After School Activities: 15 Books Every Child Should Read

after school activities - books every child should have in their library

What sport does for the body, reading does for the brain! Reading books is one of the best after school activities to give young brains a workout and take their imaginations for a spin. There are books on every topic you can imagine, so no matter what your Tim or Suzy loves most, there’ll be a book to grab their interest.

Just like our bodies need exercise and a balanced diet, young minds need a healthy spread of fiction and non-fiction. Some of the books that made our list are funny and others are practical. In between the dog-eared classics, are new books written for a brave new generation.

A few will touch emotions and most are inspiring. In-between the mix are one or two that are simply, utterly, and completely bonkers!

1. Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Dr. Seuss (5 – 8 years)

Written in the whimsical rhyming style of Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go! has a profound effect on readers of any age. It opens up a world of possibilities … a world just waiting for your feet.

2. A Computer Called Katherine – How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on The Moon

Suzanne Slade (4 – 8yrs)

The inspiring story of mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose calculations helped make NASA’s first manned space flight, orbit around the earth, and moon landing possible. For an inspiring STEM read that will awaken possibilities in young minds, A Computer Called Katherine is a winner!

3. Bunheads

Misty Copeland (5 – 8 years)

More than a ballet book, Bunheads is a deep encouragement to all who long to try something new but are afraid. From the heart of prima ballerina, Misty Copeland, comes a tale that celebrates friendship. As the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theater, Misty is a pioneer, and her words will inspire her readers.

4. Survival Camp: The Ultimate All-Terrain Training Manual

Bear Grylls (5 years and up)

If you have a young adventurer, they will devour this book from cover to cover. It unpacks how to find food in the wild, how to keep warm in icy temperatures and stay cool in the blazing heat. Full of tried-and-true survival tips, Survival Camp comes straight from the master survivor himself.

5. The Invisible Boy

Trudy Ludwig (6 – 9 years)

For the quieter child who feels overlooked, The Invisible Boy is a gentle tale of the difference kindness can make. It highlights how simple kindness can make all children feel welcome and included. The Invisible Boy is a beautifully written book that packs a potent message.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis (8 – 12 years)

A classic collection of tales from one of the literary greats, The Chronicles of Narnia deserves a place on every child’s bookshelf and in their heart. As they read, Aslan will roar off the pages and they’ll grow in courage and bravery.

7. The Way Of The Warrior Kid: From Wimpy To Warrior The Navy SEAL Way

Jocko Willink (8 – 12 years)

When a bullied 5th grader gets a visit from his Navy SEAL uncle, everything changes. Uncle Jake has a plan to turn Marc into a warrior – the Navy SEAL way. A book that will instill a love for discipline, hard work, and the glory of rising to the challenge, The Way Of The Warrior Kid will shape destiny for the kids who embrace it.

8. How Do You Burp in Space?

Susan E. Goodman (8 – 12 years)

Zero gravity makes for some interesting challenges. How do you brush your teeth and why is it a bad idea to take a can of soda? How Do You Burp In Space? is a playful guide to your first intergalactic vacation!

9. Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges In Their Youth To Become Stars

Gregory Zuckerman / Elijah Zuckerman / Gabriel Zuckerman (8 – 12 years)

Every aspiring athlete needs to read this book. The athletes in the pages are real people who played sports and learned much more than just the game. They overcame seemingly impossible odds to achieve their goals. Rising Above is an encouragement to living beyond what you think you’re capable of.

10. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

E.L. Konigsburg (8 – 12 years)

For the arty children, here is a history of art book that will blow their socks off. Claudia runs away, but she doesn’t want to go anywhere untidy with bugs, so she finds herself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What follows is a journey of self-discovery through a mystery adventure that celebrates art and beauty. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a delightful gem!

11. Wonder

R.J. Palacio (8 – 12 years)

Auggie Pullman and this story of kindness got much attention as a movie, but taking a journey through the book will allow the words and values of this raw, yet hopeful story to sink deeply into the reader’s soul. Wonder, the novel, will leave you changed, for the better.

12. The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett (9 – 12 years)

The Secret Garden is the classic tale of Mary Lennox, an orphan brought to stay at her uncle’s house on the Yorkshire Moors. She discovers a bed-ridden cousin and a locked-up garden that she’s determined to bring back to life. Strong themes of friendship and hope run through the book that shows the reader that even a small person can bring change for good.

13. Artemis Fowl

Eoin Colfer (10 – 14 years)

Perfect for tech-minded kids, the Artemis Fowl novels spin around a twelve-year-old who takes on an underground world of armed and dangerous tech-savvy fairies. Boys, don’t let the word fairy scare you off, this series is a high-octane adventure that will leave your head spinning and your hand reaching for the next book.

14. Hatchet

Gary Paulsen (12 – 14 years)

13-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. Armed with a hatchet, a windbreaker, and his clothing, Brian has to learn how to survive. Hatchet is a novel that spans his 54-day ordeal and takes the reader on a heart-stopping adventure of courage and determination.

15. Soul Surfer

Bethany Hamilton (Grade 6 – 9)

Soul Surfer is the true story of teen surfer, Bethany Hamilton, who was attacked by a shark and lost her arm while surfing. Determined to get back on the board, the reader journeys with Bethany through hopelessness to faith and courage. Keep the tissues handy and prepare to be inspired.

After School Activities to Bust Boredom

You don’t need tech to chase the boredom away. With a few good books to prod the imagination in the right direction, all children can discover, and learn to love, the magic of reading! Every book mentioned here is great for after school activities, bedtime, or any other time your child wants to read.

For more healthy ways to fill the afternoons, try All Sports Kids. We have some of the best after school activities and sports programs for children in Broward County/ Contact All Sports Kids today to see the difference an active, happy program can make for your child.