When it comes to a summer reading list, kids should be choosing their own books as much as possible, rather than reading a list designed by someone who doesn’t even know who, say, David Pilkey, is! Kids are told what they should read throughout most of the school year. Let them be the leaders this summer, and they’re almost guaranteed to read more often! Of course, if you’re at a loss of where to start, I’ve rounded up a few really great summer reading list recommendations to help you get started. I have everything from recommendations from Scholastic (one of my favorite names in kids books!) to inexpensive great indie books that kids can read on the tablet. Check them out, then let me know if you can think of any I missed! Note that this post contains affiliate links.
Summer Reading List For Kids
I tried to break this down into two major age groups, but these are just suggestions. Consider your child’s interests and reading levels to compile the best summer reading list for him (or her). Some books in higher levels may be great for reading aloud to younger kids, and some in the lower levels are still just as fun for older kids.
Summer Reading List for Preschoolers and Kindergartners
Exclamation Mark byAmy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld – Exclamation mark is not like everyone else. He’s the only punctuation with a line above his head, after all! He keeps trying to fit in, squashing himself down and turning this way and that. Then one day, a friend teaches him how wonderful it is to be different!
Here Comes Trouble! by Corinne Demas & Noah Z. Jones- Toby the dog isn’t exactly fond of cats. They’re a bit snobby and always get away with everything. Yet, when Pandora the cat gets stuck up a tree, Toby has to put aside his personal feelings and do the right thing. Can these two get past their differences and form a bond of friendship? Your kids will love finding out!
Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Courage by Howard Binkow- We are huge Howard B. Wigglebottom fans here! We have almost all of the books, and they all teach such valuable lessons. In this one, Howard learns all about facing his fears. It is a great way to teach kids about courage, and would be perfect for children getting ready to enter kindergarten or start a new school!
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt- When I was little, I used to imagine my crayons were people. I also used to pretend the cans were people, so maybe I was a weird child. In The Day the Crayons Quit, Duncan’s crayons are actually like little people, and they have very specific feelings! Duncan has to convince them all to come back so he can get back to enjoying his coloring!
Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck- If you’re looking for a way to make math a little more fun and engaging, Bedtime Math is perfect. With over 100 riddles and three different levels of challenges, this book is great for preschoolers right up through the later elementary school years.
Toys in Space by Mina Grey- What happens when a group of toys are left outside one night? Why, they go off on an outer space adventure, of course! Once up there, they’ll not only discover the bond between misfit missing toys, they’ll also become heroes in their own right!
Ball by Mary Sullivan- My dog Tasha is obsessed with playing fetch. She’ll bring us tiny pieces of plastic to throw if she can’t find a ball, and she’ll bark at you until you give in. The dog in Ball is also a bit obsessed with fetch. When he can’t find someone to play with him, he tries to play by himself- with hilarious results of course! I really wonder if Tasha has ever thought of this!
Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever–or Snack Time? by Tammi Sauer- Nugget and Fang are best friends. That is, until Nugget starts minnow school and finds out that sharks eat minnows! Fang has to jump through some major comical hoops to get Nugget to stop being afraid of him again!
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-El- Crispin isn’t your typical dragon. On his 7th birthday he tries to breathe fire, like most dragons do. Instead, he breathes whipped cream!! Not exactly the scary statement he was looking for. He tries again and bandaids come out. Then teddy bears. Basically, anything that isn’t scary! Yet somehow, the not-so-typical dragon manages to save the day.
Give Up, Gecko! by Margaret Read MacDonald- In this Ugandan fable, all the animals are trying to stomp a hole deep enough to reach water to drink. Try as they might, though, even the mightiest of the animals can’t do it. Tiny Gecko doesn’t stand a chance…or does he? This is a great story about how even the smallest person can make a difference, and how you should never give up.
More Great Preschool and Kindergarten Books include:
Twenty-six Pirates: An Alphabet Book by Dave Horowitz
Doctor De Soto by William Steig
Even Dragons Get Scared by Emit Offir
Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
Summer Reading List for Grade School Kids
Gemma at Rainbow Farm. The Beginning and Gemma At Rainbow Farm. The Next Morning.
by Sally James- When Gemma moves to Rainbow Farm with her family, she finds out that she has a very special gift. She can talk to the animals! She quickly learns that her new home is full of magic, and with good friends, you can accomplish anything.
Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee- Kids who love books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love Elvis and the Underdogs. Benji is an ill boy whose life is turned upside down when he gets a therapy dog…who can talk! And boy, that dog is bossy! Still, bossy can be good when your dog is helping you get out there and make friends!
Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom by Rachel Vail- Justin is going to start fourth grade—but first, he has to survive the summer camp! That’s not exactly an easy feat, especially when his feet hurt from the flip-flops! Did you see what I did there? I made a pun! Anyway, if Justin’s sister can survive camp, he should be able to do so too, right? Well, we’ll see!
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling- What would you do if everything you touched turned to chocolate? For John Midas, it sounds like a dream come true at first! But like the real Midas of mythology, it’s really not all its cracked up to be!
Sidekicked by John David Anderson- Drew Bean is part of a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks. His life is complicated. Between hiding the truth from everyone and trying to stop from crossing that thin line between good and evil, it’s not all fun and games at all!
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang – Lucy’s vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, a bully who tries to scare Lucy off the basketball team, and Chinese school with the annoying know-it-all Talent Chang. Lucy’s year is ruined — or is it?
Bink and Gollie: Two for One by Kate DiCamillo – The state fair is in town! Bink and Gollie – two best friends who happen to be polar opposites – must use teamwork and their brains while navigating its many wonders. Will they win great prizes? Will they participate in a talent show? Will the fortune teller’s prediction about them being friends for life come true? Find out!
Cupcake Queen by Marci Peschke- Kylie Jean needs to raise some fund quick! She starts selling cupcakes, then discovers that they can be used to help fund an animal shelter. This book seems geared towards younger school-age kids. It’s just right for a child who is starting to read chapter books.
Cartboy and the Time Capsule by L.A. Campbell – Hal is not a fan of history class, but his father sure is! When dad tells Hal he has to pull off a stellar grade to get his own room, Hal isn’t thrilled. To make matters worse, Hal’s history teacher insists the kids keep a journal all year long to put in a time capsule! Plus, Hal’s dad makes him take a cart to school, hence the name “Cartboy.” Written in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this book has comics, doodles and text to keep kids engaged.
More great books for grade school kids:
Kelsey Green, Reading Queen by Claudia Mills
Yuck’s Big Booger Challenge by Matt and Dave
How to Train Your Dragon: How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword by Cressida Cowell
Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs
My Life as a Cartoonist by Janet Tashjian
I was going to continue on to Middle Grade books, but this is getting really long! So come back next week for my Summer Reading List for Middle Grade and Young Adults!