Big Summer Read
Summer Reading Guide 2022
Summer adventures are just waiting to start! Visit the ocean, take a swim, share a recipe with family, friends, and neighbors; create a garden, make new friends, learn a new word and more. These and more can start with a book! Happy reading!
Browse through the full list, or select the age range you’re interested in below:
For 0-3 year olds
1 Smile 10 Toes: A Mix and Match Book
Sturdy, split pages encourage children to play and laugh as new critters are created. Young readers will want to count everything from smiles to whiskers with each turn of a whole or half page.
99 Tomatoes and One Potato
Amid 99 small illustrations of various objects ranging from airplanes to cakes to potatoes, readers are asked to find the one that is different. Even older readers will find the search for the outlier fun and challenging. Happily, for adults, there is a key on the final spread.
Each bird makes its own sound as the day begins. Bold, colorful images and straightforward language encourage joining the bird song from chirps to warbles.
Drip, a drop of water, travels over earth and air to introduce young readers to the water cycle. Simple illustrations with a die-cut add interest while complementing the simple text.
Count along with the families as they make dumplings from their own culture and share them as a community. The rhyming tale can be shared on several levels with children of various ages, from the youngest to cooks who want to try their hand at the recipes included.
The sun is up and so is the baby along with the dog, the teddy and finally, mama and papa. When the moon is up, everyone is sleepy except for the baby; that is until the baby falls asleep. Families with young children will appreciate the humor and the simple, playful illustrations.
Merriam-Webster’s 150 First Words
Everyday objects and activities come together to help build a young child’s vocabulary in this sturdy, large format book. Familiar scenes are presented in simple illustrations with labeled photographs on a different colored background to extend language and present a search-and-find activity.
Rosa Explores the Water Cycle
Rosa and her friends not only enjoy the rain, but they also study it! Simple experiments and childlike illustrations invite readers (and their grownups) to do the same as do others in the series (such as Rosa Explores Life Cycles)
Trucks on Trucks
Different trucks of different colors in different places doing different things are presented in appealing, staccato language and animated illustrations. Only the final pages reveal that these are a child’s toys as they honk! and vroom! off the page.
For 3-6 Year Olds
A Mouthful of Minnows
Alphonso loves to fish, attracting them with his wormlike tongue. But can the alligator snapping turtle eat the school of fish who have gathered to joyfully share the meal? Information about amazing alligator snapping turtles concludes this humorous tale of an empathetic creature.
Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness
What can people learn from dogs? How to BE in the moment from waking to bedtime and through the seasons! Charming collage illustrations and straightforward text encourage readers to smell, taste, feel, and see with canine simplicity.
Dragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning
Mary loved rainy days because it was then that she would discover her treasures: fossils. Her life and work unfold in straightforward text and simple illustrations. Backmatter further details her life and what it takes to become a paleontologist.
Duck, Duck, Dad?
Ralph, a dog, led a quiet life until a nearby egg hatched. The duckling saw Ralph and knew he was his dad. Life was no longer quiet but filled with cuddles and chaos just as the duck’s life was with its puppy horde. Comical illustrations depict the pleasures of a huge, blended family.
Arnold was always a seafaring elephant. Luckily, he found a small island when his boat sank. With his built-in trumpet, he called for help. Help arrives and together, animals combine efforts to make a distinctive island and create unusual friendships in this unique nautical tall tale.
Emile and the Field
A young boy enjoys the open field throughout the seasons. Lyrical language and textured watercolors bring into focus the unfettered joy of nature in a “…field [that] would not, could not/be bought! or belong/to anyone./Even Emile.”
Gigi and Ojiji
Gigi can’t wait for her mother’s father, her grandfather, to arrive from Japan to live with them. But Ojiisan isn’t at all what the biracial girl expected. How grandfather and granddaughter learn about the other is affirming and heartwarming in this easier to read tale.
Hundred Years of Happiness
An’s grandmother’s memory is fading. Her grandfather thinks that a special fruit will help her remember. When the special gấc rice is made, An’s grandmother recalls their wedding wish — the title of the book. Lush illustrations tenderly depict the Vietnamese family and their love for each other. A recipe is included.
When the family takes a short vacation, Granny comes to stay to care for the family cat. Granny loses her glasses and accidentally lets a mischievous racoon inside and the indoor cat out. Animated chaos follows Granny’s mistaken identity for a comedy of errors starring one clever racoon.
A child wonders as she wanders on the beach while visiting grandparents. Lush, textured illustrations echo and expand the child’s musings on a glorious day. Husband and wife creators capture this joy-filled experience.
Lizzy and the Cloud
On a Saturday walk with her parents, Lizzy gets a cloud she named Milo. But sometimes even the most agreeable pet cloud can grow too large. How Lizzy amends the information on cloud care is sure to resonate with readers of all ages. Soft lines and careful use of color are effective in this imaginative tale.
Look to the Skies
Look up! Can you see the gold and black butterflies migrating to warmer climes? The rhyming narration and colorful illustrations with die cuts effectively focus readers on monarchs. A brief note discusses the monarchs’ travel.
Monsters in the Fog
Though most donkeys would find it difficult, Hakim manages to knit a sweater for his friend Daisy who lives atop the mountain. Fog makes everything and everyone that Hakim meets on his journey appear monstrous, but are things always as they appear? Cartoonlike illustrations reveal the humorous truth of mountain trail travel.
One. Only one. The story of our planet, our universe, our responsibility for earth’s treasures, begins, and ends with one. Follow a child as they go from small to universal then back again in this handsomely illustrated, empowering look at caring for our planet.
“A rooftop garden is what we need — Friends and family all agree.” So, the diverse residents of the apartment gather tools, seeds and begin! Lively, rhyming language combines with bright illustrations to present the activity. Information needed to grow a rooftop garden and music to sing the narrative conclude the book. Be sure to link to the QR code to hear a toe-tapping rendition of the song.
The Crab Ballet
Have you ever wondered what people don’t see at the seashore? Could it be ballet? Perhaps a performance by talented crabs. Share a performance through the gently rhyming text and detailed, finely lined, gently colored illustrations. A glossary of ballet terms (for kids and crabs) is included.
For 9-12 year olds
Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round
What makes an activist? The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Tennessee in 1968 so effected young Kathlyn, she started tirelessly working to improve the lives of African Americans and make MLK’s birthday a national holiday. She tells her own story in verse, contextualized by the time in which she lived
Cat Eyes and Dog Whistles: The [Five] Seven Senses of Humans and Other Animals
Everyone knows their five senses — sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing — right? But there are two more: proprioception (letting you touch your nose with your finger without seeing either body part) and the vestibular system (in charge of balance). Informal language and lighthearted illustration add a touch of humor in the presentation of solid information, sure to engage.
Two boys, best friends, live next-door to each other. Marco is academically talented and short; Isaac is a basketball whiz but struggles with his studies. How the boys help each other cope with school, parents, and more is realistic, plausible, and totally engaging.
Just Right Jillian
Is hiding who you are worth staying invisible? That’s what Jillian confronts as she navigates 5th grade. Can Jillian break out of her shell as fast as her chick in the classroom experiment? Readers will relate to the plausible characters in a realistic setting in this debut novel.
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: 366 Elevating Utterances to Stretch Your Cranium and Tickle Your Humerus
A word (or more) for each day of each month is presented and defined with a pronunciation guide, pleasingly illustrated. At the end of each month, a story is presented that uses all the words, with an audio version (accessed by QR code) so kids can hear it spoken aloud. Clever and appealing!
Bree overcomes her fear of water and learns to swim with the help of an older neighbor in this handsome, powerful graphic novel. The girl learns a lot about herself and her new community in this engaging, handsome presentation.
The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza
A cyber-enhanced cat is sent into space to stop rats from eating the moon. Absurd humor propels this outlandish tale through the galaxy with unending gags, sure to make readers laugh aloud. It’s the first in a series which was inspired by Instagram video shorts created during the pandemic.
The National Parks: Preserving America’s Wild Places
Travel back in time to 1872, when Congress established Yellowstone National Park as an area of unspoiled beauty for the "benefit and enjoyment of the people." Meet the visionaries, artists, and lovers of the American wilderness who fought against corruption and self-interest to carve out and protect these spaces for future generations. (Part of the History Comics graphic novel series.)
The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck
Three animals did indeed go up in a hot-air balloon in the 18th century, but not quite the talented sheep, rooster, and duck who propel this funny and clever tale forward. Fact and fiction, cameo appearances by historical figures, and lots of illustrations are used. An author’s note reveals the history, effectively separating real from imagined.
The Turtle of Michigan
Aref flies with his mother from Oman to rejoin his father in Michigan so his parents can attend graduate school. While the boy misses his much-loved grandfather, Sidi, he gradually adjusts to his life and enjoys several surprises. Aref and Sidi were first introduced in The Turtle of Oman, though this book stands alone. The hallmark of both novels is the lyrical language and loving relationships.
Totally Random Questions Volume 1
Ever wondered what the planet Mercury is made of or why cats purr? This first in a new series asks and answers 101 questions sure to intrigue and inspire further research, each presented with color photographs and a varied format.
For 6-9 Year Olds
Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, beautiful Africa, with her large and happy family. The sparkling language echoes the Nigerian author’s storytelling background and reads well independently but also makes a good read aloud. This is the first in a series of realistic stories about Anna and her marvelous family.
Blips on a Screen
Have you ever wondered about video games, like what came before the Xbox? What inspired the hardworking German immigrant boy who invented them? Readable narration and childlike illustrations tell Ralph Baier’s story. Photographs concludes this playful, inspiring biography.
Humans and Animals: What We Have in Common
People and animals share many things: they play, move around, make homes, use tools and more. The more we know, the greater the respect we have for those with which we share the planet. Stylized, colorful illustrations and tidbits of information are presented in bitesize bits in a handsome format.
I Am Mozart, Too: The Lost Genius of Maria Anna Mozart
We may know more about her younger brother, but Maria Anna was also a child prodigy who composed and played music. While her father encouraged Wolfgang, he neither encouraged nor allowed Nannerl (as she was known). Her story is revealed here through Nannerl’s lively narration and charming illustrations. Backmatter provides additional information.
It’s Up to Us: Building a Brighter Future
The Children’s Terra Carta is introduced in stunning illustrations by 33 artists. A foreword by The Prince of Wales is followed by four sections (nature, people, planet, and the Terra Carta, UK’s document to address climate change). Double page spreads of text and art invite and encourage readers’ engagement.
Leave It to Plum!
Plum is one of the Athensville Zoo’s feathered ambassadors though a jealous, wily rodent thinks it would be better than Plum, a mere peacock. Lively language and jaunty illustrations combine to make a funny, memorable tale with enough tension to keep readers going to the very end.
It was said that Fatima al-Fihri’s first word was “read.” Not surprisingly, it was this 9th century girl who grew up to start a university for all in Morocco. Beautifully illustrated and simply told, Fatima’s story continues into current times.
Sharks: A Mighty Bite-y History
Sharks have been around since prehistoric times. Discover the well-researched history of these ocean-dwelling creatures (and some of the scientists who study them), presented in a large, heavily illustrated format just right to dip into or to read cover to cover.
When a young and very hungry chickadee wants to eat a caterpillar, Sir Ladybug must cook up a delicious alternative. This easier to read graphic book is humorously illustrated and broken into chapters by a Caldecott honor winning creator.
Smile Out Loud: 25 Happy Poems
Everyone needs a smile and this range of poems in different forms are sure to create lots. From verse about contagious laughter all the way to bedtime ditty, these poems will read aloud well. Each is briefly introduced and colorfully illustrated.
Starla Jean Takes the Cake
Starla Jean and her parents are preparing for Willa’s first birthday celebration. But will her pet chicken, Opal Egg, lay the needed egg in time? Though Starla Jean and Opal Egg were first introduced in Starla Jean, this lighthearted adventure stands alone and is equally engaging.
The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States
Juneteenth’s story started long before it was celebrated. The history of this now widely recognized celebration is presented in measured, accessible, and informative text and colorful illustrations. An afterword by the author reveals her connection to Junteenth.
The Whale Who Swam Through Time: A 200-Year Journey in the Arctic
Follow a bowhead whale over her very long life in the Arctic. The world’s longest living mammal starts over 200 years ago and continues to today in an ever-changing sea. Accessible text and evocative illustrations conclude with additional information and further resources.The author is a Smithsonian marine specialist.
Yoshi and the Ocean: A Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey
Twenty years after being injured, rehabilitated, and living in a South African aquarium, Yoshi traveled home. The true story of the loggerhead sea turtle’s 1003-day journey was tracked by scientists around the world as he traveled 25,000 miles to Australia. Dramatic illustrations and complete backmatter create a book that can be shared on many levels.
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