As an elementary school librarian, I always spent the end of the school year encouraging students to read over the summer. This time of year can be magical for reading, with more free time and the opportunity to hopefully curl up with a book outside.
But it can also be challenging for kids to maintain an active reading life. Without their teachers and classmates, kids might have a harder time figuring out what to read next and without classroom and school libraries they may have less access to books. That freedom also means less structure, without built in time to read every day at school.
You can support your child as a reader this summer by connecting them with books they enjoy as well as by making reading part of your family’s routine.
Your local public library is a great resource for this. Visit the library as a family each week to check out books and find out what summer reading programs your little ones can participate in. In addition to fun activities for kids to take part in over the summer, many public libraries also create reading challenges to inspire kids to read during vacation.
Often libraries have summer reading lists available for kids. These are great tools for moments when kids are stuck for an idea of what book to read next. You can also stop by your local bookstore and stock up on books for the whole family to read over the summer.
15 Summer Themed Books for Kids:
by Karen Katz
“Little ones will love lifting the flaps in this new Karen Katz book to reveal a big yellow sun, flip-flops, an ice cream cone, and everything else that Baby loves about summer! The sturdy format and easy-to-lift flaps make this a perfect summertime treat for parents and children to share.”
Written by Dianne Moritz, Illustrated by Kelly McGee
“Hey, Little Beachcomber, what do you say? Let’s take trip to the beach today! Cold root beer athe pier, seagulls, wuick dips, beach-sand pies..Hush, little beachcomber, and don’t say a word..Just enjoy the day!”
3. Jabari Jumps
by Gaia Cornwall
“Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.”
“Rashin is excited about her first visit to the beach in her family’s new home. On the way there, she remembers what beach trips were like in Iran, the beautiful Caspian Sea, the Persian music, and most of all, the saffron ice cream she shared with her best friend, Azadeh. But there are wonderful things in this new place as well — a subway train, exciting music… and maybe even a new friend!”
5. The Honeybee
by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault
“Buzz from flower to flower with a sweet honeybee in this timely, clever, and breathtakingly gorgeous picture book from critically acclaimed author Kirsten Hall and award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.”
“In this sequel to Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited, but when she gets there she finds bugs, no electricity, and terrible food. And worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with the other campers. But as the days go by, Eleanor realizes that life is full of special surprises—even after some belly flops.”
by Lenore Look
“Alvin, an Asian American second grader who’s afraid of everything, is back, and his worst fear has come true: he has to go camping. What will he do exposed in the wilderness with bears and darkness and . . . pit toilets? Luckily, he’s got his night-vision goggles and water purifying tablets and super-duper heavy-duty flashlight to keep him safe. And he’s got his dad, too.”
by Karina Yan Glaser
“While Isa is off at sleepaway orchestra camp, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney are stuck at home in the brownstone with nothing to do but get on one another’s nerves. But when catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbor, their sleepy summer transforms in an instant as the Vanderbeeker children band together to do what they do best: make a plan. They will create the most magical healing garden in all of Harlem.”
by Varian Johnson
“When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.
So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert’s history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter’s promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?”
by Jo Knowles
“It’s the first day of summer and Rachel’s thirteenth birthday. She can’t wait to head to the lake with her best friend, Micah. But as summer unfolds, every day seems to get more complicated. Her “fun” new job taking care of the neighbors’ farm animals quickly becomes a challenge, whether she’s being pecked by chickens or having to dodge a charging pig at feeding time. At home, her parents are more worried about money than usual, and their arguments over bills intensify. Fortunately, Rachel can count on Micah to help her cope with all the stress. But Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means. With all the heart of her award-winning novel See You At Harry’s, Jo Knowles brings us the story of a girl who must discover where her heart is and what that means for her future.”
**Jo Knowles will be a guest on an episode of A Bookish Home, the podcast in September!**
by Dana Alison Levy
“The Fletchers are back on Rock Island, home of all their best summer memories. But from the first day they arrive, it’s clear that this year, things have changed. FIRST, a giant fence is blocking their beloved lighthouse. SECOND, they have new neighbors. THIRD, who the heck is the weird artist guy who’s never actually painting? And FOURTH, there’s now an ice cream truck! Can the island stay the same even with these crazy transformations? “
by Emma Donoghue
“Meet the Lotterys: a unique and diverse family featuring four parents, seven kids and five pets – all living happily together in their big old house, Camelottery.Nine-year-old Sumac is the organizer of the family and is looking forward to a long summer of fun.
But when their grumpy and intolerant grandad comes to stay, everything is turned upside down. How will Sumac and her family manage with another person to add to their hectic lives?”
by National Geographic Kids
“Calling all explorers and nature-lovers! From Acadia to Zion, discover all 59 of the United States’ amazing National Parks in this jam-packed book of games, trivia, jokes, fun facts, and so much more, all inspired by the National Parks outdoor-based Junior Ranger Program. Great for generating pre-trip excitement, long car rides, poking around historical sites, or general learning, these fun and sometimes silly activities will entertain while they draw kids into the majestic and historic importance of America’s national parks. Check out the most amazing park habitats, plus awesome sights and animals you might see, from birds to bears. Fun facts are jam-packed onto every page, so kids learn something amazing about each cool park.”
“Twenty-five science projects and experiments to be done outside will spark kids’ creativity and help them develop science skills through hands-on learning.
Projects focus on Earth and the environment, plants and animals, weather, water, and physics, bringing science learning home and into the backyard. Young scientists can build a wormery and learn about compost, crack rocks with water and learn about freezing and thawing, build and launch a water rocket to see Newton’s laws in action, and more.”
In addition to connecting the kids in your life with great reads, you can look for other ways to bring books into your summer routine.
Your family could visit a local bookstore, listen to audiobooks in the car together, attend an author event, or read together outside.
Bring bookishness into any summer travels as well. Check to see if your destination has a local bookstore or public library your family can visit. Don’t forget to check the events offered as well!
Finding books you love to read during the summer is important as well. Modeling an active reading life for your children is so valuable and of course means enjoyable reading time for you!
Stay tuned for summer reading recommendations for adults in next week’s post.
And of course, if you are looking for book ideas for you and your family, subscribe to A Bookish Home and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ABookishHome.
Laura Szaro Kopinski
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