Books by Theme

Welcome Summer

Welcome summer with this list of recommended books for kids ages 0-9. The books below include both new possibilities and old favorites, all with a summertime theme -- summer camp, lazy days, hot weather, or a vacation away. Perfect for reading aloud with your favorite child!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Seed Grows: My First Look at a Plant's Life Cycle

By: Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins
Illustrated by: Heather Collins
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Crisp illustrations fold out to illustrate the way Sam's garden grows. Simply told in a familiar cadence, this cumulative tale may inspire young children to grow a garden while exploring their environment.

Daddies are for Catching Fireflies

By: Harriet Ziefert, Cynthia Jabar
Illustrated by: Cynthia Jabar
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Daddies do so many things, but on a summer evening one of the most special things is to catch a firefly. A gentle rhythmic text combines with soft illustrations, with flaps to lift, in this tender, appealing book.

Danitra Brown Leaves Town

By: Nikki Grimes, Floyd Cooper
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Danitra leaves the city for a summer with her family in the country, she and best friend Zuri write to each other about their days. The free verse and softly hued, realistic illustrations convey the warmth of both summer and the girls' friendship.

From the Bellybutton of the Moon and other Summer Poems

By: Francisco Alarcón, Maya Christina Gonzalez
Illustrated by: Maya Christina Gonzalez, Francisco Alarcón
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The poet remembers summers growing up in Mexico in poems presented in both English and Spanish. Readers meet his family and join them in the everyday joys of the sunny season. Illustrations are as colorful and evocative as the words.

Heat Wave at Mud Flat

By: James Stevenson
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It is so hot and so dry this summer in Mud Flat that folks feel like they're melting. They're so hot that a cagey lizard can sell them umbrellas! With humor and verve, line and wash illustrations and understated text again present the friends of Mud Flat.

Jack's Garden

By: Henry Cole
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this cumulative tale, Jack plants, tends and harvests his garden. Not only will readers follow Jack's activities, they'll learn about gardens and gardening in this informative and animated book through text and highly detailed and well-labeled illustrations. (The author's background as a science teacher is pleasantly evident.)

Season Song

By: Marcy Barack, Thierry Courtin
Illustrated by: Thierry Courtin
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Something special about each season is shared in rhyming text and bright, bold yet simple illustrations on sturdy pages. The lines that open this short book end it in reverse: "Sing of seasons as we grow,/Mud, sand, leaves, snow."

Starring Grace

By: Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch
Illustrated by: Caroline Binch
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

It's summer vacation for Grace and her neighborhood friends, just the time for the fun to begin! Grace remains the imaginative, energetic girl first introduced in Amazing Grace (1991) as she involves all the kids in dramatic play. From helping an isolated older woman to creating a circus, Grace and her chums spend a delightful summer vacation close to home.

Summer with Elisa

By: Johanna Hurwitz, Debbie Weisner
Illustrated by: Debbie Weisner
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The summer Elisa finished first grade, not only did her 11-year old brother Russell go to a sleepaway camp but the entire family went on a vacation to the country. Sibling rivalry results in a competition with humorous results and a bit of insight.


By: Douglas Florian
Illustrated by: Douglas Florian
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Short poems and child-like illustrations framed on brilliantly white pages capture the splendor ("Morning glories/Campfire stories‡") and sorrow of summer *("Skinned knees/Ninety degrees‡). Readers will readily relate to all aspects of summer, seen in a short poem for the end of summer: "Three words/Most cruel:/Back to school."

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