It's July! A time for lazy summer reading and enjoying new read aloud books with your children! These July read aloud book picks, like all my monthly read aloud lists are a little random, a little July-themed and a lot awesome. They are all new to my book lists, to date, and I hope you get a chance to read them all with your kids!
Whether your favorite way to read books in July is by the seashore, in the hammock, on the airplane jetting from one place to another, or hiding out in the air-conditioned library, I know you will find the perfect July read aloud on this list. (Note: book cover and titles are affiliate links.)
Happy summer reading!
July Picture Books
You will notice that some of these books naturally fall into the "summer reading" category, others are a bit more random choices of books I loved. For more July books, check out this list of perfect picture books to read in summer!
Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard. I'm not super into books that uncritically fawn over any particular nation and most patriotic books aren't really my style. But I love this charming picture book. With its diverse cast and theme of the joys of sharing it is the perfect read aloud for Independence Day. Welcoming and sharing with others no matter where they are from is an American tradition and can't be emphasized enough. You could say it's as American as apple pie.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero. As someone who has been on a motorcycle once and never will again, I was sort of freaked out by the premise of this picture book! Nevertheless, it is a wonderfully joyous read aloud about the special time a girl spends with her father cruising the familiar places in the neighborhood. In fact, I loved the book! Also available in Spanish.
You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks by Evan Turk. Do not miss this gorgeous-gorgeous-gorgeous picture book that pays tribute to our national treasures. The lyrical text takes readers on a journey through the parks, allowing us to meet animals in their own habitat, experience people enjoying the great outdoors and reveling in the marvels that live and grow in the American National Parks. Have I sung the praises of this book enough for you? Go out and get it right away.
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed. I adore this picture book even more than I enjoy a delicious bowl of daal. Bilal is so excited to make daal with his dad! He explains to his friends that the slow-cooked lentil dish takes lots of patience as well as lots of yummy ingredients. His friends have never tried it and they join him in the anticipation of eating the deliciousness. I love that I can share an excellent and joyful picture book featuring a South Asian family.
The Last Peach by Gus Gordon. This is a quirky book, I will grant you. I happen to like quirky books, as do my kids. Two winged bugs drool over the prospect of eating the last juicy peach of the season. But they can't decide if it is better to eat it or leave it be! They waffle back and forth and the juxtaposition of their earnestness and the ridiculousness of their reasoning is hilarious. The final illustration reveals a surprise you won't see coming. In fact, my son "got" the ending even though I didn't; It's all about perspective!
Lion of the Sky by Laura Purdie Salas. I have recently become a fan of Purdi Salas's books and I encourage you to seek out her other collections. As you will have guessed from the title, this is a collection of haiku celebrating the seasons. But there is a twist! These are "riddle-ku," which ask the reader to identify the narrator of each short poem. You may think you will be able to confine yourself to reading only the corresponding haiku for whatever season you are in. But you won't!
Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Paolo Domeniconi. This short, beautifully illustrated version of Millay's 1917 poem is perfect for summer reading. If you read it outside you will become one with your surroundings, if you read it inside you will be transported to a beautiful summer hillside. Am I being too dramatic? Read it and judge for yourself.
July Read Aloud Novels
I had originally intended to find some summery books for the read aloud chapter books but I couldn't keep myself from recommending these three! If you prefer to read novels that speak to the summer months a little more clearly, I encourage you to check out the following lists:
Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech. I read this book some time ago and have been waiting for a good list in which to include it. Young Louie misses his brother Gus, who is in the army. So nursing a small, sickly donkey he names Winslow helps to fill the gap of loneliness. Winslow also helps him befriend Nora, a charming and quirky girl who lives close by who is dealing with a loss of her own. Delightful and heartwarming and will spark lots of conversation. Read aloud for ages 7 and up.
Inkling by Kenneth Oppel. If you and your kids are fans of magical realism you will get a kick out of this funny, unique novel. Ethan loves to draw and one day an ink blob leaps off the page into reality. Now named Inkling, the blog can absorb written text and illustrations to gain knowledge. It also becomes a creator in its own right, helping Ethan with his comics, and his dad break out of his writer's block. Inking brings both chaos and much needed inspiration. Great fun and lots of illustrations to keep listeners interested. Read aloud for ages 8 and up.
Dodger Boy by Sarah Ellis. I loved this short novel and I wasn't sure if it was best for a read aloud list or for independent reading for middle schoolers. So, I'll let you make that decision! In 1970s Vancouver 13-year-old Charlotte is learning how navigate the life of a teenager. Her family are Quakers and practice non-violence so it is only natural for them to help out Tom Ed, a young Texan escaping the Vietnam War draft. I love the conversations Tom Ed and Charlotte have about everything from politics, civil rights, women's lib and civil disobedience. Meanwhile, Charlotte is working on an important speech that she has to give when her best friend becomes unavailable. This is an excellent book and as you can imagine, is a conversation starter. I only hesitated because there is some (mild) discussion about romantic feelings and sometimes teens might not want to hear their parents read that out loud! 🙂 For kids ages 10 and up.
Not July? Choose your monthly read aloud books from the following lists: