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Fun Summer Books to Read with Kids

When the weather turns hot, find a cool place and read!

We thought it might never come, but summer is here at last. Swimming, camping, visiting grandparents, and playing with friends are all great things to do, but don’t forget reading! Here are some stories celebrating sun, fun, and family time together.

In It’s Vacation Time by Lerryn Korda, a group of animal friends try to help Nella figure out why she can’t get her suitcase closed.  Her suitcase turns out to be filled not with clothing or toothpaste but with a shovel, a pail, a snorkel mask, and all sorts of things she thought they might need. In this cheery picture book for toddlers, bold colors stand out against a clean white background, and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to start packing and unpacking, too.

 In Hooray for Summer by Kazuo Iwamura, translated from the Japanese, three little squirrels are playing on a hot summer day when they get caught out in a thunderstorm. Though very scared by the ferocious storm, Mick, Mack and Molly take cover in a cave and make some new friends sheltering there too. Iwamura’s watercolors use color very effectively to show the ominous clouds moving in, and the sparkling, rain-washed forest after the storm. The pictures feature delicately detailed forest plants as well as cute squirrels, mice, and rabbits, and the story makes a great way to talk about feeling scared but things turning out okay in the end.

For children that like to learn facts, The Longest Day by Wendy Pfeffer tells all about the summer solstice. It explains the science of seasons and tells about ways different cultures and peoples through time have celebrated. It covers the familiar (Stonehenge) but also several much less well-known solstice celebrations, such as the Chumash Indians placing a crystal in a cave to catch the solstice rays. This picture book includes several activities and a list of books and websites for more information.

Artist Marla Frazee captures two completely different sides of summer in a pair of picture books. The hilarious A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever follows two little boys, Eamon and James, on a visit to Eamon’s grandparents. The pictures are beautiful, but the laugh-out-loud part comes in with the contrast between what the text says (“They decided to stay home and enjoy Bill and Pam’s company”) and what the picture shows, as the pair goes rushing out of the room in a cloud of dust. The two boys don't always go along with the grown-ups' plans, but in the end they come up with a wonderful surprise that showed they were paying attention after all.

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon also features Frazee’s gorgeous pictures, and the large page size gives them plenty of room to expand, but the text here celebrates the specific joys of summer: “Hive, bee, wings, hum / Husk, cob, corn, yum! / Tomato blossom, fruit so red / All the world’s a garden bed”. Children will love poring over these pictures to find and follow the different members of this extended family as they go to the beach, climb trees, and spend a lyrically lovely day together.

Kids and summer and reading make a perfect fit. Sign-up for the annual Niles Public Library Summer Reading Club. Cuddle up with your child and some good books, and then come take a turn on our fun game!

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