The purpose of summer reading is to encourage students to practice reading skills and develop an enjoyment for reading. This year, our focus is student choice.

Families of students in grades K-5 are encouraged to add any books that are appropriate for your reader.  The staff in the Children/Youth Services area of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library and/or other local library branches will also have many wonderful book suggestions.

Students in grades 6-12 are required to complete a Book Talk assignment no later than Friday, August 26, 2022 or Friday January 27, 2023 (For students on Traditional Block taking it Spring semester).  In keeping with the focus of student choice, this year students will be able to select their own books according to the criteria outlined in the expectations section below.  Instructions for the Book Talk assignment may be found below.

*Please note that Honors, AP, and IB Language students in grades 6-12 also have an additional book requirement that is usually read and taught during the first nine weeks of school.


Grades K-5 Suggested Reading

  • Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Willems (Elephant & Piggie series)
  • Don’t Throw It to Mo! by Adler (Mo Sports series)
  • Eat Like a Bear by Sayre
  • Fabulous Fishes by Stockdale
  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Taback
  • King of Kindergarten by Barnes
  • Lola Reads to Leo by McQuinn (Lola series)
  • Sea Stars by Schuh (Spot Ocean Animals series)
  • We Are Growing! by Keller
  • Zip! Zoom! by Lyons (Ty’s Travels series)
First Grade
  • Charlie & Mouse by Snyder (Charlie & Mouse series)
  • Fox at Night by Tabor
  • How to Apologize by LaRochelle
  • How to Spy on a Shark by Houran
  • I Hop by Cepeda (I Like to Read series)
  • Jabari Jumps by Cornwall (Jabari series)
  • Not Little by Myers
  • Penny and her Marble by Henkes (Mouse series)
  • See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by LaRochelle
  • The Book Hog by Pizzoli
Second Grade
  • Hair Love by Cherry
  • Hey, Water! by Portis
  • Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens by Lilly
  • Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page by Rylant (Mr. Putter & Tabby series)
  • My America by Katz
  • My Tiny Life by Ruby T. Hummingbird by Meisel
  • Pedro for President by Manushkin (Pedro series)
  • The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Manley
  • Vamos! Let’s Go Eat by Raul the Third (World of Vamos! series)
  • Yasmin the Explorer by Faruqi (Yasmin series)
Third Grade
  • A Boy Called Bat by Arnold
  • Beneath the Sun by Stewart
  • Bowwow Powwow by Child
  • Dinosaurs Before Dark: Graphic Novel by Osbourne (Magic Tree House Graphic Novel series)
  • Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Castillo
  • Saffron Ice Cream by Kheiriyeh
  • Sleepover Scientist by Lyons (Jada Jones series)
  • The Boxcar Children by Denton (Boxcar Children Graphic Novels series)
  • The Shark Attacks of 1916 by Tarshis (I Survived series)
  • Who Will Bell the Cat? by McKissack
Fourth Grade
  • Anne Fights for Freedom: An Underground Railroad Survival Story by Smith (Girls Survive series)
  • Can I Touch Your Hair? by Latham and Waters (Alabama author)
  • Dragons in a Bag by Elliott (Dragons in a Bag series)
  • Honeybee by Fleming
  • Knights VS Dinosaurs by Phelan (Knights VS series)
  • Mornings with Monet by Rosenstock
  • Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield by Koch (Science Comics series)
  • The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by Wallace (Alabama history)
  • Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Gottesfeld
  • We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Sorell
Fifth Grade
  • Amari and the Night Brothers by Alston (Supernatural Investigations series)
  • Hidden Figures (Young Peoples Edition) by Shetterly
  • New Kid by Craft (New Kid series)
  • Prairie Lotus by Park
  • Refugee by Gratz
  • Restart by Korman
  • Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill by Montgomery (local author)
  • The Challenger Disaster: Tragedy in the Skies by Naujokaitis (History Comics series)
  • Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Team Defeated the Army by Coulson
  • When Stars are Scattered by Jamieson and Mohammed

Grades 6-12 Information



  • Students will select a novel of their choice that meets the following guidelines. The book should reflect quality young adult literature to include the following:
    • descriptive or figurative language
    • character development
    • plot development
    • thematic depth
    • substantial length (100+ pages)
  • Students in grades 6-12 will complete a “Book Talk” by Friday, August 26, 2022 or Friday January 27, 2023 (For students on Traditional Block taking it Spring semester).
    • The instructions for the Book Talk assignment may be found below
  • Students enrolled in Honors, AP and IB English will have an additional reading assignment.
    • This novel is normally read and taught the 1st nine weeks of the school year. 
    • Honors, AP, and IB required books may be found below.
Honors, AP, IB Courses Required Reading



by Alan Gratz

Grade 6 Honors

The novel follows the stories of three refugee children in three different geographic locations and points in time. Each child experiences traumatic losses and personal victories as they struggle to escape the political instability of their homelands. Josef Landau is fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939.

Piecing Me Together 

by Renee Watson

Grade 7 Honors

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And she has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Except really, it's for black girls. From "bad" neighborhoods. And just because Maxine, her college-graduate mentor, is black doesn't mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.


by Neal Shusterman

Grade 8 Honors

In entries in her "gleaning journal," Scythe Curie gives the reader the history of her world. in 2042, humans became immortal and created the Scythedom, an organization of scythes—people trained to "glean," or kill others permanently—to control the population growth. This job is the only one not overseen by the Thunderhead, an advanced version of "the cloud" that has replaced government and oversees every aspect of the population. With immortality has come the sense that there's no longer a point to life, and people in Curie's age don't understand what it was like to live knowing that death was inevitable.

Seventeen-year-old Citra is horrified when Scythe Faraday shows up on her family's doorstep and invites himself for dinner. She and her parents are terrified that he's going to glean them, and Citra angrily snaps at him. He admits he's here to glean their neighbor. Not long after, Faraday shows up at Rowan's school to glean the quarterback, Kohl Whitlock. Rowan stubbornly insists on holding Kohl's hand when Faraday electrocutes him, and for this, Rowan's classmates, including his best friend Tyger, shun him. When Faraday invites both Citra and Rowan to become his apprentices, they both accept; however, only one of them will become a scythe.

To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

Grade 9 Honors & AP

Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred.

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Warriors Don't Cry 

by Melba Pattillo Beals

Grade 10 Honors & AP

In 1957, well before Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, Melba Pattillo Beals and eight other teenagers became iconic symbols for the Civil Rights Movement and the dismantling of Jim Crow in the American South as they integrated Little Rock’s Central High School in the wake of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education.

Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite, and injured by acid sprayed in her eyes. But through it all, she acted with dignity and courage, and refused to back down.

Just Mercy 

by Bryan Stevenson

Grade 11 AP & IB

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.

Life of Pi 

by Yann Martel

Grade 12 AP & IB

The beloved and bestselling novel and winner of the Booker Prize, Life of Pi.

"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound royal bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and beloved works of fiction in recent years.

Universally acclaimed upon publication, Life of Pi is a modern classic.



How to Give A Book Talk


Hook your audience!

  • Read a quote from the book
  • Ask a question of your audience
  • Introduce the main character
  • Vividly set the scene

You may use a combination of a few of the above techniques.

Make sure to also give the title and author of the book.


In a paragraph or two, summarize the plot of the book.  Be sure that your summary introduces the main character, identifies the problem, and leads us toward the solution - without giving away the ending!


Share your opinion!

  • How did you feel about the book?
  • What did you think of the author?
  • Would you recommend it to others?
  • What would you rate it?


Entice your audience!

  • Ask a rhetorical question
  • Read a quote from the book
  • Use a cliffhanger

You may use a combination of the above techniques.

Remember, your book talk should flow nicely like a commercial.  It should not be a giant list answering these questions.

Commonly Asked Questions

How can students access novels

Novels can be obtained from public libraries, school libraries, and home libraries or collections.  If you find the suggested books are no longer available through the public or school libraries, they are available for purchase via Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon.

What is a "Book Talk"

A “Book Talk” convinces or persuades a person to read the book. The essence of a “Book Talk” is to “sell, don’t tell.” Thus, a “Book Talk” is more of an advertisement or a commercial. When conducting a “Book Talk,” you may want to keep the following things in mind:

  • Do your own thing…create your own individual style.
  • Do not talk about a book you have not read.
  • Do not tell the ending.
  • Do not talk about a book you do not like or makes you uncomfortable.
What about a student who is new to Huntsville City Schools?

Students who enroll between August 3 and August 19, 2022 will be allowed to complete a “Book Talk” on a novel he/she has read over the summer. If the student has not read a novel over the summer, they may be given an additional 2 weeks (August 15th-September 9th) to read a novel and complete a “Book Talk.”  If he/she does not complete the assignment, then a “0” will be placed in the gradebook.  Any student enrolled after August 26, 2022 or January 27, 2023 (For students on Traditional Block taking it Spring semester) will not be held accountable for completing a “Book Talk.”

How will teachers hold each student accountable for completing the summer reading assignment?

Students will be required to do a “Book Talk” and turn it in on Friday, August 26, 2022 or Friday January 27, 2023 (For students on Traditional Block taking it Spring semester). Teachers are expected to grade each “Book Talk” and record it as an “In-Class” assignment (counting as 40% of the student’s grade) for the 1st nine-week grading period.


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