School just let out, it’s probably getting hotter, and you are preparing your child for all their summer activities. While it’s important to keep them active outside, it’s also equally crucial to keep their minds active. Reading picture books can be a fun way for them to make sure they are prepared for the new school year to begin in the Fall. Plus with all these great reads you will probably learn something new too!
Here are 10 picture book suggestions for the summer and a link to a freebee printable from our newsletter.
“Jules is going to build the biggest, the fanciest, and the most excellent sandcastle. Her sister will be so impressed.But the ocean has other plans.Jules keeps building bigger, fancier, and more excellent castles, and waves keep smashing them.And when the ocean takes her bucket, that is the final straw.Jules is going to take a stand! From beloved storyteller Jessie Sima comes the tongue-in-cheek story of the sand, the sea, and sisterhood—told with her signature warmth, timeless humor, and delightfully playful illustrations.
“Peter does not like being bored, so he comes up with a way to have some festive fun–he’ll celebrate a different holiday each day! He even rates them on a scale of 1 to 10. But when he wakes up one morning to discover there isn’t any holiday, he realizes he’ll have to take matters into his own hands and make up his own! That’s easier said than done, though, and nothing seems to go right–until Peter realizes that even a regular, average, ordinary day can be something worth celebrating.”
“Alba the fish has spent her entire life collecting precious objects that drift down to the ocean floor. From delicate shells to brightly colored coral, each year on her birthday she gathers one more precious item. But over the years, Alba notices her collection is losing its sparkle and that the world is changing. There is trash everywhere! When, on her birthday hunt, something unthinkable happens, it seems like the plastic may have changed her ocean home forever. Is it too late? Alba and the Ocean Cleanup is a beautifully illustrated picture book about what we can do to save this important ecosystem.”
4. Big Feelings
“In their bestselling picture book All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman celebrate kindness, inclusivity, and diversity. Now with Big Feelings, they help children navigate the emotional challenges they face in their daily lives. What should we do when things don’t go to plan? We may feel mad, frustrated, or overwhelmed, but by talking it through, compromising, and seeing another point of view, we can start fresh, begin anew.”
“H, Little O, and Baby Em are stuck in the city for the summer with only their pet goldfish—Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss—for company. It’s looking like it might be a pretty boring vacation, but one day, something exciting happens. Someone starts fixing up the old fountain down the street—the one Grandpa says horses used to drink from before everyone had cars—and a sign appears: “Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home.” H, Little O, and Baby Em can’t wait to send their goldfish on vacation, and the fish, well, they seem pretty excited too. Based on the true story of Hamilton Fountain in New York City, this charming tale of one special summer will delight readers young and old. Author’s Note included.”
“Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories–and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like. Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.”
“This hilarious picture book will keep emerging readers laughing, and the message-related mishaps in the story create an opportunity for spelling and sounding out new words while learning from home! Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene. One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them. When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?”
“Sophia Spencer has loved bugs ever since a butterfly landed on her shoulder–and wouldn’t leave!–at a butterfly conservancy when she was only two-and-a-half years old. In preschool and kindergarten, Sophia was thrilled to share what she knew about grasshoppers (her very favorite insects), as well as ants and fireflies… but by first grade, not everyone shared her enthusiasm. Some students bullied her, and Sophia stopped talking about bugs altogether.
When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response–letters, photos, and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs–and it worked! Sophia has since appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and NPR, and she continues to share her love of bugs with others.”
9. Just Like Me
“From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma’s Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.”
“When the days stretch out like a slow yawn, and the cheerful faces of Johnny-jump-ups jump up . . . then it’s time to get ready for summer! From flip-flops and hide-and-seek to fireworks and ice-cream trucks, from lemonade stands and late bedtimes to swimming in the lake and toasting marshmallows, there’s something for everyone in this bright and buoyant celebration of the sunny season. Tom Brenner’s lovely, lyrical ode to summers spent outdoors will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever counted down the days until school gets out, and Jaime Kim’s jubilant, nostalgia-soaked illustrations leave little doubt that summer is indeed a time unlike any other.”
Catherine Noonan is a marketing intern at Cardinal Rule Press this summer and also a student at Oakland University. She is currently in her senior year, and will be graduating with a BA in Graphic Design, May of 2022.