Summer is here! All that extra time can sometimes mean boredom for our kids, but not if they have a good book. Tie up the hammock, pull out the lawn chairs or add some extra comfy pillows to the couch—having a place to read is just as important as getting your hands on a story.
Whether your kids are just learning to read or are well-established readers, love getting lost in a book or are a more reluctant page turner, simply having books around the house increases their chances of picking one up. Stocking your shelves with some new or borrowed books from the library is likely to spark their curiosity and help you find something new for them to read on their own (or together, too).
From light and playful stories of friendship to more harrowing adventures, we gathered a brief list of titles by age group to help you guide your kids' summer reading selections. With summer themes of friendship and developing a love and appreciation of nature and the great outdoors, your kids are sure to find a title on this list they'll enjoy.
I'm Getting a Shark! By Brady Smith
Playful and full of anticipation, I'm Getting a Shark!, is a hilarious tale of a girl who thinks she's getting a real shark for her birthday. When it doesn't work out quite the way she thought it would, there's a nice lesson about helping and appreciating the animals we love (but can't have as pets) from a distance.
Guinea Pigs Go Gardening by Kate Sheehy
Delightful, informative and cute, Guinea Pigs Go Gardening takes young readers well beyond the seed story of a garden to all the ups and downs of what it really takes to care for one successfully. From dealing with pests and composting to enjoying delicious treats made from the garden, Guinea pigs Bob and Ginger are great examples for getting out and working hard!
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The main characters in Peanut Butter and Jellyfish enjoy playing together but find themselves in a situation where they must rescue a friend who has been less-than-kind. Will they save him? Will he apologize? This is the perfect story for our young ones as they build their social skills with lessons in friendship, caring for others and being kind.
Owly The Way Home and The Bittersweet Summer by Andy Runton
Owly is a beloved graphic novel series character who loves adventure and making new friends. These two first stories in the series, The Way Home and The Bittersweet Summer, are charming tales where Owly learns about friendship and works to understand that goodbyes don't have to be forever—great themes for summer reading!
Dory Fantasmagory: Tiny Tough by Abby Hanlon
The fifth book in the five-book Dory Fantasmagory series, Tiny Tough is a tale of friendship and adventure as Dory seeks to help her sister. With friends and adversaries both real and imagined, Dory's effort to help her sister lands her on a roller coaster ride of surprising events!
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt
Comfortable in his own home, camping might be the last place you'd find Scaredy Squirrel—but in true form, he braves up again for the adventure! This story, Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping from the graphic novel series, is perfect to inspire some summer camping of your own and help any young one muster up the courage they need to face their own worries like Scaredy Squirrel.
Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery by James Ponti
Main character Florian Bates came up with the Theory of All Small Things (T.O.A.S.T.) to manage small mysteries in his day-to-day life, but it finds him investigating much bigger unknowns! Can he get his homework done and help the FBI? Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery is the first book in this series of page-turning detective stories perfect for middle grade readers.
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Newberry Medal Award Winning novel, Hello Universe, is an inspiring tale of friendship, bravery and finding strength together with our differences. Virgil is left stuck and missing after bully Chet Bullens pulls a prank. The main characters are forced to work together, be brave and through it all, find friendship. Middle grade readers will find the characters in this story relatable and inspiring (and worth turning the pages for).
Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
Highly acclaimed historical fiction novel Echo Mountain takes young readers on a journey with Ellie, whose family was forced to relocate to the wilderness after being ravaged by the Great Depression. A terrible accident (unfairly blamed on Ellie) leaves her father in a coma, and she goes on to find help for him from a mysterious woman on the mountain known as "The Hag." Beautifully written, this book communicates a love and appreciation of nature as its characters find healing.
All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Austin and Bina usually do everything together, but this summer Austin has summer camp and hasn't really been his usual self, so Bina is left to fend for herself. Music, TV and boredom carry her along until she finds a new friend in Austin's sister. When Austin comes home, they have to work through their newfound differences and rekindle their friendship. All Summer Long is a graphic novel with a summer narrative perfect for early teens.
Stargirl by Jerri Spinelli
A story of compassion and celebrating our unique selves, Stargirl is the perfect story for teen readers grappling with love, friendships, place and belonging. The new girl in town captures everyone's attention at first, but when her uniqueness becomes a little too much for them, they turn on her. Leo, hopelessly smitten, urges her to become normal. It's a captivating tale of how finding, being and embracing your unique self is most beautiful and inspiring, no matter what others say.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
A more mature read, Into Thin Air is journalist Jon Krakauer's unique account of the May 1996 Mt. Everest disaster where five lives were lost. It's a harrowing and thoughtfully articulated account of the events that led to each life lost as the author searches to identify how, or why, things happened as they did. It is a must-read for anyone who loves nature, climbing and journalism.
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