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Must Read Children's Books About Summer That Kids Will Love + Free Bingo Reading Game

Updated: Jun 3


Get ready for summer with this list of fun, adventurous books about the season. Whether you're hitting the road for exciting travels or staying close to home to garden or to spend long days by the pool, these books make the perfect companion. For your convenience, we've included publisher's descriptions along with each book.


New York Times bestselling creators Renée Watson and Bea Jackson offer a picture book ode to a picture-perfect summer day, from sunrise to sunset.


Summer is here! No dark clouds in the sky, it's a perfect day for play. What joy will summer bring me today?


Summer is finally here, and she's bringing the most perfect day! From sunup to sundown, there's so much to do on this lovely summer day. With summer comes fresh fruit, sweet and tangy, jump ropes for leaping and dancing, and friends at the pool swimming and floating. Summer brings family cookouts under shady trees, gardens overflowing, and the familiar song of the ice-cream truck. This beautiful ode to all the season's sensations follows one girl's perfect day in an exploration of joy, family, friendship, sunshine, and wonder.


Her stars shimmer like spilled glitter across the sky.

I whisper a wish and say goodbye to the day.

I wish summer would stay.


Renée Watson celebrates iconic childhood joys in this love letter to summer featuring bright, sun-drenched art from Bea Jackson.



From Newbery honor author Rajani LaRocca and illustrator Abhi Alwar comes a celebration of extended family and summertime fun expressed in a picture book full of joyful, color art.


Summer is for cousins.

Mom and Dad,

Two uncles, two aunties,

Thatha and Pati,

Seven cousins,

All of us are together.


Ravi can't wait to spend summer vacation at the lake house with his family--especially his cousins! Summer vacation is for days at the beach, long hikes, paddleboarding, and--of course--ice cream. Ravi and his oldest cousin, Dhruv, had the same favorite flavor last year, but everything feels different now.


Dhruv's much taller and his voice is deeper. Ravi's worried that Dhruv won't be interested in spending time with him, the little cousin. The ice cream shop doesn't even have their favorite flavor this year. But on the last night of vacation, the cousins decide to make dinner, and Ravi's in charge of dessert. He only has one special thing in mind!


This picture book all about summertime fun celebrates the resilient bond between extended family members.



Mama's Library Summers is a moving picture book tribute to a strong Black mother, libraries, and the power of reading and of seeing oneself in books by the author of Chef Edna, Melvina Noel, and illustrator Daria Peoples.


Every summer, Mama takes her two daughters to the library to pick out books. Not just any books--books about Black people. In the 1960s, such stories were not taught in schools. If there were any books at all, they were often shelved in a separate part of the library. But that didn't stop two sisters from making a beeline to that very spot and gathering up the library's limit: ten books each.


Back at home, the three retreat to their favorite reading spots, and the older sister is soon running to freedom alongside Harriet Tubman; reading poetry with Paul Lawrence Dunbar; listening to Martin Luther King say, "I have a dream." In these books, the older sister sees the struggles, the strength, the love, the hope, and the happiness of people who look like her and never gave up on their dreams. She sees herself.



An Indigenous boy invites new friends to share in beloved traditions as he celebrates the joy of summer and his love for Earth and Creator in this picture book that revels in the warmth, light, and fun of the longest days of the year.


Bo, a proud Potawatomi boy, is excited to enjoy long summer days tending his garden, walking his dog, and playing in the river with his big sister, Dani. When he discovers that his family's favorite spot has been polluted with garbage, Bo realizes that caring for Earth is part of what makes summer special. And when he overcomes his shyness and invites others to join in, he discovers that summer's magic has even more surprises in store.


"Bo is short for saying Bodewadmi ndaw, which is 'I am Potawatomi' in our language. Bo is a celebration of Anishinaabe culture, from the way he wears his hair in a traditional braid to the way he shares the magic of summer and honors Earth by caring for her as she cares for us."--Kaitlin B. Curtice



Sandy Toes: A Summer Adventure is picture book celebrating Black joy and the simple pleasures of a day at the beach, from award-winning poet and author Shauntay Grant.


Follow along as a young boy spends the day at the beach with his family in this spare and poetic picture book. With a simple story--and simply stunning color illustrations from Candice Bradley--this book is an ode to celebrating summer's wonders big and small.



A joyful, encouraging ode to a mother and son's relationship and the unforgettable experience of a child's first swimming lessons.


Jumping into the water can be more than a little scary! But with Mom's steady arms there's no fear of sinking. With a kick, a splash, and his family's cheers of encouragement, one determined boy finds his groove, making waves in this fun-filled day at the pool.


Embrace the feeling of accomplishment in this joyous, reassuring story about perseverance and new experiences. With lyrical rhyming text and vibrant illustrations, Together We Swim is destined to become a family read-aloud favorite!



"When we went to a beach, my tummy felt tight. but it still felt wrong inside.

Definitely... possibly... Perhaps I'd swim - next time."


At first the big blue sea makes them feel small and scared. Then the child visits a lake and a river, and their fear of water gradually starts to ebb as curiosity begins to flow.

A wonderful book for any child who is feeling nervous about new experiences, with lyrical words by Emily Joof and bold, dynamic illustrations by Matilda Ruta.



In Peaches, a hopeful multigenerational story of love and healing from author Gabriele Davis and illustrator Kim Holt, a girl holds her mother's memory close while carrying on an important family tradition: making peach cobbler together.


Summer Sundays begin with picking.

Rosy-ripe peaches dipping low to the ground,

Sun-warmed and soft like Grandma's lap.


Side by side with Daddy and Grandma, a young girl is determined to take part in her family's tradition of baking the perfect peach cobbler--just like her mama used to. From picking fruit to stirring and mixing to kneading the dough, it's a little bit messy. But with sure hands to guide the girl step-by-step--and her mother's memory hanging sweet in the air--she has the recipe for making Mama proud.


This warmhearted and ultimately hopeful picture book shows that with a house full of love, everything can feel peach-perfect.



The author of Nigel and the Moon, delivers a tender intergenerational story inspired by his childhood in the rural south. Here's a farm stand that represents the importance of family, community, and hope.


Every stand has a story.

This one is mine.


Saturday is for harvesting. And one little boy is excited to work alongside his Papa as they collect eggs, plums, peppers and pumpkins to sell at their stand in the farmer's market. Of course, it's more than a farmer's market. Papa knows each customer's order, from Ms. Rosa's pumpkins to Mr. Johnny's peppers. And when Papa can't make it to the stand, his community gathers around him, with dishes made of his own produce.


Heartwarming illustrations complement the lyrical text in this poignant picture book that reveals a family's pride in their work and reminds us to harvest love and hope from those around us.



In this contemporary tale, a boy is reluctant to go to his family reunion, which he's sure will be boring. Vivid, poetic language and rich illustrations bring readers along for the boy's emotional journey, as he ultimately finds himself enjoying the large and joyous gathering in spite of himself. This modern kid's-eye view depiction of a Black American extended family celebrates the importance of kinship and intergenerational ties.



In this love letter to the Philippines (and to grandmothers), a young girl comes up with a brilliantly delicious way to attract customers after a heat wave leaves her lola's store empty.


Nora loves spending summers with Lola at her sari-sari store, a treasure trove filled with everything you could need, from hair accessories to toys, creamy yema to sour tamarind candy. And this year, Nora is big enough to help her grandmother. But when a heat wave strikes and no one comes to the store, Nora worries that she won't get to spend the rest of the summer with her lola--until she gets a sweet idea. After all, the mangoes on the tree outside are finally ripe, and with a bit of measuring, mixing, and a good deal of tasting, Nora and Lola have a refreshing way to bring people together--and to the sari-sari store. With soft, heartfelt illustrations, Lynnor Bontigao's endearing picture book--featuring a recipe for making mango ice candy like Nora's--is an ode to ingenuity and to intergenerational relationships that's as sweet and gentle as a kiss on the cheek.



Set at one young boy's annual family reunion, this Caldecott Honor-winning picture book is a rich and moving celebration of Black history, culture, and the power of family traditions.


"On reunion morning, we rise before the sun. Daddy hums as he packs our car with suitcases and a cooler full of snacks. He says there's nothing like going down home"


Down home is Granny's house. Down home is where Lil Alan and his parents and sister will gather with great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Down home is where Lil Alan will hear stories of the ancestors and visit the land that has meant so much to all of them. And down home is where all of the children will find their special way to pay tribute to their family history. All the kids have to decide what they'll share, but what will Lil Alan do?


Kelly Starling Lyons' eloquent text explores the power of history and family traditions, and stunning illustrations by Coretta Scott King Honor- and Caldecott Honor-winner Daniel Minter reveal the motion and connections in a large, multi-generational family.



FREE SUMMER READING BINGO DOWNLOAD

Download this free family friendly Bingo game to get kids excited about reading all summer long. Plus, this download includes links to our most popular booklists!


Summer Reading Bingo Fun Helping Kids Rise
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Download PDF • 2.38MB

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