Summer is a magical part of childhood. Beach days, barefoot in the backyard, chasing fireflies at night. It’s a time of exploring the outdoors and a sense of freedom you just don’t get during the other seasons. By being teachers (well until I decided to stay at home with the littles), my husband and I get to fully enjoy summer with the kiddos. It still holds the magic of childhood for us as we experience it again with our three.
This list is of the 25 best picture books about summer. I’ve included affiliate links for them or you can check them out from the library. Use this list to kick off your summer fun or for reading throughout the summer.
A joyful, sun-drenched tribute to the anticipation and adventures of the warmest season of the year.
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.
Go on an adventure with Pepper the Parrotfish and learn how she’s an important part of every sandcastle you’ll build this summer. A fun and informative book about how important Pepper is to our planet.
I was able to do a special review of this book by working with the author. My boys (and me too!) were surprised to find out how sand is made for our beach vacation. We loved learning about Pepper’s unique purpose. Check this book out too! Get free shipping by using the Promo Code FREESHIP at checkout.
A portion of the proceeds benefits the marine conservation!
Join Mouse and Minka for a summer picnic in this sunny Classic Board Book.
Mouse and Minka invite you to celebrate summer with a picnic in the park. Roll down the hill on tickly green grass. Fly fluttery kites high in the sky. Enjoy some juicy watermelon! And before it’s time to go home, a summer surprise sparkles in the sky.
School is out and the sun is shining. It’s time to play outside!
Celebrate all the wonders of summer in this final book in Maryann Cocca-Leffler’s delightful series about the seasons.
With soft-colored art, adorable children, and vibrant outdoor scenes, LET IT SHINE celebrates all the seasonal awe of summer.
Pea pods, cucumbers, and strawberries provide plenty of opportunities for counting in the garden! Follow Dad, Grandma, and other family members as they pick and count. Hidden numbers on every page give readers an opportunity to search and learn.
A little girl and her family are getting ready to go on vacation . . . or at least they are trying to. In the effort to pack everything that will be needed, there’s bound to be something overlooked, and what that is provides a funny ending to this meter-perfect “twist” on Clement Moore’s classic.
On a hot summer day, a little girl finds ways to entertain herself and stay cool. She catches a butterfly, sips lemonade, jumps in a pool, and goes on a picnic. At night, she sees an owl in a tree and a frog in a pond, and hears leaves rustling. Before long, she’s fast asleep, dreaming about more summer days and summer nights.
As with his earlier books featuring this spunky little girl, Wong Herbert Yee’s focus is on appreciating the small but special details that define a season.
It’s summer vacation, and the Berenstain Bears are off to the seashore for sun and fun. There is so much to do—swimming, fishing, building sand castles, browsing through the general store, eating delicious dinners at Gull Island Café, and visiting Gull Island Museum. Each glorious sunrise heralds a new adventure! This is the ultimate beach read for Berenstain Bears fans.
Go to the beach with Biscuit!
Biscuit is going on his first trip to the beach! He is excited about making sand castles, collecting seashells, and playing in the ocean. Join Biscuit for some fun in the sun!
Take a stroll along the beach. What do you see? Young readers will learn all about the beach and the animals that call it home in this fun pre-reader. Through text features such as the vocabulary tree and the wrap-up activity, kids will be introduced to new words and concepts — helping them expand their understanding of the world.
Pete the Cat is one groovy cat at finding shells and building sand castles at the beach. But when it gets too hot, there’s only one way to cool off—jump into the ocean! Except Pete might be a scaredy-cat when it comes to the water.
In Fancy Nancy: Sand Castles and Sand Palaces, Nancy spends the day at the beach with her friends. They build the most magnificent sand palace imaginable! But when the tide comes in, what will happen to their beautiful creation? Fans of Fancy Nancy will delight in Nancy’s sparkling creativity and imagination.
A book written from Patricia Polacco’s memories of Michigan’s strong summer thunderstorms at her grandma’s house.
A loud clap of thunder booms, and rattles the windows of Grandma’s old farmhouse. “This is Thunder Cake baking weather,” calls Grandma, as she and her granddaughter hurry to gather the ingredients around the farm. A real Thunder Cake must reach the oven before the storm arrives. But the list of ingredients is long and not easy to find . . . and the storm is coming closer all the time!
Go on a vacation with the Bear family in this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister are heading to the Great Grizzly Mountains for a relaxing vacation. But a messy cabin, noisy animals, a swarm of mosquitoes, and a rainstorm just might dampen all of their fun.
What really happened over the summer break? A curious teacher wants to know. The epic explanation? What started out as a day at the beach turned into a globe-spanning treasure hunt with high-flying hijinks, exotic detours, an outrageous cast of characters, and one very mischievous bird! Is this yet another tall tale, or is the truth just waiting to be revealed? From the team behind I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School . . . comes a fantastical fast-paced, detail-rich illustrated summer adventure that’s so unbelievable, it just might be true!
A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die.
Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Today is the day of the big neighborhood parade. Baton twirler Jazmin is ready to lead the way for the dogs and kids, music and fun. But then the clouds crowd in. The sky darkens. Thunder roars. And the rain begins. SLAP clatter clatter SLAP SLAP! Is Jazmin’s parade ruined? Or can she use her spirit, her fearless energy, and her mighty baton to save the day? Award-winning illustrator Eric Velasquez’s artwork in oil paint on watercolor paper is a perfect complement to debut author Addie Boswell’s lyrical, rhythmic words.
Once there was a caterpillar named Farfallina, whose best friend was a gosling named Marcel. They did everything together — until one day, everything started to change.
This beautiful and touching story shows that even as life takes different turns, friendship endures.
From celebrated children’s book creators Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson comes the beloved classic story The Carrot Seed.
When a little boy plants a carrot seed, everyone tells him it won’t grow. But when you are very young, there are some things that you just know, and the little boy knows that one day a carrot will come up. So he waters his seed, and pulls the weeds, and he waits…
This beautifully simple classic teaches the patience and technique of planting a seed and helping it grow. First published in 1945 and never out of print, the timeless combination of Ruth Krauss’s simple text and Crockett Johnson’s eloquent illustrations creates a triumphant and deeply satisfying story for readers of all ages.
Meet one Grumpy Goat.
He’s cranky, he’s hungry, and he’s never had a friend.
He is making a terrible mess at Sunny Acres Farm, and the other animals just stay away.
He knocks over the pigs’ trough, kicks down the garden fence, and eats everything in his path.
Until one special flower stops him in his tracks.
And once Goat opens his eyes, his heart is soon to follow.
See how stopping to smell the flowers really can change everything.
In the spirit of such bedtime favorites as Emily Winfield Martin’s Day Dreamers, here is a quintessential end-of-day by the beach lovingly captured and perfect for reading aloud.
This simple, lyrical picture book is as warm, reassuring, and filled with joy as a vacation at the beach. Readers will join a little girl and her siblings as they wind down from a perfect day–hanging up towels, eating dinner, and getting ready for bed–each activity sparking a memory of their day–playing catch with the dog, chasing waves, and looking at sailboats along the shore. And when the lights of the family beach house go off–“In the dusky evening light, a sleepy house says goodnight”--young listeners will be lulled to sleep themselves.
A modern, summery spin on the classic The House That Jack Built, in which Lola’s day at the beach leads to new friends and a giant sandcastle.
Lola is building her dream sandcastle–one with a tall, tall tower and sea glass that sends signals to mermaids. But the beach is crowded, and soon enough, a boy steps on her castle. Not to worry! Lola recruits him to build a wall. When a toddler with a bulldozer starts digging too close the walls, Lola decides he can be in charge of digging the moat. As the sandcastle grows, so does Lola’s friendly group of helpers. There’s only one thing that Lola doesn’t want near the sandcastle: a wave! Will the new friends be able to salvage the mermaids’ castle when their hard work is washed away?
Get back to nature in this gorgeous sunlit filled book that celebrates the joy of being outdoors.
“Hey, you! Sky’s blue!” a girl shouts as she runs by the window of a boy bent over his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind, and into a world of sunshine, dewey grass, and warm sand. Filled with the pleasures of being alive in the natural world, Run Wild is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens.
In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.