When my children were young we loved to read picture books together. I love reading of course and wanted to pass my love of reading down to them. I especially loved the change of seasons and picking out books about the upcoming season.
I thought it would be fun to put together a few of my favorites over the years. The warm weather has arrived so the summer season will be the first one I write about. These summer books would be perfect for summer vacation or a hot summer day. Most of these are older and are classics but if you love picture books and want to keep up with the newest releases you should check out Everyday Reading, she shares her favorite picture books every year!
This is a great summer reading list!
Best Picture Books About Summer
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The Relatives Came
This was one of my kid’s favorite books. We read this so many times. This is about a family coming to visit during the summer. The kids are waiting for their arrival with great anticipation. They spend time greeting, hugging, and doing all kinds of things that summer allows like picking strawberries and playing music.
They have the most perfect day! At the end of the trip, of course, there is some sadness but they know it’s all going to be ok because the next summer is coming.
This book reminded me so much of my childhood. In the ’70s and 80’s we cherished the time relatives came to visit and even relatives that lived local, we would often visit more in the summer and sit on the porch and eat snow cones with ice cream in them. I have such wonderful memories of those summers. This book is a great way to show kids the importance of family. Kids of all ages will enjoy this one.
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children
Who doesn’t love a lovable vet, beautiful countryside, and a bunch of wonderful animals? This makes for the perfect summer story. In this treasury, we find all of his books for children collected in one beautiful volume.
From the springtime frolic of Oscar, Cat-About-Town to the yuletide warmth of The Christmas Day Kitten, these stories, colorful illustrations by Peter Barrett and Ruth Brown―are just stunning!
I love to recommend treasury books for gifts and this one is always at the top! The pictures in this book are breathtaking! A huge favorite in our house! BBC now has a show called All Creatures Great and Small based on the book and it is wonderful.
Alice made a promise to make the world a more beautiful place, then a seed of an idea is planted and blossoms into a beautiful plan. This is such a good book. This beloved classic and celebration of nature—written by a beloved Caldecott winner—is lovelier than ever!
I love how this book shows that a woman set out to make the world more beautiful and did it. She had a plan and saw it through and I think it’s a wonderful life lesson for children. Of course with the beautiful flowers, you have to think of summer. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went.
Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.
Rain (Seasons with Granddad)
I love this wonderful story about a boy and his granddad. The boy is disappointed it is raining so much and can’t go outside. He is hoping for the perfect summer day and this isn’t it! He drinks hot chocolate, reads his books, and dreams of all the adventures. Eventually, Granddad has to mail his letter and so he decides they have to go out despite the rain and flooding and so they do.
Sam and Granddad brave the rain and floods and have the best adventure ever! This is a great read!
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
In A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Mr. Magee and his trusty dog, Dee, are enjoying a peaceful camping trip when along comes a lumbering, marshmallow-loving bear and the excitement begins. The next thing the two campers know, they are plunging down a mountain, racing down a river, and teetering on the edge of a waterfall! How will Mr. Magee and Dee find their way out of this slippery situation?
This is such a lovely book! It is a rhyming book that has always been a favorite since I was a kid. The illustrations are vibrant and fun and it takes you along on a little adventure that starts out as a basic camping trip but ends up literally a slippery slope. This is one the kids will be wanting you to read over and over. Vibrant colors!
The Very Busy Spider
Early one morning a little spider blown by the wind spins her web on a farmyard fence post. One by one, the animals of the nearby farm try to distract her, yet the busy little spider keeps diligently at her work. When she is done, she is able to show everyone that not only is her creation quite beautiful, but it is also quite useful!
This is another wonderful book that shows a great life lesson. It teaches kids that working hard and staying with something is worth it. Sometimes we have to do homework or work on a chore or do a project or help someone else. We may have opportunities to leave those things to go have fun but many times it is more important we finish the task.
There is something magical about what fireflies bring to the lazy days or should I say nights of summer. One of my favorite things about summer was, as a young girl catching fireflies in a jar with holes poked in the top. We had a ton of fireflies at that time and it is such a great reminder of fun summer fun. Maybe it is why I love this book so much!
A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die. This was something I realized as a kid too, they had to be set free. The artwork is beautiful and everything is in classic black and white.
Blueberries for Sal
Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! This is such a gorgeous book with simple text and is perfect for young kids. Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal, the main character wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile, Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?
This one is such a classic! Two mamas and two little ones (human and bear) set off to pick blueberries and they get mixed up, a wrong kid with the wrong mom until they find their way back to one another. This was published in 1948 and it is still beloved with its simple, classic illustrations. When my children were young we did a mini-unit study on this book and went and picked blueberries. You can find many ideas on Pinterest for activities that go with the book! Beautiful illustrations! This is such a sweet story!
The Giving Tree
From Shel Silverstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, comes a great book about love and acceptance, cherished for over fifty years. This classic is perfect for both young readers and lifelong fans. It is truly perfect for the whole family.
The story starts off with a tree that loves a boy. The boy is always has a great time playing under and on the tree and the tree loves him so much. They are like best friends.
“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.”
As the boy grows the tree misses the boy but every once in a while he shows up and the tree gives him a different part of himself. The book is a lesson on growing up, love, and the gift of giving.
Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation.
The Giving Tree is a meaningful gift for milestone events such as graduations, birthdays, and baby showers.
These are some great picture books and some of our favorites this time of year! I hope your kids enjoy them as much as mine did!
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