superficially about a squabble between the New World’s old and new gods is full of big questions.


Summer Reading: If You Liked Hamilton

This one’s a bit of a spin, but with all the Hamilton fans out there, we thought it would be fun to round up some read-this-next books for people who just can’t get enough Ham.

YOUR NEXT PICTURE BOOk

Don Brown always does a brilliant job distilling complex information for younger readers (have you read his Hurricane Katrina book yet?), and Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History, a dual history of two of Hamilton’s key figures, is no exception.

 

YOUR NEXT MIDDLE GRADES CHAPTER BOOK

Think Hamilton-adjacent and dive into the life of the most famous traitor in Revolutionary history with The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery. Arnold is as fascinating a character as Hamilton.

 

YOUR NEXT READALOUD

Dig into a biography of Alexander Hamilton’s life that actually includes some of the best parts of the musical (including a reference to Angelica Schuyler who doesn’t show up in other Hamilton children’s lit). Jean Fritz’s Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider is the Ron Chernow equivalent for the elementary school set.

 

YOUR NEXT TEEN READ

Fever 1793
By Laurie Halse Anderson
 

Fever 1793 tells the story of one girl’s experiences during Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic, which also affected Hamilton and his wife. This is gripping historical fiction based on real events.

 

YOUR NEXT GROWN-UP BOOK

Burr: A Novel
By Gore Vidal
 

Gore Vidal’s Burr isn’t just our next podcast read—it’s a complex, almost Shakespearean tale of the man behind one of history’s most famous duels. Read it with us!


Summer Reading: If You Liked the Sisters Grimm

Revisit your favorite fairy tales in these tellings-with-a-twist.

Your next picture book

Alexander T. Wolf finally gets to tell his side of the story in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

 

Your next chapter book

The Wide-Awake Princess
By E. D. Baker
 

Sleeping Beauty’s little sister Princess Annie is totally immune to magic—so when her sister’s curse kicks in, Annie is the only one who can save the day in The Wide-Awake Princess.

 

Your next readaloud

Princesses and scrappy tailor’s sons get all the fairy tale fame, a fact which the motley crew of princes in The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom sorely lament. Be prepared to pause for laughter.

 

Your next teen read

Cinder
By Marissa Meyer
 

In Cinder, a futuristic, dystopian imagining of Cinderella set in New Beijing, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic and Prince Kai is at the center of an intergalactic balancing act. (The story continues, following different fairy tale characters, in the Lunar Chronicles series.)

 

Your next grown-up book

The Sleeper and the Spindle is written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell. It’s also a thoughtful, nuanced short story retelling of the Snow White and Sleeping Beauty narratives.


Summer Reading: If You Liked the Narnia Books

It’s hard to finish an utterly engrossing series like the Chronicles of Narnia, but we’ve rounded up some equally magical fantasy books that will keep you reading happy at every reading level.

 

Your next picture book

Free Fall
By David Wiesner
 

It may seem like a stretch to recommend a wordless book to Narnia fans, but Free Fall (by Caldecott winner David Wiesner) lets imagination narrate with its gloriously illustrated story of a boy who falls asleep reading an atlas and dreams his way through a series of fantastic adventures.

 

Your next chapter book

Just like Narnia, The Dark Is Rising sequence is a thrilling, complex mythology of children pulled into the great battle between good and evil—pulling from Celtic, Norse, and Arthurian traditions. Start with Over Sea, Under Stone.

 

Your next readaloud

More people should read The Hounds of the Morrigan, a thrilling fantasy set in Ireland. Pidge and his little sister set off on a quest to find a lost stone that may prove pivotal in the battle between the forces of good and evil, but the deadly hounds of the Morrigan are fast on their heels.

 

Your next teen read

A Wizard of Earthsea is the first book in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy. With its Taoist ethics, feminist sensibility, and nuanced world building, Earthsea is a worthy follow-up to the Narnia books for older readers.

 

Your next grown-up book

Lots of people miss C.S. Lewis’s sci-fi take on the ideas in Narnia, written for adults, which starts with Out of the Silent Planet. If you loved Narnia, you’ll definitely want to check out Lewis’s grown-up version.


Summer Reading: If You Liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Who can resist the perfect combination of words and pictures? Add a spunky hero with a few problems, and you’ve got worthy Wimpy Kid follow-ups.

Your next picture book:

 

In Luke on the Loose, a boy follows a flock of pigeons in an increasingly wild chase out of New York’s Central Park, through Manhattan, and all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

 

Your next chapter book:

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid gone British, with a doodling, diary-ing hero who just wants to make it through middle school alive.

 

Your next readaloud:

Timmy Failure would like to believe that he’s the greatest detective in the world, but he’d be wrong. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made has delightful illustrations on every page but enough story to make reasonable for a readaloud.

 

Your next teen read:

Nimona
By Noelle Stevenson
 

Nimona is a smart, sassy comic about a shape-shifting girl who teams up with a not-so-evil villain to take down a not-so-great hero. It may just turn out to be your new favorite fantasy story.

 

Your next grown-up book:

Sacred Heart
By Liz Suburbia
 

In the weird, unresolved Sacred Heart, teenager Ben is just trying to survive adolescence while her parents—and all the other adults in town—are off on a four-year pilgrimage. This coming-of-age story nails the awkward ordinariness and utter strangeness of being a teenager.


Summer Reading: If You Liked Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

Let’s face it: Few things are as fun as racing to put together the clues before your favorite intrepid detective solves the case. We think these books make worthy follow-ups (or lead ups!) to the adventures of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Your next picture book

Alphabet Mystery
By Audrey Wood
 

In Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood, the lowercase letters must team up to find little x, who’s gone missing just before his mom’s big birthday bash.

 

Your next chapter book

Mudshark
By Gary Paulsen
 

Mudshark by Gary Paulsen introduces Mudshark, a kid whose reputation as a great problem solver is challenged by a case of disappearing erasers at his school. 

 

Your next readaloud

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
By Wendelin Van Draanen
 

Sammy Keys and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen kicks off a mystery series about a 12-year-old detective who finds trouble wherever she goes. In this book, Sammy spies a thief in action. Unfortunately, the thief sees her, too.

 

Your next teen read

Virals
By Kathy Reichs, Brendan Reichs
 

Virals by Kathy Reichs starts another series, when sci-phile teens led by Tory Brennan rescue a dog from a medical testing facility, kicking off a chain of events that will put them hot on the trail of a not-so-cold case and launch a surprising new phase of their lives.

 

Your next grown-up book

The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters is the first book in the delightful Amelia Peabody mysteries, in which an eternally curious 19th-century spinster decides to take her inheritance to Egypt, where she falls in love with Egyptology and becomes caught up in an old-fashioned whodunnit.


Summer Reading: If You Loved The Phantom Tollbooth

Milo’s adventure in the Lands Beyond is full of witty wordplay and curious characters. Get a similar taste of brainy unpredictability from these delightfully eccentric books like The Phantom Tollbooth.

Your Next Picture Book:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett􏰁 Johnson celebrates the power of pure imagination with this story of a boy and his favorite art supply.

 

Your Next Chapter Book

The Little Prince
By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery explores some of the same big questions and ideas as The Phantom Tollbooth within a similarly whimsical premise.

 

Your Next Readaloud:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman has a ripping good story — it's better than the movie, and that's saying something — and a narrator whose literary asides will have you giggling with glee.

 

Your Next Teen Read:

 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman has a few adult plot points sprinkled throughout, but teens who loved Milo will be equally engaged by Tristran’s journey through the mysterious lands of Faerie.

 

Your Next Grown-Up Book

 

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon is full of weird characters and curious situations. The twist: It’s all taking place in the real world, circa C.E. 1000.

 

We’re reprinting some of Amy’s summer reading series favorites from home/school/life magazine. This list appeared in our 2014 summer reading guide.


YA Bookalikes for Summer Reading

Not sure what to recommend next for your teen? These in-the-adult-section novels are great follow-ups to classic kid favorites and great YA books to read this summer.

Never Let Me Go
By Kazuo Ishiguro

IF YOU LOVED: The Giver

CHECK OUT: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

There’s a reason utopia means “nowhere.” The perfect world always comes at a cost. Lowry’s starkly beautiful dystopia reads like a little sister to Ishiguro’s lyrical science-fiction novel about an idyllic English boarding school where special children are groomed for a bleak future. The same questions resonate through both books: Who decides how the truth is revealed? What does it mean to have free will? What makes a person alive? And in both books, the answers are complicated.

 

IF YOU LOVED: The Harry Potter series

CHECK OUT: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Just like the indomitable Mr. Potter, Brooklyn teen Quentin Coldwater finds himself enrolled in a school for magicians. But he quickly discovers Brakebills Academy is quite unlike Hogwarts and that being a magician isn’t a cure-all for dissatisfaction with everyday life. Quentin doesn't share Harry's likable heroism, which makes him a more complicated protagonist.

 

Sideways Stories from Wayside School
By Louis Sachar, Julie Brinckloe

IF YOU LOVED: Sideways Stories from Wayside School

CHECK OUT: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Heller takes a darker view of human nonsense in his World War II classic, but there’s plenty of similarity between characters like the major who never sees anyone in his office when he’s in his office and the teacher who sends herself home on the kindergarten bus for (temporarily) turning evil.

 

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
By Suzanne Collins
The Handmaid's Tale
By Margaret Atwood

IF YOU LOVED: The Hunger Games

CHECK OUT: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Panem is an equal opportunity dystopia—young men and women are equally at risk in the country’s annual ba􏰁ttle-to-the-death games. But in the republic of Gilead, a totalitarian Christian theocracy, women like Offred must play an even more dangerous game. Atwood’s dark imagined future is ripe for rebellion, but rising up against an entrenched government in The Handmaid’s Tale is not as easy — or dramatic — as taking on Panem’s President Snow.

 

We’re reprinting some of Amy’s summer reading series favorites from home/school/life magazine. This list appeared in our 2014 summer reading guide.