With the school year coming to an end, kiddos (and parents) are welcoming a much-needed break after a crazy year. While your kids deserve a summer full of fun, don’t forget to add a little reading to their schedule. Here are 22 book recommendations for kids of all ages to read this summer.
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
“The wonderful thing about kid’s books is that the timeless ones stay timeless. Young children want a great story, not just the most recent ones. And this summer, if you haven’t read the classic Make Way for Ducklings, it’s time to while your family is out and enjoying parks and wildlife. The 1941 picture book tells the story of a duck family raising their ducklings on an island in the Boston Public Garden’s lagoon.” –Lindley Estes, Riverby Books
The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
“This colorful picture book by a local author is a great read-aloud. It shows the joy of cooking across generations of a family–and you can sing the whole story to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus!” -Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books
Moon Camp by Barry Gott
“Jake doesn’t want to go to moon camp this summer! He hates not having gravity, and he is pretty sure he is allergic to moon dust! But when Sam arrives Jake realizes the maybe Moon Camp isn’t so bad after all! A great story for any kid who didn’t want to go to camp, but wound up having the time of their lives, Moon Camp is laugh out loud fun!” -Victoria Clibon, Hooray for Books!
Fred Gets Dressed by Peter Brown
“This book made me smile the whole way through. From naked Fred romping through the house, to everyone playing with mom’s clothes, accessories, and makeup – including the dog! This book exudes joy and fun.” -Amy Lane, Bards Alley
Oddbird by Derek Desierto
“It is very hot outside and Oddbird just wants to cool off in the jungle pool, but he looks so different from the other birds who spend their time showing off their fancy feathers and bright colors! Can he learn to join in anyway? With colorful illustrations and a joyful message for all ages, Oddbird is a perfect book to dive into!” -Victoria Clibon, Hooray for Books!
El Perro con Sombrero: A Bilingual Doggy Tale by Derek Taylor Kent
“This summer, your little one can pick up a new language, too! My niece is bilingual and her favorite book at the moment is El Perro con Sombrero: A Bilingual Doggy Tale. Told in Spanish and English, kids can read or hear the story both ways and pick up some new words from this fun tale.” -Lindley Estes, Riverby Books
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race
“Available in both board book and picture book editions, this book is a great one to start the important conversation about race with children. Inclusive illustrations draw in readers and everything is explained in a way that’s easy for children to grasp, while the back of the book features even more information so parents and caregivers can continue the conversation around other topics. I’m excited for more books to come out in this series.” -Kathy Ellen Davis, Bards Alley
Plenty of Hugs by Fran Manushkin
“This sweet love letter from parent to child written in verse follows two moms spending a day with their child, from the zoo to the park to bath time. It’s a sweet story of a lovely day as a family accompanied by beautiful artwork.” -Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books
Unsolved Case Files: Escape at 10,000 Feet by Tom Sullivan
“This graphic novel is FASCINATING. A compelling, visual recounting of the only unsolved skyjacking in American history—I read it in a single sitting, and then immediately went back and read it again. I am so thrilled for this series! (If you’re watching the new Loki series on Disney+, you should absolutely read this!)” -Leah Grover, Bards Alley
One Small Hop by Madelyn Rosenberg
“Set in a near-future ravaged by climate change, a boy and his friends work together to try and protect what could be the last bullfrog in America. Northern Virginia author Madelyn Rosenberg has crafted a hopeful, funny story about science, nature, and friendship.” -Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books
How to Become a Planet by Nicole Melleby
“Pluto Timoney usually loves kicking off the summer with a trip to the planetarium, her favorite place in the world, but this summer feels different. Reeling after a diagnosis of depression and anxiety, Pluto creates a checklist to get her old self back, but it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new friend to realize that the old Pluto and the new Pluto may just be one and the same. A powerfully written, deeply honest novel, How to Become A Planet is a book that will touch your heart.” -Victoria Clibon, Ho0ray for Books!
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
“Esperanza Rising was one of my favorite books as a middle schooler (of course–that’s when it had just been released!). The story of Esperanza, who experiences the Great Depression on a farm camp in California and deals with the murder of her father, is a heavy one, but it’s told with such grace and understanding that it’s a perfectly suitable read for kids–and an important one as they come into understanding a complicated world and their own emotions.” -Lindley Estes, Riverby Books
Da Vinci’s Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
“Bee is just a normal girl from New Jersey, except that her best friend, Frederico, lives in sixteenth-century Rome. Linked through a cat, Leonardo Da Vinci’s mysterious wardrobe, and an eerily perfect sketch of Bee, this fantasy book about rewriting history to save the present is engrossing and inventive!” -Victoria Clibon, Hooray for Books!
A High Five For Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner
“Nothing says summer like baseball, and even though our main character is wild over the sport, you don’t have to be to enjoy this book. Sixth grader Silas loves playing baseball and his teammates, so it’s natural that he would do a school presentation on a baseball player, Glenn Burke. This is his first small step at coming out though; Glenn Burke was a gay baseball player in the 70s. Silas is worried if he does come out to his team, everything will change. And what about his best friend Zoe? What will she think? Silas has so much heart; I read this book a year ago and have not stopped thinking about it. A great read and one that could lead into some excellent discussions about the state of our country right now and about how everyone belongs on the sports field, playing the sports they love.” -Kathy Ellen Davis, Bards Alley
Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter
“Fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile will love this graphic novel about a girl who wants a puppy more than anything, but her severe allergies mean that a dog is out of the question. She navigates changes in her own family (a new baby is on the way) while exploring unorthodox pet options.” -Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books
May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor
“What’s more high-stakes than battling for the title of Homecoming King when your school still hasn’t fully accepted that you’re a trans boy? Going up against your ex for the crown. Ellor delivers an amazing rom-com while hitting on some intense themes.” -Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books
Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-lyimide
“Two Black students at a private academy are set to have a great senior year until an anonymous texter who goes by “Aces” starts revealing secrets about them to the entire student body. You’ll flip through and read at a thriller pace as these two try to figure out who they can trust, how to stay safe, and how to take down this school that is bent on making their lives miserable and threatening them. I loved the characters, the dual point of view, the pace, and the examination of racism and how far some institutions will go to keep it alive.” -Kathy Ellen Davis, Bards Alley
“A heart pounding thriller, Ace of Spades introduces us to Niveus Private Academy, where money flows like water and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. An anonymous texter called Aces is bringing the dark secrets of the academy into the light. Targeting the new Senior Prefects, Aces is out to bring down the powerful at Niveus, and they hold all the cards.” -Victoria Clibon, Hooray for Books!
The Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
“This was another favorite of mine! Holly Black is simply an incredible writer and her series of Modern Faerie Tales, which starts with the book Tithe, is an immersive read that follows teenager Kaye who discovers the world of faerie and her own destiny. Teens in Northern Virginia, in particular may enjoy this, since Black describes it as a ‘suburban fantasy, as opposed to urban fantasy.'” -Lindley Estes, Riverby Books
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
“It isn’t always easy being Japanese American in her small Northern California town, and it doesn’t really get easier when Izumi, or Izzy (because it is easier to pronounce) discovers her father’s identity–as the Crown Prince of Japan. Caught between worlds, Izumi must find a way to live out her own happily ever after.” -Victoria Clibon, Hooray for Books!
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
“A family curse says that anyone who dates Rosa Santos will face the wrath of the sea…so when she meets a boy with a boat, it seems like a very bad idea. This YA novel set in a quirky town in South Florida is a vibrant mosaic of family, community, and Cuban American culture that will win over fans of Gilmore Girls and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” -Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books
The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
“Selkie tales are always filled with highs and lows that mimic the sea, and this coming of age story is no exception.” -Leah Grover, Bards Alley
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“This book is almost certain to turn up on a school reading list for your teen at some point, but that shouldn’t dissuade them from reading it early (who knows, maybe it’ll save them time later). Teachers have assigned it consistently for years because its social context remains relevant, and because Scout is such a complex character. The atmosphere is distinctly summery, making this the right book for a long afternoon on the porch.” -Lindley Estes, Riverby Books
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