100 Great Adventure Books for Kids: Summer Read Along Book Lists are Here!


***To read the next post in this series, see our Summer Reading Challenge, Week 1: Around the World by Matt Phelan.***

Summer Reading Challenge

phelan_around the worldJune has arrived, and so has our Summer Reading Challenge! We hope you’re ready for a global literary adventure this summer. It’s not too late to join us in the read along (just too late to win that initial prize). We’re beginning this week, but the first book is a graphic novel and is a fairly quick read: Around the World by Matt Phelan. If you’re just deciding to join us, you still have plenty of time!

Summer Reading Alternate Titles

As promised, we have a coordinating book list of more than 100 titles for you. Remember, to participate in the challenge, a child simply has to read 5 titles this summer. We will be emphasizing the 7 titles we’ve chosen as read alongs, but your child is welcome to “swap out” a title from the big list for one of the “official” titles if he or she prefers. This is especially helpful for those who are reading on a different reading level than the challenge titles or who have already read one or more of the challenge titles. You may also have avid readers in your household who need more reading ideas!

There are books for preschool through middle grades on the list (but the list does skew heavily towards independent readers). Loose reading level ranges are given, but most books are family friendly enough that an audio version in the car will not be too “mature” (i.e. scary, etc.) for younger listeners (unless noted). Motivation is a strong factor in reading, so don’t get too hung up on the reading level guides. This list doesn’t include every great adventure story because we had to draw the line somewhere, but keep those comments coming about your favorite titles! We’ve tried to steer away from titles typically read in school–after all, this is SUMMER!

The lists are available in two formats: a quick and dirty, titles-only format and a longer, annotated format which gives a brief plot description. You will find a category related to each of our main titles (regionally and/or stylistically) plus three additional categories. Of particular note for you nonfiction lovers is the last category: Nonfiction Adventure Tools! The second-to-last category is a list of adventurous series which are often a big hit during summer break for avid readers.

The Full, Annotated 2013 Redeemed Reader Summer Reading Book List

The Quick and Dirty 2013 Redeemed Reader Summer Reading Book List

See also the Redeemed Reader Pinterest Boards: one board for each category so you can get a quick glance at book covers (this is still very much a work in progress!)

Let us know in the comments if you see a favorite title on the list and want to recommend it to others! I know I’ll be reading some new-to-me books (or new-to-my-kids) this summer and can’t wait: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Nate Saint: Operation Auca (Torch Bearers). And I can’t wait to introduce everyone to Janie’s book The Middle of Somewhere next week–it’s a lot of fun!

FREE Summer Reading Book List

More than 75 books for children and teens, all about islands, oceans, and more. Bonus: get a free hand-drawn reading tracker!

Reading Ahead for You

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Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.


  1. Sunny on June 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Wahoo! Thanks so much!

  2. Marlo on June 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    This looks great! Our book package just arrived today from the store you suggested — great company! Question: Do the books need to be read in a certain order? With two boys reading the same set, that might be more complicated. Thoughts?

  3. Emily on June 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Great question, Marlo! I’d say just try to stay close to the reading list order, but it won’t hurt to swap them up a little. I think the important thing would be to hold off on your discussion about a particular book until both kids have at least gotten a good bit of the book read. Other than that, you may just want to run your challenge a week behind us, and give the kids a little more time to read if they need it. Plus, that way you’ll have all the materials and suggestions for the week ahead of time. (We’ll be posting on Tuesday and Thursday each week.)

    I should probably mention that tomorrow in our post…so thanks for the timely question! So glad you’re joining us!

  4. Marlo on June 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Great suggestion, Emily. Thanks!

  5. Kelly on June 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

    My boys read the entire Around the World book by Matt Phelan yesterday! Should we go ahead and start the next book and are we to log the books they read and give an account to you so are aware of what books are read? Thanks and love this idea!

    • Emily on June 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Great question, Kelly! I’m so thrilled your boys are off to such a great start. I’d say let them go ahead, and then maybe order some of the extra books as filler in the weeks to come if they keep up that blistering pace. And no, you don’t need to log time for us; we’re on the honor system here. (Although, you’re certainly welcome to do so for the pure joy of it!) Just let us know at the end which kids read the books, and we’ll enter them in the prize pool. : )

  6. […] to children’s literature, is hosting two summer reading contests, which you can learn about here and here, and a writing contest.  You can find another reading contest here, at Veritas Press, a […]

  7. Julie Plocher on June 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the choices of books.Do you need to have a theme each wk? Talk about anything

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