Best Children's Books About Summer

The 44 Best Books About Summer Ever

Updated Mar. 12, 2019

Summer. That word just brings memories, smells, traditions, vacations and fun ideas to mind. This book list is sure to do the same and help your kids enjoy their summer vacation with lots of adventures and real life exploration.

Baby Loves Summer! book
#1
Baby Loves Summer!
Written and illustrated by Karen Katz
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Soak up summer with this sunny lift-the-flap board book from Karen Katz! Little ones will love lifting the flaps in this new Karen Katz book to reveal a big yellow sun, flip-flops, an ice cream cone, and everything else that Baby loves about summer! The sturdy format and easy-to-lift flaps make this a perfect summertime treat for parents and children to share. Featuring new Karen Katz branding that reflects her vibrant colors and patterns, this holiday favorite is sure to delight little ones!

On My Beach book
#2
On My Beach
Written and illustrated by Sara Gillingham
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Turn the colorful die-cut pages of this irresistible board book to discover just what makes little crab's beach so cozy. Is it the soft sand? Is it the salty seaweed? No, it's his loving family! Bright pictures, a sweet reassuring message, unique layered pages, and an adorable finger puppet combine to create interactive reading and playtime fun!

Fireflies book
#3
Fireflies
Written and illustrated by Julie Brinckloe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Fireflies is a refreshingly simple and honest book. Barefoot running in the summer grass. Meeting friends. Catching fireflies in a jar. Getting called home by mom and dad. All these touches and more, brought to life by the unique illustrations, make this a timeless, nostalgic summer tale.

A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die.

At the Boardwalk book
#4
At the Boardwalk
Written and illustrated by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This cute book about the boardwalk takes me back to memories of family vacations spent at the beach! I like that the rhyming story of the day at the boardwalk goes through all the different activities, weather, and sites there. The illustrations, like the book, are fun and playful!

From sunrise to sunset, the attractions of a beach boardwalk include popcorn, taffy, arcade games, and a dazzling amusement park.

Mouse's First Summer book
#5
Mouse's First Summer
Written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Join Mouse and Minka for a summer picnic in this sunny Classic Board Book. Mouse and Minka invite you to celebrate summer with a picnic in the park. Roll down the hill on tickly green grass. Fly fluttery kites high in the sky. Enjoy some juicy watermelon! And before it’s time to go home, a summer surprise sparkles in the sky. Now available as a Classic Board Book, this seasonal story is ideal for the youngest readers—and the smallest hands.

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee book
#6
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
Written by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

A silly tale of a night in a camper gone awry. I found it interesting that the first half of the book is just a cute story about a man and his dog enjoying a campout together in the beauty of nature. It's only half-way through the book, after Mr. Magee and his dog Dee have gone to bed, the tone of the book changes and the comedy begins.

Mr. Magee and his dog Dee go camping and have an adventure with a hungry bear.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#7
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can't find Bear anywhere. She hears he's gone to hibernate -- but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season...unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

Tap the Magic Tree book
#8
Tap the Magic Tree
Written and illustrated by Christie Matheson
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The acclaimed interactive picture book about the changing seasons. “Like Hervé Tullet’s Press Here, Matheson’s Tap the Magic Tree proves you don’t need apps for interactivity,” praised the New York Times. Every book needs you to turn the pages. But not every book needs you to tap it, shake it, jiggle it, or even blow it a kiss

How I Spent My Summer Vacation book
#9
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Written and illustrated by Mark Teague
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

How I Spent My Summer Vacation is an imaginative read from a little boy names Bleff (that was a name I've never heard before) who tells in class how he spent his summer being adopted into a band of cowboys. The book has some clever rhyming, and the little boy saves the day when he uses a red tablecloth to steer the stampeding cows away. I'm not sure there's a particular lesson to draw from the book--perhaps, be creative and solve problems.

A schoolboy tell his class about his summer vacation, during which he joined a group of cowboys and stopped a cattle stampede.

Mama, Is It Summer Yet? book
#10
Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
Written and illustrated by Nikki McClure
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

As spring slowly turns to summer, a little boy builds a fort and plants a garden in impatient anticipation.

Tree book
#11
Tree
Written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Through a hole in the book’s cover, an owl invites you inside to meet a majestic tree and all its forest inhabitants during the changing seasons. With clever peekaboo holes throughout, each page reveals a new set of animals playing and living in the tree—baby bears frolicking in the spring, bees buzzing around apples in the summer, squirrels storing nuts in the fall, and finally the lone owl keeping warm during the winter chill—until another year begins… . Children will love seeing a new set of animals appear and then disappear as each page is turned, and along the way they’ll learn about the seasons and how a forest and its inhabitants change throughout the year.

A Year with the Wind book
#12
A Year with the Wind
Written and illustrated by Hanna Konola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Charming illustrations and fun, engaging rhymes will enchant toddlers as they learn about the wind; holding kites high in the spring, pushing sailboats in the summer, tossing leaves around in the fall, and making snowflakes dance in the winter. Hanna Konola's illustrations are popular the world over.

Ice Cream Summer book
#13
Ice Cream Summer
Written and illustrated by Peter Sis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy writes a letter to his grandfather about all the reading and studying he is doing this summer--but all his activities revolve around ice cream.

Four Seasons in One Day book
#14
Four Seasons in One Day
Written and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follow a little girl called Isabelle and her dog, Pickle, as they travel through the four seasons in one day. Accompanied by pieces from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, this first title in a series of sound books that bring classical music to life for young children.

Summer in the Land of Anne book
#15
Summer in the Land of Anne
Written by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly and illustrated by Carolyn M. Epperly
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A Prince Edward Island summer vacation inspires a young writer. Six-year-old Elspeth's mother has a surprise in store for her daughters. She's taking Elspeth and her eleven-year-old sister on a surprise vacation. When she starts reading Anne of Green Gables aloud to the girls, they catch on--they're going to Prince Edward Island! Elspeth proudly dons her Anne hat on the ferry, ready to explore the Land of Anne. Although she knows she's really visiting Lucy Maud Montgomery's house, she feels like she recognizes everything from the books and is thoroughly enchanted. At first devastated that Montgomery's first house was torn down by Montgomery's uncle, Elspeth sees signs of life--chipmunks living in the old cellar. Elspeth's imagination is ignited. No longer satisfied with pretending to be Anne, Elspeth is instead inspired to become more like Montgomery: famous writer Elspeth of Cavendish, writing about the world she loves. Summer in the Land of Anne is a celebration of the books we love and all the ways they inspire us.

Caterpillar Summer book
#16
Caterpillar Summer
Written by Gillian McDunn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a "meltdown", Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, this special novel features an unforgettable voice and is brimming with heart.

Sea Glass Summer book
#17
Sea Glass Summer
Written by Michelle Hout and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Author Michelle Houts and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline explore the magic of one of the seaside's greatest wonders and the bonds that link us through time. One summer, a boy named Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach, turning grains of sand into rocks and dark clamshells into swirling mazes of black, gray, and white. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea's secrets. A stunning ode to stories and the seaside, this picture book invites readers to imagine the ocean of possibility that lives in every small or forgotten treasure.

Half Magic book
#18
Half Magic
Written by Edward Eager and illustrated by N. M. Bodecker, Edward Eager
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Faced with a dull summer in the city, Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha suddenly find themselves involved in a series of extraordinary adventures after Jane discovers an ordinary-looking coin that seems to grant wishes.

Moominsummer Madness book
#19
Moominsummer Madness
Written by Tove Jansson and illustrated by Thomas Warburton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A flood hits Moomin Valley and triggers a series of adventures for the Moomins.

Letters from Camp book
#20
Letters from Camp
Written by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mom and Dad, You've got to get us out of here! When you get this letter, COME IMMEDIATELY! -- Charlie The brother-sister pairs who arrive for the summer at Camp Happy Harmony are almost too busy fighting with each other to notice how strange the camp really is. Not only are the campers forced to wear bizarre uniforms, eat gross food, and do chores all day, but the members of the family that runs the camp fight constantly--with each other. Are the campers in danger? Or--in spite of sibling wars--do they need to stick together to solve the mystery humming under the surface of Camp Happy Harmony?

Abel's Island book
#21
Abel's Island
Written and illustrated by William Steig
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A wild August torrent sweeps Abel Mouse away from home, family, and familiar world to an uninhabited island where, between efforts to return home, he makes new discoveries about himself and the world. A Newbery Honor Book. Reprint.

Marshmallow Kisses book
#22
Marshmallow Kisses
Written by Linda Crotta Brennan and illustrated by Mari Takabayashi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Children and their family enjoy a variety of activities during a summer day.

The Penderwicks book
#23
The Penderwicks
Written and illustrated by Jeanne Birdsall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four young sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.

Summerhouse Time book
#24
Summerhouse Time
Written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The approach of summerhouse time at the beach brings back good memories of this annual tradition, of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents cleaning, laughing, eating, playing, and relaxing.

Runaway Ralph book
#25
Runaway Ralph
Written by Beverly Cleary and illustrated by Paul Zelinsky, Tracy Dockray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"The rousing notes of the bugle and the laughter and shouting increased the feeling of rebellion within Ralph. As the last strains of the bugle call hovered in the clear mountain air, Ralph made up his mind. He knew now what he was going to do. He was going to run away. Fed up with his timid mother and uncle and his squirmy little cousins, Ralph hops onto his toy motorcycle and zooms down the road to summer camp. It turns out camp is not all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fun. A strict watchdog, a mouse-hungry cat, and a troubled boy named Garf lead Ralph on some fur-raising escapades. Perhaps home isn't such a bad place to be, if only Ralph can find a way to get there again.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.