10 Great Living Books for Your High School Kids to Read This Summer

Whether you homeschool or send your children to a traditional school, summer is a great time to encourage kids to read. Libraries have reading programs for all ages- I’ve even won a drawing in ours! And reading great books is far preferable to sitting in front of an electronic device all day.

If you’re looking to encourage your child to read great books, but it’s hard to make time for that, I encourage you to have your child read ten great living books this summer. Make a contest of it. Offer a reward for reading. Make electronic time dependent upon time spent reading. Do what it takes to encourage your kids to read some good books this summer.
In this series, I’ve been sharing ten great living books for each age level. You can find posts for other ages linked below. For the younger readers, make sure you pick up your free reading record and coloring sheet by subscribing.

High school summer reading list

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– Okay, it’s a book that will appeal more to girls. But, Jane has such spunk and is such an awesome heroine that boys will like her too. (Or they should.) I’m a little prejudiced toward this classic about a young girl growing up in hard times, finding true love, and ultimately riding things work out in her favor. It was my favorite book in high school, and I don’t even know how many times I’ve read it. The most recent video adaptation is pretty good, but don’t watch it until after reading the book because the book is always better.

Classics for high school

The Chosen by Chaim Potok– Boys may gravitate toward this class a little easier. The main characters are two boys who grow up together. The two both come from Jewish families in New York in the 1940s Although both Jewish, the two have very different families. When reports of the Holocaust begin to reach the US, the two boys’ lives will be forever altered. This is a coming of age story that explores the power of friendships and family relationships.

High school reading list

Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton Porter– Set in post Civil War America, this story has as it’s hero a young man who often seems too good to be true. His story is told by his younger sister who idolizes him. It’s a great book for catching a glimpse of the importance of faith and family, and it’s a good picture of the time period.

Living books for high school

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody- The reading level of this book is probably below the high school level, and I’ve used it as a read aloud when my children were younger. But it’s a very “heavy” book at times, and the subject matter might be more easily read independently by high schoolers. It’s a sometimes fictionalized memoir of the author of the events in his life after he and his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch when he was eight years old. There are humorous moments, but there are also some very moving moments.

Summer reading for high school

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (and John and Elizabeth Sherrill)– Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch young woman during the second world war. She helped her father- a watchmaker. During the Holocaust, she and her family became leaders in the resistance, hiding Jewish people as they made their escape from the Nazis. This is Corrie’s story. She’s an amazing story teller and a woman of great faith. Her story will make an impact on any reader.

High school summer reading

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– This is a story told through the eyes of eight-year-old Scout Finch. She lives with her brother and father in a small Southern town in the 1950s. Scout’s father Atticus is a lawyer, and when he becomes the defending lawyer for a black man involved in a trial, the family experiences firsthand the racial tensions simmering in the town. The story isn’t just about race, though. It’s one of family and human kindness.

Classics for high school

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain– This classic is just a fun read. Because of the dialect and unusual spellings used to portray the dialect of southern whites and blacks, the book can be harder reading, which is why it’s on my high school list. The story is set in the late 1800s in a small Mississippi town. Tom is a young scoundrel who lives with his aunt Polly. He gets into every scrape and bit of mischief he can and ends up in the midst of a big adventure. The novel is a great portrayal of the historical time period.

Summer reading for high school

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson- This touching novel is a coming of age story that’s all about self-realization. Louise and Caroline are twins. But they’re nothing alike. Louise has always felt as if Caroline is the favored twin. Caroline is musically gifted and so gets special attention for it while Louise spends her days helping her father with crab fishing. Any child with siblings can probably relate especially to this story.

High school reading classics

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan– This timeless classic, written in the 1600s by John Bunyan while he was in prison for religious persecution, is a book no one should miss out on. I usually begin by reading one of the young reader’s versions aloud( Little Pilgrim’s Progress or Dangerous Journey), and then the older kids can read the original independently with a better knowledge of what it’s about. It’s the classic, allegorical story of Christian’s journey to the Celestial City.

High school classics

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis– This is the first book in Lewis’ space trilogy. These books have quite a different feel than the well-known Chronicles of Narnia. But they are rich in description and in meaning. In this first installment, Dr. Ransom, a scientist, finds himself on Malacandra- or what we know as Mars. He is taken there by a very learned researcher and his accomplice because the two men need a human sacrifice. Ransom escapes and finds himself learning about the planet and the people there. Hopefully this book will nudge readers to want to read the other two in the series as well.

High school summer reading

There are ten great living books that you can pick up for your teens- or yourself!- to read this summer. Do you have any other living book favorites for this age?

Find more reading recommendations:

Preschool summer reading list

Elementary summer reading list

Middle grade summer reading lsit

1 comment

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