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Summer Picture Books

Time to grab a picnic basket and your swimsuit and head to the beach–it’s summer! And that means gardening, catching fireflies, building sandcastles, and more. But the best way to get the fun started is with these summery picture books.

Download our free library list to take with you on your next visit to the library.

Sam and the Firefly

Sam and the Firefly
by P.D. Eastman

It’s when Sam the Owl teaches an enthusiastic firefly how to use his glowing light to spell words that the trouble begins! Soon Gus is creating chaos with his shining instructions in the sky. Sam warns Gus that his tricks will cause trouble, but Gus won’t listen—until he finds himself stuck in a jar!

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner

This colorful picture book is a charming ode to one of summer’s most beloved activities—gardening! If you want to bring out the green in your little one’s thumb, you’ll love looking at planting, growing, and harvesting a garden from two different vantage points…Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt!

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
by Chris Van Dusen

Mr. Magee and his dog Dee are headed out with their trusty camper for a few days in the great outdoors. But their trip goes awry when a nearsighted bear, a bag of marshmallows, and a fifty-foot waterfall get involved! Their first night of camping may turn into more adventure than they bargained for!

Goldfish on Vacation

Goldfish on Vacation
by Sally Lloyd-Jones

In New York City, where H, Little O, and Baby Em live, there’s not much for kids (or goldfish) to do in the summertime. But then a man arrives to clean up the broken fountain on their street and turn it into a summer home for goldfish. Maybe this won’t be such a boring summer after all!

Fireflies!

Fireflies!
by Julie Brinckloe

It’s a warm summer evening and the night sky is blinking with tiny lights. A boy rushes outside with a jar to join the neighborhood kids and before long, his jar is glowing with the spoils of the hunt. But to his dismay, the light from his fireflies starts to grow dim. What can he do to save his fireflies?

The Sandcastle That Lola Built

The Sandcastle that Lola Built
by Megan Maynor

What’s more fun than building a sandcastle at the beach? Finding new friends to help you! Together, Lola and the other kids build the best sandcastle ever, complete with moats, walls, and tall towers. But then the waves come in and wash their castle away! Now what will they do?

Perfect

Perfect
by Danny Parker

In this whimsically illustrated rhyming picture book, three kids and a cat spend a perfect day doing all the things they love to do most. They nibble and scribble. They mix things and fix things. They find places to walk to and someone to talk to. What about you? How will you spend your perfect day?

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping
by Mélanie Watt

Camping is not for Scaredy Squirrel. There are too many dangerous things at campsites—mosquitoes, bears, and maybe even penguins! Watching a camping show on TV is much safer. But plugging in his TV requires a trip into the wilderness, and that will require all of Scaredy’s survival skills!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
by Mark Teague

When Wallace Bleff reads an essay to his class about what he did on his summer vacation, he tells a wilder tale than anyone expects! That’s because on the way to spend time with his aunt out west, Wallace was captured by cowboys to help with their roundup. Now that’s an unforgettable summer!

The Relatives Came

The Relatives Came
by Cynthia Rylant

When The Relatives Came, things were a bit over-crowded in the house. But nobody minded, because there were family suppers to eat, lots of work to do, and plenty of music to make! And when the visit came to an end, nobody was sad. After all, next summer was right around the corner!

The Honeybee

The Honeybee
by Kirsten Hall

Have you ever wondered how bees make honey? Well, it takes a lot of flying, collecting, and even some dancing, but the bees know it’s worth the work when that honey starts flowing! Join a hive full of buzzing worker bees for a rhyming romp through this bee-utiful picture book!

Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car

Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car
by Eileen Christelow

Mama Monkey has had it with her old battered car, so the five little monkeys are eager to help her sell it. They wash it and paint it and spray it with perfume to make it more attractive to buyers. Imagine their dismay when the car rolls into the swampy brown lake. Who will ever buy their car now?

The Watermelon Seed

The Watermelon Seed
by Greg Pizzoli

Crocodile loves watermelon—great big slices of watermelon for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert! It’s his favorite summertime treat. But when he swallows a seed, poor Crocodile fears a whole watermelon might grow in his belly! Will he ever be able to enjoy watermelon again?

What Lives in a Shell?

What Lives in a Shell?
by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Homes are important. Your home keeps your family safe, warm, and dry. But did you know that animals live in many different kinds of homes? In What Lives in a Shell, you’ll learn about all the animals that make themselves at home in shells, including snails, hermit crabs, and even turtles.

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach
by Tad Hills

All Goose wants to do is stay home in the peaceful meadow, but Duck has other plans. Duck is ready for adventure! Together they make their way to the beach, and before long it’s Goose who’s having fun! Has Duck introduced Goose to an adventurous place he’ll never want to leave?

A Stick is an Excellent Thing

A Stick Is an Excellent Thing:
Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play

by Marilyn Singer

Presented in bouncy, energetic verse, this collection of delightful poems celebrates the wonder of play—especially outdoor play! Read them all at once or one at a time. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these summery poems about blowing bubbles, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and more!

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON'T!

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano
to the Beach, Don’t!

by Elise Parsley

Little Magnolia is learning that If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! For one thing, pianos are heavy and hard to move. But that’s not all. Unfortunately, Magnolia is also discovering that pianos can get lost! And how can a little girl enjoy the beach if her piano is carried out to sea?

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

The Summer Nick Taught
His Cats to Read

by Curtis Manley

Nick does everything with his cats. Well, almost everything. Unfortunately, Nick’s cats can’t read! So Nick decides to teach them. Verne learns quickly, but Stevenson just hides under the bed. Can Nick and Verne convince Stevenson that reading is fun? Maybe if they find just the right book…

The Very Lonely Firefly

The Very Lonely Firefly
by Eric Carle

When a tiny firefly is born on a dark summer night, he’s eager to find more fireflies to be his friends. And though he discovers lots of lights—a lightbulb, a lantern, and a fireworks display—The Very Lonely Firefly can’t seem to find just what he is looking for. Will he ever be able to find a friend?

We Are the Gardeners

We Are the Gardeners
by Joanna Gaines

It started with a single potted fern. But when the fern died, instead of giving up, the family studied, planned, and dreamed together! And before long, all their dreaming and work paid off. They had a garden! The best part? The family that gardens together enjoys the fruit of their labor together too!

FREE Summer Picture Books Library List

download summer picture books library list

Would you like to read some of my favorite summer picture books with your children? Download our Summer Picture Books Library List.

Does your family have a favorite picture book about summer? Please share it in the comments and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks box!

Picture Books for Summer Recommended by our Staff and our Readers


FREE Picture Book LIbrary Lists

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Becky

says:

Thanks for the list!

Heather

says:

This list looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Olymtmom

says:

Thank you for the summer related picture books. I order books online from my local library and pick them up when they are ready. It’s nice to have a list of specific summer books to explore more of the season.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a great library you have! I hope you find some great favorites in this list.

Danielle Simons

says:

Thanks for this! They look good.

Tatiana

says:

Thank you for the list of books for summer reading. It helped me to give suggestions to my students.

Kristall Willis

says:

What a great list!

Julieta Perezrubio

says:

I ❤️ love this list! So many new books 📚 to read! Thank you 😊

Rebecca

says:

These look great. There are so many that I haven’t heard of!

Jessica

says:

Great list! Thanks!

Karen

says:

Thanks! We keep some of the camping-related books in our camper and read them every time we are out under the stars! I

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a lovely tradition, Karen! 😊

Karen Welo

says:

These look great. Our family just enjoyed Robert McClosky’s Time of Wonder.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, I love Robert McClosky’s anything! Thanks for reminding us to look at some old classics for picture book reading too, Karen.

Sandi

says:

This looks like it would be a valuable program

Kimberly Bell

says:

My daughter would love these.

Michelle

says:

Thank you for the great suggestions!

Melanie Blair

says:

Can’t wait for school to end so we can have more time to just enjoy reading together!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hopefully this reading list will be a good motivator for finishing the school year strong, Melanie!

Jennifer

says:

My daughter loves books, this is a great list for our library visits.

Christine Miller

says:

Thankyou for this great summer booklist! I am always looking for book suggestions.

Kelsi

says:

Thanks for the ideas!

LeAnn Harbert

says:

My granddaughters would really enjoy all of the books about fireflies.

Pat Mora

says:

This list means a trip to the library SOON! I look forward to reading them to the little ones.

Ingrid Renton

says:

The books are entertaining and the topics are engaging young readers to enjoy the pleasure of reading.

Lisa

says:

This is a great list to have!

Megan Gustafson

says:

What a great list! I love adding picture books to our morning basket.

Elisa Braun

says:

Great picture book recommendations!

JoAnna

says:

We’re always looking for quality picture books. Thanks for posting your list!

TAYLOR

says:

Such a great list!

Carmen Olfert

says:

This is a great list, thank you!

Wendy H

says:

Love your site

Juliana

says:

My kids love the 5 LIttle Monkeys wash the car! Such a good recommendation. Thanks for a great list!

Sarah

says:

Fun books!

Michelle Damon

says:

These are adorable! My son would love them!

Keisha

says:

These are adorable! I hadn’t thought to look for books about summer!!

Margarita D

says:

Great resource for the summer!!

Donna L Holder

says:

these are so cute

MB

says:

Love the book ideas, thank you!

Jessica

says:

Some great books here!

Kylie Frazier

says:

These are adorable!!

Molly

says:

Love a themed list for the season. Goldfish on Vacation is a favorite of ours!

Nicole Beasley

says:

Great book list!!!

Siri Mera

says:

This looks like a great list and I’m so grateful for the download! Here’s hoping for a very literary summer in my house.

Carrie

says:

What a great variety of books! We particularly loved The Very Lonely Firefly.

Jill Case

says:

My son is so excited to be reading these books! Thank you for the recommendations ❤️

Danielle

says:

A few of our favorites, plus some new ones! Thank you for the recommendations

Jennifer Pruitt

says:

These books look like so much fun!! Full of inspiration for a fantastic summer!!

Susan

says:

I’m thankful we have three great libraries close by so we can participate in all the summer reading programs! Helped my reluctant reader to realize that reading can be an enjoyable experience.

Lindsay Campbell

says:

Thank you!! There are some really good suggestions on this list… so many of which we already love!

Karenanne

says:

I love the Summer Reading Program at our Air Force Base library. I have signed up every year for over 20 yrs. I signed up my daughter when she was little and now I take my grandchildren every year. There are always lots of great books to discover.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karenanne,
What a wonderful tradition for you to have with your children and now grandchildren!

Sheila

says:

Thank you! I love reading picture books to my children around a relevant theme and you just made that easier to do!

Buhle

says:

It’s a wonderful list. We will visit the ones we haven’t read yet. Thank you!!

Chere

says:

My children are getting older but we still love picture books!

Kristin

says:

This list is just what I was looking for this summer! Thank you for putting this together!

Nichole

says:

Thank you for putting together an awesome list! We love AAR and AAS.

Julie

says:

We’re looking forward to reading some of these books! Camping Spree With Mr Magee (and all of Chris Van Deusen books) are family favs!

Julene Heppe

says:

So many great recommendations! Looking forward to reading these.

Erin

says:

Great list of summer books! Thank you!

Lynn Beasant

says:

Thanks – look exciting

Lynn Beasant

says:

What a fab selection of books… we needed more! Thanks

Megan Viljoen

says:

Thank you for the summary of books and titles. I am always on the lookout for suitable reading books for my learners.

Amanda Combs

says:

I love the library and I love having an awesome list I can use to guide me to the best books in the library!

Nichole Thrasher

says:

I’m excited to get some of these books from the library for my kiddos!

Stephanie

says:

Looks like some fun books!

Dorinda Pfingsten

says:

Yay for booklists! Several of these we already love. Can’t wait to experience the others.

Shannon

says:

My 5 year old loves picture books. She can look at them all day!

Linna

says:

What a great list. Can’t wait to check for these in my library

Dawn

says:

Yayyy can’t wait.

Jordan

says:

Oh I need this because when we went to the library to pick up our “summer reading” program stuff, my daughter thought it meant we were going to check out a bunch of books about summer! 😂

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jordan,
How cute was that? 😊 Now you can fulfill her desire for summer reading books about summer.

Danielle

says:

Our Granddaughter loves all of the ‘Five Little Monkeys’ adventures.
I really think she would like to read ‘Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt’ & ‘A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee’.
All of these books look wonderful! Going to be keeping her summer reading fun & active.

Jess

says:

Many great books on this list! Cant wait to check out the ones we haven’t read!

Jess

says:

There are some great books on this list! We will be checking out the rest we havent read!

Jill

says:

The perfect summer reading list!

Abbi

says:

We love all things Chris Van Dusen and Cynthia Rylant! Camping Spree with Mr. Magee is so fun! :)

Christina Fabula

says:

Thanks for the wonderful book list! Sometimes it is hard to find good book on multiple topics.

Sonia Chesnet

says:

Great suggestions! Thanks!

stacey brown

says:

thanks for the list of suggestions. My daughter is almost finished with Level 2 and now loves reading!

Jennifer

says:

This looks like a fun list for summer!

Keri

says:

Thank you for this list.

Chelsea

says:

This book list is exactally what I’m looking for during the summer months. Let the reading continue!

Erin Mcdaniel

says:

Love great picture book suggestions!

Courtney West

says:

Thank you for the list. I’m looking forward reading them with my boys.

Savannah

says:

This is a great list. Can’t wait to read them with my girls.

Serena

says:

There are so many books here that we have never read. I will have to take this list to the library with me.

Jenny

says:

Thanks for these wonderful suggestions! No matter how old my kids get, we always still enjoy picture books :)

Lia

says:

Thanks for the ideas!

Danielle Sweet

says:

Such great ideas!!

Corinne Lam

says:

Looking forward to a great summer of reading!

Amber

says:

Thanks for these great suggestions!

Karla Magnotta

says:

Great list of books! I’m just got AAR Level one in the mail over the weekend. Can’t wait to start it!

Tracey Southerland

says:

I love these! Thank you for sharing!!

Sharon Luedecke

says:

Love the library list. Downloaded it to have as a reference.

Molly

says:

I really love the summer downloads

Jennifer Haig

says:

Perfect timing, I was looking for some new books to add to our summer reading list!

Amy Williams

says:

I’m so thankful to have some great books to add to our summer reading list!! ♡♡

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you find lots of new books to love from this list, Amy! 😊

Merri

says:

This is a great list to use for our summer reading program.

Katie

says:

This looks like a great list. We’ve only read two of them before.

Nancy

says:

Impressed! Love these books. Thanks.

Priscilla F.

says:

Bless you (all) for taking the time to research and recommend great books for us. I almost always print out the list, stash it with my school papers, and reference back to it as needed. You help make library trips enjoyable, not just tolerable, for a mom with several young children. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Priscilla. I remember those days of unpleasant library trips with multiple little ones in tow. Having a pre-chosen list would have made it nicer. I’m happy these lists can make library visits more enjoyable for you.

Vicki

says:

We love picture books!!!

Christina Gould

says:

I’d love to have one of each of these books. They all look great. Thanks for posting!

Sarah

says:

Thank you for such an extensive list! I’m always looking for good read for my children and am thankful when others take the time to share a little about each book!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Sarah! I hope you can find some new favorites in this list.

Meg Wassink

says:

What a fantastic list. We’ll be going to the library soon!

Alison Asuncion

says:

I always enjoy reading the list of recommended books! We’ve read many good books because of it!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love hearing that you have enjoyed many good books that we have recommended! Thank you, Alison.

Mary S.

says:

I really appreciate all of the free resources you provide.

Jessica

says:

This looks like a great list! Thanks for sharing!

Victoria Scott

says:

What a fun list! Will be great to hunt these out at the library!

Tonya S

says:

We have a few of the books listed! Thank you for this!

Melannie

says:

An amazing set of books that will engage all readers of all ages!

Sara M

says:

Great list. Thank you so much

AmyBeth Ball

says:

I’ve read several of these books to my children over the years!

Katie

says:

We love all Duck and Goose books. We will have to check and see if our library has, The Honeybee. Such a great list you have going here.

Taniesha R

says:

Thank you for the reading list will checkout our local library. Awesome!

Katrina Culp

says:

Thank you for the book list.

Tara

says:

Than you for the book list.

Amie

says:

Thanks for the book list!

Gemma

says:

Thank you for the summer reading list!

Tamara

says:

Great list. We’ll enjoy reading these this summer.
I’d love to see a chapter book summer reading list for older kids to help us expand past Captain Underpants!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tamara,
We don’t have a list of chapter books on a single topic, but we do have many chapter book series reviewed. You can check them out here. I think you will find lots to expand your older kids past Captain Underpants.

Sarah

says:

I’m always looking for great book selections. Thanks!

Puay Hoon Ong

says:

Love these books. Wish I can win them

Elizabeth

says:

We’ve read some of these and look forward to reading the rest!

Becky

says:

Thanks for the list! I’m surprised to be unfamiliar with so many of the titles.

Sue

says:

You just can never have too many books around to offer your child. 😁

Melissa Fox

says:

I’m excited to read these books to my sons this summer!

Julie Bryce

says:

I like being with my kids, but I love to see the light in their eyes when they LEARN to read!

Sara Sharer

says:

Great recommendations Marie! It is wonderful to have suggestions for parents all in one place. Thank you.

Aura Maestre

says:

Thanks for sharing

Tenisha

says:

Goldfish on Vacation was an absolute treat to read together! Excited to explore more of these titles! Thanks for the list!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I agree, Tenisha. Goldfish on Vacation is an enjoyable book! I hope you find at least a few of these others are as much of a treat as it.

Robert Marino

says:

I just downloaded the list and will be heading to the library with the kids later today. Thanks!

Natalie T

says:

Love this! Great ideas for my kiddos! ❤️

Roberta

says:

These are all great suggestions! Thanks for putting this list together!

Erin

says:

We live All about reading and spelling! Thank you for your awesome book lists and extras!

Miranda Snowden

says:

What wonderful recommendations to kick off our summer! It’s great to have books to pair with our real-life summer adventures. We are a camping family. A Camping Spree with Nr. Magee, has caught my attention.

Kimmy

says:

These look wonderful for summer reading!

Sheena Mellott

says:

A great list that I’ll be sharing with parents for students’ summer packets.

Jen R

says:

Thanks for the book suggestions! We love taking picture books with us when we go for a picnic lunch.

Janessa

says:

I can’t wait to go search our local library for these summer time books.

Katie

says:

Grandma Summer by Harley Jessup is a great reminder of why our grandparents are important to spend time with while we can.

Mandi Riddle

says:

These look fabulous. Thanks

Ally George

says:

Thanks for making this list!! Always looking for new books!

Kay

says:

This is a great list with some summer classics and new ones to look for. Thanks!

I love having a new list for library summer reading! Thank you!

Kelsey

says:

We do not have any of these! I’ll have to look at our local used bookstore! Kids will love it.

Lilian Lee

says:

Love this list! Cant wait to read them with the kids

Sarah

says:

Can’t wait to check these out!

Jessica

says:

What a fun idea! We are printing this list and going to work on completing this summer!!

Jenny

says:

Great list to spark the imagination and desire to get outdoors this summer!

Christy

says:

I love your list…so many of our favorites are already here! We also enjoy A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston, as well as her other nature books.

Joelle

says:

“Five Little Monkeys” is the only book I recognize on this list – I will definitely have to check some of these out! Thanks, Marie! :)

Codi O'Brien

says:

Thank you for taking the time to make this list! It is helpful to go into the library with a goal. It also helps learn library skills!

Stacy

says:

These look great! We’re always looking for new books to read together.

Carla D'Rozario

says:

I’m eager to read stacks of library books to my boys this summer in the relaxed way we used to do!

Lydia

says:

We love Same and the Firefly and I’m excited to check out more of these!

Lauren

says:

What a great list of picture books!

Memra Talaska

says:

Lovely selection of books :)

Jocelyn

says:

Thank you!

Heather

says:

I love how learning doesn’t have to stop because summer starts!

Morgan

says:

Fabulous list! Will have to grab some to take to our family cabin this summer. Reading and summer go together like peanut butter and jelly!

Nicole Jedlenski

says:

thanks for the great ideas! We love our local library and the beach!

Jessica

says:

I love reading lists-it’s so helpful to have a guide from a source you trust!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for trusting us, Jessica! I hope our selections always continue to be worthy of that trust. 😊

Stevie

says:

Perfect list including Duck and Goose – a favorite in our house. I really appreciate the printable list especially for this homeschooling mom on the go.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

The Duck & Goose books are so much fun, Stevie! Hopefully you’ll find a few more to be favorites too.

Stacy

says:

I’m excited to check these out!

Maria Hernandez

says:

These are so great!!!

Anna Bystrova

says:

It can become overwhelming trying to sift through a myriad of books available to children, let alone making sure they are quality reads, meaningful and relevant to my child. Thank you for putting these lists together – they make my life easier ;)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Anna. I hope you and your child find many to love.

Alice shaffer

says:

We love Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt! Thank you for these resources.

Kristy

says:

We’ve read many of these books and can’t wait to read more of them

Cathy Schiffman

says:

Thank you for all the great suggestions to keep us reading through the Summer!

Stacy

says:

These are fantastic book suggestions!

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