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Summer Reading List for Black Girls

Photo by Kindel Media

Caregivers of children are familiar with the summer slide.Its a loss of academic skills that occurs during the summer months when school is not in session and no regular, consistent learning is happening for students. What most parents may not know is that this slide is due largely to a lack of reading. The issues that summer slide produces become cumulative and can account for the achievement gaps in socio-economic statuses of students by the time they enter ninth grade. (https://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/summer.html 

To address or prevent this deficit, it’s simple: get your children to read more. Spending even just 30 minutes a day reading can boost your student’s vocabulary, comprehension, and communication skills.  

Here is a list of fun summer reads for your children to check out. There’s something for everyone! 

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee 

Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead!  

Alien Summer #1 by James S. Murray and Carsen Smith 

It’s the first day of summer vacation, and Viv Harlow just wants to relax with her friends at the beach before they all go to different high schools next year. She is definitely not interested in visiting her mom’s office, even if Director Harlow works at the famous Area 51. But when an alarm sounds beneath the secret base and a whole race of aliens escape, she’s about to get much more than she bargained for.  

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott  

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she’s not his grandmother–but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they’ll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don’t let them out of the bag, and don’t feed them anything sweet. The rules sound simple, but Jaxon finds out when it comes to dragons, nothing is as it seems.

Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna 

Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years. But can her art help in a moment more difficult than any she’s faced?

Honest June by Tina Wells 

June has always been a people-pleaser, telling harmless little lies to make her friends and family happy. She’s convinced being honest about her feelings will only hurt the people she loves. One day, a secret fairy godmother appears and “blesses” her with the ability to only tell the truth! Seriously?! As if June didn’t have enough to worry about! Will her friendships survive her “blessing”?

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson  

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.  

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai 

The remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. 

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia 

Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. 

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore 

A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that celebrates community and creativity. 

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen 

It’s the summer of 1955. For Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama, his Blackness is suddenly front and center, and no one is shy about making it known he’s not welcome there.  

Behind the Mountains by Edwidge Danticat 

It is election time in Haiti, and bombs are going off in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. During a visit from her home in rural Haiti, Celiane Espérance and her mother are nearly killed. Looking at her country with new eyes, Celiane gains a fresh resolve to be reunited with her father in Brooklyn, New York. 

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper 

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom – the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander 

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year-old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood. 

Patina by Jason Reynolds 

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom anymore: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever.  

Children of Blood and Bone by Tami Adeyemi 

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared.  

Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and Andrew Weiner 

Lolo Wright always thought she was just a regular fourteen-year-old dealing with regular family drama: her brother, James, is struggling with his studies; her dad’s business constantly teeters on the edge of trouble; and her mother… she left long ago. But then Lolo’s world explodes when a cop pulls a gun on James in a dangerous case of mistaken identities.  

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas 

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it. 

***

The Septima Clark Academy (SCA) is in Jackson, Mississippi, and serves Black girls in grades six through nine. Teachers and administrators provide academic curricula, enrichment programs, and experiences that serve the needs of scholars. For more information about SCA or to request an application, contact info@septimaclarkacademy.org  

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