How did summer vacation get here so fast? It seems like the school year just began. Whether you’re taking a big vacation with the whole family or staying at home, there’s nothing better than a good book to join you on the adventure! If your little ones are reluctant readers, hopefully this list will help you change that. It’s not just for the kids though – we’ve got Mom and Dad covered too!
Joie Formando, known as Miss Joie, is a Children’s Librarian at Wyomissing Public Library in Wyomissing, PA. Here are the books Miss Joie recommended as her summer reading list for kids.
Babies (birth – 2 years):
- San Francisco: A Book of Numbers (Hello, World) by Ashley Evanson. This is book one in the series. There are four board books in total – New York, Paris, and London. All the books are super adorable with vibrant pictures of iconic places throughout the world!
- Indestructibles: Beach Baby by Kate Merritt. It’s sand-proof, waterproof, and sunscreen proof! What more could you ask for with little ones around.
Toddlers (2 – 3 years):
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. This classic children’s book was a favorite of mine as a kid and it’s still just as great today!
- I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur by Heath McKenzie. Beautiful illustrations accompany this cute story about being whatever you want to be.
Preschool (3-5 years):
- Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!) by Julie Falatk, illustrated by Tim Miller. Snappsy the alligator is having a normal day when a pesky narrator steps in to spice up the story.
- The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton. The princess really wants a big, strong pony for her birthday, but when her birthday comes around, she doesn’t get what she expects!
- Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie. Alexie’s lyrical text and Yuyi Morales’s striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son. Plus, Alexie and Morales are both award-winners in the publishing industry.
- I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt. In this silly story, readers will identify with the feisty little frog’s desire to be something different, until he realizes being a frog isn’t so bad after all!
- The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield. This gorgeously illustrated tale of a bear following his dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.
- If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! by Elise Parsle. Magnolia is a little girl with big ideas and determination. Perhaps bringing her piano to the beach wasn’t such a good idea after all!
- Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth. This charming book pairs 26 haikus about the four seasons with beautiful illustrations featuring Koo, a delightful little Panda.
- Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Daniel Miyares. Bro and Dude have very different ideas about how to spend the day at the beach. But as Bro continues to gasp and cheer as he reads his book, Dude can’t help but get curious. Before you can shout ‘Surf’s up!’ both frogs are sharing the same adventure, that is, until they get to the beach.
- The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title, he is going to have to raise his game.
- The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. The story of an adventurous summer with four sisters and their interesting new friend is brimming with fun, adventure, and wit sure to captivate readers immediately.
- Pack of Dorks: Camp Dork by Beth Vrabel. Lucy and her pack are back in this sequel to Beth Vrabel’s heartwarming and humorous debut, Pack of Dorks. This time, Lucy and her friends are convinced to join a week long, sleep-away summer camp!
- The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is, but she knows she needs to survive.
- Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. Using complex themes such as loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions, “DiCamillo shows that life’s underlying sadnesses can also be studded with hope and humor, and does it in a way so true that children will understand it in their bones.” – Booklist
- Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain (Rose’s beloved dog) goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.
- The Trials of Apollo, Book 1: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. Fans of the Percy Jackson series will enjoy the first in a new series about the god Apollo, cast down to Earth and made human after angering his father, Zeus. There’s only one place he can go to be safe from the enemies of his father…Camp Half-Blood.
- Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Beautifully illustrated by Jon Klassen (author and illustrator of the new-classic, I Want My Hat Back), this compelling story about the powerful relationship between a boy and a fox is bound to become a classic.
- Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley. Teen and adult fans of All The Bright Places, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Everything, Everything will adore this quirky story of coming-of-age, coming out, friendship, love, and agoraphobia.
- When We Collided by Emery Lord. After the death of his father, Jonah and his siblings, are trying to keep it together as their mother battles with depression. Then Vivi enters town and everything changes. Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test, but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?
Kids – CHECK!
Now for Mom and Dad…
Imagine relaxing and diving into a new world as you sit and listen to the waves crashing and feel the sun kissing your skin. Whether you are into fiction or non-fiction, these eclectic reads will satisfy your unique flavor.
- Paranormal, historical fiction: A Discovery of Witches (Book 1 of the All-Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness. The first book of the trilogy A Discovery of Witches follows Diana Bishop, a scholar and witch, as she uncovers a mysterious manuscript.
- Book and Movie: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Fans of Nicholas Sparks’ tragic romances will love Me Before You. Best of all, you can read the book then see the movie, which was released June 3, 2016.
- For Adults Only: If you loved the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy you’ll love the Bared to you (Book 1 of the Crossfire Series) by Sylvia Day.
- Harness your creativity: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. From the author of Eat, Pray, Love this book will help you realize and harness your creativity.
- Discover your spirituality: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Often hailed as a modern classic, Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined.
- Sci-Fi Thrills: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Five thousand years later after a catastrophic event rendered the Earth a ticking time bomb, the progeny of a handful of outer space explorers embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown – to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
- Real-life Indiana Jones: One River by Wade Davis. In 1941, Professor Richard Evan Schultes took a leave from Harvard and disappeared into the Amazon, where he spent the next 12 years mapping uncharted rivers and living among dozens of Indian tribes. In the 1970s, he sent two prize students, Tim Plowman and Wade Davis, to follow in his footsteps.
- From the King of Horror: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower: Book 1) by Stephen King. Soon to be a movie starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, this fantasy/western is arguably one of King’s greatest works.
- Travel humor: The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson. If you’re looking for non-fiction but don’t want a serious read, Bryson’s humorous travel memoirs are always a great read.
- The Epic Fantasy: A Game of Thrones (A song of Ice and Fire Book 1) by George R.R. Martin. The most popular show on TV is based on Martin’s wildly popular A Song of Ice and Fire series. Even if you watch the series, the book is a way to get more out of the sprawling fantasy world.