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Summer Reading: 18 Books That Will Inspire Your Kids

June 16, 2013

Reading a book with my son is my favorite time of the day. I love entering into a world where we can share our thoughts, ideas, emotions and questions.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, sibling or friend, you too can share the joy of reading to engage children in how they can make a difference in the world.

These books, as compiled by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center staff, highlight kids who have the courage it takes to act and stand up for what they believe in. We highly recommend them for your summer reading lists.

(If you’ll be in the Seattle-area this summer, you can also drop by the Visitor Center for our family story time. Story time takes place every second Saturday at 11 a.m.)

Toddler and up.

Marley, Cedella.  One Love.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2011.

Meiners, Cheri J. Reach out and Give.  Free Spirit, 2006.

Napoli, Donna.  Mama Miti.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Paratore, Coleen.  26 Big Things Small Hands Do.  Minneapolis: Free Spirit, 2008.

Silverstein, Shel.  The Giving Tree.  New York: Harper Collins, 1964.

Sis, Peter.  Madlenka Soccer Star.  New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2010.

First grade and up.

Brown, Monica.  Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People.  New York: Henry Holt, 2011.

Javaherbin, Mina.  Goal!  Somerville: Candlewick Press, 2010.

Steptoe, John.  Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.  New York: Harper Collins, 1987.

Watson, Jesse.  Hope for Haiti.  New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 2010.

Winter, Jeanette.  The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005.

Winter, Jeanette.  Wangari’s Trees of Peace.  Orlando: Harcourt, 2008.

Fifth grade and up.

Gregory, Morna and James, Sian.  Toilets of the World.  London: Merrell, 2006.

Kindersley, Barnabas and Anabel.  Children Just Like Me. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.

Menzel, Peter and D’Aluisio, Faith.  Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.  Napa, CA: Material World Books, 2005.

Sundem, Garth. Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions around the World. Free Spirit Publishing. 2010.

High school and up.

Boles, Nicole.  How to be an Everyday PhilanthropistNew York: Workman, 2009

Pilloton, Emily.  Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People.  New York: Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 2009.

Do you have any favorite inspiring children’s books that you would add to this list? 

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