Summers are for reading.
That’s one of our family’s favorite things to do, whether we’re lounging by the pool, cuddled on the couch, or lying on a quilt under a shade tree on a sunny afternoon.
And thanks to summer reading reward programs, our kids are more motivated than ever to keep their nose in a book (or in the case of pre-readers, to beg Mom to read “just a few more”).
6 favorite picture books for summer:
- All the World
We are big Marla Frazee fans at our house, and her soft but detailed illustrations make Scanlon’s simple, understated verses come to life. Reading this book always puts me in the mood for working in the garden, climbing trees, shopping farmers’ markets, visiting the beach, and experiencing all the other wonderful joys that summertime brings.
- Harry by the Sea
I remember my own mother reading this book to me when I was little, and my children love the story now just as much as I did then.
Harry is a spotted dog who gets separated from his family at the beach. This tale chronicles the troubles he faces trying to track them down, the joy they all share when he succeeds, and the changes they make to ensure he never gets lost again.
- Summertime in the Big Woods
The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder were some of my very favorites as a young girl, so I read the whole set aloud to my own children as soon as their attention span allowed it. Now with My First Little House books, children can get a taste of these classic tales even earlier, brought to life with beautiful pictures by Renée Graef in a style reminiscent of Garth Williams original illustrations.
- The Summer Visitors
Using very descriptive pictures but only a handful of words, this book shares the adventures a loveable family of bears who try to “vacation” at a lakeside cottage one summer without attracting the attention of the human family who is there for the same purpose. My kids love adding to this scant storyline with details they glean from the drawings.
I sang several songs from Porgy and Bess with my high school choir, including “Summertime,” so when I spotted this book based on that old Gershwin tune, I snatched it up. The song is lovely in its own right, but Mike Wimmer’s gorgeous oil paintings pair beautifully with the lyrics to provide a glimpse into the life of a close-knit African-American family from what appears to be the mid-twentieth century.
- A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
We first found this book on the new acquisitions shelf at our library. Our children enjoyed it so much that we rechecked and rechecked and rechecked it, until finally my fifteen-year-old used her own money to buy her own copy of it, so now we read that one. This one is both written and illustrated by Marla Frazee (again!), who does a marvelous job capturing the sentiments of boyhood. The handwritten text often says one thing, while the pictures tell another story entirely, accounting for many of the book’s most memorable laugh-out-loud moments.
So there you have it: six of our favorite books about summertime. What are yours?