Hallelujah for the summer! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been counting down to the lazy days of summer. Long gone are the days of waking up early and following a strict schedule, replaced by sleeping in and lounging poolside. If you know me well (and I’m hoping you can get to know me), you’re probably giving me the side eye knowing that I have to have some sort of learning happening over the summer. Of course, you’d be right. No summer is complete without a summer reading list, our summer is no exception.


The Summer Slide

If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, “The Summer Slide,” it’s a term educators use to encourage parents to keep their children learning through the summer months. The summer slide refers to what happens when students lose some of their knowledge and the skills they acquired during the school year if they don’t engage with academic content over the summer. Now your next question is probably, “How much of the content and skills do children lose if they don’t read or don’t do any math over the summer?” Well, research shows that over a 2-month summer vacation students can lose 2 to 3 months of academic knowledge. If we’re breaking down that timespan it means, by the end of 4th grade, students can be 1 entire year behind due to the impact of summer slide. Research indicates that summer slide may be a contributing factor to the achievement gap.


What Can You DO?

While I enjoy the relaxed schedule our summers provide, I really hate to lose skills I have worked so hard throughout the school year teaching my children. Preventing the summer slide can be very easy. Over the years I have enrolled our kids into reading programs at our local libraries. For each book, or number of book our kids read, they win a prize and a raffle ticket to win a final prize. My absolute favorite thing to do is start our family book club. Each summer, we let each child pick a book and we take turns each night reading the chosen book and having a family discussion about it. I find myself awed by the insights each of our children have about the books we’re reading.


Did You Know…

Reading 4-5 books during the summer can prevent a decline in your child’s reading scores? I love this infographic created by Follett. It does a great job breaking down the best ways to prevent the summer slide.


A List of Favorites

As a family we really enjoy reading. I believe my husband’s and my love of reading has trickled down to our kids in part because they can always catch us reading. As a personal habit, I try to read a new book a week. There are times where that book drags on for weeks, depending on our schedule, but I always carry a book with me in my bag. You never know when you might be stuck somewhere and need a good book to read. The kids and I have put together a list of our favorite books, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do! Here are a few of our favorite summer reads:


Chocolate Me by Taye Diggs illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Chocolate me is about a young boy teased for being different. Wishing to look like the other kids he is reminded to love his darker skin and curly hair. Its a book that celebrates loving the skin you’re in.

please, baby, please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Academy Award Winner Spike Lee and his wife give a hilarious behind the scenes look at life parenting a toddler. Toddlers are busy from the moment they wake up until it’s time for bed and if you’re looking for a book that mirrors your life as a toddler parent, you’ll love this book.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry illustrated by Vashti Harrison

This newly released book has become an instant favorite in our house. Zuri loves her hair and the versatility her hair provides. Her extra special day calls for an extra special hair style and her father steps in to help her find the perfect look. This is such a beautiful book about loving the kinks and coils of our hair and the loving relationship between a girl and her Daddy.

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Jerome loves collecting words. Short words, two syllable words, and multi- syllable words that sound like songs. Some of Jerome’s simplest words have the most powerful meanings. Follow Jerome on his path to sharing his words with the world and how it makes him feel.

I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont illustrated by David Catrow

This beautifully written and brightly illustrated book is an ode to boosting your child’s self esteem and learning to love who they are inside, outside, and upside down.

My Mommy Medicine by Edwidge Danticat illustrated by Shannon Wright

This super sweet book shows how mommy medicine can help heal any sickness and make the worse day, somehow feel so much better. No medicine is ever as good as mommy medicine.

blended by Sharon M. Draper

Eleven year old Isabella’s father is black and her mother is white. Her parents are divorced and she is struggling with choosing an identity. When people see her, do they see her as black, or do they see her as white?

Miles Morales Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds

This book is for every Spider-Man fan. Jason Reynolds does an excellent job showing readers what a real life teenage Spider Man would look like. If you love reading super hero or action books, this is a must read.

Mango Delight by Fracaswell Hyman

Seventh-grader, Mango Delight Fuller loves Beyoncé and running track. When she outshines her best friend Brooklyn on the track, jealousy sends her life into a spiral. Kicked off the track team and friendless, Mango has to figure out what kind of friends she wants to have and the kind of friend she wants to be.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

16-year old Steve Harmon is on trial for the murder of a store owner in Harlem. Written in screenplay format, Steve gives his perspective on the crime and the trial that ensues. Is Steve guilty of the crime he’s being accused or just guilty by association? This book shows the importance of choosing your friends and how making the right choice could mean life or death.


Happy Reading!

We would have LOVED to add every single book we have in our family’s library, instead we chose to go with books that included diverse characters and books that dealt with the everyday life of being a child of color. If you’re in need of any more book suggestions, you can find our family on Instagram .


Mommi Bella