Oceans of Possibilities

The Summer Reading Program theme this year is “Oceans of Possibilities.” There is so much to incorporate with this theme that the possibilities are endless. You could read: swash-buckling adventures of infamous pirates or privateers, science fiction tales of sailing to the moon, water conservation, naval battles, Jacques Cousteau, or better yet my favorite calculating hero of the wild blue, Horatio Hornblower.

Below are my suggestions for summer reading:

Short Reads

A Descent into the Maelstrom” by Edgar Allen Poe

Why the Sea is Salt” in The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

The Little Mermaid” in Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales by H.C. Andersen

The Story of the Siren” by E.M. Forster (a foreboding tale)

Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing


Apostrophe to the Ocean” by Lord Byron [from “Childe Harold,” Canto IV]

Columbus” by Joaquin Miller

The Flying Dutchman” by John Boyle O’Reilly

Vanderdecken” also known as “The Flying Dutchman” by Benjamin Stratton Parker

The Wreck of the Hesperus” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Greyport Legend” by Bret Harte

Sea Fever” by John Masefield

Calypso” by John Denver


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Lexile 1070 ( 8th grade)

Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle. Lexile 1400 (beyond high school)

Among Malay Pirates by G. A. Henty. Lexile 1130 (9th grade)

Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Bernard Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. Lexile 1080 (8th grade)

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne. Lexile 1100 (9th grade)

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester (Horatio Hornblower Series). Lexile 1140 (10th grade)

Two Years before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (Heavy on nautical terms. Centers on pre Gold-Rush California and the decline of missions.) Lexile 1290 (12th grade)

Frogmen: The True Story of My Journeys with Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the Crew of Calypso by Richard Hyman

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (Dramatic period piece regarding wreckers off the coast of Cornwall. Spoiler: one negative is the villainization of the clergy.) Lexile 1010 (7th grade but high school age appropriate)

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. Lexile 570 (3rd grade but more middle school age appropriate)

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. Lexile 680 (4th grade)

The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944 by Thomas J. Cutler (Biggest naval battle ever fought and greatest naval battle of WWII.)


The Pirates of Penzance” by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

The Maid of the Light House” by William Busch (Google Books lists author’s name as Bush.)

The Tempest” by William Shakespeare (synopsis here). Lexile 1290 (12th grade)

Flagstaff’s Summer Reading Program

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