24 Book Lists to Fight the Summer Slump
Published 21 days ago
Nothing can help your child prevent slippage in their academic performance, known as the "summer slump," like a good reading routine throughout the summer. Part of encouraging a good reading habit is simply making sure there are books around your home . From personal experience, we've seen that we lose the most time with our daily reading when we're in between books, searching for what we want to read next. To help you in your effort to keep a fresh supply of books around the house this summer, we've created nearly 200 lists of our favorite children's and young reader books. Our lists cover all kinds of topics, from facing fears, to important historical figures , to making friends. Whatever your young reader is currently interested in, we have a list to help you find books she or he will enjoy. Our lists make it easier for you to find good books, so you spend less time searching and more time reading!
To introduce you to our lists, we're sharing 24 of our favorites. (You can see all the topics covered by our lists here.)
Nothing says summer like adventure, and some of our best summer adventures have taken place within the pages of a book! In fact, adventure is one of the greatest gifts we get from books. You open the cover, and immediately you're transported into another world sharing someone's story and experiences. If you want suggestions getting started on this list, check out Half Upon a Time by James Riley, Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler, and The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin with illustrations by Brian Selznick.
Each book is an adventure just waiting to happen. You'll make great new friends to journey with on the highs and lows of their stories. So what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!
To quote Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Stories, even simple children’s books, capture our imagination and take us on journeys like nothing else can. Reading is one of the best ways to develop and nurture a young reader’s imagination—just think of the stories that sparked your own imagination as a young reader. If you want specific suggestions from the list, see Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon, Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell with illustrations by Corinna Luyken, and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards.
Researchers have long known that imagination affects children's cognitive development, leading to better problem solving skills and creativity. Fuel their imagination this summer with reading!
We all tell our children that happiness is a choice, but it's hard to learn to regulate your emotions (just ask any two-year-old!), and if we're being honest, it's something we're even mastering as adults. Here are our favorite books that exemplify choosing cheeriness. This lesson is never too early to learn, and you can never have too many reminders. Here are some specific titles to look for on the list: Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner, The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen with illustrations by Dan Hanna, and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
These books are a great way to learn and reinforce the knowledge that, no matter our circumstances, we control our emotions. To quote Leo Tolstoy, “If you want to be happy, be.”
One of our guiding principles is that early learning is powerful learning with compounding effects, so we've compiled a list of the best children's books with characters who demonstrate creative thinking and unique approaches to the problems they face. The reality is, for most successful innovators and for most of us, innovation isn't a skill we either have or don't have. It is a learned skill. The books on our innovation list introduce children to new ideas and teach them about thinking outside the proverbial box. To get started, try Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty with illustrations by David Roberts, A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket with illustrations by Brett Helquist, and The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles by Dave Wasson.
While traveling to space in our own rocketship might not yet be a reality, there are lots of fantastic books that can take us there. As renowned astronomer Carl Sagan once stated, “Sometimes the best way to voyage into new worlds is by being transported into the vast unknown of space through the pages of an amazing book.” If you have a little space explorer in your home, our list of children’s books about space is sure to be popular. Some of our favorite titles are The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron with illustrations by Robert Henneberger, Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp with illustrations by Lincoln Agnew, and Dream Away by Julia Durango and Katie Belle Trupiano with illustrations by Robert Goldstrom.
We're enjoying a resurgence of interest in space and exploration, and we hope children, and the parents and other loved ones who enjoy the books with them, can find their next big dream in one of these, the best books about space.
Dinosaurs have long fascinated readers of all ages, young and old alike. For many young paleontologists, dinosaurs can provide an engaging segway into reading. If your young reader spends the day pretending to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex or is constantly quoting you an endless series of facts about dinosaurs, this list is for you. For books chock full of information, see Barnum's Bones by Tracey Fern with illustrations by Boris Kulikov and History Uncovered: Dinosaurs by Dennis Schatz; Tea Rex by Molly Idle is a great option for a fun story featuring a dinosaur.
From pure fun to incredibly educational, these dino-books are sure to thrill your young curious readers.
Not many subjects make for a more captivating story than a good mystery! And our list of our favorite children’s books about sleuths, detectives, and mysteries is the right place to find a new case. We've rounded up our favorite books about sleuthing to help you hone your detective skills and discover answers to the many mysteries that lie ahead! If you’d like a place to start, try Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus with illustrations by Paul Galdone, What Really Happened to Humpty? by Jeanie Franz Ransom with illustrations by Stephen Axelsen, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein.
Whether it's who, how, what, or why, we have confidence that with your investigative skills, you can come to the correct conclusion before it's too late!
For some families, this summer might bring with it a move to a new place. Moving can come with all sorts of different emotions: sadness, excitement, fear, anxiety, and more. One sure way to provide some comfort and reassurance, while providing a safe place to talk about feelings, is by reading together. To help and comfort you and your little readers through a move, we've gathered the best books about moving. To get started, check out Lost and Found by Andrew Clements with illustrations by Mark Elliott, Bella and Stella Come Home by Anika Denise with illustrations by Christopher Denise, and Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower.
As E.B. White said, "Books are good company, in sad times and happy times . . . “ Since moving can bring happiness, sadness, and everything in between, we hope this list can help you find good books to keep you and your young readers company.
Looking for the ultimate list of magical books for your book lovers? Well abra cadabra and bippity boppity boo, here they are, just for you! Whether it's Harry Potter casting magic spells, Peter Pan sprinkling magical pixie dust, or paintings coming alive, books can bring magic and magical worlds to life like nothing else. Our list of the best children’s books about magic covers everything, from classic tales to hidden gems you might not yet know. For specific ideas, see The Hotel Between by Sean Easley, The Magical Life of Mr. Renny by Leo Timmers, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
Friends never stop being important, but they can have an especially big impact on us when we're growing up. Our list of the best children’s books about making friends and friendship can help your little reader learn how to make friends, how to choose good friends, and maybe most importantly, how to be a good friend. To get started, try The Startup Squad by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear, Enemy Pie by Derek Munson with illustrations by Tara Calahan King, and To the Sea by Cale Atkinson.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Since it is so likely that [children] will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” Books are a great medium for introducing young readers to stories of bravery and courage. This list of children’s books about bravery will help young readers learn what it means to be brave and show readers examples of bravery. Some titles you could start with are Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling, The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, and Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall.
Being brave doesn’t always mean being fearless. Dig into these books to find wonderful examples of bravery and to learn what it really means to be brave!
For many young readers, summer means exploring outdoors. And exploring outdoors often involves bugs and spiders. Play to that interest and keep the exploring going with your little reader’s summer reading list. We’ve compiled amazing children’s books about bugs and spiders, like Charlotte's Web by E.B. White and with illustrations by Garth Williams, Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet by Mrs. Peanuckle with illustrations by Jessie Ford, and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake.
This list contains some of our favorite books for bug lovers ranging from awesomely age appropriate fact books to more fictional stories about some of the most beloved storybook spiders.
Warm summer nights staring at the stars can be a highlight of summer. If your young reader is fascinated by stars, this list of the best children’s books about stars can help you discover some great reading material for her or his summer. Learn about the constellations, read star-based stories, and delight in the night's sky with these top picks, like Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson with illustrations by Greg Call, How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers, and The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker.
Having a picky eater can be tricky, especially with so many opinions on how to approach it as a parent. We've gathered our favorite children's books to read with your picky eaters to help them realize that trying a new food might turn out in their favor. Whether your child just doesn't like broccoli, or they hate any food that doesn't start with the letter "P," we're positive you'll find some help and laughs through these fun reads! If you want help getting started, try Bear Likes Jam by Ciara Gavin, Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal with illustrations by Jen Corace, and I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child.
It gets a little meta to include a list of the best children’s books about summer on a summer book list, but trust us, it works. Thinking of summer calls to mind memories, smells, traditions, vacations and fun ideas. This book list is sure to do the same and help your kids enjoy their summer. For starters, check out Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen, and The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.
Not many things say summer better than ice cream. From ice cream shops to loads of imaginative flavors, there are many entertaining and delightful children’s books centered around ice cream. Ice cream fanatics are sure to love these silky-sweet books included on our list of the best children’s books for ice cream lovers! If you want a suggestion, try Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie with illustrations by Nicola O'Byrne, The Ice Cream Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries) by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Just One More by Jennifer Hansen Rolli.
Sunshine and laughter often go hand in hand. To help fill your young reader’s summer with laughter, we’ve put together a list of the top children’s book to make you laugh. These humorous books will help put a smile on your face and the face of your child. To begin with, you might try The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero by Rachel Renée Russell, Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt with illustrations by Matthew Forsythe, and The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon.
Summer can often bring with it work, including extra yard work for many of us. Teaching our children the value of hard work is one of the best lessons we can help them experience. Many children's books address the topic directly or indirectly, showing children the satisfaction a character experiences from working hard to achieve a goal or overcome a challenge. This list shares some of our favorite stories sharing a message about hard work. For starters, try Holes by Louis Sachar, McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger with illustrations by John Hendrix, and The Haymeadow by Gary Paulsen with illustrations by Ruth Wright Paulsen.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.” While we generally encourage children to read whatever it is they enjoy, a truly quality children’s book should be enjoyable to both children and adults alike. Children's books not only teach valuable lessons and tactfully broach important topics, they do so with beautiful illustrations and touching, thoughtful stories. Some titles to start with are You Are Special by Max Lucado with illustrations by Sergio Martinez, What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada with illustrations by Mae Besom, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
Whatever season you're at in life and wherever you're at with reading, you should enjoy these children's books with or without a little reader close by.
Trying new things can be scary, intimidating, exciting, fun, or all of the above! It’s often helpful to learn about someone else’s experience of trying something new, and that’s why we’ve created a list of the best books to read with your child about trying new things. These children's books will inspire and help young readers through the many different adventures or challenges they may encounter as they live a life full of new experiences. To get started, try Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan, The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino, and Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.
Your little one is sure to see through these characters and stories that trying new things can help us discover new talents, have fun, and be proud of ourselves!
For some children, summer can bring with it a lot of sports: summer camps, practices, and games. If your young reader is also an avid sports fan, or if you want to introduce her or him to new sports, our list of amazing children’s books about sports can help you find some engaging reading material this summer. You could start with Anybody's Game by Heather Lang with illustrations by Cecilia Puglesi, The Mighty Dynamo by Kieran Crowley, and Izzy Barr, Running Star by Claudia Mills with illustrations by Rob Shepperson.
Family is important and makes us who we are. It's the people that came before us that helped create our life and our culture as individuals, families, and society. Hodding Carter said, "There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children—one is roots, and the other, wings." By helping our children learn about their ancestors, we're giving them roots and wings, which is why we've gathered these fabulous, fun, and sweet children’s books about family history that will inspire your children to learn more about their own heritage. For suggestions on the list, try The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman, Mama Seeton's Whistle by Jerry Spinelli with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, and Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question by Martha Freeman.
It is fun to see children don a mask over their eyes, strap a cape to their backs, and pretend to be their favorite superhero. Fuel their sense of imagination and empowerment with quality reading material this summer. Our list of favorite children’s books about superpowers will introduce young readers to wonderful stories. Some feature traditional superpowers, while some explore new and unique abilities. Your young reader will be inspired and wondering what his or her own power is, all while falling in love with reading from these fantastic books. For suggestions, try El Deafo by Cece Bell, Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio with illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, and Matilda by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake.
Some titles on the list are just plain fun, many have wonderful messages, and all of them are SUPER!
For many of us, summer welcomes us back outside after a season of trying to stay warm indoors. This foray back into nature is filled with beauty, peace, and curiosity. This list of the very best children’s books about nature includes titles that capture the beauty of sunsets, the peace in the sound of rain or the waves on the beach, and the wonder of natural phenomena you find in nature wherever you look. If you want a place to start, try Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty, The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth by Chris Burkard, and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
These books hold adventures, beauty, and knowledge of nature for little ones to learn, explore, and enjoy.
We hope these lists help your child avoid a summer slump by encouraging lots of reading this summer. As we mentioned, making plenty of reading material available around the house is a real key. If you really want to save time finding new books, sign up for our children's book subscription. Each month your young reader will receive an exciting delivery of new books, each hand-wrapped in delightful paper.
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