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St. Mark’s Students’ Summer Reading Suggestions

David Ellis, librarian and resident poet at St. Mark the Evangelist in Harlem, is full of great book suggestions for kids. In fact, we profiled many of them last summer in a Post about his Instagram interviews of authors and illustrators. This summer, we reached out to him for more suggestions of great books for kids, and David decided to turn to the experts: his own students. So we’re kicking off summer vacation with reading suggestions from some pretty avid, discerning readers from St. Mark’s. We hope you enjoy their thoughts on what they’ve read as much as you enjoy the books themselves.

There’s No Place Like Space

Written by Tish Rabe; Illustrated by Airistides Ruiz

Reviewed by Kryshna Phillip, 1st Grade

I love this book because it’s all about space, and we learned about space in our class this year. Kids would also like the illustrations in the book. I learned that Mars is the color of rust and covered with a lot of dust.

The Tale of Despereaux

Written by Kate DiCamillo; Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

Reviewed by Aydriana Waller,  3rd Grade

I think kids should read The Tale of Despereaux because it teaches kids to be free and brave, and also to believe in yourself. I did not want the story to end. Every chapter is exciting, and I can’t wait to watch the movie.

One Crazy Summer

Written by Rita Williams Garcia

Reviewed by Reynel Mclean, 4th Grade

Reynel Mclean of St. Mark’s writes about his favorite book of the year, One Crazy Summer.

I think kids should read One Crazy Summer because it has a lot of family adventure and it wants people to be themselves and not to believe what others think of them. It felt like it was an accomplishment for us to meet the author of the book, and we got to ask questions and tell comments.

Author Rita Williams-Garcia Zooms with St. Mark students, spring, 2021.

The book is about Delphine and her sisters Vonetta and Fern traveling to Oakland to meet their mother Cecile. The book featured Delphine and her sisters in Oakland making memories, meeting new people, and overcoming problems in their adventure. There was a lot of dialogue and people talking. This is why I think kids should read One Crazy Summer—because of the adventure, dialogue, and the adventures with Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. This book was enjoyable.


Written by Ingrid Law

Reviewed by Tyler Sheppard, 5th Grade

Savvy is in one of the most iconic book series of the 21st Century. It is in the Ingrid Law Series along with the books Scumble and Switch. It has won many awards and titles such as a Newbery Honor book, New York Times Bestseller, A Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor Award, An ALA Notable Book, An Al Roker’s Book Club For Kids Pick, and an Oprah’s Book Club for Kids Pick, and many more.

St. Mark student Tyler Sheppard is interested in science as well as superhero stories.

For many children who like to read superhero books, Savvy is one of my top picks because it causes suspense, humor, and touching stories, as Mibs Beaumont tries to learn how to Scumble, or control her powers, as she and her siblings find hope for their father.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry  

Written by Mildred D. Taylor

Review by Sarah Williams, 6th Grade

My favorite book this year is Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. I really like that book because it teaches people about our history. It also talks about real-life struggles and how Black people were treated in 1976. I think kids should read this book because some kids could relate to this and say “I’ve been through this too.” That’s also why I had a good time reading this book. One of the lessons of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is that you should never be a follower because that gets you in trouble.

On behalf of the students at St. Mark’s and at all Partnership Schools, happy summer reading.