Summer: Chapter Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about summer?

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.

Caterpillar Summer book
#1
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.

Moominsummer Madness book
#2
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
#3
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?

Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster book
#4
Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster
Written by L. P. Chase and illustrated by Carl DiRocco
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Having to leave his friends and miss a popular fourth-grade graduation party, Elliot is not looking forward to spending the summer in Vermont until he spots an unusual animal in Lake Bomoseen.

The Penderwicks book
#5
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.

  1. The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days - One summer. One girl. One plan. Inspired by her late grandmother, Nina Ross sets out to do 65 anonymous good things for her family and neighbors, one for each day of summer vacation, to find out if doing good actually does any good. But things don’t turn out exactly as she envisioned.

  2. Summer in the Land of Anne - 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.

  3. James and the Giant Peach - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

  4. Summerhouse Time - 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
#10
Runaway Ralph
Written by Beverly Cleary and illustrated by Paul Zelinsky and 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.

Half Magic book
#11
Half Magic
Written by Edward Eager and illustrated by N. M. Bodecker and 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.

Abel's Island book
#12
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.

Ice Cream Summer book
#13
Ice Cream Summer
Written by Megan Atwood
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Lizzie and Sarah, neighbors and best friends, look forward to running the ice cream stand at Lizzie’s family’s New England orchard, but their plans go awry.

Big Nate Goes Bananas! book
#14
Big Nate Goes Bananas!
Written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Join Big Nate and his pals for another round of pranks, jokes, and wedgies! NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR! The school year is winding down, and Nate can’t wait for summer vacation: baseball, beach trips, and…overripe bananas? Yuck! Turns out Nate has a problem with fruit that’s past its prime. And that’s not all that’s bugging him. Kim Cressly is making Chester jealous at Nate’s expense, Artur is challenging him in the Hunny Bursts mascot contest, and his replacement social studies teacher is none other than Coach John. In banana terms, it’s all left Nate feeling a little bruised. Can he make it to summer without slipping up? Join Nate and the gang for more shenanigans in this newest collection of Big Nate comics!

  1. Postcards from Venice - Twelve-year-old Skyler is in for a summer of adventure in Venice, Italy, as she pursues a dream opportunity in this hilarious MIX novel that’s a companion to The BFF Bucket List.

  2. Spy Camp - As almost 13-year-old Ben, a student at the CIA’s academy for future intelligence agents, prepares to go to spy summer camp, he receives a death threat from the evil organization SPYDER.

  3. The BFF Bucket List - When best friends Skylar and Ella begin to drift apart, they try to fix their friendship by creating the ultimate BFF Summer Bucket List in this funny and heartfelt M!X novel. Skylar and Ella have been BFFs since kindergarten, and in Ella’s mind, nothing can change that bond. But when Skylar starts to act weird and distant, Ella is determined to bring them back together with a fun challenge the summer before high school: The BFF Bucket List. Ella creates a list of challenges—some wacky, some heartfelt—that they have to do together. At first, Skylar is totally game, but as they go through the list, each girl discovers that the unbreakable bond they once had might break more easily than they think. And when each girl develops a big secret that could threaten not only the list, but their entire relationship, will the list—and their friendship—fall apart?

  4. Willows vs. Wolverines - It’s an all-out boys vs. girls summer camp prank war in this hilarious M!X novel from the author of The Classy Crooks Club!

The Girls of Firefly Cabin book
#19
The Girls of Firefly Cabin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Lauren, Isla, Jade, and Archer meet the first day of summer camp, and friendship magic is made in Firefly Cabin. If only they could immortalize their summer memories by winning the contest to be the face of the camp’s website. But it won’t be easy; not with rival cabins, distracting crushes, and of course, the girl’s own secrets getting in the way. Can friendship—and the Fireflies—triumph over all?

How to Track a Pterodactyl book
#20
How to Track a Pterodactyl
Written by Will Dare
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

It’s the end of summer, and time for Trihorn Settlement’s big summer party, and Josh’s hero, Terrordactyl Bill, is making the grand opening speech! But the festivities are interrupted when a flock of pterodactyls come screeching through the air. T-Bill jumps in to protect the townspeople…and a group of pteros plucks him from the ground and carries him away! It’s up to Josh and his best friends to brave Rocktooth Ridge, home of the fearsome pterodactyls, to rescue T-Bill from the flying dinosaurs’ clutches!

Breakout book
#21
Breakout
Written and illustrated by Kate Messner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics—a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project—Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home. Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek—two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Tales of Sasha 8: Showtime! book
#22
Tales of Sasha 8: Showtime!
Written by Alexa Pearl and illustrated by Paco Sordo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In book eight of the Tales of Sasha series, Sasha throws a party for the horses of Verdant Valley and Crystal Cove! The King and Queen have put Sasha in charge of planning a Summer Solstice celebration for the horses of Verdant Valley and Crystal Cove! Sasha has never planned a big party before, and there are so many details! Will she find a way to pull this party off?

Space Camp book
#23
Space Camp
Written by Ray O’Ryan and illustrated by Jason Kraft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Zack and his friends are off to space camp on a new planet in the fourteenth Galaxy Zack adventure.

Camp Among the Stars!

Summer vacation is finally here and Zack is pumped for space camp! He can’t wait to play galactic games, tell scary stories, and go on crazy camping adventures with new friends. But when there’s trouble between his cabin mates, it’s up to Zack to bring everyone together. Will he be able to find a solution before the entire summer is ruined?

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Galaxy Zack chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  1. Crossing Over - A hilarious and heartfelt series about the particular magic of summer camp—a place where reinvention is possible and friends are like family—from a sparkling debut talent. There’s only one thing Melman loves more than soccer: her summers at Camp Rolling Hills. So she’s pumped to be back—until she realizes her bunkmates have gone totally boy-crazy over the school year and plastered their cabin in pink. Pink posters, pink t-shirts…it seems that the only not-pink thing in the cabin is Melman herself. That is, until she’s given a dare in front of the entire camp: wear a pink princess dress. For Three. Whole. Days. Steinberg’s summer gets off to a rough start, too, when his robot (usually his area of expertise) blows up during a camp-wide robotics contest. Steinberg might feel like a loser at home, but camp’s supposed to be his place to shine. Steinberg without robots? Melman in pink? This whole summer feels turned upside down! To set things right, Steinberg and Melman team up and hatch a fail-proof plan. The plan’s secret ingredient? Hamburgers.

  2. Unicorn Theater - New York Times Bestselling Author! The second Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel! Summer is here, and Phoebe and Marigold are headed to drama camp. Phoebe’s expecting some quality time with her best friend, but in a surprise twist, Marigold has invited her sister, Florence Unfortunate Nostrils! While the unicorn sisters head to camp in a magical rainbow pod, Phoebe is stuck riding with her parents in their boring car, wondering where it all went wrong. But at Camp Thespis, there are more daunting tasks at hand: writing, producing, and acting in an entirely original play! The second Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel is a sparkling tale of sisterhood and summer fun, as well as a reminder that sometimes it takes a bit of drama to recognize true friendship.

  3. One on One - Chloe Gordon is so excited to attend summer soccer camp with her Soccer Sisters Makena James and Val Flores— even though she worries she’s not as skilled as her friends. It’s even worth having to promise her parents she’ll attend ballet camp afterward as a trade. But when Chloe arrives at camp and discovers that the Breakers’ archrival, Skylar Wilson, is rooming down the hall, she worries that her camp experience will be more stressful than fun. Can the Soccer Sisters band together and shut out Skylar’s bullying, and can Chloe overcome her fear of not being good enough?

  4. My Weird School Special: Bummer in the Summer! - With more than 23 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading! School’s almost out for the summer, and A.J. is dreaming about all the fun things he’s going to do on vacation. But A.J.’s dream quickly turns into a nightmare when three familiar spirits appear to show him summers past, present, and yet to come. Will they be able to convince him to leave his bad ways behind? Or will this summer end up being a total bummer? Bestselling author Dan Gutman brings his kid-friendly sense of humor to this special series of after-school chapter books featuring hilarious stories plus thirty-two pages of games, puzzles, and more. This is one weird summer vacation special you won’t want to miss!

Just Dance book
#28
Just Dance
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

“[A] memorable story.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) From Newbery Award–winning author Patricia MacLachlan comes a “quiet tale about finding your own voice” (Kirkus Reviews) while learning to understand the people you love the most. Sylvie Bloom wants to find something new and exciting this summer—at least more exciting than the cows, goats, and chickens on her family’s farm that she’s become accustomed to. Luckily, Sylvie’s teacher Mrs. Ludolf has the perfect idea. Sylvie can take over her husband Sheriff Ludolf’s column in the newspaper for the summer, reporting on all the important events that happen in their small Wyoming town. Sylvie is thrilled to have a new challenge, but she’s not sure she’ll actually see anything amazing. At least nothing like the things her mother saw when she traveled the world as a famous opera singer. Sylvie can’t figure out why her mother would give up singing in front of thousands of people. Have she and her brother Nate been holding her mother back? And when her mother’s old duet partner James Grayson writes that he’s coming to perform nearby, will she be tempted to return to the stage, without them?

Kylie the Kitten book
#29
Kylie the Kitten
Written by Lily Small
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Kylie’s excitement over going to summer camp with her friends is threatened by her fear of the water. Includes activities.

Mystery Ranch book
#30
Mystery Ranch
Written by Gertrude Chandler Warner and illustrated by Dirk Gringhuis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

The Aldens head to their aunt’s ranch for the summer and make an amazing discovery! Adapted from Gertrude Chandler Warner’s story of the same name, this new version introduces young readers to a Boxcar Children classic.

Best Friends book
#31
Best Friends
Written and illustrated by Erin Downing
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

In this M!X original, Izzy is used to being queen bee—but will she ditch her mean girl status for a chance at true friendship?

Isabella Caravella is dreading summer. She doesn’t want to spend a month at a lakeside resort with her parents and the families of her dad’s coworkers, especially when she discovers that two of the kids go to her school. She thinks Bailey and Ava are beyond weird—and they’re not exactly thrilled to see Izzy, either. Izzy has been their tormentor, the leader of the pack of girls who made their first year of middle school so unpleasant.

Once Izzy discovers that the other kids have been spending their summers together for years and she’s the outsider, she realizes she’s going to have to change her bossy, stubborn ways if she wants to fit in. Bailey and Ava turn out to be kind and welcoming, and Izzy actually wishes she were more like them.

Back home, Izzy knows that things are probably going to be different. Ava and Bailey were great summer friends—but are they really forever friends? Can Izzy prove that she really does have the potential to be a true friend? Or is she stuck playing the mean girl forever?

TBH #3: TBH, Too Much Drama book
#32
TBH #3: TBH, Too Much Drama
Written by Lisa Greenwald
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Told entirely in text messages, the third book in this addictive series from the acclaimed author of 11 Before 12 is perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rachel Renee Russell. Cece, Gabby, and Prianka can’t wait for Spirit Week, aka the last week of school before summer break! And they’re already making plans for the best summer ever—including a friends-only camping trip, plenty of pool time, and a top-secret shared notebook. But between Pajama Day and pizza parties, Gabby accidentally leaks Cece’s most embarrassing secret to the whole school in a meme that goes viral. Half the squad thinks it’s no big deal, but Cece needs a time-out from all the drama—even if that means taking a break from her best friends.

  1. If I Were You - Be careful what you wish for. A refreshing twist on the Freaky Friday set-up, If I Were You by Leslie Margolis is a fun, touching middle-grade story about friendship, family, and overcoming jealousy. Katie is jealous of her best friend, Melody. Turns out that Melody is jealous of Katie, too. It’s the end of what was supposed to be the best summer of their lives, before they start middle school, and the girls aren’t on speaking turns. They’ve had a big fight over-what else?-a boy. When the two girls wish for the exact same thing at the same moment-to redo the summer as each other-their wishes are granted. But, as the girls will learn, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

  2. Honeybees and Frenemies - Twelve-year-old Flor faces a bittersweet summer with a pageant, a frenemy, and a hive full of honey. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Flor is stuck at home and working at her family’s mattress store, while her best friend goes off to band camp (probably to make new friends). It becomes even worse when she’s asked to compete in the local honey pageant. This means Flor has to spend the summer practicing her talent (recorder) and volunteering (helping a recluse bee-keeper) with Candice, her former friend who’s still bitter about losing the pageant crown to Flor when they were in second grade. And she can’t say no. Then there’s the possibility that Flor and her family are leaving to move in with her mom’s family in New Jersey. And with how much her mom and dad have been fighting lately, is it possible that her dad may not join them? Flor can’t let that happen. She has a lot of work to do.

  3. Cody and the Fountain of Happiness - Middle-grade readers drawn to Judy Moody or Clementine will find a funny and charismatic companion in Cody, star of this delightful new series. For whimsical Cody, many things are beautiful, especially ants who say hello by rubbing feelers. But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling chairs in his long-distance truck, and even camp has been closed for the summer. What to do? Just when all seems lost, Cody bumps into a neighborhood boy named Spencer who is looking for a runaway cat. With a new friend and a soon-to-be-found cat, Cody is on her way to the fountain of happiness.

  4. My FANGtastically Evil Vampire Pet - This epic spin-off of Mo O’Hara’s New York Times bestselling My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series features an aspiring evil scientist, paranormal pets, and plenty of hilarious summer camp shenanigans. Welcome to Camp Mwhaaa-haa-ha-a-watha! This summer is going to be epic. Epically evil, that is. ‘Cause I’m going to Evil Scientist Summer Camp! No annoying little brothers. No annoying zombie goldfish. Just me, my best friend Sanj, our notebook of evil plans, and my truly evil (and totally forbidden) vampire kitten Fang. We’ve got it all planned out. Okay, so maybe I didn’t expect for the totally not-evil Geeky Girl to show up, or for Sanj to find a new partner to work with, but there’s no way I’m going to let them ruin my summer. Evil Emperor of the Camp, here I come! Signed, The Great and Powerful Mark

Wild Blues book
#37
Wild Blues
Written by Beth Kephart
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The threat of two escaped convicts and a missing friend lead Lizzie on a harrowing journey through the wilds of the Adirondacks in this stunning novel from National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart. Thirteen-year-old Lizzie’s favorite place in the world is her uncle’s cabin. Uncle Davy’s renovated schoolhouse cabin, filled with antiques and on the edge of the Adirondacks, disconnected from the rest of the world, is like something out of a fairy tale. And an escape from reality is exactly what Lizzie needs. Life hasn’t been easy for Lizzie lately. Her father abandoned their family, leaving Lizzie with her oftentimes irresponsible mother. Now, her mom has cancer and being unable to care for Lizzie during her chemotherapy, Mom asks her where she’d like to spend the summer. The answer is simple: Uncle Davy’s cabin. Lizzie loves her uncle’s home for many reasons, but the main one is Matias, Uncle Davy’s neighbor and Lizzie’s best friend. Matias has proportionate dwarfism, but that doesn’t stop him and Lizzie from wandering in the woods. Every day they go to their favorite nook where Matias paints with watercolors and Lizzie writes. Until one day when Matias never arrives. When news breaks about two escaped convicts from the nearby prison, Lizzie fears the worst. And when Uncle Davy goes missing, too, Lizzie knows she’s the only one who knows this area of woods well enough to save them. Armed with her trusted Keppy survival book, Lizzie sets out into the wilds of the Adirondacks, proving just how far she’ll go to save the people she loves.

Ruby and Olivia book
#38
Ruby and Olivia
Written by Rachel Hawkins
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A spooky middle-grade story that’s full of fun, friendship, and humor—perfect for fans of Ingrid Law and Lisa Graff. Ruby is bold and opinionated, while Olivia has always been respectful and well behaved. But Olivia’s good-girl image is tarnished when she takes the fall for her twin sister’s misdeed. And now Olivia is stuck with Ruby all summer—at a community service day camp for troublemakers. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are tasked with cataloging the contents of Live Oaks, a historic mansion in their town. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working together is the last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually kind of cool. There’s everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to antique dolls . . . and . . . wait . . . is that doll watching them? It isn’t long until little tricks—like mysterious music playing, doors slamming, and shadows rising—start to spook the girls. They’d like to think the other campers are pranking them, but they soon realize that this empty mansion might not be uninhabited after all. To solve the mystery at Live Oaks, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their old grudges aside and figure out how to be a team. This gently creepy middle-grade story is full of all the heart, humor, and authenticity that make Rachel Hawkins a favorite with kids and teachers alike.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!