Summer Reading Recommendations

Like hot dogs, ice cream and a dip in the pool, summertime seems to be made to pair with good books.

Lazy summer days are perfect for curling up on a porch swing, settling under a shady tree or spreading out on the beach to lose yourself in a story.

The only problem is figuring out what to read. Luckily, local libraries have you covered.

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With their summer reading programs, libraries throughout the county have established incentives and unique activities to help encourage both adults and children to read.

To get everybody started, librarians from Greenwood Public Library, Johnson County Public Library and Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library have offered their recommendations for some of their favorite books. Use these as a launching point for a well-read summer.


Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It

Author: Marc Goodman

Why: “Marc Goodman, a global digital security consultant, draws on his technical skills to sort out and explain the hidden secrets of cybercrime, data exploitation by different companies and the privacy issues facing the public by using concrete examples of bad behavior with data in this fast and fascinating read.”

— Sheila Harmon, Greenwood Public Library

The Bees

Author: Laline Paull

Why: “What could be more exciting than actually shrinking oneself to the size of a bee and entering their incredible world? How do these creatures create such an incredible product — honey. But their lives are not all sweetness and flowers — birth, death, enemies and romance. What an adventure!

–Recommended by Scott Loman, Johnson County Public Library Trafalgar Branch

Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Why: “Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel is an exquisitely written account of human ambition after the collapse of civilization. Full of tragedy, love, and survival, Station Eleven certainly deserves the buzz it has received.”

— Valerie Moore, Greenwood Public Library

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

Author: Neil Gaiman

Why: “A darkly poetic collection, each story and poem packs a punch that expands the boundaries of your mind. There’s something for everyone: a Doctor Who story, tributes to Sherlock Holmes, William Blake and Ray Bradbury, fairy tales retold, legends expanded and light shined on dark places. Creepy, eloquent and fantastic — a must read for all.”

— Erin Cataldi, Johnson County Public Library Clark Pleasant Branch


Anne of Green Gables

Author: L. M. Montgomery

Aimed at: All ages

Why: “Anne triumphs over trials through her personality, strong sense of powerful identity and love. The depth of character for the brother and sister who adopts Anne is humorous and unforgettable. Anne’s naiveté and forthrightness is received with shock and discipline for being rude and unmannerly; but at the same time, earns the respect of her adopted family.”

— Laura Harris, Johnson County Public Library Trafalgar Branch

Etiquette and Espionage

Author: Gail Carriger

Why: “Carriger’s Finishing School series is a fun, lighthearted steampunk tale full of adventures, poofy dresses, mysteries and super cool gadgets!”

— Jessica Smith, Greenwood Public Library

Ms. Marvel: No Normal

Author: G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Why: “One of the best comics to debut in the past decade — inventive, empowering and suitable for all ages. Kamala Khan isn’t anything special, she’s a teenage girl living in Jersey and trying to come to terms with her Pakistani heritage, while desperately wanting to be thin, blond, popular and to have superpowers. One night she gets her wish but quickly discovers that there is more to life than being popular; she must decide what she wants and who she really is. In the meantime, she pairs up with her best friend Bruno to stop The Inventor and in the process tries to avoid getting grounded by her parents.”

— Erin Cataldi, Johnson County Public Library Clark Pleasant Branch

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Why: “Blue Sargent lives in a house full of psychics next to a powerful, magical ley line. Gansey, just Gansey, is a rich kid at private school with a secret quest. Gansey’s friends all have secrets of their own. When Blue befriends these ‘Raven Boys,’ mysterious and dangerous events begin to happen. Stiefvater somehow keeps this whole story believable and down to earth, even while infusing all her characters with magic. This is a great book for fans of fantasy and adventure, both guys and girls.”

— Amy Dalton, Johnson County Public Library White River Branch

The Winner’s Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Why: “This fantasy trilogy gives you a smart and stubborn protagonist in a world where class warfare is about to break out into full out war. Rutkoski builds a gorgeous and intriguing world in this first of the series.”

— Aubrey Watson, Greenwood Public Library



Author: Raina Telgemeier

Aimed at: Children in fourth grade and up

Why: “Raina Telgemeier is very popular with middle-grade students right now. So popular, in fact, that she won the Intermediate Young Hoosier Book Award for her book ‘Smile’ in 2014. ‘Sisters’ explores the relationship that Raina has with her sister Amara. The two sisters spend most of their time fighting. During a difficult summer road trip, they realize just how important they are to each other.”

— Rachel Jamieson, Greenwood Public Library

El Deafo

Author: Cece Bell

Aimed at: All children

Why: “The 2015 Newbery Honor graphic novel chronicles the author’s hearing loss from a young age and her creative way of dealing with it. Bell creates the superhero ‘El Deafo’ as a way to deal with a bulky sonic ear hearing aid she has to wear to school every day.”

— Kelley Gilbert, Johnson County Public Library Clark Pleasant Branch

Tap the Magic Tree

Author: Christie Matheson

Aimed at: Children ages 2 to 6

Why: “How do you get a two-year old who doesn’t want to sit still to listen to a story? Encourage them to play with the book! ‘Tap the Magic Tree’ encourages your child’s participation in helping a growing apple tree. It is such a gem, it is no wonder that it was nominated for the new Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award.”

— Rachel Jamieson, Greenwood Public Library

Wolfie the Bunny

Author: Amy Dyckman

Aimed at: Children from pre-kindergarten to first grade

Why: “Dot the Bunny gets a new brother, but somehow no one else realizes or cares that he’s actually a wolf. It’s funny, endearing and beautifully illustrated.”

— Sarah Taylor, Johnson County Public Library Franklin Branch

The Princess in Black

Authors: Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Aimed at: Children in kindergarten to second grade

Why: “Part princess book, part superhero book, this action-packed beginning chapter book is perfect for both reading aloud or independently. Great for girls and boys.”

— Taylor

Roller Girl

Author: Victoria Jamieson

Aimed at: Children grades 4 to 8

Why: “Twelve-year-old Astrid signs up for Roller Derby camp and finds out the sport is much more daunting than she imagined in this graphic novel. It’s the hardest summer of her life, as she juggles friends, learning a new sport and having the courage to continue something that she’s not immediately good at.”

— Taylor

Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library

Theme: Superheroes Read!

Time frame: Through July 10

Open to: All readers

Rules: For every 10 items checked out, a reader’s name will be added to a list of people eligible to win prizes at the end of the reading program.

Prizes such as bookbags, bookmarks and pencils will be awarded week to week.

Anyone who checks out 20 items or more by July 10 will be invited to a cookout party at Irwin Park on July 23. Family prizes, including tickets to Indianapolis Indians, Cincinnati Reds and Indiana Fever games, will be given out to families at the cookout. 

How to sign up: Go to the library, 119 W. Main Cross St., Edinburgh.


Johnson County Public Library

Theme: Every Hero Has a Story

Time frame: Through July 18

Open to: Children and adults

Rules: Readers will receive prizes after reading for five and 10 hours. Each time they reach a new prize level they will also receive a ticket for our bonus prize drawing. Prizes include Visa gift cards, Indiana State Fair tickets and special superhero prize baskets.

Readers completing the program by reading for 15 hours will get to pick out a book to keep and receive a grand prize drawing ticket. Grand prizes this year include a Wii U, a Kindle Fire HDX and a private pool party for the winner and their friends and family at the Franklin Family Aquatic Center.

How to sign up: Go to or any library branch:

  • 401 State St., Franklin
  • 530 Tracy Road, Suite 250, New Whiteland
  • 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood
  • 424 S. Tower St., Trafalgar

Program schedule: Available at

Greenwood Public Library

Theme: DIY

Time frame: Through Aug. 1

Open to: Adults, teens and children

Rules: For every 10 hours read, participants will be awarded a raffle ticket. Bonus prizes also will be given for anyone who completes the optional Bingo sheet.

People can read anything, from school books to newspapers to reading to your children. A full slate of programs will accompany the reading program.

How to sign up: Go to or to the library at 310 S. Meridian St.

Program schedule: Available at

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.