What's on Our Students' Summer Reading Lists?

Reading is a great way to prevent “summer slide.” That’s why it’s an integral part of our students’ summer education plan. They select at least three books to read while school is out, which helps to keep their academic skills sharp.

Our students are diving into award-winning literature that explores everything from Filipino folklore and Japanese culture to Haitian immigration stories and coming of age in Harlem. We asked some of our middle schoolers what books they’re enjoying right now and why they believe summer reading is so important.

Jayden, 8th grade
Currently reading: “Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune” by Pamela S. Turner
“I’m learning about the Samurai in ancient Japan and how they affected society.”
On summer reading: “It can benefit kids academically. Reading a challenging book over the summer helps prepare you for more rigorous texts in the future.”

Niya, 7th grade
Currently reading: “Lalani of the Distant Sea” by Erin Entrada Kelly
“My favorite character is Lalani because she’s courageous. Although there are times when she doubts herself and lacks confidence, she still decides to push through. The plot is thrilling. It makes me want to turn the page.”

Maksym, 8th grade
Currently reading: “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi
“Parts of this book remind me of stories I've heard from my family about immigration and adjusting to American culture. My favorite character is Kasim because he values family and relationships over everything else.”

Skylah 6th grade
Currently reading: “Amari and The Night Brothers” by B. B. Alston.
“I love that the main character looks like me and is someone I can relate to. She is determined to solve her problem.”
On summer reading: “Reading is something we should enjoy year-round, and reading during the summer helps you become a better reader and prepares you for the coming school year.”

Amara, 8th grade
Currently reading: “Some Places More Than Others” by Renee Watson
“I started reading this book because the main character and I have the same name. The connection to Harlem makes it interesting. I get to see the city from the character’s viewpoint, and the way Black history is celebrated in the book is one of my favorite parts.”

Jevon, 8th grade
Currently reading: “Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune” by Pamela S. Turner
“I’m enjoying this book very much because it explores a different culture and time and talks a lot about power and jealousy and how both can mess up societies.”
On summer reading: “It’s good for kids to read during the summer because you can grow your vocabulary and also learn interesting things while you're out of school.”

Issys, 6th grade
Currently reading: “Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks” by Jason Reynolds
“This book has definitely been a surprise. The characters are all so different, but I like Cynthia best because her mood is always upbeat and she’s never afraid to tell someone a joke.”
Harlem Academy
655 Saint Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY, 10030

P (212) 348-2600
F (212) 348-3500


Make a Tuition Payment
Financial and Privacy Information
Site Map
Harlem Academy is an independent school (grades K-8) that drives equity of opportunity for promising students, guiding them to thrive at the highest academic levels and one day make a mark on the world.