15 Tantalizing Summer Reads for Kids

Ahh, summer. Between cloud gazing and visiting the beach and swimming at the pool, it seems like there’s so much excitement during the summer. Sometimes, it’s hard to forget to slow down, take a break, and just soak up summer. I guarantee that these books, though, will do the trick and help your kids take a few minutes for their imagination. Whether you’re curled up on the couch reading together, or you prepare a book basket for your young one to explore solo, these books are the perfect picks for summertime.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. 

If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Perfect for Preschoolers and up, as well as all fans of the classic “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” series!

We love this book so much. While it isn’t specifically set in summertime, with mentions of a carnival and the fact that my son has a summer birthday, I’ve never been able to imagine it as anything other than a summertime book. Filled with the bright, adorable pictures you’ve come to love from Felicia Bond, and the awesome If You Give A… books that inspire a “what comes next?” imagination from Laura Numeroff, this book will be a hit with any fans of the classic series.

Curious George Goes to the Beach Inspired by Margaret and HA Rey

Perfect for Preschoolers and any Curious George fans!

I can’t be the only mom with a George-obsessed tot. We can’t seem to get enough of that curious little monkey around our house, so this new-style George book is perfect for packing for a beach vacation. When George gets to the beach with The Man In The Yellow Hat, he pretends to be a lifeguard, makes new friends, and helps his friend Betsy overcome her fears. With illustrations done in the style of the original books, this newer George story is sure to be a hit even with fans of the old collections.

S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James

Perfect for elementary school kids and families who love to camp and explore!

The thing I love most about S Is for S’mores is that it’s a book that will truly grow with children. For the youngest readers, you can just read the beautiful rhyming story, with things like “C is for Canyons, and few are as great as the ‘Grand,’ slowly carved by nature’s knives of water, wind, and sand.” For older children, there is a weath of information on each sidebar that gives more details. For example, the C is for Canyons page goes into detail about the Grand Canyon and how it was formed, Bryce Canyon Park and Zion National Park, which are also well-known canyons, and talking about how boots are important for hiking in canyons. It’s a great way to start small if your family loves to camp and work your way into more detail as kids get older.

The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing

Perfect for young elementary school, or for reading right before a trip!

In the style of The Night Before Christmas, and in the style of Natasha Wing’s other Night Before books modeled after the original Night Before Christmas story, it’s a cute rhyming tale about the preparations for summer vacation, and how when you’re trying to pack everything, you’re bound to forget something! This is a great laugh-out-loud read that we love to read again and again for it’s silly nature and fun rhyme scheme.

Taffy Saltwater’s Yummy Summer Day by Michael Paraskevas

Perfect for early elementary!

What do you do when you’re enjoying a day on a crowded beach and suddenly your friend the beach ball flies away? That’s what Taffy Saltwater’s Yummy Summer Day is all about! While the text is a bit wordy, the bright, beautiful photographs are exciting and fun to peek through. It’s really worth getting just for the WOW factor of the images alone, and that makes it a bright, sunny, creative summer read for any family with younger children.

Who’s on First? by Abbott and Costello

Perfect for elementary school students, as well as fans of baseball or comedy!

I love this book. Words can’t express how much I love this book. It is the classic Abbott and Costello sketch, brought to life with these adorable illustrations. While the joke may go right over the heads of younger readers, older readers who get it will love it. If you love the original sketch, you’ll really love this book, which is a re-imagining of the classic, and it’s just so cute. I don’t like baseball, but I do like funny, and this? It’s funny. It starts with the classic “Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third…” and from there, everything goes crazy, just like the sketch. Even adults will love this book.

Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee

Perfect for preschoolers, especially as a before-bed story!

I love this book about a sweet and spunky little girl who finds tons of ways to enjoy her summer day and summer night. The best part? At the end of the story, she drifts into sleep with dreams of her summertime day. The fun summer ideas like drinking lemonade and going on a picnic are great inspiration for a summer bucket list, but it’s also a sweet before-bed story to wind down and ask children “How did YOU spend your summer day?”

I See Summer by Charles Ghigna

Perfect for Preschoolers and anyone who loves bright colors!

This sweet summertime book isn’t the first book from Ghigna that I’ve featured on the blog. Also known as Father Goose, Ghigna’s books are pretty much everywhere, with over 50 award-winning titles to his name. His poems are even featured on the ACT and SAT! So when he releases a great summer book, I’m sure to include it on a favorite summer book list. The sweet illustrations really take the cake in this one, which is beautiful and vibrant, just like summer.

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills

Perfect for preschoolers. And literally everyone. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Duck and Goose!

Okay, I’ll admit it. We’re obsessed with Duck and Goose at our house. My son has memorized most of the Duck and Goose books we own, and I hear him in his book nook saying “It’s not time to build a snowman, Goose!” or “Goose is sad!” So when I saw there was a summer-themed Duck and Goose book, I didn’t hesitate to grab a copy. In this sweet and funny tale, Duck decides he wants to go on an adventure… but, as always, Goose wants to just stay home. After a lot of convincing and a lot of travel, they arrive at the beach. (Spoiler alert: Goose LOVES the beach… but someone else in the story doesn’t!)

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Perfect for preschool and early elementary, served up with a big plate of  watermelon, of course!

This book is a must for any watermelon lover. When a cute crocodile accidentally swallows the seed of a watermelon, his imagination runs wild! What will happen to him? My favorite part of this book is the large font that makes his panic over the swallowed seed leap off the page! It’s so cute and well thought out, and it’s just the perfect summertime book, especially for those watermelon fans. Plus, it’s deliciously colored, so if you weren’t craving watermelon before reading the book, you will be before you put it down. Just watch out for the seeds!

Summer Stinks by Marty Kelley

Perfect for elementary school age and the pessimist lurking inside all of us.

I can’t be the only person who can’t stand a whole host of things about summer. From mosquitoes to sunburns to ice cream that melts WAY too fast, summer stinks in a lot of ways. Marty Kelley spells out 26 ways that Summer Stinks in this tale that goes from A-to-Z in rhyme. If your kid is already saying “I’m bored,” hand them this book and remind them that it could be worse…

Let It Shine by Maryann Cocca Leffler

Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, with a series title for every season!

One of my favorite parts of this summer book is that it’s got 3 complimentary titles that pair with it, one for each season! If you’re a fan of this book, and summer ends, there’s no need to despair as you pick up the next series title, Let It Fall. I am such a fan of the whole series, with it’s cute illustrations, great rhyme scheme, and the delicate way the words flow over the page. It is a perfect book to share with your little one.

Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe

Perfect for elementary school students, with a great message about life!

The thing I love most about this book is the message behind it. As a boy catches fireflies in a jar, he collects them and sets them by his bedside, watching the glow. But when he starts to see their lights start to die out, he realizes he has to let them go, even as much as he wants to keep them. It’s the right thing to do, and this is a great book to teach kids about living creatures and how you can’t always keep them. Bonus: it was a Reading Rainbow book!

Mouse’s First Summer (Classic Board Books) by Lauren Thompson

Great for toddlers and little ones who love great board books!

I love board books. They’re sturdy and they’re my favorite to tuck into a bag to take in the car, to restaurants, and anywhere a paperback might wear and tear. So I’m really fond of this cute book about Mouse experiencing summer for the very first time. This book is one of a whole series of Mouse’s first seasons and experiences, so it’s a great addition to a whole series of books that you can carry along with you year-round. I have yet to find another board book for summer that I like as much as this cutely illustrated tale

Summer (Four Seasons) by Nuria Roca

Perfect for toddlers and up, who need an idea of how to spend summer!

This book is great because it has a list of fun summer ideas in the back of the book! What’s better than a book that is fitting for early readers and also gives some ideas of fun activities? I love that this book is part of a series of four that allows kids to not just read about their season, but to engage with it!



Note: This post contains affiliate links. What’s an affiliate link? It’s a link that takes you to a site where you can buy an item while helping support Digital Era Mom in bringing you great content– essentially, if you decide to buy the book using the link above, I make a little money, and you get to enjoy the great book you bought. Win-win, right? But, if you *don’t* want to use my affiliate link, that’s okay, too. Just locate the book on your favorite book website or in stores.


What’s your favorite summer book for kids?


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