Get ready for summer by reading summer-themed picture books about the sun, beach, pool, garden, camping, and more!
Whether you’re at home or on vacation, these picture books will hit the spot!
Summer-Themed Picture Books
On My Beach by Sara Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich
Wiggle the crab puppet with your finger as he races over the sand, hides in tide pools, and digs a cool sandy bed. Adorable!
Brave Little Camper by Carmen Crowe, illustrated by Jen Taylor
Little Camper spends the night in the forest and listens to the sounds. Readers push the buttons to hear the friendly sounds of nature. Sweetly introduces babies and toddlers to the forest at night.
The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann
Ernestine shares all the important details about her first camping trip from packing to hiking and even getting a little scared in the night. The trip ends up being a wonderful experience! And it’s a wonderful reading experience, too. The comic panels and illustrations feel fresh and atmospheric.
Sandcastle by Einat Tsarfati
What happens when this little girl builds a sandcastle? She makes a castle with turrets and domes that kings and queens visit and host grand parties. But the guests don’t like the sand food or the sand in their clothes, so how will the little girl fix things? (A sand ball fight!)
Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems
Elephant struggles with not wanting to share his ice cream with Piggie — even though Piggie isn’t around. He thinks he should share, then that he shouldn’t. He debates for so long that his ice cream melts into a puddle on the ground. Fortunately for him, Piggie comes along with an ice cream cone of her own and shares it with Elephant.
Sun by Sam Usher
On a very hot day, Sam and Grandad make a picnic and set off to find the perfect spot...The repeating language builds tension in the story, making for a perfect read-aloud experience. “So Granddad navigated and I looked out. / I said, “What about this way, Granddad?” // The sun beat down.” When the duo finds the perfect spot — in a cave — it’s already taken by pirates. What will they do? Share their picnic, of course! What a great life lesson.
A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng
Take a trip to the beach in this gorgeous wordless picture book about a playful day building sandcastles.
How to Meet a Mermaid by Sue Fleiss, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Every hundred years, the mermaids come to shore. And you can meet one if you follow the steps in this book! First, you’ll need to make a crown for her using shells, coral, grass, driftwood, and tumbled glass. If you stand by the ocean, she’ll see you and you can give her the crown, maybe even giving you a fin so you can swim with her. Rhyming, colorful, and playful, this is sure to inspire lots of crown-making crafts.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board. Mostly. His dad tells Jabari that he feels scared too, and sometimes after a deep breath and telling himself he is ready, the thing stops feeling scary and feels like a surprise instead. Beautiful illustrations, perfect text to picture ratio, and a helpful, relatable story make this a favorite read-aloud for summer.
Swim, Jim! by Kaz Windness
The kids on your lap will adore this sweet story illustrated with playful mixed-media drawings. Worried about sinking, Jim doesn’t join his crocodile siblings in the big swamp. He decides to learn n a smaller swamp and wiggles, waggles away. Soon, he finds a pool with abandoned floaties and noodles seemingly just for him. Joined by his siblings, Jim tests out his new swimming gear and his sisters show him all about bubbles and paddling and FUN. Perfect for summertime and all year round.
Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer
Read about a boy walking through his neighborhood where he talks to neighbors about what makes a “good” day. From the neighbor painting to the nanny pushing a stroller to a gardener and even his Grandma, Daniel listens and observes. And he has a good day, too. The exquisite collage artwork and the beautiful message of the little things that make a good day make this a memorable story.
Hike by Pete Oswald
Take an adventure with a boy and his father out of the city and into the woods. Wordless, playful, emotion-filled, and deeply satisfying, see the beauty of nature from a log bridge and a waterfall to the pine forest where the father and son plant a new tree. Stunning and heartfelt.
The Pickwicks’ Picnic A Counting Adventure by Carol Brendler, illustrated by Renee Kurilla
The Hike by Alison Farrell
I adore this DARLING nature story and so will you! Three friends and one dog leave for a mountain hike. Handwriting labels flora and fauna around them — Steller’s Jay, a porcupine quill, a chipmunk nest. The girls are happy to run, stop to eat thimbleberries, make leaf baskets, rest, get lost, write in their sketchbooks, and notice the animals around them. They make it to the top then return home. Use this to get inspired for your own hike.
How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funke with Reshma Saujani, illustrated by Sara Palacios
It’s Pearl’s last day at the beach and her last chance to build a sandcastle. Through trial and error, she programs her robot to build an entire sandcastle kingdom! Get more coding ideas here.
The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley and Katie Berube
Nick does everything with his cats — except read books. That’s why Nick decides to teach his cats to read, too. Verne, the cat, is interested but Stevenson, the cat, is not. Until . . . Nick discovers Stevenson’s drawing. All Stevenson needs are words and he’s written his own story to read.
Summer (A Pop-Up Book) by David A. Carter
What stands out in this book is not the simple text or the nouns that label summer things but the colorful pop-ups on each page: trees with birds, bushes with berries, vegetables in the garden, and columbine flowers.
Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
You’ll love this captivating summer adventure of enemy pirates, shipwrecks, and treasure! Plus, Oxenbury’s illustrations are amazing.
Seashells More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Informative and beautiful, this picture book will make you long to visit the seashore to find your own seashells. Written in dual-layered figurative language text, readers will read the basics of shells in the first layer of bigger text size. The secondary text elaborates on the specific types of shells. Soft watercolor illustrations show the seashells in the ocean and beach.
Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Emily Hughes
This summer-themed picture book celebrates not just building a treehouse but the adventures of being in nature with beautiful, descriptive language and enchanting illustrations. It will inspire readers to have their own summer-themed treehouse adventures!
Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington
Zinnia plants flower seeds then she waits and journals while her sprouts grow into flowers. The borders of the pages include information about the parts of a flower as well as the different kinds of flowers in Zinnia’s garden. Later in the fall, Zinnia finds the ripe seeds formed in the flowers which she will save to plant next year.
Ben’s Adventures A Day at the Beach by Elizabeth Gerlach
What a wonderful book! It shares what’s going on inside Ben’s imagination as he visits the beach with his family. Ben can’t walk or talk because of his Cerebral Palsy but he can imagine. He imagines running and flying, counting crabs, and building a sandcastle. Wonderful and playful, this book shows readers that no matter the outside, on the inside, kids all have so much in common.
The Picnic Problem by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Magali Mansilla
Max and Suzy get a letter from Miss Add-It-Up that sends them to the park to solve a math-related treasure hunt of clues. For example, “Which kite has the longest tail? Ignore the strings, so you don’t fail.” Max and Suzy compare tails of the differently shaped kites. The circle kite is the winner and contains their next clue. There’s a ton of fun math problems that kids can solve along with the main characters.
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
You are going to love this book! Lydia Grace Finch helps transform the city with her seeds that grow into beautiful flowers and help her cultivate a rooftop garden.
Yucky Worms by Vivian French, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
Gardeners love worms and this book will share why with facts on worms and how they help gardens. An absolute delight!
Groovy Joe Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld