This is the third year in a row I've made summer reading book lists. I really enjoy planning out books to share with my kids. You can see my previous summer reading chapter read alouds here. Lately I've been trying hard to find read aloud books for summer that will appeal to both of my kids. It is extremely difficult for me to read aloud to them separately.
One thing that both my 6 year old and 10 year old boys like is HUMOR. If I can find summer read aloud books that make them laugh I am all set. So I look for hilarity, but also suspense and action to capture their attention.
This list is a combination of books we have already read, plus a few that are on our summer reading list, or that I've read but haven't get introduced to my kids. It covers a range of topics, so I hope you find something that fits your family. (Note: covers and titles are affiliate links.)
Masterpiece. My kids LOVED this book, especially my 6 year old who couldn't stop talking about the betrayal by one of the characters. Marvin, an artistically talented beetle makes friends with James, a young boy. The two become embroiled in an art heist when Marvin's drawing is mistaken for James's work. We first met Marvin and James in the funny and clever early chapter book, The Miniature World of Marvin and James, which was actually written after Masterpiece. (See my list of chapter books for 5-9 year olds to learn more.) Suspense, comedy, mystery, friendship -- this book has it all.
Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan. Having read and throughly enjoyed the original Gooseberry Park, we are eagerly awaiting our library hold copy of the sequel to arrive! A drought threatens Stumpy the squirrel and her young so the other animals that we met in the first book ban together and come up with a plan to save them. We can't wait to read it, but if you haven't read Gooseberry Park start with that one.
Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan. Reader beware: if you do not have a healthy appreciation for hilarious and ridiculous scenarios and absurd characters, run as fast as you can away from this book. On the other hand, if you enjoy seeing your kids giggle hysterically, introduce them to Nanny Piggins. Last summer we read this first Nanny Piggins book and it was one of the highlights of the summer. (You can see it on my list of funny read alouds.) I am quite looking forward to reading the sequel out loud this year.
Tua and the Elephant. I just finished reading this one aloud. Tua is a Thai girl who forms a bond with an elephant. When she sees the elephant being mistreated by its owners, she rescues it and takes it home to her aunt's house. Pursued by the two bumbling mahouts (the term for elephant owners and trainers) Tua and her new charge make their way to an elephant sanctuary where they both find a new life. My sons enjoyed this book and I liked how it gave them a peek into a completely different world.
James and the Giant Peach. I'm a little bit surprised that I have not yet read this classic to my kids and it seems like peach season would be as good a time as any to rectify that oversight. I suspect I don't need to give you a synopsis of this well-known story of a boy who goes for the ride of his life inside a giant peach, so if you haven't read it to your kids, don't wait as long as I have! I'm predicting it will be one of our favorite read aloud books of the summer.
The Water Horse. I read a lot of Dick King-Smith's books when I first started reading chapter books to the kids. (Some of them are on my list of 50 chapter books to read to preschoolers.) Set in 1930's Scotland a girl finds a strange egg on the beach and takes it home. She keeps it in her bathtub, where it hatches into a kelpie. The family raises it but when it gets too big they must release it into the loch. I enjoyed this magical story and look forward to reading it to the boys.
The Borrowers. Who doesn't love this classic story about a tiny family that lives underneath the floor of a "human bean" house. One day a full grown boy spies the tiny girl and the family goes into a panic. The boy helps them escape from the housekeeper, Mrs. Driver, who is determined to be rid of the Borrowers. As a kid I adored the descriptions of the miniature world of The Borrowers and my imagination ran wild at the possibility that there may indeed be little people living under my floor, too.
My Side of the Mountain. My 10 year old came home from school singing the praises of this book and I asked him if he would be interested in listening to me read it to him and his brother. He admitted that he would so it's on our to-read list. As a kid, I read this book about a boy who runs away from New York City to live in the wilderness, and remember being fascinated by it.
Karlson on the Roof is a lesser known book by the author of Pippi Longstocking. Karlson is a funny little man with a propellor attached to his back and who lives in a house on a rooftop in Stockholm. When he flies through Eric's window, the two become fast friends. Together they get into a bit of mischievous trouble -- but all in good fun, of course.
What books are you planning to read aloud to your kids this summer?
- Funny read alouds
- Sports books for kids
- 100 funny chapter books
- Read alouds for 4-6 year olds
- More summer read aloud chapter books
- Summer reading resources
- Books for everyone in the index of all my book lists for kids
- 62 Essential Read Aloud Books for Families
Seasonal family read aloud lists: