Will you be spending time reading summer picture books aloud to your children this summer?
Hint: the answer is “YES!”
And so, you will want to be certain to add these summer picture books to your reading list.
This summer reading picture book list is an eclectic mix of classics and contemporary titles. They feature children and families engaged in classic summer activities like baseball, camp and exploring the beach.
So whatever exciting or relaxed adventures your family is having this summer, be sure to read some of these diverse summer picture books with your kids on those lazy summer afternoons.
More summer reading:
- Summer read aloud chapter books the whole family will love
- Picture books about summer in the city
- Keep track of the books you read together with this darling summer reading log
(Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links)
One Morning in Maine and Time of Wonder. I had a hard time choosing between these two books, and so… I didn’t! As a kid growing up in California, the summertime experiences in these two books were completely foreign but utterly beguiling. I first went to Maine a few years ago and yes, it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Get your kids daydreaming about lazy summer days free of digital screens and ringing phones. These two books are must-reads for summer. They are long, but you’ve got lazy summer days to fill.
A Beach Tail. At the beach Gregory draws a lion in the sand. His dad tells him to stay near the lion and not to venture into the water. Gregory picks up a stick and begins to draw the lion’s tail… a very long tail, right on down the beach. When he realizes he has gone too far his finds his way back by traveling the length of the line in the sand. I like the way the story maintains a balance between natural curiosity, wonder and exploration and the trepidation that a child feels when he realizes he may almost have gone too far for comfort. It’s a lovely glimpse of an important childhood moment.
If You Want to See a Whale. Last year this author-illustrator team created the gorgeous And Then It’s Spring. A lovely story about the rewards of patience, imagination, being in the moment, and close observations of one’s surroundings — all key qualities of a summer well-spent.
Flotsam. Magical, twisting perspectives invite readers to study Wiesner’s exquisite watercolors in this wordless imaginative journey that begins with the discovery of a camera on a beach.
Take Me Out to the Yakyu. My 8 year old loves to go to ball games with dad and it wouldn’t be summer without a few hotdogs in the stands. Young baseball enthusiasts will love this brand-new, clever picture book depicting the difference and similarities between American and Japanese baseball. Also available as an ebook.
Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey. If you aren’t familiar with Mini Grey’s Traction Man, read the 3rd book in the series on your beach blanket. This book guarantees lots of giggles (he’s got a scrubbing brush sidekick for goodness’ sake!) and fodder for imaginative play. I double-dog dare you to resist using your superhero voice when reading it aloud. Also available as an ebook.
Bebé Goes to the Beach Honestly, I love the fun Bebé books, with the enthusiastic, mischievous Bebé and the dual language rhyming text. And now the irresistible toddler heads to the beach with her mom for a sunny summer day.
There Might Be Lobsters. This is a cute book about a girl’s trip to the beach and how her little dog, Sukie, is afraid to go in the water. The girl works on helping Sukie feel confident and when her favorite toy gets swept out by a way the dog can be brave enough to go after it.
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum. Kids in the city fill their summer days quite differently than those in the country. I can attest to the fact that summer means lots of museum trips. Pour over the pictures of this classic wordless book and introduce your kids to a few famous paintings while you’re at it. (Books for Boston and D.C. are also available.)
Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm. No summer picture book list would be complete without a book about a farm. Break out of the box with this amusing tale of an unusual, magical balloon farm. The narrator describes the farm as well as her attempts to discover the secrets of a successful balloon harvest.
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. Frazee’s popular book about two friends who spend their summer days doing everything and nothing, but having the greatest time ever, deftly captures what summer with friends is all about.
The Relatives Came. Is your extended family coming for a visit this summer? I hope your reunion is as rowdy, messy, joyous and love-filled as this one.