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Flip-Flop Into Fun with Summer Books For Kids

Sunny days, warm breezes and long stretches of free time — summer is a magical time for kids. It’s also the perfect time to cultivate a love of reading. That’s why I’ve looked into the best summer books for kids.

A woman and a young girl sit on a blanket outdoors, reading a large, yellow book together on a sunny day.

With longer stretches of free time, summer is a great time for children to get lost in the pages of a book. Whether your child is a beach bum, an adventurous explorer, or a gamer, there’s the perfect summer read waiting to be discovered. Grab a comfy hammock, pack a picnic basket or cozy up in a corner and get lost in the pages of a summer book with your child. 

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Tips For Choosing The Best Books For Your Child

Let’s face it, while us adults are enjoying our beach-themed charcuterie board or diffusing our favorite citrus or summer essential oil blends during summertime, most kids are buried in their gadgets and video games whenever possible. At home, I always make sure that my children have a memorable summer vacation with the right balance of productivity and fun. 

If you’re looking for things to do with kids this summer, introduce some reading fun! My kids and I usually make a list of all the things they want to do throughout the summer, and reading new books is at the top of their list every year.

I understand that not all kids have an interest in reading, which is why summer is the perfect time to encourage reading habits. Not only do the little ones have plenty of free time, but the relaxed atmosphere and the sense of adventure and exploration make it conducive for children to immerse themselves in the world of books. 

Here are a few tips for choosing the best summer books for your kids. These will help spark a new love for reading and make sure that their summer reading experience is enjoyable!

Pick Books Based On Their Interests

Choosing books that align with your child’s hobbies, favorite themes, and interests can make all the difference. Whether they’re into animals, adventures, sports, or mermaids and princesses, it would be easier for little ones to develop a love for reading if they’re given content they can relate to and want to read about. This makes the reading experience more engaging and it helps develop your child’s comprehension skills.

“Parents should resist feeding their children with books they loved when they were young,” says Children’s author Libby Gleeson. “Your child may not share the same passion for your childhood classics. The world has changed and children have changed.”

A woman and a child sit on a picnic blanket in a park.

Make Sure The Book Is Age-Appropriate

It’s important that kids read books that are appropriate for their age, reading level, and developmental stage. This way, they can comprehend the content and just enjoy the experience without feeling overwhelmed or disinterested. Pay attention to themes, language, and content to ensure that the material is appropriate and engaging for their age group.

Explore Different Formats

Every child is different. While some love long-text storybooks, others are more interested in books with plenty of visual elements. Don’t feel confined to traditional books – explore different formats such as comics, short stories, audiobooks, or interactive e-books. 

Experimenting can appeal to different learning styles and preferences, making reading more accessible and engaging for reluctant readers. It will also help you discover what resonates most with your child the most, making it easier to encourage a love for reading.

Encourage Variety

On top of exploring different book formats, it’s also ideal to offer a diverse selection of books that span different genres, cultures, and time periods. Introducing them to stories from various settings and backgrounds can spark their curiosity about different experiences and cultures, as well as broaden their understanding of the world around them. Exposing your child to diversity through books at a young age will lay the groundwork for a lifelong respect for and understanding of others.

Look Into Popular Books

If you’re still finding it hard to choose the best summer books for kids, a quick search on the internet will give you an idea. Simply search for award-winning titles or most popular books recommended by other parents – other kids love these books for a reason! 

You can also browse through online reviews from reputable sources or ask a librarian, your child’s teacher, or your network of parents for recommendations. These can provide valuable insights and help you discover hidden gems that align with your child’s interests and reading level.

Two young children, wearing matching striped shirts, sit on a blanket on the grass, looking at a book together.

Board Books For Children 3 and Under

Young children under three love being read to, and seasonal books make storytime more fun. The books on this list will help get kids excited for summer through interactive literature.

“Pop Up Peekaboo: Under the Sea” by DK

Stripy Fish searches for her friends in this underwater adventure. Young children can search for underwater animals by lifting the flaps, which helps build fine motor skills. The rhythmic text also helps develop language skills. 

“Baby Loves Summer” by Karen Katz

This simple text asks questions that can be answered by lifting the flaps. Have your child guess what will be under the flaps. The vibrant colors and patterns keep little ones engaged in this story about summer

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s First Summer” by Eric Carle

Through classic Eric Carle illustrations, this book explores summer through the senses. Young children learn about noisy bugs, feeling the warm sun and tasting lemonade, ice cream and watermelon at a picnic. 

“My 3-year-old girl is obsessed with ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar.’ She giggles every time at how much the caterpillar eats through different foods and still stays hungry. When reading the book, we always talk about summer and how fruits ripen and become sweet when it’s hot.”

 — Tamara, Thriving In Parenting

“Backyard Bugs” by Little Hippo Books

This touch-and-feel textured book adds a sensory experience to reading for little ones. Through rhyming text and questions, children will learn fun facts about the insects they may encounter in their own backyard.

“Big Fish, Little Fish” by Jonathon Litton and Fhiona Galloway

Travel through the ocean and learn about opposites in this colorful interactive book for small children. Each page features a finger-hole for kids to use to help turn the page. The holes get smaller as you go through the book, which adds to the fun. 

Two children sit on grass in a park, smiling and looking at a book together on a sunny day.

Stories For Preschoolers

Preschoolers love being read to and joining in on the story. Have them repeat lines after you or do motions to go with the story to make it more interactive. These summer books for kids are perfect for kids ages 3 to 5.

“The Sandcastle that Lola Built” by Megan Maynor and Kate Berube

This book is a modern spin on “The House that Jack Built” and is about a little girl building a sandcastle and working with others to rebuild when things go wrong. The sandcastle grows as other kids join in to help Lola make her castle even better.

“Hot Dog” by Doug Salati

In this 2023 Caldecott Medal-winning book, a hot dog has had enough of the city and plops down in the middle of the crosswalk. His owner hails a taxi, takes a train and heads to the beach to get her dog the fresh air he needs. With few words and clever illustrations, kids will love this story.

“The Backyard Bug Book for Kids” by Lauren Davidson

A friendly caterpillar introduces young children to bugs they may encounter in their backyards. Full-color photographs and interesting facts keep young children engaged throughout the story. 

“Summer in the Forest” by Rusty Finch and Katya Longhi

Young children will learn all about summer in the forest as they follow a mama bear and her cubs through the woods, climbing trees, eating blueberries and playing in the pond. Children will love lifting the flaps and enjoy the pop-ups in this interactive book.

“The Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean” by Catherine D. Hughes

With more than 100 colorful animal photographs, this book gives children an introduction to ocean life. It is filled with facts about the homes, sizes and diets of various ocean creatures.

Two young girls with braided hair sit on grass, smiling and holding open books.

Summer Books For Kids 6 To 8

Children in early elementary school can often read independently but also enjoy being read to. These summer books for kids are great for both reading aloud and on their own.

“Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer” by Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds

Judy thinks summer is going to be boring because her parents are leaving her with her awful aunt, and her friends will be out of town, too. But Judy comes up with a plan to make her summer exciting, which involves a treasure hunt, a midnight stakeout, a runaway ice cream truck and more. This chapter book will keep young readers engaged throughout. A movie was also made that follows the book closely so kids can compare and contrast the two.

“The Night Before Summer Camp” by Natasha Wing and Mindy Pierce

Like the other books in this series, this book follows the pattern of the famous poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and is told through rhyme. A young camper is nervous and doesn’t know what to expect at day camp, but his friend reassures him that the best cure for anxiety is to have fun.

“Summer According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney

Humphrey, the classroom hamster, hears that school is ending, and he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do. He soon finds out that the teacher is going to take him to camp with her and many of the kids from her class. Follow Humphrey on his adventure to camp as he learns all the sights, sounds and smells of the woods

“Amelia Bedelia Makes a Splash” by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril

Amelia Bedelia had her summer planned but then found out that her mother signed her up to attend the same all-girls summer camp her mom attended when she was a little girl. The camp is in disrepair, but Amelia Bedelia figures out how to make the most of it in this humorous story.

“Out in the Wild! : A Graphix Chapters Book (Bug Scouts #1)” by Mike Lowery

Doug and Abby love Bug Scouts and everything about it, including badges, scout gear and snacks. However, Josh is grumpy and doesn’t like anything but snacktime. In this book, they are working on their foraging badge and must work together to find something to eat in the woods. It is full of puns and kid-friendly artwork that will keep kids engaged.

Final Thoughts

Reading can spark creativity, improve focus and strengthen the bond between a child and their caregiver. This list of summer books for kids will help you get started. Look for these titles at your local library, favorite bookstore or online. 

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

Amber Scotts

Tuesday 2nd of July 2024

These summer book recommendations are perfect for my three kids!

Easy Homemade Life

Friday 5th of July 2024

I hope they like them. Thank you for visiting the post, Amber.

Rini D

Monday 1st of July 2024

"The very hungry caterpillar" was everyone's favorite. Thanks for the recommendation and the wonderful tips.

Easy Homemade Life

Friday 5th of July 2024

I'm so happy to hear that! I hope everyone had fun.