The best collection of Summer Books for Kids to read! Explore fun summer themes through popular children’s books with your child this summer. Plus we’ve included some summer activity and craft ideas too.
Let’s get ready for a book-filled summer!
Summer Books for Kids
Summer for me is a time to READ READ READ with my kids. We make lots of trips to the library and grab all sorts of books to read together. My kids have a chance to pick new things to learn about. They visit familiar and loved books.
We also have the chance to make themed weeks that are full of themed books that we enjoy together. I’ve put together book lists based on these fun summer themes for you. You may also want to explore the America Library Association Summer Reading List.
I’ve collected for you a list of summer themed books that I think you’ll love. You can click in the table of content for each summer book theme to find my top picks of books.
Summer is a time to explore our world and our backyards together. Happy Summer Reading!
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Welcome the beginning of summer with this adorable books about summer for your child. Summer is a time for swimming, camping, ice cream and outdoor fun with friends and cousins.
- My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel
- And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner
- The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing
- Summer Is for Cousins by Rajani LaRocca
- Summer Vacation, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
- Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson
- I See Summer by Charles Ghigna
- When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling
ACTIVITY: Take a Summer Virtual Field Trip with kids!
4th of July
Celebrate America’s Independence Day with these patriotic children’s books. Learn about various symbols of America and celebrate the 4th of July with your child.
- The Pledge of Allegiance by Scholastic
- America the Beautiful by Katharine Bates
- F Is for Flag by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
- America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney
- A is for America by Devin Scillian
- Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America by Lynne Cheney
ACTIVITY: Here’s a delicious 4th of July snack idea the kids can make for their patriotic book fun.
Father’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June. Here are some heartwarming stories about dads to read together.
- How to Catch a Daddysaurus by Alice Walstead
- Girl Dad by Sean Williams
- My Dad Is Amazing! by Sabrina Moyle
- Dad by My Side by Soosh
- Made for Me by Zack Bush
- My Dad Loves Me! by Marianne Richmond
ACTIVITY: Make an adorable Father’s Day craft to go along with these books about Dad.
Summer and ice cream go hand in hand. Here are some delicious stories all about ice cream.
- Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream by Rob Scotton
- Curious About Ice Cream (Smithsonian) by Bonnie Bader
- Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons
- Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise by H. A. Rey
- The Little Ice Cream Truck by Margery Cuyler
- Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sís
ACTIVITY: Host your own ice cream fun this summer with this ice cream math playdate.
Water & Swimming
Kids and water are like magnets. Here are some fun children’s books that are all about swimming. Are you ready to dive into summer reading?
- Curious George Goes Swimming by H. A. Rey
- Dino-Swimming by Lisa Wheeler
- Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
- Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves by Lauren H. Kerstein
- 1, 2, 3, Jump! by Lisl H. Detlefsen
- Cannonball by Sacha Cotter
- Together We Swim by Valerie Bolling
ACTIVITY: You can explore these fun water themed activities to expand your water reading.
The fun part about summer break is that we have a little more time to travel. One top destination to enjoy is the beach. Here are some fun children’s books about the ocean for your child to explore and learn about sea animals.
- Over and Under the Waves by Kate Messner
- Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae
- Ocean! Waves for All by Stacy McAnulty
- Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry
- Yoshi, Sea Turtle Genius by Lynne Cox
- A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
- Earth’s Incredible Oceans by Jess French
- Sandy Feet! Whose Feet?: Footprints at the Shore by Susan Wood
- How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk
There are so many great Ocean Books for kids. We have a large guide to help you find adorable ocean themed books for each sea creature. Explore here…
ACTIVITY: Create your own Ocean Puppet Show or make this open-ended fish art project.
Each summer there’s a special week called Shark Week hosted by the Discovery Channel. It’s time to raise awareness of conservation efforts and correct misconceptions about sharks. Here are some great shark books that help kids learn more about these fascinating and important animals of the sea.
- Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating
- Save the Sharks by Bethany Stahl
- Sharks by Gail Gibbons
- If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
Want more? Explore our large collection of Shark Books for Kids!
ACTIVITY: Make a Shark Themed Craft or watch an art lesson about how to draw sharks.
There’s something quite magical about summers and exploring the sandy shorelines to discover seashells with your child. There are so many special things our children can learn from shell collecting. Here are a few seashell books that share about this.
- Sora’s Seashells: A Name Is a Gift to Be Treasured by Helena Ku Rhee
- It’s a Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree
- A Shell Is Cozy by Dianna Hutts Aston
- What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
- Seashells: More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart
- The Mother’s Day Shell by Amelia Grantham
- The Beachcomber’s Companion by Anna Marlis Burgard
ACTIVITY: Make this colorful watercolor seashell craft or play a shell themed literacy game.
With exploring the oceans we enter into the magical world of mermaids. Here are some classic stories for kids about mermaids to read together.
- The Mermaid by Jan Brett
- How to Catch a Mermaid by Adam Wallace
- Little Mermaid (Night Night Sleep Tight) by Thomas Nelson
- Oona: the Brave Little Mermaid by Kelly DiPucchio
- Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
- The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell
- Three Little Mermaids by Mara Van Fleet
- The Little Mermaid (Little Golden Book) by Michael Teitelbaum
- Ten Little Mermaids by Susie Linn
- Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O’Connor
- Good Night Mermaids by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper
- Mabel: A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins
- Mermaid School by Joanne Stewart Wetzel
- Pearl by Molly Idle
- Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps by Charlotte Watson Sherman
ACTIVITY: You can make your own mermaid necklace or mermaid clothespin craft.
Ahoy there! Summer time and beach fun naturally draws our imagatination to pirates. Here are some tales for your little pirate.
- Pirate Boy by Eve Bunting
- Goodnight Pirate by Michelle Robinson
- Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten! by Lisa Robinson
- Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel
- How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
- The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle
- Pirates Don’t Change Diapers by Melinda Long
- Mermaid and Pirate by Tracey Baptiste
- Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker
- Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
- Pete the Cat and the Treasure Map by James Dean
- Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
- Dinosaur Pirates! by Penny Dale
- Molly Rogers, Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke
- Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow
- Never Mess With a Pirate Princess by Holly Ryan
- Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman
- How to Be a Pirate (Little Golden Book) by Sue Fliess
ACTIVITY: Make your own pirate book basket filled with activities and fun for summer.
Take time this summer to explore STEM concepts with your child through books about science, technology, engineering, and math. We’ve picked some of our favorite STEM books for kids.
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
- Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
- Zoey and Sassafras Books by Asia Citro
- The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
- If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
- How to Code a Rollercoaster by Josh Funk
Want more? Explore this collection of STEM Books for Kids.
ACTIVITY: Get ready to do one of our STEM Challenges for kids.
Balls and Sports
Head outside for summer fun! These books are all about balls! Are you ready for a ball game?
- Ball by Mary Sullivan
- Round Like a Ball by Lisa Campbell Ernst
- A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Take a look at the Best Ball Books for Kids! Explore our Summer Olympic Book Picks too!
“Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, LiberationDay, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved in the United States. Although the emancipation proclamation was signed almost two and a half years earlier, the news of this important decision didn’t reach Texas until June 19th, 1865.
Now, Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19th and has become a time for celebration. People honor Juneteenth in many ways from parties and parades to memorials and lessons. However it’s celebrated, it’s a time to share stories of resilience, resistance, and liberation, and to uplift Black joy. ” –National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Early Childhood Education Initiative Team.
Here’s a guide for how to talk to kids about Juneteenth from the Smithsonian.
- The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini
- The History of Juneteenth by Arlisha Norwood PhD
- Juneteenth: A Children’s Story by Opal Lee
- Juneteenth by Van G. Garrett
- What Is Juneteenth? by Kirsti Jewel
- A Flag for Juneteenth by Kim Taylor
- The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones & Renée Watson
- Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free by Alice Faye Duncan
- Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
- All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson
ACTIVITY: Here are four ways to Celebrate Juneteenth with kids.
With younger kids having a week filled with fun about a specific animal can be lots of fun. We think alligators are the perfect choice for this. Here are our favorite alligator books for kids.
- There’s an Alligator under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
- The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
- The Lady With The Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott
- Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Eileen Christelow
- Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
- If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley
- See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood
ACTIVITY: Let’s get crafty after reading these alligator books with a few fun Alligator Crafts and Activities.
One step into the backyard and at times it’s a bug zoo for your child. Summer is the perfect time to learn more about insects with your child. Here are our favorite bug books for kids.
- Firenze’s Light: A Firefly Book about Gratitude, Compassion and Self-Appreciation by Jessica Collaco
- The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
- The Backyard Bug Book for Kids by Lauren Davidson
- The Book of Brilliant Bugs by Jess French
- Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet by Mrs. Peanuckle
- Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer
- The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall
You can find our top picks of ladybug books, butterfly books and bee books for more book suggestions.
ACTIVITY: Have some fun with literacy and bugs with this letter bugs craft. You may want to even raise your own praying mantis, ladybugs, or butterflies this summer.
Sun and Solar Energy
Our longest days are in summer which makes it nice to get outdoors with the kids. Summer is the perfect time to learn more about the sun and solar energy with your child. Here’s our top picks of books about the sun.
- Running on Sunshine: How Does Solar Energy Work? by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
- Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty
- The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley
- Solar Power: Capturing the Sun’s Energy by Laurie Brearley
- Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World’s Biggest Solar Plant by Allan Drummond
- Time to Shine! by Catherine Daly
- What Makes Day and Night by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley
- The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk
ACTIVITY: Learn more about sun and solar power with these Solar Science Experiments for kids.
Go on an adventure to the rainforest this summer with these adorable books. Learning about all the life that a rainforest contains can be such fun with your child. Plus ways to learn how to help protect our planet with these precious ecosystems.
- Hello, World! Rainforest Animals by Jill McDonald
- Over and Under the Rainforest by Kate Messner
- The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest by Heather Lang
- The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
- The Umbrella by Jan Brett
- The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell
- Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Berkes
- “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth by Eric Carle
- In the Rainforest (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Kate Duke
- Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
- We’re Roaming in the Rainforest by Laurie Krebs
- Sloths Don’t Run by Tori McGee
- Explore the Rainforest: Emma and Louis in the Jungle by Ameri-siemens Anne
ACTIVITY: Take a Virtual Field Trip to the Rain Forest with your child.
Summertime can be a fun time for families to go camping. Here are some adventures books all about camping for kids. Keep in mind sometimes even the best tents can be a blanket fort inside for summer fun.
- A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
- Llama Llama Loves Camping by Anna Dewdney
- Pete the Cat Goes Camping by Kimberly and James Dean
- Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H. A. Rey
- S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James
- The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann
- Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish
- Oliver & Hopes Adventure Under the Stars by Meg Cadts
- Biscuit Goes Camping by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
- A Campfire Tail by Sarah Glenn Marsh
- Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt
ACTIVITY: Let’s set up a tent for camping with these 10 Tent Activities.
Watermelon is such a summer classic! Here are our favorite books about watermelon to read with your child this summer.
- The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
- Watermelon (Tadpole Books: See a Plant Grow!) by Charlie W. Sterling
- Down by the Bay (Raffi Songs to Read) by Raffi
- Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson
- This Watermelon Is Not Round by Vicky Y.W. Wong
- Watermelon Party by Jasmine Cabanaw
- One Watermelon Seed by Celia Barker Lottridge
ACTIVITY: Go on a Virtual Field Trip to a Watermelon Farm!
Gardens are in full growing mode during the summer. It’s the perfect time to plant and learn with your child. Here are our top picks of gardening books for kids. What will you grow in your backyard this summer?
- The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
- Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
- Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn
- Summer Supper by Rubin Pfeffer
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
- We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines
Want more? Take a look at these Gardening Books for Kids.
ACTIVITY: Head to the garden to learn and explore 30+ Garden Activities for Kids.
Summer break is the perfect time to do more art with your child and to learn about famous artists and their famous pieces of art. Here are our top picks of art books for kids.
- Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
- The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
- ABCs of Art by Sabrina Hahn
- This Little Artist: An Art History by Joan Holub
- Children’s Book of Art: An Introduction to the World’s Most Amazing Paintings and Sculptures by DK
- Be a Maker by Katey Howes
- Monet’s Cat by Lily Murray
- Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
- Women Artists A to Z by Melanie LaBarge
- The Art Lesson by the late Tomie DePaola
ACTIVITY: Looking for a few art projects this summer? Try these popular art resources for teaching art to kids.
Head to the kitchen this summer with the kids and help your child learn to cook. Here are our top picks of books about food and even some fun recipes for kids to make.
- Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
- Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
- The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
- Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
- Five Little Monkeys Bake a Cake
- The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
- Noodles from Scratch by Harold P Gershenson
- Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
- Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin
- A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
- Noodles, Please! (A to Z Foods of the World) by Cheryl Yau Chepusova
- Anni Dreams of Biryani by Namita Moolani Mehra
- Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi
- Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed
- P Is for Poppadoms!: An Indian Alphabet Book by Kabir Sehgal (Author), Surishtha Sehgal
- Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison
- Let’s Eat!: Mealtime Around the World by Lynne Marie
ACTIVITY: Want more ideas for the kitchen? Explore these book inspired recipes for kids and our collection kids recipes for summer fun.
Building a Summer Library for Your Child
As you head to the library or your local bookstore this summer be sure that you take notice of the books you’re chosen as you build a diverse library. There are so many options available compared to when I started teaching nearly 30 years ago.
Books can be such a fun way to teach and celebrate diversity and explore our world, especially during summer vacation.
Summer Themed Activity Bundle for Kids
This collection of books are a perfect match with our summer calendar for kids. You can download summer activities for June, July and August with this summer activities guide.
This summer bundle includes a Summer Reading Challenge, Printable Summer Book List, Summer Virtual Field Trips and more! Learn more about this summer activity bundle…
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