Recommended Summer Reading for Kids: 1999

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Recommended Summer Reading for Kids: 1999


These books have been selected by Vermont public school librarians and are recommended for summer reading for children and young adults. For more recommendations, see your school or public librarian!

1999 Caldecott Award


  • Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY. Illus. by Mary Azarian. Houghton.

Honor books

  • Shulevitz, Uri. SNOW. FSG

  • Shannon, David. NO, DAVID! Scholastic.

  • Sis, Peter. TIBET THROUGH THE RED BOX. FSG.

  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis. DUKE ELLINGTON: THE PIANO PRINCE AND HIS ORCHESTRA. Illus. by Brian Pinkney. Hyperion.

1999 Newbery Award

  • Sachar, Louis. HOLES. FSG.

Honor book

  • Peck, Richard. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO. Dial.

For all ages

  • Rowling, J. K. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. Scholastic. Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches. An imaginative and richly rendered British fantasy. The sequel, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, should be available in early summer!

Grades K-6

Submitted by Mary Ann Alexander, school librarian and Vermont-NEA member from Woodstock Elementary School
  • Adler, David A. CAM JANSEN AND THE MYSTERY AT THE HAUNTED HOUSE. Viking. Cam and her friend Eric are visiting an amusement park with her aunt and uncle when Aunt Katie’s wallet is stolen. Does Cam, with her amazing photographic memory, have a ghost of a chance of finding the thief?


  • Adler, David A. LOU GEHRIG: THE LUCKIEST MAN. Harcourt. In this wonderful picture biography, a beloved baseball star stricken with a debilitating illness earns respect and admiration for his on-field stamina and off-field courage.

  • Barracca, Debra. THE ADVENTURES OF TAXI DOG. Dial Books for Young Readers. Maxi, a stray dog in New York City, is adopted by a taxi driver, with whom he thereafter rides and shares adventures each day.

  • Christelow, Eileen. THE GREAT PIG ESCAPE. Clarion Books. Bert and Ethel have a long truck drive to market, and when they arrive the pigs they intended to sell have mysteriously disappeared.

  • Edwards, Julie. THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES. HarperTrophy. Until Professor Savant told them about the Whangdoodles - the wise and magical creatures who disappeared to live apart from and forgotten by people - the Potter children led ordinary lives.

  • Haas, Jessie. WESTMINSTER WEST. Greenwillow Books. Two sisters struggle with their roles as women within the family and within society as an arsonist threatens their post-Civil War Vermont community.

  • King-Smith, Dick. HARRIET’S HARE. Crown. Eight-year-old Harriet Butler meets a space alien disguised as a hare, who makes Harriet’s summer truly memorable and plans a life-changing going-away gift. By the author of Babe: The Gallant Pig.

  • Levine, Gail Carson. ELLA ENCHANTED. HarperCollins. The classic Cinderella story is a springboard for this humorous fantasy about a young girl with a curse that forces her to obey every command. 1999 DCF Award winner.
  • Meddaugh, Susan. MARTHA CALLING. Houghton Mifflin. Martha the dog is back and this time she’s talking up a storm on the telephone! When she wins a free weekend for herself and her family at the Come-On-Inn, the trouble really begins.


  • Miller, Sara Swan. THREE STORIES YOU CAN READ TO YOUR DOG. Houghton Mifflin. Accompanied by lively illustrations, these three stories are all about the things dogs understand best - burglars, bones, and running free.

  • Osborne, Mary Pope. HOUR OF THE OLYMPICS. Random House. Their magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to retrieve a lost story in ancient Greece, where they witness the original Olympic games and are surprised to find what girls of the time were not allowed to do.

  • Prelutsky, Jack. SOMETHING BIG HAS BEEN HERE. William Morrow. The companion to the best-selling The New Kid on the Block contains wonderful, funny poems that children of all ages will adore. Here are ancient tortoises, a rat of culture, a meatloaf that defies an ax, five flying hot dogs, and more people, animals, and things that will amuse and delight.

  • Rylant, Cynthia. POPPLETON AND FRIENDS. Blue Sky Press. Poppleton the pig goes to the beach, solves a lint mystery, and learns that friends are the secret to a long life.

  • Sis, Peter. TIBET THROUGH THE RED BOX. FSG. With its sublime color pictures throughout, inspired by Tibetan Buddhist art and linking history to memory, Sis creates a story of rare imagination, in which the contents of a red box explain the mystery of his father’s long absence during the 1950s.

Grades 5-8

Compiled by Steve Madden, school librarian and Vermont-NEA member from Middlebury Middle School

  • Aiken, Joan. THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE. Yearling. Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia are left in the care of a cruel governess when Bonnie’s parents go on a sea voyage. Besieged by wolves without and the terrible Miss Slighcarp within, how are they to reclaim Willoughby Chase?


  • Brooks, Bruce. WHAT HEARTS. HarperCollins. Beginning when Asa is just graduating from the first grade and ending when he is an adolescent, the four short stories that comprise this novel follow Asa through some of his greatest challenges while growing up in an unstable environment.

  • FEARLESS GIRLS, WISE WOMEN, AND BELOVED SISTERS: HEROINES IN FOLKTALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. Edited by Kathleen Ragan. Norton. A sourcebook of folk tales and fairy tales and the first of its kind to feature a variety of multicultural heroines, this book of 100 stories celebrates strong female heroines across time and space.

  • Haddix, Margaret. AMONG THE HIDDEN. S&S. In a future in which the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm, until another “third” convinces him that the government is wrong.

  • Jacques, Brian. MARLFOX. Philomel. When three young residents of Redwall Abbey go on a quest to recover a tapestry stolen by the Marlfoxes, their bravery removes the curse of these evil animals on a lost island.

  • Juster, Norton. THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. Random. Discovering a large toy tollbooth in his room, bored ten-year-old Milo drives through the tollbooth’s gates and begins a memorable journey to the Kingdom of Wisdom with a watchdog named Tuck.
  • Koertge, Ron. CONFESS-O-RAMA. Orchard. While his mother grieves the death of her fourth husband, Tony vents his feelings to the Confess-O-Rama, never suspecting who’s on the other end of the line.


  • Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. POSSIBLES. Putam. After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Mary “Sheppy” Shepherd struggles to cope with her grief, a lack of money, and her new job acting as a companion to a white woman with a broken leg, until she discovers new friendships and the poems her father has left behind.

  • Pearson, Kit. AWAKE AND DREAMING. Viking. Theo, the ten-year-old daughter of a young and irresponsible mother, dreams of belonging to a family with two parents and brothers and sisters, and, with the help of a ghostly friend, little by little her life seems to get better.

  • Reiss, Kathryn. DREADFUL SORRY. Harcourt. Seventeen-year-old Molly spends the summer at her father’s Victorian house, hoping to find an escape, but she is haunted by mysterious dreams and her frightening similarity to Clementine, a girl who lived there eighty years earlier. By the author of Paperquake.

  • Skolsky, Mindy Warshaw. LOVE FROM YOUR FRIEND, HANNAH. DK Ink. From her home in back of the Grand View Restaurant in New York state during the Great Depression, Hannah writes letters to her best friend, a pen pal in Texas, and even to President and Mrs. Roosevelt.

  • Yolen, Jane. TWELVE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST. Harcourt. Read these twelve stories any time of day, and you are sure to be rewarded with new takes on old tales, unexpected twists and turns, and Jane Yolen’s usual wonderful writing.
  • Yumoto, Kazumi. THE FRIENDS. FSG. Kiyama and his friends Kawabe and Yamashita become fascinated and curious about death when Yamashita’s grandmother dies. They wonder what a dead body looks like and if the dead person becomes a ghost. They hope to see death firsthand by spying on an old man who looks like he will die soon. But while they watch the old man, he watches them. Soon their fascination for each other turns into a friendship that will change their lives forever. Winner of the 1996 Batchelder Award.


Grades 9-12

Selected by school librarians and Vermont-NEA members Karen Gockley of Essex High School, Harriette Phillips-Hamblett of Lake Region Union High School, and Lisa Timbers of Mt. Mansfield Union High School

  • Haddix, Margaret. AMONG THE HIDDEN. S&S. In a future in which the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm, until another “third” convinces him that the government is wrong.

  • Bohjalian, Chris. MIDWIVES. Harmony Books. Set in the N.E. Kingdom of Vermont, the story of Sibyl, a midwife, is told by her daughter, Connie. The book recounts the events of 1981 when Connie was 14. Her mother was assisting in a birth during a severe Vermont spring storm. The mother dies, and Sibyl is forced to make life and death decisions. Uncertainty surrounding the events leads to a trial for involuntary manslaughter.

  • Brown, Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown. MURDER ON THE PROWL. Bantam. Harry Haristeen and her fellow, four-footed amateur detectives, Mrs. Murphy, Pewter and Tee Tucker, set out to solve their 7th mystery together.

  • Crutcher, Chris. IRONMAN. Greenwillow. Bo Brewster has strong opinions and a high moral stance. When an argument with his old football coach lands him in an anger management class, he is outraged and feels very out of place. Amazingly, he finds he isn’t so different from the others in the group. Funny, perceptive, and sensitive, this book has it all.
  • Emerson, Kathy. FACE DOWN IN THE MARROW-BONE PIE. St. Martins Press. This is an amusing first installment of a new Elizabethan mystery series. Susanna (Lady Appleton), decides to investigate the suspicious death of her husband’s steward while her husband is away on a political mission for Queen Elizabeth.


  • Fleischman, Paul. WHIRLIGIG. Holt. Sixteen-year-old Brent must travel to the four corners of the United States to build pictorial whirligigs in memory of Lea, a girl he has accidentally killed. His journey and experiences are mesmerizing as he loses his sense of isolation

  • Gibbons, Kaye. ELLEN FOSTER. Vintage. In a winning and candid voice, spunky 11-year-old Ellen Foster recalls the day-to-day traumas she endured as a child in a very troubled family and the small measure of peace she finds when she is taken into a foster home. This humorous, unsentimental novel will stay with you long after you close it.

  • McKinley, Robin. ROSE DAUGHTER. Greenwillow. Brimming with symbolism and rich metaphors, this Beauty and the Beast retelling is yet another McKinley masterpiece. A compelling, richly imagined, and haunting exploration of the transformative power of love.

  • Morgan, Marlo and Carri Garrison. MUTANT MESSAGE DOWN UNDER. HarperCollins. Morgan, an American doctor, experiences a spiritual reawakening as she travels on a four month “walkabout” through the Australian outback with her Aborigine guides.

  • Olson, Gretchen. JOYRIDE. Boyds Mills Press. After a reckless joyride through an Oregon bean field, seventeen-year-old Jeff is required to spend his summer working on the farm, rather than practicing tennis at the country club, to pay for damages. He faces his prejudices against Mexican migrant farm laborers while he forms new relationships with those he encounters.
  • Pullman, Philip. THE GOLDEN COMPASS. Knopf. Pullman creates a world where humans are paired with animal “daemons” that seem like alter egos, where a strange phenonemon called “dust” may be part of an alternative universe, and where children are disappearing at an alarming rate. These are just some of the many complexities of an excellent book that is first in a trilogy.


  • Randle, Kristen. THE ONLY ALIEN ON THE PLANET. Scholastic. Ginny moves into a new town in her senior year. She becomes fixated on her handsome, brilliant, and emotionally disturbed classmate who has not spoken a word to anyone for as long as the kids at school can remember. Determined to break through to him, Ginny begins a journey that uncovers a sinister brother and a family in denial. A powerful psychological novel.

This list is edited by Leda Schubert, School Library Media Consultant, Vermont Department of Education, and published as a community service by the Vermont-National Education Association, 10 Wheelock Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05602, (802) 223-6375
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