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Family Summer Reading List for Unusual Times

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Collage of book covers. Clockwise: A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Edited by Ibi Zoboi, Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield, Dry by Neal Shusterman, and The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles.

Jason Reynolds, the Library of Congress’ ambassador for young people’s literature, in conversation with Jeffrey Brown at PBS NewsHour, shared an engaging slate of novels for the whole family. For Reynolds, this list captures the empathy that he seeks through fiction, particularly timely in this moment as our country grapples with racial injustice. Reynolds is the author of 13 books for young people, including Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, an adaptation for young readers of Ibram Kendi’s National Book Award-winning history, Stamped From the Beginning. Below is his recommended list for all readers–teachers, students and parents alike–to broaden their capacity for empathy towards others.

Black Is..

Uncertain Times

  • Dry by Neal Shusterman
    Dry is about what happens when humans use up natural resources.
  • Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky
    Poems addressing what happens in a world where no one can hear.

Summer Escape

Bonus Reading: Here are two additional enticing summer reading lists to engage the whole family in reading.

Bonus Activities: These PBS LearningMedia videos, activities and interactive games help to build vocabulary and reading comprehension while bringing storybook characters to life.

Find more playlists and free resources for families and educators in our At-Home Learning collection.


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