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 25, 2023 or Friday January 26, 2024 (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 AP and IB Language students also have an additional book requirement that is usually read and taught during the first nine weeks of school.

Grades K-5 Suggested Reading

  • Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David A. Adler (Mo Sports series) *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner
  • King of Kindergarten or Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes        
  • Lab Magic by Kelly Starling Lyons (Ty's Travels series)
  • Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn (Lola series)
  • Fish and Wave by Sergio Ruzzier (I Can Read Comics: Level 1) *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor
  • Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre
  • Sea Stars by Mari Schuh (Spot Ocean Animals series)
  • Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale
  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback *Caldecott Medal Award Winner
  • Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems (Elephant & Piggie series)
First Grade
  • I Hop by Joe Cepeda (I Like to Read®) *Pura Belpré Award Honor
  • Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall 
  • I Did It! by Michael Emberley (I Like to Read® Comics) *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner
  • Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes (I Can Read: Level 1) *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor
  • How to Spy on a Shark by Lori Haskins Houran 
  • See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner
  • Not Little by Maya Myers 
  • The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli  *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor
  • Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series)
  • Fox at Night by Corey R. Tabor (My First I Can Read) *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner
Second Grade
  • Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry 
  • Yasmin the Explorer by Saadia Faruqi (Yasmin series)
  • My Weird School by Dan Gutman (I Can Read: Level 2) [4 titles: Goes to the Museum; Talent Show Mix-Up; Class Pet Mess!; Teamwork Trouble]
  • My America by Karen Katz 
  • Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens by Elizabeth Lilly 
  • The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley 
  • A Seed Grows by Antoinette Portis *Sibert Award Honor *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor
  • Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant (Mr. Putter & Tabby series)
  • Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite! by Ashley Spires 
  • Vamos! Let’s Go Eat by Raul the Third (World of Vamos! series)
Third Grade
  • A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold 
  • The Boxcar Children by Shannon Eric Denton (Boxcar Children Graphic Novels series)
  • Gigi and Ojiji by Melissa Iwai (I Can Read: Level 3) *Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor
  • Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh 
  • Go Show the World by Wab Kinew 
  • Dinosaurs Before Dark by Jenny Laird & Mary Pope Osbourne (Magic Tree House Graphic Novel series)
  • King of the Ice by Kelly Starling Lyons (Miles Lewis series)
  • Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty [7 titles: Earth!; Sun!; Moon!; Ocean!; Our Planet!; Mars!; Pluto!]
  • Who Will Bell the Cat? by Patricia C. McKissack 
  • The Shark Attacks of 1916 by Lauren Tarshis (I Survived series)
Fourth Grade
  • Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott (Dragons in a Bag series)
  • Honeybee by Candace Fleming 
  • Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield by Falynn Koch (Science Comics series)
  • Can I Touch Your Hair? by Irene Latham*** & Charles Waters 
  • Knights VS Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan (Knights VS …  series)
  • Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott** by Mara Rockliff  *Sibert Award Honor
  • Mornings with Monet by Barb Rosenstock 
  • Anne Fights for Freedom: An Underground Railroad Survival Story by Nikki S. Smith (Girls Survive series)
  • We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell 
  • The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History** by Sandra Neil Wallace & Rich Wallace 

**Alabama history 
 ***Alabama author

Fifth Grade
  • Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston (Supernatural Investigations series)
  • Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas 
  • Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Team Defeated the Army by Art Coulson 
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft (New Kid series) *Newberry Award Winner
  • Ground Zero: a novel of 9/11 by Alan Gratz 
  • Restart by Gordon Korman 
  • When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohammed 
  • Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery*** 
  • The Challenger Disaster: Tragedy in the Skies by Pranas T. Naujokaitis (History Comics series)
  • Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park *Asian/Pacific American Award Honor

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.
AP and IB Courses Required Reading

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 2 and August 18, 2023 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 25, 2023 or January 26, 2024 (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 25, 2023 or Friday January 26, 2024 (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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