The summer solstice takes place on June 21, marking the longest day of the year. Celebrate this sunshiny day and the upcoming summer break with these summer read-alouds. Help kids relate to the changes in the season with these charming selections. Sunshine, waves, lemonade stands—there’s a lot to love about summer!
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1. Wild Summer: Life in the Heat by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss
Summer read-alouds like this one make us all wish summer could last forever! Follow a little girl and her grandfather in this charming, realistic-fiction tale that takes a close look at how animals and plants adapt to the summer weather. At each stop on their nature walk, Grandpa points out beautiful-colored plants and flowers. They also observe the vibrant activity of animals at play in the sunshine and warmth. This is a beautiful follow-up to this team’s previous seasonal books, Winter Sleep and Busy Spring.
Buy it: Wild Summer: Life in the Heat on Amazon
2. Summer Vacation, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
If you are looking for summer read-alouds involving poetry, this one’s for you. It’s full of whimsical, sunshiny poems that kids of all ages will love. Hello, summer vacation!
Buy it: Summer Vacation, Here I Come! on Amazon
3. Sandcastle by Einat Tsarfati
Summer picture books about the beach are a great way to ring in the season. See what happens when a girl with a wild imagination builds a sandcastle worthy of the royals. All types of majestic characters and animals can be found in the detailed illustrations. This beach day will go down in history!
Buy it: Sandcastle on Amazon
4. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats To Read by Curtis Manley and Kate Merube
Calling all cat lovers! We all know how difficult it is to herd cats, so how can we teach them how to read? This charming picture book will bring smiles to all while encouraging even the most reluctant readers. If you are looking for summer read-alouds to bring smiles to little faces, this one is purrfect!
Buy it: The Summer Nick Taught His Cats To Read on Amazon
5. It Began With Lemonade by Gideon Sterer and Lian Cho
As our main character sets out to sell lemonade one hot summer day, it turns out her bright idea isn’t very original. After bumping into another stand on every street corner, she finally ends up down by the river, away from the hustle and bustle. This is where her true adventures begin, with a whole new world of thirsty, quirky friends!
Buy it: It Began With Lemonade on Amazon
6. Blackout by John Rocco
In this Caldecott Honor book, see what happens when a blackout takes over the city on a hot summer night. What is a kid to do without computers, tablets, and television? As it turns out, there are a whole lot of fun activities that don’t even require electricity! Help encourage kids to get off those screens with summer picture books like this one.
Buy it: Blackout on Amazon
7. Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
Technically this isn’t strictly a summer picture book, since it covers all four seasons. But if you’re looking for summer children’s books for Frog and Toad lovers, this is the one. Join this dynamic duo as they explore summer and the changes that come before and after it in this classic book. This is also a great introduction to the beloved Frog and Toad series.
Buy it: Frog and Toad All Year on Amazon
8. Super Summer: All Kinds of Summer Facts and Fun by Bruce Goldstone
It’s always a great idea to incorporate nonfiction summer read-alouds into your library to mix things up. This summer children’s book is full of fascinating facts about the warmest season on our planet. It includes real photographs and craft ideas to help build further connections to the text.
Buy it: Super Summer: All Kinds of Summer Facts and Fun on Amazon
9. Summer Supper by Rubin Pfeffer
This alliterative delight chronicles a delicious summer meal—from planting to preparation to dinnertime. Yum!
Buy it: Summer Supper on Amazon
10. Summer Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow
What better way to spend a summer day than hunting for bugs? The children in this book find ladybugs, dragonflies, stink bugs, and more during a visit to Grammy’s house.
Buy it: Summer Walk on Amazon
11. Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury
Summer adventures at the beach are even more fun when kids use their imaginations. A sandpit becomes a pirate ship for Jack and his pals.
Buy it: Captain Jack and the Pirates on Amazon
12. A Perfect Day by Lane Smith
Each animal has its own idea of a perfect summer day, from lounging in the warm sun to cooling off in a refreshing pool. And Bear? Well, Bear likes it all. Ask your kids, “What would happen on your perfect summer day?”
Buy it: A Perfect Day on Amazon
13. A Lullaby of Summer Things by Natalie Ziarnik and Madeline Valentine
This rhyming text captures the special feel of a summer evening—everyone’s tired, sandy, and content after a busy day at the beach.
Buy it: A Lullaby of Summer Things on Amazon
14. The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier
We adore this updated take on The Little Red Hen. When Ruby makes plans for an epic summer fort, none of her brothers are interested—until she builds it and they see how amazing it is.
Buy it: The Little Red Fort on Amazon
15. The Sandcastle That Lola Built by Megan Maynor
In this beach-themed version of The House That Jack Built, Lola builds a fantastic sandcastle—and makes a host of new friends in the process.
Buy it: The Sandcastle That Lola Built on Amazon
16. And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner
Get excited about lazy summer days full of possibility. Tom Brenner invites kids to delight in seasonal rituals like pumping up bike tires, hosting a lemonade stand, and playing hide-and-seek until it gets dark, along with many more.
Buy it: And Then Comes Summer on Amazon
17. Froggy’s Lemonade Stand by Jonathan London
Froggy’s latest great idea is a summer staple: a lemonade stand! In classic Froggy fashion, though, there are a few hiccups along the way.
Buy it: Froggy’s Lemonade Stand on Amazon
18. My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel
Kids may spend the summer on the beach, at cookouts, or at camp, but P. Mantis’ diary is more about shedding skin and camouflage. This creative look at the life cycle of a praying mantis gives a different perspective on summer’s passing.
Buy it: My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis on Amazon
19. How To Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk
Pearl has been trying to build a sandcastle all summer without success, so she calls in her trusty rustproof robot, Pascal, to help. She writes code to make Pascal build the perfect sandcastle, teaching readers basic coding concepts along the way. So smart and so fun!
Buy it: How To Code a Sandcastle on Amazon
20. Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Rashin reminisces about her family’s trips to the Caspian Sea when they lived in Iran and wonders how a trip to Coney Island will compare now that they live in Brooklyn. Get students thinking about how summer fun is both the same and different in other parts of the world.
Buy it: Saffron Ice Cream on Amazon
21. The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw
Fox goes on a summer hiking expedition in search of a rare flower described in his botany book. He encounters many other forest plants and animals along the way before finally finding “the golden glow.” Read this to inspire kids to plan their own summer hikes.
Buy it: The Golden Glow on Amazon
22. Pie Is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard
Summer is the perfect season for sharing, whether it’s pie, a ball, or a towel. This title will have everyone counting the days until the next summer picnic.
Buy it: Pie Is for Sharing on Amazon
23. Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones
City kids bring their goldfish to a local fountain for the summer. This sweet story about summer in the city is based on real events.
Buy it: Goldfish on Vacation on Amazon
24. Hooked by Tommy Greenwald
Joe loves fishing, but it takes an unexpected ice-fishing experience to get his dad interested. By the following summer, both father and son are “hooked.” Kids will enjoy thinking about funny items they could “catch.”
Buy it: Hooked on Amazon
25. Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins and Emily Hughes
“Everything you need for a tree house starts with time and looking up,” this lyrical text proclaims. This ode to creative possibility will get readers dreaming about summer building projects.
Buy it: Everything You Need for a Treehouse on Amazon
What are your favorite children’s books about summer? We’d love to hear about them in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out our 2023 summer reading list for more book ideas for summer read-alouds, along with children’s picture books to take you through the whole year!