My Top Seven and ½ Summer Books For Kids Three and Up

I’ve organized my summer book recommendations into the top seven and a half best books in  series for kids ages three and above. Why a series? Because if you find one you LOVE, you’ll be able to read more in the series.

Why seven and a half? Well, a few weeks ago, I drove by a speed limit sign that said 17 ½ MPH and I couldn’t figure out why there would ever be a speed with a half.  Was there a heated argument with the construction crew and the city between 20 and 15 which they settled by choosing 17 ½? It was just kooky!

It’s my new favorite speed limit sign and why I’m posting the best seven and a half books. (17 and 1/2 seemed a bit much.)Also, age recommendations are very general – In fact, I’m in the ten and above category but I still love all the books on the other lists.  Really.

Summer’s Best Seven and a Half Books (in a series):

(or eight if you actually count how many I’ve listed)

Best Books for Age Three
1. Gallop by Rufus Bulter Seder
2. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
3. 3. Sandra Boynton Board Books
4. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
5. Froggy book series by Jonathan London
6. Go, Dog. Go! By P.D. Eastman
7. Bear’s New Friend by Karma Wilson
½. Corduroy by Don Freeman
Best Books for Age Four
1. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
2. Rotten Ralph by Jeff Gantos
3. 3. Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems
4. Llama, Llama series by Anna Dewdney
5. Yoko by Rosemary Wells
6. David books by David Shannon
7. Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer
½. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? By Jane Yolen
Best Books for Age Five
1. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
2. Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Conner
3. Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
4. Amanda Pig by Jean Van Leeuwen
5. Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin
6. Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
7. Strega Nona by Tommy De Paolo
½. Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant
 Best Books for Age Six
1. Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamello
2. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schacher
3. Truck Town series inspired by Jon Sciezka
4. Anything by Robert Munsch
5. Tacky the Penguin by H. Lester
6. Rainbow Magic easy (and predictable) chapter books by Daisy Meadows
7. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
½. Young Cam Jansen by David Adler
Best Books Age Seven
1. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
2. Capital Mysteries series by Ron Roy
3. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
4. Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
5. Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume
6. Franny K. Stein series by Jim Benton
7. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
½ . Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
 Best Books Age Eight
1. American Girl Series
2. Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
3. Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbot
4. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
6. The Misadventures of Inspector Moustachio by Wayne Madsen
7. Time Warp Trio by Jon Sciezka
½. My Weird School series by Dan Gutman
 Best Books for Age Nine
1. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
3. Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
4. Warriors series by Erin Hunter
5. Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
6. Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson
7. 39 Clues by various authors
½. The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
Best Books for Age Ten and up
1. Sabriel by Garth Nix
2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
3. A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeline L’Engle
4. Young Merlin series by T.A. Barron
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
6. Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
7. Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
½. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


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  • holly fink

    What a great list!

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  • Heidi Farmer

    Oh my gosh Melissa – this is incredible!

  • Janelle

    Thanks for a helpful compilation.

  • admin

    You’re welcome! I hope it helps make for a fun summer of reading!

  • Hallie Doyle

    You’re the best, Melissa. Knowing your heart a bit, I know this is a great list. We’re actually reading the Percy Jackson series now hoping to finish the first 2 before we go to TX this summer. Believe it or not, I went to the same high school as Rick Riordan, and we had the same English teacher. I was 2 yrs ahead of him, and while Mrs. Seaholm was one of the best teachers I ever had, I was terrified of her. The following link is a really fun interview with Rick. The story about his first rejection letter is so great. I would suspect it would be especially touch another writer.

    I just love your blog and am so thankful that you share your passion for kids and reading!

  • Tif

    I love, love, love this list and plan to refer back to it often!! I’ve got a lot of books that I have not yet read with the kids here and many more for future years! Thanks!

  • Jack

    It would be nice to recommend that children can actually learn from. I strongly recommend the Finance for Kidz series. I bought the entire set for my children and they have loved each one of it. I don’t have to worry about them getting swindled or ripped off, now that they have learnt the entire gamut of finance. And they are only in 4th grade!

  • Jack

    I forgot to mention that we ordered the series through the internet :

  • Jeremy

    Thanks for this list. With three kids in this age group, you’ve given me some great recs.

  • Jen

    I see a lot of our favorites on there and a few new. Great list. My 8 year old just finished The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is looking forward to reading more in the series. I just suggested Henry and Mudge and Frog and Toad to my 5 yr old yesterday. It’s so exciting to see them progress in the area of reading!

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  • Geoff

    Substitute Beverly Cleary’s works for Osborne’s Tree House series, add Johnny Tremain, and you have a solid list!

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  • Karen

    Great list. I’m surprised you didn’t include the Junie B. Jones and Miss Bindergarten books for kinder kids. My kids love those books!

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  • Sophie

    I also agree with Jack about Finance for Kidz. I have not seen anything like that. All concepts are explained in children’s examples. Would definitely recommend the series if you want your kids to get a head start with money skills.

  • Wayne Madsen

    Wayne Madsen, The Author of The Misadventures of Inspector Moustachio

    I am very honored you have included me on your list!
    Book 4 The Secret of the Pharaoh’s Feline is being illustrated as I type.

    Have a wonderful summer reading…to all!

    And my thanks!!!!

    • Stacie

      My 9 yr old son loves your series. We are almost finshed book three, and are eagerly awaiting the release of book four. Can you tell me when it will be available to the public?
      I have been trying to find a website for you but have been unsuccessful. Do you have one you maintain?


  • Melissa Taylor

    Sorry, all for my delayed response – I was on vacation when you all posted your nice comments. @Wayne, get in touch and let’s do something with book clubs in the future!
    @Karen, yes, Miss Bindergarten is great — Junie B. isn’t my favorite but if she gets kids reading (and she does) – it works! Maybe I should have done ten like a normal blogger.
    @Geoff again, didn’t have enough room for everything but great book suggestions.



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  • Julie

    My son is 6 and he loves Tacky the Penguin!!

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