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Best Children's Books for the Summer

Summer is one of the happiest times for a kid - no school, lots of fun and the outdoors. This year, however, things are bound to be a little different. As heat waves across the country make it hard to go out, and the threat of the delta variant still looms, this might be the perfect summer to immerse your kid in the wonderful ways that books can transport you to a different time and place! 

To help you get started, we’ve included a list of eight summer themed children’s books for your child (There’s also links to lists of more if you blaze through these!).

1. Mama, is it Summer yet? By Nikki McClure


Children's Books


“Mama, is it Summer yet?” is a book by Nikki McClure about the changing seasons. A little boy keeps asking his mama as the seasons pass by, if summer is here yet. She keeps telling him that it’s not yet summer, but shares with him all the ways in which the other seasons are important and what happens in them. Finally, summer arrives, and mama and the boy can be seen enjoying summer in a pool. The illustrations are paper cut-outs, making the book extremely unique.


2. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague



Books, and children’s books in particular, have a fantastic way of transporting the reader to a different time and place. That’s exactly what happens to Wallace Bleff. Wallace is meant to visit his Aunt Fern over the summer, but instead, he’s carried off (more likely by his imagination!) to the Wild West, where he learns how to be a cowboy. Wallace returns just in time to save his aunt’s barbecue from being run over by a stampede. “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” is a great book for the end of the summer and can also be quickly turned into an activity for children to describe their own summer vacation! 

3. Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion


Children's books


Harry by the Sea is a book in the ‘Harry the Dog’ series. Harry is a small dog who goes to the beach with his family. While he’s having some good old beach fun, a big wave comes through and covers Harry with some seaweed, making him look like a weird sea creature! After Harry gets rid of the seaweed, he seems to have lost sight of his family’s big umbrella. On his quest to fund his family, he runs into all sorts of mischief and adventures, something children will relate to easily. “Harry by the Sea” is an all-time top 100 children’s book. Who doesn’t love some good old beach fun in the summer?


4. I See Summer by Charles Ghinga



I See Summer is a book about all the things you can see in summer, from flowers and ladybugs to sailboats, seashells and fireflies. With simple sentences and beautiful illustrations, I See Summer is a great way to introduce your little one to all the things summer has to offer. The book can even be used as a great summer counting book, as children can try to count all the things they see in a page, such as the number of ladybugs, snails or seashells.


5. Summer in the Forest by Rusty Finch



Summer in the Forest follows around two bear cubs as they explore the forest in the summertime. They go around the forest picking blueberries, looking at the pods and trees, while mama bear keeps an eye on them. This children’s book, by Rusty Finch, is a ‘lift-a-flap’ book, which means that you can lift or pull a small section of the page to reveal an illustration or text. These little surprises keep children engaged and immerse them in the story. The series also has other seasons, in case you’re looking for a good winter or spring book! 


6. The Sand Castle Contest by Robert Munsch



While on vacation, Matthew sees that there is a local sandcastle contest, and the prize is a big tub of ice-cream. Matthew knows he’s the best at building sandcastles, so he sets about building a big sandcastle that looks so real that the contest judges think his sandcastle is a real castle. Matthew even makes chairs and food for his sandcastle! He has to then convince the judges that his castle is not real, and is in fact made of sand! This book has all the classic summer elements and full-page illustrations. 

7. Perfect by Danny Parker

Children's Books

‘Perfect’ follows three children and a small cat as they have the most idyllic and perfect summer’s day - drawing, messing around at the beach, watching the rain and snuggling. The beautifully painted illustrations transport the reader to a perfect summer day with endless hours and the comforting feeling of not being rushed or hurried. I’d recommend this book even for grownups who want a little nostalgia of long summer days as a child! 

8. The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer...by David Cali



The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer is about a normal summer vacation that turns into the most epic treasure hunt! A little boy finds a message in a bottle that turns out to be a treasure map, and then he proceeds to hunt for the treasure in an around-the-world adventure that lands him in the most unlikely of places, with the most unlikely of surprises. With full-page sketched illustrations on every page, this book is a fantastic, high-paced adventure book for kids that’s just perfect for summer reading. 

If you’re hungry for more summer adventures to introduce your kid to while you’re stuck indoors, you can check out these lists for more titles for easy summer reading:

Are there any really good ones we missed? Add your favorite to the comments below! 

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