National Endowment for the Humanities: Summer Favorites Reading List

Summertime Favorites, a list of recommended readings, represents the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) long-standing effort to highlight classic literature for young people from kindergarten through high school.

Thousands of parents and teachers have used Summertime Favorites since 1988 as a supplement to school reading lists to emphasize the value of reading classic books. In 2003, NEH revised and updated Summertime Favorites with help from librarians and reading experts.

The entire Summertime Favorites list appears below by age group, then alphabetically by author’s last name.

Kindergarten to Grade 3

Recommended for K-3, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

Aardema, Verna. Who’s in Rabbit’s House?.

Aesop. Fables.

Atwater, Richard and Florence. Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline.

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman.

Blume, Judy. Freckle Juice.

Brown, Marcia. Stone Soup.

Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon.

Brunhoff, Jean de. The Story of Babar.

Burton, Virginia Lee. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Cleary, Beverly. The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

Collodi, Carlo. Adventures of Pinocchio.

Crews, Donald. Freight Train.

Daugherty, James. Andy and the Lion.

dePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona.

Flack, Marjorie. The Angus series.

Freeman, Don. Corduroy.

Fritz, Jean. The Cabin Faced West.

Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats.

Galdone, Paul. The Three Little Pigs.

Goble, Paul. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon.

Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot.

Hoban, Russell. Bedtime for Frances.

Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day

Kraus, Robert. Leo the Late Bloomer.

Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed.

Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand.

Lear, Edward. A Book of Nonsense.

Levinson, Riki. Watch the Stars Come Out.

Lionni, Leo. Frederick.

Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere’s Ride.

Lopshire, Robert. Put Me in the Zoo.

Marshall, James. George and Martha.

McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings.

McDermott, Gerald. Anansi the Spider.

Milne, A.A. Winnie-the-Pooh.

Parish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia.

Piper, Watty. The Little Engine That Could.

Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Rey, H.A. Curious George.

Selden, George. The Cricket in Times Square.

Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are.

Seuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat.

Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale.

Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Child’s Garden of Verses

Taylor, Sydney. All-of-a-Kind Family.

Thurber, James. Many Moons.

Udry, Janice May. A Tree is Nice.

Van Allsburg, Chris. The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Ward, Lynd. The Biggest Bear.

White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web.

Yashima, Taro. Crow Boy.

Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog.

Zolotow, Charlotte. William’s Doll.

Grades 4 to 6

Alexander, Lloyd. Chronicles of Prydain.

Andersen, Hans Christian. Fairy Tales.

Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting.

Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Boston, L.M. The Children of Green Knowe.

Brink, Carol Ryrie. Caddie Woodlawn.

Brooks, Gwendolyn. Bronzeville Boys and Girls.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden.

Byars, Betsy. The Summer of the Swans.

Cooper, Susan. The Dark is Rising Sequence.

Dodge, Mary Mapes. Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates.

Eager, Edward. Half Magic.

Edmonds, Walter D. The Matchlock Gun.

Enright, Elizabeth. Thimble Summer.

Estes, Eleanor. The Moffats.

Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion.

Field, Rachel. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years.

Fitzhugh, Louise. Harriet the Spy.

George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows.

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Hänsel and Gretel, Rapunzel, etc.).

Hamilton, Virginia. The House of Dies Drear.

Henry, Marguerite. Misty of Chincoteague.

Howe, Deborah. Bunnicula.

Hughes, Langston. The Dream Keeper and Other Poems.

Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle.

Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth.

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book.

Knight, Eric. Lassie Come Home.

Konigsburg, E.L. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Lamb, Charles and Mary. Tales from Shakespeare.

Lawson, Robert. Ben and Me.

Lenski, Lois. Strawberry Girl.

Lester, Julius. To Be a Slave.

Lewis, C.S. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia.

Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking.

Lofting, Hugh. Doctor Dolittle.

Lovelace, Maud Hart. Betsy-Tacy.

Macaulay, David. Castle.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah Plain and Tall.

McCloskey, Robert. Homer Price.

Merrill, Jean. The Pushcart War.

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables.

Nesbit, E. The Railway Children.

North, Sterling. Rascal.

Norton, Mary. The Borrowers.

O’Brien, Robert C. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.

Paterson, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia.

Pearce, Philippa. Tom’s Midnight Garden.

Perrault, Charles. The Complete Fairy Tales (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.).

Sawyer, Ruth. Roller Skates.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty.

Sharp, Margery. The Rescuers.

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi.

Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie.

Wyss, Johann David. Swiss Family Robinson.

Grades 7 to 8

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women.

Bagnold, Enid. National Velvet.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Christopher, John. The White Mountains.

Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans.

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe.

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo.

Eckert, Allan W. Incident At Hawk’s Hill.

Engdahl, Sylvia Louise. Enchantress From the Stars.

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain.

Forester, C.S. The Horatio Hornblower Series.

Frank, Anne. Diary of a Young Girl.

Frost, Robert. Poems.

George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves.

Hautzig, Esther. The Endless Steppe.

Hilton, James. Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders.

Hugo, Victor. The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils.

Hunter, Mollie. A Stranger Came Ashore.

Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie.

Keller, Helen. Story of My Life.

Kipling, Rudyard. Kim.

LeGuin, Ursula K. A Wizard of Earthsea.

L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time.

London, Jack. Call of the Wild.

Malory, Sir Thomas. Le Morte d’Arthur.

Mazer, Harry. The Last Mission.

McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonsong.

O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins.

O’Hara, Mary. My Friend Flicka.

Paterson, Katherine. Jacob Have I Loved.

Peck, Richard. The Ghost Belonged To Me.

Peck, Robert Newton. A Day No Pigs Would Die.

Pyle, Howard. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.

Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan. The Yearling.

Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows.

Reiss, Johanna. The Upstairs Room.

Saint-Exupery, Antoine de. The Little Prince.

Schaefer, Jack. Shane.

Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.

Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Sperry, Armstrong. Call It Courage.

Steinbeck, John. The Red Pony.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island.

Taylor, Mildred D. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit.

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Uchida, Yoshiko. Journey to Topaz.

Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Webster, Jean. Daddy-Long-Legs.

Wells, H.G. War of the Worlds.

Wilder, Thornton. The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

Yep, Laurence. Dragonwings.

Zindel, Paul. The Pigman.

Grades 9 to 12

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart.

Agee, James. A Death in the Family.

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Anonymous. Beowulf.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.

Baldwin, James. Go Tell It on the Mountain.

The Bible.

Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons.

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.

Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights.

Buck, Pearl. The Good Earth.

Camus, Albert. The Stranger.

Cather, Willa. My Ántonia.

Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales.

Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard.

Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone.

Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim.

Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War.

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.

Dante. The Divine Comedy.

Defoe, Daniel. Moll Flanders.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations.

Dickinson, Emily. Poems.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment.

Dreiser, Theodore. An American Tragedy.

Eliot, George. Silas Marner.

Eliot, T.S. Murder in the Cathedral.

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays.

Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury.

Fielding, Henry. Tom Jones.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.

Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary.

Forster, E.M. A Passage to India.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.

Galsworthy, John. The Forsyte Saga.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies.

Graves, Robert. I, Claudius.

Greene, Graham. The Power and the Glory.

Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter.

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Henry, O. Stories (“The Gift of the Magi,” “The Ransom of Red Chief,” etc.).

Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf.

Homer. The Iliad.

---. The Odyssey.

Hughes, Langston. Poems.

Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House.

James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Kafka, Franz. The Trial.

Keats, John. Poems.

Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage.

Koestler, Arthur. Darkness at Noon.

Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers.

Lawrence, Jerome and Robert E. Lee. Inherit the Wind.

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.

Lewis, Sinclair. Babbitt.

Llewellyn, Richard. How Green Was My Valley.

Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain.

Marlowe, Christopher. Dr. Faustus.

Maugham, W. Somerset. Of Human Bondage.

McCullers, Carson. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible.

Monsarrat, Nicholas. The Cruel Sea.

O’Connor, Flannery. Wise Blood.

O’Neill, Eugene. Long Day’s Journey into Night.

Orwell, George. 1984.

---. Animal Farm.

Pasternak, Boris. Doctor Zhivago.

Poe, Edgar Allan. Short stories.

Potok, Chaim. The Chosen.

Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead.

Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front.

Rostand, Edmond. Cyrano de Bergerac.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye.

Sandburg, Carl. Abraham Lincoln.

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Nine Tailors.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet.

---. King Lear.

---. Much Ado About Nothing.

---. Sonnets.

Shaw, George Bernard. Pygmalion.

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley. The School for Scandal.

Shute, Nevil. A Town Like Alice.

Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex.

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels.

Thackeray, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings.

Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina.

Trollope, Anthony. Barchester Towers.

Turgenev, Ivan. Fathers and Sons.

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Updike, John. Rabbit, Run.

Valladares, Armando. Against All Hope.

Virgil. The Aeneid.

Voltaire. Candide.

Warren, Robert Penn. All the King’s Men.

Waugh, Evelyn. A Handful of Dust.

Welty, Eudora. Collected Short Stories.

Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence.

White, T.H. The Once and Future King.

Wiesel, Elie. Night.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town.

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire.

Wolfe, Thomas. Look Homeward, Angel.

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse.

Wouk, Herman. The Caine Mutiny.

Wright, Richard. Native Son.