65 Terrific Children’s Books About Summer

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Get ready for summer by reading children’s books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books, about summer. You’ll read about swimming, the sun, going to the beach, gardening, camping, and more!

Whether at home or on vacation, these good books about summer will hit the spot!

But first, make sure you’re ready for summer reading with free summer reading programs, summer reading book lists, and frequent trips to the library.

And stock up on activity books like coloring books, sticker books, and hidden picture books.

books about summer

Picture Books About Summer

On My Beach by Sara Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich
Wiggle the crab puppet with your finger as he races over the sand, hides in tide pools, and digs a cool sandy bed. Adorable!

Brave Little Camper by Carmen Crowe, illustrated by Jen Taylor
Little Camper spends the night in the forest and listens to the sounds. Readers push the buttons to hear the friendly sounds of nature. Sweetly introduces babies and toddlers to the forest at night.

Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems
Elephant struggles with not wanting to share his ice cream with Piggie — even though Piggie isn’t around. He thinks he should share, then that he shouldn’t. He debates for so long that his ice cream melts into a puddle on the ground. Fortunately for him, Piggie comes along with an ice cream cone of her own and shares it with Elephant.

Sandcastle by Einat Tsarfati
What happens when this little girl builds a sandcastle? She makes a castle with turrets and domes that kings and queens visit and host grand parties. But the guests don’t like the sand food or the sand in their clothes, so how will the little girl fix things? (A sand ball fight!)

Wonderful Children's Books About SummerThe Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann
Ernestine shares all the important details about her first camping trip, from packing to hiking and even getting a little scared in the night. The trip ends up being a wonderful experience! And it’s a wonderful reading experience, too. The comic panels and illustrations feel fresh and atmospheric.

summer themed picture booksSandcastle by Einat Tsarfati
What happens when this little girl builds a sandcastle? She makes a castle with turrets and domes that kings and queens visit and host grand parties. But the guests don’t like the sand food or the sand in their clothes, so how will the little girl fix things? (A sand ball fight!)

summer themed picture books
by Sam Usher
On a very hot day, Sam and Grandad make a picnic and set off to find the perfect spot...The repeating language builds tension in the story, making for a perfect read-aloud experience. “So Granddad navigated and I looked out. /  I said, “What about this way, Granddad?” // The sun beat down.” When the duo finds the perfect spot — in a cave — it’s already taken by pirates. What will they do? Share their picnic, of course! What a great life lesson.

A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng
Take a trip to the beach in this gorgeous wordless picture book about a playful day building sandcastles.

summer themed picture books
How to Meet a Mermaid
by Sue Fleiss, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Every hundred years, the mermaids come to shore. And you can meet one if you follow the steps in this book! First, you’ll need to make a crown for her using shells, coral, grass, driftwood, and tumbled glass. If you stand by the ocean, she’ll see you, and you can give her the crown, maybe even giving you a fin so you can swim with her. Rhyming, colorful, and playful, this is sure to inspire lots of crown-making crafts.

summer themed picture booksJabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board. Mostly. His dad tells Jabari that he feels scared too, and sometimes after a deep breath and telling himself he is ready, the thing stops feeling scary and feels like a surprise instead. Beautiful illustrations, perfect text to picture ratio, and a helpful, relatable story make this a favorite read-aloud for summer.

Swim, Jim! by Kaz Windness
The kids on your lap will adore this sweet read aloud book with playful mixed-media drawings. Worried about sinking, Jim doesn’t join his crocodile siblings in the big swamp. He decides to learn n a smaller swamp and wiggles, waggles away. Soon, he finds a pool with abandoned floaties and noodles, seemingly just for him. Joined by his siblings, Jim tests out his new swimming gear and his sisters show him all about bubbles and paddling, and FUN. Perfect for summertime and all year round.

Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer
Read about a boy walking through his neighborhood where he talks to neighbors about what makes a “good” day. From the neighbor painting to the nanny pushing a stroller to a gardener and even his Grandma, Daniel listens and observes. And he has a good day, too. The exquisite collage artwork and the beautiful message of the little things that make a good day make this a memorable story.

summer themed picture books
by Pete Oswald
Take an adventure with a boy and his father out of the city and into the woods. Wordless, playful, emotion-filled, and deeply satisfying, see the beauty of nature from a log bridge and a waterfall to the pine forest where the father and son plant a new tree. Stunning and heartfelt.

The Pickwicks’ Picnic A Counting Adventure by Carol Brendler, illustrated by Renee Kurilla
Enticing cartoon-like illustrations invite you into this delightful counting adventure. The Pickwicks leave the city in their trusty pickup towards the shore. As they do, they’re passed by 2 blue scooters, 3 squeaky jeeps, and more vehicles until they all get to the box-girder bridge. Which is closed! But don’t worry, the Pickwicks unload their picnic on the road and have a wonderful time. Fantastic gumption, counting, and storyline.

The Hike
by Alison Farrell
I adore this DARLING nature story, and so will you! Three friends and one dog leave for a mountain hike. Handwriting labels flora and fauna around them — Steller’s Jay, a porcupine quill, a chipmunk nest. The girls are happy to run, stop to eat thimbleberries, make leaf baskets, rest, get lost, write in their sketchbooks, and notice the animals around them. They make it to the top and then return home. Use this to get inspired for your own hike.

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley and Katie Berube
Nick does everything with his cats — except read books. That’s why Nick decides to teach his cats to read, too. Verne, the cat, is interested, but Stevenson, the cat, is not. Until . . . Nick discovers Stevenson’s drawing. All Stevenson needs are words, and he’s written his own story to read.

Seashells More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Informative and beautiful, this picture book will make you long to visit the seashore to find your own seashells. Written in dual-layered figurative language text, readers will read the basics of shells in the first layer of bigger text size. The secondary text elaborates on the specific types of shells. Soft watercolor illustrations show the seashells in the ocean and beach.

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funke with Reshma Saujani, illustrated by Sara Palacios
It’s Pearl’s last day at the beach and her last chance to build a sandcastle. Through trial and error, she programs her robot to build an entire sandcastle kingdom! Get more coding ideas here.

Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
You’ll love this captivating summer adventure of enemy pirates, shipwrecks, and treasure! Plus, Oxenbury’s illustrations are amazing.

Summer (A Pop-Up Book) by David A. Carter
What stands out in this book about summer is not the simple text or the nouns that label summer things but the colorful pop-ups on each page: trees with birds, bushes with berries, vegetables in the garden, and columbine flowers.

 summer themed picture books
Everything You Need for a Treehouse
by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Emily Hughes
This summer-themed picture book celebrates not just building a treehouse but the adventures of being in nature with beautiful, descriptive language and enchanting illustrations. It will inspire readers to have their own summer-themed treehouse adventures!

summer themed picture books
Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington
Zinnia plants flower seeds then she waits and journals while her sprouts grow into flowers. The borders of the pages include information about the parts of a flower as well as the different kinds of flowers in Zinnia’s garden. Later in the fall, Zinnia finds the ripe seeds formed in the flowers which she will save to plant next year.

summer themed picture books
Ben’s Adventures A Day at the Beach
by Elizabeth Gerlach
What a wonderful book with representation! It shares what’s going on inside Ben’s imagination as he visits the beach with his family. Ben can’t walk or talk because of his Cerebral Palsy, but he can imagine. He imagines running and flying, counting crabs, and building a sandcastle. Wonderful and playful, this book shows readers that no matter the outside, on the inside, kids all have so much in common.

The Picnic Problem by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Magali Mansilla
Max and Suzy get a letter from Miss Add-It-Up that sends them to the park to solve a math-related treasure hunt for clues. For example, “Which kite has the longest tail? Ignore the strings, so you don’t fail.” Max and Suzy compare tails of the differently shaped kites. The circle kite is the winner and contains their next clue. There’s a ton of fun math problems that kids can solve along with the main characters.

The Gardener
by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
You are going to love this book! Lydia Grace Finch helps transform the city with her seeds that grow into beautiful flowers and help her cultivate a rooftop garden.

Yucky Worms by Vivian French, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
Gardeners love worms, and this book will share why with facts on worms and how they help gardens. An absolute delight!

Groovy Joe Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld
What’s more summer-themed than ice cream? In this lyrical picture book, a parade of dinosaurs join Groovy Joe for his doggy ice cream. And that’s okay because Joe loves to share.

Chapter Books About Summer

Bug Scouts Camp Out by Mike Lowery
The Bug Scouts are excited to spend the night camping in a tent. First, they spray bug spray and set up the tent. Later, at the campfire, they sing songs and tell stories, but, they get scared of the monster noises. Now, what will they do? Filled with hilarious dialogue and bugs who problem-solve like the scouts they are, this is a delightful graphic novel story.

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes
(ages 5 – 9)
Three short stories of bravery and adventure about Charlie’s family camping trip explore telling a story, roasting marshmallows, nature, and family. Charming.

Creature Campers The Secret of Shadow Lake by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo
(ages 6 – 8)
An entertaining story about mythical creatures (and one human) going to summer camp! Norm is a tall Bigfoot who doesn’t want to go camping and hates being different. Norm and his new friends don’t know that there’s a nefarious creature collector named Barnaby preparing to capture a Bigfoot. Relatable themes of feeling like an outsider and making new friends, plus some dry humor make this a fun, readable story.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald
(ages 6 – 9)
When their parents leave for a trip, Judy and Stink are left with their wacky Aunt Opal. So Judy comes up with a plan for the best summer ever and it’s lots of laughs when all is said and done.

Babymouse #3: Beach Babe by Jennifer L.  Holm and Matthew Holm
(ages 7 – 10)
Summer vacation on the beach isn’t quite what Babymouse imagined — her surfing isn’t so great, and her brother is driving her crazy.

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
(ages 7 – 10)
In this light and warm-hearted story, Cody meets a new friend and even though she doesn’t get to go to summer camp, she has a fun adventure at home.

Campfire Mallory by Laurie B. Friedman, illustrated by Jennifer Kalis
(ages 7 – 10)
It’s Mallory’s first time at camp and she’s worried it won’t be as fun as her friends tell her.

Middle Grade Books About Summer

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
(ages 8 – 12)
On summer vacation at a small cottage, the Penderwick sisters meet a lonely boy named Jeffrey who becomes like family to them. This is a warm-hearted story of friendship filled with loads of summer adventures.

The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
(ages 8 – 12)
This is the worst road trip of all time — poor Greg. You’ll laugh your way through this hilarious family car trip of misadventures.

Cupcake Cousins #1 by Kate Hannifin, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
(ages 8 – 12)
Summer vacation with these two best friend cousins means baking, being flower girls, and potential disasters.

Camp by Kayla Miller (GRAPHIC NOVEL)
(ages 8 – 12)
Both my daughter and I loved this graphic novel about Olive’s summer camp experience and the challenges of friendship, particularly with a friend who is clingy and jealous. Olive wants to be friends with other people, too. The story feels honest and relatable and a helpful road map to how you might handle your own friendships.

Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz
(ages 9 – 12)
Perfect for anyone who loves a good mystery story with themes of friendship and helping others. Unlikely friends, Jamily and Shirley aka. Bones join forces so they’ll be able to do what they want over the summer. Bones is observant and smart and while Jamila plays basketball, kids come to Bones with their mysteries. Jamila wants to be part of Bones’ crime-solving and together they investigate a stolen gecko at the swimming pool, finding that misunderstanding and jealousy can turn into understanding and friendship.

The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles, illustrated by Dapo Adeola
(ages 9 – 12)
If you’re a fan of wild and wacky stories, this is the funny book for you. Cousins Otto and Sheed accidentally stop time, freezing everyone in the town. Mostly. Because a sinister Mr. Flux on a gigantic beast can move. Throw in some unexpected plot twists and excellent writing and it adds up to a delightful adventure proving you should be careful what you wish for…

Just Jake: Camp Wild Survival by Jame Marionette, illustrated by Victor Rivas Villa
(ages 8 – 12)
Jake, his sister, and his dad spend their summer vacation at a survivalist camp filled with crazy and hilarious survival situations.

Summer of Lost and Found by Rebecca Behrens
(ages 8 – 12)
Nell is forced to spend her summer vacation on Roanoke Island with her mother instead of in New York City with her friends. There, she makes a friend and finds an interest in the mystery of the first Roanoke colony.

The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland
(ages 8 – 12)
Three sisters from LA aren’t happy about spending the summer on Cape Cod. It’s a summer of growth and life lessons as the girls discover the importance of family.

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
(ages 8 – 12)
The summer brings big changes for 11-year-old twins Jake and Lily as Jake pulls away from their tight bond and Lily feels left behind.

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
(ages 10+)
Genie and his brother spend their summer with their blind grandfather in the country. As Genie watches his grandfather and brother, he learns about bravery and forgiveness.

The Applewhites at Wit’s End by Stephanie S. Tolan
(ages 8 – 12)
The Applewhite clan is holding a summer camp for creatives hoping that it will save their family from financial ruin. The kids who come to the camp have strong personalities, not unlike the Applewhites themselves, except for E.D. who isn’t all that artistic and doesn’t care for all the chaos. Lucky for everyone, E.D. has a plan to get things under control.

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (graphic novel)
(ages 8 – 12)
Russian summer camp is not what Vera was hoping…at least until she finds a new friend. (Which takes a while, lots of valuable life lessons, and many mishaps.) This is a slice-of-life glimpse into the author’s own summer camp experience. The illustrations are in green, black, and white, not full color.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
(ages 8 – 12)
Three sisters imagine that summer with their mom in California will be magical. They don’t expect to attend a Black Panther day camp, and that their mom wants them out of the way to write her poetry. As they try to connect to their mother, each girl learns more about herself and the world in the late 60s for African Americans.

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
(ages 8 – 12)
It’s summer vacation, and our 12-year-old narrator needs to earn money. Which he does by starting a lawn mowing business. Not only that, he learns about investing his money and makes a lot more money than he could have imagined.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation by Tommy Greenwald, illustrated by J.P. Coovert
(ages 9 – 12)
This reluctant reader is forced to go to summer camp for reading and writing — can life get any worse? Hilarious.

Camp Rolling Hills by Stacy Davidowitz
(ages 8 – 12)
Summer camp is Stephanie’s (Slimey, as she’s called at camp) favorite time of year. This year is a little different with changes in friendships, boy crushes and kisses, and pranks on other cabins.

What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau
(ages 8 – 12)
Clara Luna is sent to live with her grandparents in rural Mexico. There she struggles with her identity, is she American or Mexican or both? While in Mexico, Clara’s indigenous grandmother teaches Clara the magical art of healing. This is one of my favorite books ever!

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (ages 8 – 12)
Sunny is sent to live with her grandfather in Florida who lives in a retirement village. Luckily, there’s another kid there, the caretaker’s son. Together they form a bond of friendship and adventures all the while Sunny comes to terms with her family situation.

Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Stevenson
(ages 8 – 12)
Finally, Annie’s controlling parents agree to give her some freedom. Her freedom arrives with a summer in the country with a new friend and independent adventures.

The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
(ages 10 +)
Gladys’s summer vacation is off to a dreadful start when her friend, Charissa, surprises her with free tuition at her family’s summer day camp. How will Gladys get her restaurant reviews written for the paper? She faces sabotage, the ups and downs of friendship, and problems with her parents being in the dark about her new profession. (I loved that at the end, she decides to come clean!)

Summerlost by Ally Condie
(ages 10+)
A new friend, the Shakespearian summer festival, and a mystery help Cedar grieve and adjust to life without her father and younger brother. Beautiful and sad.

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
(ages 9 – 12)
Carol and her family move to the New Mexico desert to care for her unusual grandfather. His stories of bees and pride in their common heritage mixed with magical realism show Carol a new way of looking at the world.

Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles
(ages 10+)
The siblings are sent from a foster home to live with their uncle, a wolf researcher. When Nika finds a wolf pup, she cares for the pup who teaches her what it means to be family.

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
(ages 8 – 12)
Lucy is thrilled when her recently deceased English teacher assigns To Kill a Mockingbird for summer reading. She’s determined to get everyone in town to read the book. Her plan is to hide the books all over town and begin a marketing campaign.

How Tia Lola Saved the Summer by Julia Alvarez
(ages 8 -12)
Their cool Tía Lola invents a fun and creative summer camp for Miguel, his sisters, and their friends, the Sword family’s kids.

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
(ages 8 – 12)
Lucy befriends Nate and sets about to capture their lives with her photography. This book tackles important issues about truth, aging, and art.

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