Schoola Blog

School Fundraising Tips & Success Stories from Schoola

Perfect Your Spring Break Packing List

Between shuttling the kids to sports practice and preparing school lunches, it can be hard to plan spring break travel, let alone worry about what to pack when the day of departure arrives! To help you keep all your ducks in a row, we compiled spring break packing lists for a few popular destinations.

Beach Vacation Packing List

family spring break at the beach

If your family is bound for the sand and sun, here are essentials you’ll want to tuck in your luggage:

  • Swimsuits and towels for ocean-side afternoons
  • Sunhats and sunscreen to keep everyone safe from UV rays
  • Sand toys for keeping the kids entertained
  • Sandals or water shoes to protect sensitive feet
  • Beach coverups, like sundresses for girls and a tee or tank for boys
  • Water bottles and snacks to keep everyone happy and healthy
  • A reusable bag for collecting shells

Big-City-Bound Packing List

spring break vacation in the city

Heading off to an urban adventure? Here’s what to bring:

  • Good walking shoes for a day of pounding the pavement
  • A comfortable outfit for afternoons of exploring; shorts and a t-shirt are a fantastic choice for everyone
  • A nice outfit for going to the theater or special evenings out; we recommend a dress for girls and a button-down for boys
  • A backpack or large purse for carrying your camera, snacks, water bottles and subway tickets
  • A journal for each kid so they can record what they saw and learned each day

Camping Adventure Packing List

family spring break camping

For a foray into the woods, packing smart will get you far. Make sure you remember:

  • Outdoor-ready clothes from brands like REI, Patagonia, The North Face or Columbia
  • A hoodie or flannel to fend off any evening chill
  • Travel games or cards to play around the lantern light
  • A first aid kit to care for any unexpected bumps and bruises
  • Bug spray and sunscreen to thwart mosquitoes and protect skin
  • Camp kitchen equipment like a stove, pots, dishes, a utility knife, utensils, and biodegradable soap
  • Sleeping essentials like a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping mats, plus earplugs for sensitive sleepers
  • A flashlight and s’mores ingredients to make every evening bright

Mountain Jaunt Packing List

spring break vacation in the mountains

If you’re getting in one last winter hurrah with a trip to the mountains, you’ll need to pack your bags for bundling up! Be sure to bring:

  • A warm coat to fend off cold weather
  • Slippers for keeping toes toasty in the cabin
  • A turtleneck and woolly socks for staying warm
  • Snow gear like snow pants, a scarf, gloves or mittens, and a knit hat
  • Lotion and lip balm to prevent dry skin and lips
  • Hot cocoa for warming up after a day of playing in the snow

Have any family vacation packing tips? Share them below!

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Meet 3 Schoola Fundraising Stars

Just what kind of impact does Schoola make? We talked to three schools close to our hometown—and heart—to find out!

Fundraising for Music Education at Gregory Gardens Elementary School

Schoola School Fundraising

After reading about Schoola online, Gregory Gardens Elementary School mom Deborah, decided to give Schoola a test drive. She sent in a bag of her son Dylan’s outgrown clothes and was delighted when her donation quickly raised $250 for his school. Buoyed by this success, Deborah began organizing school-wide clothing drives, and now, five drives later,  Pleasant Hill, CA-based Gregory Gardens has raised over $15,000 to keep their arts and music programs alive and thriving!

Using the money they’ve raised with Schoola, Gregory Gardens, which serves 375 bright, young minds aged 5-11, purchased a spotlight and microphones for their theater program, and many instruments, from violins, to clarinets, to glockenspiels.

“Schoola is unique in that it enables us to raise funds without asking parents for money,” says Deborah, adding, “as a bonus, [it] encourages families to clean their closets! Parents love it.”

Gregory Gardens looks forward to using additional funds raised with Schoola for musical instrument repair and purchases, fun field trips, investing in sheet music, and giving all children a chance to both learn an instrument and participate in their beloved school play.

To help Gregory Garden’s young creatives thrive, shop here.

Making Art & Outdoor Education Possible at Lawton Alternative School

Schoola School Fundraising

Housed in a classic art-deco building covered by San Francisco’s majestic blanket of fog, Lawton Alternative School is a K-8 public school that aims to educate “the whole student.” Focused on art, music, theater, PE, and outdoor education in addition to the traditional array of classes, Lawton Alternative does a wonderful job of expanding the minds of its 600 students.

This extended educational programming doesn’t come for free, however, and state funds don’t cover all of Lawton’s expenses. So, when Schoola contacted PTA Vice President Gretchen three years ago, she readily agreed to give Schoola a go—and the results have been fantastic!

Today, Lawton Alternative has raised more than $5,800 with Schoola. They have used funds to pay their Education Outside program, which helps children connect to nature and science through hands-on learning in school gardens, and look forward to using future earnings to support teacher development, improve classrooms and buy plenty of books and equipment that will make lessons more fulfilling.

Help Lawton reach their goals by shopping to support them!

Providing Enrichment Activities at Jefferson Elementary School

Schoola School Fundraising

Standing proud on the streets of San Leandro, CA, Jefferson Elementary is a Title 1 school full of 630 cheerful students and a staff of amazing teachers dedicated to education and the arts.

The school began fundraising with Schoola when Jasmine, one of the school’s moms, began working in the Schoola warehouse. Smitten with Schoola the minute she learned about it, Jasmine brought Schoola to Jefferson and now, 289 bags of clothing later, the school has become one of our stars.

With $4,600 raised (and counting!), Jefferson put its fundraising proceeds to good use, supporting everything from assemblies and movie nights, to music classes and more. Plus, parents feel fantastic about the Schoola fundraising model since Schoola helps them support their children’s education without having to spend extra money, which make a big difference to many Jefferson families.

Jefferson has great plans for its future funds, like putting on a healthy-habit-promoting Obstacle-a-thon and organizing a Bingo for Books event. Help them make all these activities a success by shopping their Schoola page!

 

Have a Schoola success story? Share it below!

 

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5 Reasons Why Kids Need Music Education

School music programs nationwide are disappearing, suffering at the hands of state-by-state budget cuts. Though it can be tempting to dismiss this as no big deal, the impact of eliminating music programs at schools is worse than you may imagine. March being Music in Our Schools Month (#MIOSM), we’re sharing a list of five reasons why music education is incredibly important—and why, in turn, we here at Schoola donate 40% of proceeds to schools to keep programs like music, art, and PE alive!

1. Music education helps kids do better in school.schoola

Numerous studies show music education improves academic performance. A 2007 study published in Nature Neuroscience reports that “students in high-quality school music education programs score higher on standardized tests…regardless of the socioeconomic level of community.”
To get a perfected picture of what this means, let’s look at some other studies.  One study found that students who had a quality music education score an average of 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math on their SATS. Another discovered that, with good music programs, elementary school students did 22% better in English and 20% better in math across all geographic regions. Even basic music programs sparked improved academic achievement in comparison with schools that provided no music education at all.

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Win Weekly With #SchoolaStyle!

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Get excited…the #SchoolaStyle Contest is back! We’re giving away a $50 coupon code each week to someone who shares their Schoola scores.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Snap a pic of your Schoola finds (bonus points for modeling them!).
  2. Share your pic on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. To qualify, make sure you:
    1. Tag us in your post.
    2. Use the hashtag #SchoolaStyle.

Each Friday, we’ll announce the week’s lucky winner on Schoola’s Facebook page and notify the winner by commenting on their winning post.

We can’t wait to see your #SchoolaStyle. For inspiration, check out some of our past submissions above!

For complete list of official  rules and guidelines, please head here.

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Take Your Favorite Sweater From Day to Night

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With sweater weather on the horizon, we are so excited about one of our favorite items for fall. (Well, favorite besides a pumpkin spice latte). Of course, we’re referring to the Athleta Merino wool sweater, which is the perfect layering piece to take you from day to night. This sweater is classic and cozy and comes in a beautiful Chianti color, which is one of the hottest colors for fall fashion.

Whether you’re out and about running errands (did we mention it has thumb holes?), headed to the office, or out to dinner, this sweater is perfect for all of these occasions. It looks classy styled with black pants and your favorite pumps, or on the go with some skinny jeans and your favorite bag. For those extra cool evenings, pair it with a chic jacket.

Shop this look! Pick up your Athleta Sweater and pair with either black pants or denim. Is the weather feeling chilly? Layer on a jacket for extra warmth.

Complete your look with some chic boots or sandals and a handbag.

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Big shout out to Ashley of DTK Austin who styled our favorite Athleta sweater for both a day out and a romantic date night.

Regardless of where your day or night takes you, there is no doubt – this sweater is ready to keep you feeling cozy and looking chic.

 

lesliebeckhorn-schoola-biocard

Leslie Beckhorn is the Visual Merchandising Manager at Schoola. One of Leslie’s favorite subjects in school was art. It helped inspire her creativity and love of fashion. When she was in kindergarten, she took Vogue magazine to show and tell. Her love grew so much that she was inspired to get her degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in Art History. Now she is happy to bring her passion to Schoola.

 

The Autumn Edit

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The weather is beginning to turn, and autumn is right around the corner. It’s time to start packing up those summer dresses into storage and thinking about the season ahead. Along with the joys of colorful autumn leaves and pumpkin pie also comes the fun in building up your fall wardrobe. To help you plan and streamline your fall shopping, we’ve put together this year’s top six essential fall staples.

 

Sweater Weather The quintessential cold-weather staple is the warm and cozy sweater. From cardigans to chunky wools, this is the one piece that will fit every fall occasion.

Top-to-Bottom Denim – Denim works for every season, but the color stories for fall are quite distinct. In fall we see darker shades of indigo, a gray palette and even pops of subtle colors such as burgundy and forest green. Pair your denim jackets with everything from sweaters to dresses and even jeans.

Pantone’s Marsala – If you are not familiar, Pantone is the ultimate authority on color theory and trends. Every year Pantone announces the Color of the Year, and last year Marsala won the title. Appropriately named after a deep-toned wine, Marsala brings a rich and luxurious feel to your wardrobe.  

Touch of Texture – Add some sparkle and depth to your style with layered pieces that provide interest. Mix and match textures like lace, velvet, or leather to take your basics from day to night.

Tailored Garments – Summer is all about the loose and flowing fabrics, but with fall, it’s time to suit up. Fall silhouettes are tailored and structured, giving a more sophisticated and formal feel. Shop the collection for trousers, blazers, and fitted dresses.

Mad for Plaid Stay comfortable and warm in the classic flannel plaid shirt. Plaid is a great investment because it returns as a favorite trend every fall. Pair with basic denim or layer under sweaters for an easy-to-wear outfit.

 

The Collection

Schoola is a great place to find thrift gems with thousands of items to shop. We’ve taken the work out of it for you and gathered the best of the fall trends in the Curator’s Collection. Shop now and get started on building your autumn wardrobe!

 

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Celebrating Three Years of Schoola

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Three years ago, the Schoola shop opened its doors online. At the time, we were working with a pilot group of just five schools and settling into our very first warehouse. We knew firsthand that with each wave of school budget cuts, kids were losing out, and we wanted to enable parents and community members to support crucial programs as easily as possible (no cookie dough or wrapping paper sales required!).

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Since then, hundreds of thousands of families across the U.S. have joined with Schoola to support our children — by donating, by organizing clothing drives, by shopping, by sharing our name with friends, and more.

Here are some of the amazing things you’ve accomplished so far:

  • You’ve saved enough water to fill 440 Olympic-size swimming pools by donating your gently used clothing. Did you know that for every preloved item that finds a new home through our shop, more than 1,000 gallons of water are saved that would have otherwise been used manufacturing a new item?
  • And you’ve sent in tons of clothing – literally. The number of pounds of clothing donations we’ve received from you is equal to the weight of 50 school buses.
  • From the 5 schools we started out with three years ago, we’ve grown to 30,000 schools that are now partnering with Schoola.
  • If we lined up all the bags you’ve requested so far to benefit Malala Fund, we could reach the top of Mount Everest three times.
  • All told, you’ve impacted 6 million students whose schools have benefited from Schoola, helping maintain crucial funding for art, music, P.E., and more.

Thank you for making these first three years awesome. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Sizing Things Up: Find Your Perfect Pair of Pants

Pants Sizing: Find Your Perfect Fit

By Leslie Beckhorn, Visual Merchandising Manager

We all know the most difficult part of online shopping is not knowing whether an item will fit us or not. It always seems so much easier if we can just jump into a fitting room and try it on. Well, I am here to tell you that you have no reason to worry about that anymore. We have compiled a list of women’s size charts from some of our top-selling brands to make your purchasing decisions easier.

If your item arrives and you find it doesn’t fit quite as you like, simply let our customer service team know by emailing help@schoola.com or calling 855-454-2956. We promise to provide store credit equal to the amount you paid for the item to help you find a replacement that does.

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to sizing, especially bottoms:

  • Petite is considered a proportion rather than a size. This means petite sizing affects not only the inseam, but also the rise.
  • In tall items, the most distinct difference is in the inseam.
  • Some pants, like skinny jeans, are designed to have a more tailored fit, and their cut reflects that, while others, like trousers, are cut to fit a bit looser.

When sizing bottoms, we look at measurements in three areas: waist, hips, and length (or inseam). Here is an example of what those look like, and how to measure yourself if you’re not quite sure where you fall on a sizing chart.

Pants Sizing: Find Your Perfect Fit

Ann Taylor Pants:

Known for classic styles and specializing in petite and tall fits, the sizing tends a little toward the generous side, so you may find that you size down from your normal size. Sizing at sister brand Loft is very similar.

Regular (32-33” inseam)

Size XXS XS S M L XL
00 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Waist 23.5 24.5 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 29.5 31 32.5 34 36
Hip 33.5 34.5 35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 39.5 41 42.5 44 46

Petite (30” inseam; recommended for individuals 5’4” and under)

Size XXSP XSP SP MP LP XLP
00P 0P 2P 4P 6P 8P 10P 12P 14P 16P
Waist 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30.5 32 33.5
Hip 32.5 33.5 34.5 35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 40 41.5 43

Banana Republic Pants:

Sizes run similar to Ann Taylor.

Regular

Size 000/23 00/24 0/25 2/26 4/27 6/28 8/29 10/30 12/31 14/32 16/33
Hip 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41.5 43 44.5
Inseam 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33

Petite

Size 000P 00P 0P 2P 4P 6P 8P 10P 12P 14P
Natural Waist 22.5 23.5 24.5 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 29.5 31 32.5
Hip 32.5 33.5 34.5 35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 39.5 41 41.5

Gap Jeans:

Size XXS XS S M L XL XXL
00 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Size 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 35
Waist 24.75 25.5 26.25 27.25 28.25 29.5 30.5 32 33.25 35.25 39.5
Hip 34.25 35.25 36.25 37.25 38.25 39.25 40.25 41.75 43.25 45. 48.75

Gap Pants:

Regular

Size 000/23 00/24 0/25 2/26 4/27 6/28 8/29 10/30 12/31 14/32 16/33
Hip 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41.5 43 44.5
Inseam 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33

Petite

Size 000P 00P 0P 2P 4P 6P 8P 10P 12P 14P
Natural Waist 22.5 23.5 24.5 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 29.5 31 32.5
Hip 32.5 33.5 34.5 35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 39.5 41 41.5

J.Crew Pants:

Regular

Size XXXS XXS XS S M L XL
000 00 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Waist 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31.5 33 34.5
Hip 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41.5 43 44.5

Calvin Klein Bottoms: 

Pants

Size XS S M L XL
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Waist 25 26 27 28 29 30 31.5 32.5 34
Hip 33.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 39.5 40.5 42 43.5 45
Inseam-

short

30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30
Inseam-

regular

32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32
Inseam-

Long

34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34

Shorts

Size XS S M L XL
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Waist 29.5 30.5 31.5 32.5 33.5 34.5 36 37.5
Low hip 36.75 37.75 38.75 39.75 40.75 41.75 43.25 44.75
inseam 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

Le Suit:

Regular

Size XS S M L XL
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Bust 32 33 34 35 36 37 38.5 40 41 43
Waist 24 25 26 27 28 29 30.5 32 33.5 35
Hips 34.5 35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5 39.5 41 42.5 44 45.5

Petite

Size XS S M L
2P 4P 6P 8P 10P 12P 14P
Bust 32 33 34 35 36 37.5 39
Waist 23.5 24.6 25.5 26.5 27.5 29 30.5
Hips 34 35 36 37 38 39.5 41

Plus

Size 0X 1X 2X 3X 4X 5X
12W 14W 16W 18W 20W 22W 24W 26W 28W 30W 32W
Bust 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60
Waist 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53
Hips 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62

Ellen Tracy Pants:

Regular

Size XS S M L XL
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Bust 37 38 39 40 41 42.5 44 45.5
Natural Waist 34 35 36 37 38 39.5 41 42.5
Hips 37.5 38.5 39.5 40.5 41.5 43 44.5 46

I hope you found this helpful, and remember, if it doesn’t fit, we’ll help you find an item that does. Just let our customer service team know by emailing help@schoola.com or calling 855-454-2956, and we’ll provide a store credit equal to the amount you paid for the item. Learn more about sizing here.

LeslieBeckhorn-Schoola-Biocard

Leslie Beckhorn is the Visual Merchandising Manager at Schoola. One of Leslie’s favorite subjects in school was art. It helped inspire her creativity and love of fashion. When she was in kindergarten, she took Vogue magazine to show and tell. Her love grew so much that she was inspired to get her degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in Art History. Now she is happy to bring her passion to Schoola.

 

10 Apps to Transition from Summer to Fall with Kids

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It’s a time of big changes when summer comes to an end and school is beginning again. Both children and parents alike have to adjust to new routines and schedules. Modern technology can lend a hand with helpful apps that allow you to stay on top of your to-do list and make the transition easier. Check out our list of top apps for summer transition:

  1. Hurray for Pre-K

If your child is having anxiety about going to school for the first time, this app can help ease the transition. Complete with a step-by-step guide of what they can expect, it shows kids how fun school can be!

  1. Cozi Family Planner

Schedules can get hectic and hard to remember with all the kids’ sports games and after school activities. This app helps keep you organized and on top all the events happening during the week.

  1. Schoola

Searching for deals on kids’ clothes is made easy with the newly-updated app. Shop Schoola for gently used clothes at 70% off retail. Create a collection and get notifications when newly arrived items are live on the site. The best part is 40% of the proceeds benefit children’s education. You can also track your school’s fundraising progress and help reach their goals by donating clothes. Hint: it’s a great place to shop for all seasons year round, they have fall styles in stock!

  1. KinderClock

This app helps children develop a sense of time and urgency when they get ready for school in the morning. Parents will love it because everyone will be ready to head out the door on time in the morning!

  1. Berenstain Bears Come Clean to School

These classic childhood bears help teach kids about hygiene routines when they leave for school in the morning.

  1. Toca Boca

If your child is struggling in science class, this app can bring the subject matter to life and make learning fun for kids.

  1. La La Lunchbox

Teach kids how to make healthy food choices and meal plan for their lunch at school.

  1. Homework

This app helps children manage their homework workload and plan out their weekly assignments.

  1. School Supply List

This app is perfect for organizing your school supply list, especially if you have multiple kids to shop for. Whenever you come across something on sale you can check your list and get the best deals.

  1. MeeGenius

This app is a great resource to help kids to develop their reading skills and learn to love reading.

 

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Gennifer’s favorite school memories were doing art and craft projects at her bilingual elementary school. The school subjects were taught in both English and Spanish and the class celebrated many hispanic cultural events. She enjoyed crafting paper mache piñatas for Cinco de Mayo, making sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos and creating Mexican fiesta lanterns with colorful tissue paper. Her love of handmade goods continues to this day and remains one of her favorite pastimes.

 

Your Ultimate Children’s Summer Reading List

The Ultimate Children's Summer Reading List

Guest post by Beth Vuolo Gousman, School Librarian

Despite being a school librarian, I frequently draw just as much of a blank as you do when faced with the rows of shelves at the library. Yes, even my child turns down my selections sometimes. The biggest thing to remember is not to give up. It would be wonderful if every teacher in America were able to inspire a love of reading, but the biggest predictor of whether your child will be a voracious reader is dependent upon what they see the adults in their lives reading. Turn off the screens (or power up the Kindle, as the case may be) and dive into some absorbing summer reads. Without further ado, here’s my ultimate children’s summer reading list.

Children’s Summer Reading List: Top 10 Picks

1. Emma J. Virjan’s Pig in a Wig featuring rhyming text in a madcap adventure for the newest of readers. Rhyming text is helpful to the newest of readers, because it helps in predicting what’s coming next.  If the illustrations offer further clues, all the better. Her second book in the series, What this Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush, makes for the perfect sendoff for bedtime. Pig just wants to go to bed, but the universe appears to be against her. Your child will laugh themselves to sleep.  Grades K-1.

2. What if working out a math problem before bed became second nature, much like a bedtime story?  That’s the premise behind Laura Overdeck’s Bedtime Math series. The third book, entitled The Truth Comes Out, is targeted towards the largest range of any book on this list, with three potential levels of questions, depending upon the audience’s math ability.  Despite the title, it need not be relegated to bedtime–the problem solving could just as easily be done on a long road trip.   If you want to “try before you buy” check out the archives for daily math problems. Grades K-5.

3. Early chapter books are a tough lot. So many of them suffer from plodding plot lines and can best be described as repetitive drive.  Mo Willems is best known for the hilarious Elephant and Piggie series. Diva and Flea, about a fancy dog and alley cat, is a far departure from this genre. It’s a creative reminder that outside appearance is not an indicator of how much two individuals might find in common.  How did Mo Willems and Tony Terlizzi pull off this feat?  Find out. Grades 2-4.

4. What would happen if there was a princess who could change into a ninja to protect her kingdom?  She’d be the Princess in Black, of course.  In Princess Magnolia’s third adventure, it’s not immediately obvious that her monster alarm has not malfunctioned, when she arrives in a field of bunnies, but she quickly learns things are not as they seem. LeYuen’s perfectly matched watercolor and ink illustrations make Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde an empowering read not to be missed. Learn more about the princess! Grades 1-3.

5. The series My Weird School Daze by Dan Gutman tops my list of recommendations for readers new to chapter books. This week, a new nonfiction edition was published that focuses on sports. Guiness Book of World Record fans, take heed!  My Weird School Fast Facts: Sports is a veritable treasure trove for the child who lives to start conversations with the phrase “Did you know…?” Grades 2-4.

6. Sarah Pennypacker is best known for the Clementine series, featuring a plucky third grade, a la Ramona Quimby. This spring, she has published two works that offer something different. On my children’s summer reading list is Waylon! One Awesome Thing! is a spin off from the  Clementine series, aimed at 2nd-4th graders. Waylon is feeling torn as the most popular boy in 4th grade is dividing the class into 2 cliques, and his sister, who he has always counted on, has drifted into her own world, one that he’s not a part of.  There are so few books that handle exclusion so well, and Pennypacker is able to get into kids’ heads in a way that brings an adult reader right back to an age long forgotten. Grades 2-4.

7. Pax is the story of a boy and his pet fox, both of whom are trying to make their way back to one another after being separated against their will.  Each chapter flips from human to fox viewpoint.  It sounds like a far shot when described, but it’s a real accomplishment that Pennypacker is able to pull this off convincingly.  There was a significant waiting list for Pax at my school, built entirely upon word of mouth of fifth grade boys. Grades 4-8.

8. How much does your reader know about the Iranian hostage crisis?  Firoozeh Dumas presents her middle school life as historical fiction in It Ain’t So Awful, FalafelNewport Beach in the late 70s and early 80s was quite lacking in diversity, but thanks to Dumas, there’s no shortage of laughs as she tries desperately to make her immigrant family fit in in Southern California, including changing her name from Zomerod to Cindy. In a recent interview, Dumas noted that there is never a news story about a well-adjusted immigrant from the Middle East. Do your children a favor and present this tale of racism and bigotry, interwoven with a message of kindness. Grades 5-7.

9. Eighth grader Nick Hall couldn’t be more excited about the soccer championship he’ll be playing in Dallas in just a few weeks. But sometimes life doesn’t turn out like you planned.  Booked author Kwame Alexander won the Newbury last year with his novel in verse about basketball. There’s a message in here about it being cool to be smart that’s a great reminder for all students. Great choice for the reluctant reader-abundant white space and a fast read. Check out more ideas for reluctant readers.  Grades 6-8.

10. Got a worrier at home? Genie’s mom does. As Brave as You explores life with a fearless older brother until an unexpected incident with their blind grandfather changes two boys’ lives forever. Ten-year-old Genie and his almost fourteen-year-old brother Ernie have been sent to spend the summer in Virginia. Every younger sibling needs a reminder that despite their convictions, an older sibling does not always have the answer. Nuanced characters and an ear for language set Jason Reynolds’ first middle-grade novel apart from the pack, though his previous work for young adult audiences has received significant accolades, including the John Steptoe award for new talent.. And this book to your children’s summer reading list for Grades 4-8.

What books are on your own ultimate children’s summer reading list? I always love to get new ideas from parents and kids. Comment below!

Children's Summer Reading List Beth Vuolo Gousman has been a librarian at Montclair Elementary, a K-5 public school in Oakland, CA since 2011. She also serves as a reviewer for the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California, and has served as a moderator for the Bay Area Book Festival. Beth holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Colgate University.  Her favorite school memory is winning the Halloween costume contest as the Energizer Bunny. 

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