36 Best Middle Grade Books About Summer Vacation

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The hot summer months provide many reading opportunities. Make your summer reading more summery with books about . . . yes, you guessed it, . . . summer vacation!

If your kids are younger, go to Summer-Themed Picture Books.

Here are beginning chapter books and middle-grade books about camp, vacation, friendships, trips, and other summertime adventures for ages 7 to 12.

Find great ideas for your summer reading on these grade level book lists.

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Beginning Chapter About Summer Vacation

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes
(ages 5 – 9)
Three short stories of bravery and adventure about Charlie’s family camping trip explore telling a story, roasting marshmallows, nature, and family. Charming.

Creature Campers The Secret of Shadow Lake by Joe McGee, Bea Tormo
(ages 6 – 8)
An entertaining story about mythical creatures (and one human) going to summer camp! Norm is a tall Bigfoot who doesn’t want to go camping and hates being different. Norm and his new friends don’t know that there’s a nefarious creature collector named Barnaby preparing to capture a Bigfoot. Relatable themes of feeling like an outsider and making new friends plus some dry humor make this a fun, readable story.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
by Megan McDonald
(ages 6 – 9)
When their parents leave for a trip, Judy and Stink are left with their wacky Aunt Opal. So Judy comes up with a plan for the best summer ever and it’s lots of laughs when all is said and done.

Babymouse #3- Beach Babe Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Babymouse #3: Beach Babe
by Jennifer L.  Holm and Matthew Holm
(ages 7 – 10)
Summer vacation on the beach isn’t quite what Babymouse imagined — her surfing isn’t so great, and her brother is driving her crazy.

Fish Finelli Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Fish Finelli Seagulls Don’t Eat Pickles by E.S. Farber, illustrated by Jason Beene
(ages 8 – 11)
Fish makes a bet that he can find the lost pirate treasure over his summer vacation. Will he lose the money or actually find the treasure and win the bet?

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
(ages 7 – 10)
In this light and warm-hearted story, Cody meets a new friend and even though she doesn’t get to go to summer camp, she has a fun adventure at home.

Middle Grade Books About Summer Vacation

cupcake cousins Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Cupcake Cousins #1
by Kate Hannifin, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
(ages 8 – 12)
Summer vacation with these two best friend cousins means baking, being flower girls, and potential disasters.

campfire mallory Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Campfire Mallory
by Laurie B. Friedman, illustrated by Jennifer Kalis
(ages 7 – 10)
It’s Mallory’s first time at camp and she’s worried it won’t be as fun as her friends tell her.

Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation The Penderwicks- A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall
(ages 8 – 12)
On summer vacation at a small cottage, the Penderwick sisters meet a lonely boy named Jeffrey who becomes like family to them. This is a warm-hearted story of friendship filled with loads of summer adventures.

THe Long Haul Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
(ages 8 – 12)
This is the worst road trip of all time — poor Greg. You’ll laugh your way through this hilarious family car trip of misadventures.

by Kayla Miller (GRAPHIC NOVEL)
(ages 8 – 12)
Both my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed this meaningful graphic novel from the author of Click (a story we also loved). It’s not just about a summer camp experience but also about the challenges of friendship, particularly when you have a friend who is clingy, wants to be your only friend, and is jealous of other people. That is hard for Olive! She wants to be Willow’s friend but she also likes other people. The story feels honest and relatable as well as being a helpful road map to how you might handle your own friendships.

Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz
(ages 9 – 12)
Perfect for anyone who loves a good mystery story with themes of friendship and helping others. Unlikely friends, Jamily and Shirley aka. Bones join forces so they’ll be able to do what they want over the summer. Bones is observant and smart and while Jamila plays basketball, kids come to Bones with their mysteries. Jamila wants to be part of Bones’ crime-solving and together they investigate a stolen gecko at the swimming pool, finding that misunderstanding and jealousy can turn into understanding and friendship.

The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles, illustrated by Dapo Adeola
(ages 9 – 12)
If you’re a fan of wild and wacky stories, this is the book for you. Cousins Otto and Sheed accidentally stop time, freezing all the people in the town. Mostly. Because a sinister Mr. Flux on a gigantic beast can move about as can all the people related to time like A.M. and P.M.and Father Time. Throw in some unexpected plot twists and excellent writing and it adds up to a delightful adventure that just proves you should be careful what you wish for… While this isn’t totally realistic fiction because it’s well, magical realism, it is a fun summer adventure!

just jake camp wild Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Just Jake: Camp Wild Survival
by Jame Marionette, illustrated by Victor Rivas Villa
(ages 8 – 12)
Jake, his sister, and his dad spend their summer vacation at a survivalist camp filled with crazy and funny survival situations.

 Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation summer of lost and found
Summer of Lost and Found
by Rebecca Behrens
(ages 8 – 12)
Nell is forced to spend her summer vacation on Roanoke Island with her mother instead of New York City with her friends. There, she makes a friend and finds an interest in the mystery of the first Roanoke colony.

The Forget-Me-Not Summer
by Leila Howland
(ages 8 – 12)
Three sisters from LA aren’t happy about spending the summer on Cape Cod. It’s a summer of growth and life lessons as the girls discover the importance of family.

Jake and Lily
Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
(ages 8 – 12)
The summer brings big changes for 11-year-old twins Jake and Lily as Jake pulls away from their tight bond and Lily feels left behind.

Charlie Joe Jackson Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation
by Tommy Greenwald, illustrated by J.P. Coovert
(ages 9 – 12)
This reluctant reader is forced to go to summer camp for reading and writing — can life get any worse? Hilarious.

Camp Rolling Hills Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Camp Rolling Hills
by Stacy Davidowitz
(ages 8 – 12)
Summer camp is Stephanie’s (Slimey, as she’s called at camp) favorite time of year. This year is a little different with changes in friendships, boy crushes and kisses, and pranks on other cabins. A graphic novel about summer!

what the moon saw Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau
(ages 8 – 12)
Clara Luna is sent to live with her grandparents in rural Mexico. There she struggles with her identity, is she American or Mexican or both? While in Mexico, Clara’s indigenous grandmother teaches Clara the magical art of healing. This is one of my favorite books ever!

Sunny Side Up Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (ages 8 – 12)
Sunny is sent to live with their grandfather in Florida who lives in a retirement village. Luckily, there’s another kid there, the caretaker’s son. Together they form a bond of friendship and adventures all the while Sunny comes to terms with her family situation. One of my favorite books about summer.


Swing Sideways Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Swing Sideways
by Nanci Turner Stevenson
(ages 8 – 12)
Finally, Annie’s controlling parents agree to give her some freedom. Her freedom arrives with a summer in the country with a new friend and independent adventures.

One Crazy Summer Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia
(ages 8 – 12)
Three sisters imagine that summer with their mom in California will be magical. They don’t expect to attend a Black Panther day camp and their mom wants them out of the way to write her poetry. As they try to connect to their mother, each girl learns more about herself and the world in the late 60s for African Americans.

Be Prepared
by Vera Brosgol (graphic novel)
(ages 8 – 12)
Russian summer camp is not what Vera was hoping … at least until she finds a new friend. (Which takes a while, lots of valuable life lessons, and many mishaps.) This is a slice-of-life glimpse into the author’s own summer camp experience. The illustrations are in green, black, and white, not full color.

as brave as you Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
(ages 10+)
Genie and his brother spend their summer with their blind grandfather in the country. As Genie watches his grandfather and brother, he learns about bravery and forgiveness.

Applewhites at Wits End Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
The Applewhites at Wit’s End
by Stephanie S. Tolan
(ages 8 – 12)
The Applewhite clan is holding a summer camp for creatives hoping that it will save their family from financial ruin. The kids who come to the camp have strong personalities, not unlike the Applewhites themselves, except for E.D. who isn’t all that artistic and doesn’t care for all the chaos. Lucky for everyone, E.D. has a plan to get things under control. So funny!

Blue Ribbon Summer Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Blue Ribbon Summer by Catherine Hapka
(ages 8 – 12)
Brooke’s summer sleepaway camp (with horses) isn’t as fun as she was hoping. The girls have fancier horses than Brooke and they aren’t very friendly. But there’s a bigger problem — the camp is closing. Can Brooke help save it?

lawn boy Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Lawn Boy
by Gary Paulsen
(ages 8 – 12)
It’s summer vacation and our 12-year-old narrator needs to earn money. Which he does by starting a lawn mowing business. Not only that, he learns about investing his money and makes a lot more money than he could have imagined.

the First Last Day Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone
(ages 8 – 12)
Haleigh learns she can relive her last day of summer at Jersey Shore by painting it with magical watercolors. But her wish, she learns, affects more than her.

summerlost Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Summerlost by Ally Condie
(ages 10+)
A new friend, the Shakespearian summer festival, and a mystery help Cedar adjust to life without her father and younger brother. One of my favorite books about summer.

Hour of the Bees Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
(ages 9 – 12)
Carol and her family move to the New Mexico desert to care for her grandfather who is odd. His stories of bees and pride in their common heritage mixed with magical realism show Carol a new way of looking at the world.

Notable Chapter Books for Summer Reading
e Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
(ages 10 +)
Gladys’s summer vacation is off to a dreadful start when her friend, Charissa, surprises her with free tuition at her family’s summer day camp. How will Gladys get her restaurant reviews written for the paper? She faces sabotage, the ups and downs of friendship, and problems with her parents being in the dark about her new profession. (I loved that at the end, she decides to come clean!)

Summer of the Wolves Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles
(ages 10+)
The siblings are sent from a foster home to live with their uncle, a wolf researcher. When Nika finds a wolf pup, she cares for the pup who teaches her what it means to be family.

I kill the mockingbird Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
(ages 8 – 12)
Lucy is thrilled when her recently deceased English teacher assigns To Kill a Mockingbird for summer reading. She’s determined to get everyone in town to read the book. Their plan is to hide the books all over town and begin a marketing campaign.

Tia Lola Saved the Summer
How Tia Lola Saved the Summer by Julia Alvarez
(ages 8 -12)
Their cool Tía Lola invents a fun and creative summer camp for Miguel, his sisters, and their friends the Sword family’s kids.

Half a Chance
Half a Chance
by Cynthia Lord
(ages 8 – 12)
Lucy befriends Nate and sets about to capture their lives with her photography. This book tackles important issues about truth, aging, and art.

Summer Vacation Books About Summer Vacation

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