Oh, Summer! I just love you so.

I am counting down the days till we can stay up late, sleep in, and lounge by the pool.

Even in summer, reading aloud never stops around here. Now that my kids are getting older, I simply put our summer picture books in a basket for them to peruse. I even found my 11-year-old reading one the other day. Then during our super hot and sticky afternoons, I pull out some cool treats and a chapter book. Here are some of our summer favorites.


1. Time of Wonder by Mccloskey – This Caldecott medal winner is a classic for a reason. I would love to go back to a simpler summer time when days were filled with exploration, water fun, and family. You will love being transported to this time as well.

2. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood – Going strawberry picking soon? This book is a must read. It is one of my children’s favorites. We have read it so many times this book no longer has its cover, LOL!

3. What Lives in a Shell? (Let’s Read and Find Out About Science) by Zoehfeld – Do your kids like to collect shells at the beach? Mine sure do. This books is great for explaining all those shells to your early elementary kids.

4. Blueberries for Sal by Mccloskey – It wouldn’t be Summer without this classic story of a boy and a little bear blueberry picking with their moms.

5. Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe – A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die.

6. The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow – The illustrations in this book are breathtaking. This is such a delightful tale of a mom and her son imagining what the seashore would be like.

7. Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz and Pat Cummings – This book is perfect for reading during one of those crazy summer evening thunderstorms.

8. Swimmy by Leo Lionni – This simple tale is perfect for the younger crowd. The paintings are so unique and may inspire your little artist to try some texture painting.

9. Sunflower House by Eve Bunting – A house made out of sunflowers? Why yes, thank you. This book does a great job of showing the growing process of sunflower as well.

10. Summer’s Vacation by Lynn Plourde – Do you have any kids who struggle to complete their chores? I have a little “summer” who likes to play and have fun but forgets to do what is asked. I love that this story shows what happens on the Earth when summer forgets to do her chores.

11. Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae – This book is great for the toddler/preschool crowd. The pictures are so adorable and fun. The rhyming words are great for building phonemic awareness.

12.  Brambly Hedge Summer Story by Jill Barklem – This series is all adorable. In this story, the mice Poppy and Dusty have a wedding.

13. The Raft by Jim LaMarche – Inspired in part by his own childhood, this gorgeous picture book from Jim LaMarche, tells the story of one stubborn boy’s unexpectedly wonderful summer on the river. This is an imagination-sparking story about appreciating the simple, natural joys of the world and the people in it, and about discovering and exploring one’s own talents.

14. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague – Remember coming back from Summer vacation and having to write about what you did for your class? Well, this boy had something to write about. A great inspiration to discuss what your children would like to do over break. Hopefully, it won’t involve cowboys and stampedes.

15. Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran – One of my favorite children’s books EVER. Summer days should be spent making up imaginative towns and playing adventures with friends. Perhaps this story will inspire your kids to do just that!

16. The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown – This beloved author of Goodnight Moon, paints a tale of the life and times of a little island. Wouldn’t we all like to sail away to a little island for the summer?


1. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

A stray dog, a lonely little girl, and hot days in the South. Sounds like a perfect summer read to me. Kids of all ages love this book. And after you read it, you can have family movie night as the movie is wonderful as well.

2. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Pippi was one of my favorite series when I was in elementary school. Her eccentric, whimsical ways are sure to get plenty of giggles. This is the perfect book to spark the summer imagination in your kids. Why not have a cleaning day and do it Pippi style:). It makes house cleaning WAY more enjoyable.

3. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is one of my all time favorite children’s authors. This one is super fun to read in the summer because the main character ends up in a giant peach. Hello? I love South Carolina peaches. You must celebrate this book by eating peach ice cream, it is seriously one of my favorite things about summer. James is an orphan who goes to live with his two, not-very-nice aunts. I think even in third grade I was a sucker for stories in which orphans go on to overcome great obstacles. This light-hearted tale is full of Roald Dahl’s imaginary possibilities and witty humor.

4. The Penderwicks- A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

Well if the sub-title doesn’t make this a perfect summer book, I don’t know what will. This is especially fun for us as we have four girls in our family (no rabbits tough), and each girl has her own unique personality (just like the Penderwicks). “When the girls and their doting father head off for their summer holiday, they’re in for a surprise.  Instead of the tumbledown cottage they expected, they find themselves on a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon the girls are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the most wonderful discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.” -http://jeannebirdsall.com/books/the-penderwicks/  This book is sure to cultivate your child’s imagination and give them all sorts of ideas for their own summer adventures!

5. Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is a master children’s author. She has the ability to see the world through a child’s eyes, or in this case, a mouse’s. Ralph, from the Mouse and the Motorcycle fame, decides he has had enough of his parents telling him what to do and takes off on his motorcyle to the summer camp downhill. There he runs into all kinds of crazy trouble. He finally makes the acquaintance of a boy named Garf and they navigate the world of summer camp together. A great read if your children are going off to camp this summer.

6. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

One of the best children’s books EVER. This heart-warming classic involves 4 siblings who are trying to hide from their grandfather after their parents’ death. They have never met him and they think he is cruel. They end up turning an old box car into their home. Through the circumstances involved in living on their own, the family becomes reunited. Great story for all ages and if you want to get really creative, your kids can turn an old box into a “boxcar” and spend countless hours living in the backyard.

7. Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

This classic book takes you back in time to upstate New York in the 1950s. The siblings and cousins have fun through an exciting summer living in an abandoned lake resort. This book is wholesome and makes you wish you lived back when the family was valued.

8. The Secret of Saturday Cove by Barbee Carleton

What’s not to love about siblings spending their summer off the coast of Maine trying to help their family keep the family island? This old fashioned mystery has likable characters, exciting adventures, and heartwarming fun.

9. Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

This delightful classic tale of love, family, and music is full of imagination and character. Will Louis be able to win the love of the swan Serena?

10. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

E. Nesbit had a profound understanding of children and the ways that siblings interact with each other. The five children in this story find a sand-fairy while off on a summer holiday. The fairy grants their wishes, but here’s the catch- they only last for one day. This causes all sorts of problems and the children have to work together to solve them. Lots of imaginative fun to be had reading this one!