Mission: Summer Reading

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School may be out, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Help prevent summer slide and encourage a love of books with our fun summer literacy program for children from pre-K to grade 8, Mission: Summer Reading.

To get started, just visit our U District, Mill Creek, or Tacoma store and sign up. Each child who does receives a Book Intel File for keeping track of the books they’ve read, while you’ll get a coupon to save on your next Kids Books purchase to make finding something to read a snap.

Children can fill out their Book Intel File with short descriptions of their books.

  • After they’ve read FIVE books, return to one of our participating stores to pick up a fun prize.
  • After they’ve read 10 books, bring the completed Book Intel File for a FREE book, cool button, and an additional Kids Books coupon.

Mission: Summer Reading runs now through the end of August. For additional details or questions, please ask one of our booksellers or go to ubookstore.com/summerreading. Visit our U District, Mill Creek, or Tacoma store to start your summer reading mission today!

Great Summer Reads for Children of All Ages

Here are a few fantastic titles to help your children get their mission off to a great start.

Picture Books

A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

Everyone has their own idea of an ideal day. Cat is blissful sitting in a sunny bed of daffodils. Dog loves resting in the cool of a wading pool. Squirrel is happy munching his corncob. It looks like it’s going to be a perfect day. Then along comes Bear.

The repeated refrain of “It was a perfect day” suddenly takes on a new meaning as this bothersome intruder proceeds to disrupt the restful days of the other local animals—crushing the daffodils, drinking the pool water, and gobbling Squirrel’s corncob. This humorous picture book offers a lively illustration of the power of perspective. Lane Smith’s vibrant imagery with lush colors, broad brush strokes, and a dash of whimsy make this a visually pleasing read.

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Young Kelp has always known he was a little different from his narwhal family. His tusk isn’t as long, he doesn’t like the same food, and he isn’t that great of a swimmer. But since they don’t mind, he doesn’t mind. Then one day, he’s swept to the surface and discovers a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp isn’t a narwhal after all…

Warmth, love, and acceptance are major players in this charming tale about fitting in, standing out, and family. We love Jessie Sima’s adorable illustrations and the wonderful message behind this little unicorn’s story.

Middle Grade

Summerlost by Ally Condie

It’s been a year since the accident that took 12-year-old Cedar’s father and brother. Her mother has brought the remaining family members to her hometown of Iron Creek, Utah for the summer to regroup. They’re just settling in when Cedar spots a costumed boy riding by their house on a bicycle. Intrigued, she follows him and finds Summerlost, the town’s annual Shakespeare festival.

It isn’t long before she has a new job working concessions for the festival and discovers a series of mysteries, including a tragic Hollywood actress who haunts Summerlost and a series of strange gifts. Ally Condie—known for her Matched series—introduces a cast of quirky, memorable characters in her debut middle grade title. It’s a story that realistically deals with the topics of grief, family, friendship, and resilience and is sure to strike a chord with readers.


Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King

Sixteen-year-old Sarah is having an existential crisis. Someone sabotaged her art project, her art club friends have turned their backs on her, and her parents’ broken marriage is just getting worse. What’s more, she keeps encountering past and future versions of herself. Now, conversations with 10-year-old Sarah have her questioning the story of why her family stopped talking to her older brother six years ago after an incident in Mexico.

A.S. King takes readers on a journey through the streets of Philadelphia in a surreal, resonant tale that compellingly captures teen anxieties. Still Life with Tornado is a New York Times 2016 Notable Children’s book, as well as a Publishers Weekly and Booklist Best Book of 2016. Prepare for a story that is thought-provoking, compassionate, and highly original.