Summer Reading Recommendations And Rewards


Summer Reading Recommendations And RewardsSomehow, summer is just around the corner. Reading is a wonderful way to maintain those hard-earned skills developed during the school year, all while encouraging imagination and building empathy at the same time. But staring down shelves and shelves of books at the library or bookstore can be intimidating. Never fear, that’s why I’m here! I’ve broken down my recommendations based on reading level, and included fun reading programs where kids can earn prizes for their reading as well. But summer reading isn’t just for kids — whether you want to read alongside your bookworm or your own book adjacent to them, I’ve included titles I recommend for the grownups, too (and there’s even prizes for grownups!). Full reviews are available through titles with links!

Chapter Books

Chapter books are great for first and second graders, as they are growing more comfortable reading on their own. Library/bookstore tip: Look for the Branches logo on the book’s spine. Branches is an imprint of Scholastic, and we have had excellent luck with their titles.

  • Dragon Masters series by Tracy West
  • The Last Firehawk series by Katrina Charman
  • Diary of a Pug series by Kyla May

Middle Grade Books

These titles are for readers who are comfortable reading independently, and have more mature themes than chapter books. Many of these novels are so engaging and well-written, you may likely enjoy it just as much as your kid!

Graphic Novels

Whether the pages look more like a long-form comic book or simply include illustrations to aid the storytelling, these novels are a great option for reluctant readers or those who are intimidated by books that grow in size as they age.

  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


Aimed at those 13+, YA titles have more mature language and themes.

For the Grownups

Book Reward Programs

Knox County Library is aiming to have us read one million hours! Kids and adults alike can participate via the Beanstack app. There are multiple phases to the program. Full information can be found here, but kids and adults alike win prizes for reading!

Pizza Hut has brought back their BookIt! Program! Remember the joy of reading to earn free pizza? Now you get to set their goal! When they complete their reading goal, they get a coupon for a free personal pan pizza. More information here.

Barnes and Noble has an annual summer reading program where kids earn free books! Simply read eight books and fill out their log, then turn it in to any Barnes and Noble and get a free book from their list of titles. Full information here, and printable book log here.

Happy reading!

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Hey, y’all! I’m an adventurous wanderer who put down roots here in East Tennessee back in 2014. My little family moved here from the wilds of suburban Alaska in 2014. We love exploring Knoxville and the surrounding areas, especially the Smoky Mountains. I’m a freelance writer and teacher who loves looking at the mountains when my nose isn’t in a book. I’m a mom to two bookish kids, a wildly clingy dog, two cats, and a fish I’d be in trouble for not mentioning. Since becoming a mom, I’ve been able to add Lincoln Log architect, LEGO contractor, and mediator to my resume. I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades, as I’ve been a tutor, teacher, circus instructor, bookseller, amateur baker and, of course, writer. I remind myself of this as I tell my kid not to sit on my other kid’s head while stopping the dog from chasing the cat and the other cat from jumping on top of the fish tank. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and am currently pursing my Master of Fine Arts while keeping all these creatures who live in my house alive. I survive on coffee, writing fiction, reading, Disney, and snuggles. You can read more of my work at


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