When I saw this printable diverse summer reading list challenge for kids over at the Oaxacaborn homeschool group on Facebook, I immediately had to share it. Schools here in Nashville have already dismissed for summer break —I know the rest of the country is gasping!—so my kids already thinking about our summer reading lists. Or, let’s be honest: I am thinking about it.

So what perfect timing!

Bonus: it works for seniors in high school as well as preschoolers heading into kindergarten who want to pick picture books that fit each category.

Related: A conversation with Meena Harris about the importance of diversity in children’s books

How the Reading List Challenge Works

This printable summer reading challenge includes 20 open-ended ideas to inspire your kids’ summer reading choices, all helping them expand their view of the world, while giving them the autonomy to make their own choices around their own interests. In other words, the list doesn’t include specific book choices; instead it challenges them to find books that are “set in a place that no longer exists,” or “set in a country without a McDonalds” (good luck with that one!) or include a theme like “math/science in a non-European nation.”

Kids can select books about “someone who left their home country.” And then, a book “set on water, not land.” Like, Life of Pi, perhaps? Old Man and the Sea? Amistad, The Young Readers Version? When you start thinking about it, the choices are nearly unlimited.

These ideas are so creative, and they will definitely get your kid thinking outside their own life experiences, which is the point.

Related: Wonderful tips and tricks to help your kids avoid the summer slide

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Get Outside Your Own World!

I do want to mention that, Gina, who created the summer reading list printable,  mentions that this list is inspired by her own Christian worldview, however I don’t see any categories in the challenge, or any books she recommends have explicitly Christian themes. In fact, many of the books can be found in our own book roundups, and annual “best of” lists on Cool Mom Picks, like Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome.

In fact, she explicitly encourages kids to think outside their own faith background (which I really appreciate) in order to gain an understanding of others, by challenging them to read about “a holiday your family doesn’t celebrate.”

Inspiration and Book Recommendations for the Reading List Challenge

If you need some inspiration as your kids try to fill out their own lists, let us spare you the Googling exercise!

Check out some of our own team’s wonderful book roundups through the years for plenty of ideas. Here are a few places to start:

Books about specific cultures, races, religions, or ethnicities

Books about specific holidays:

Award-winning books covering all kinds of categories


Download the  printable summer reading challenge here. It’s free!