20 Beach Books for Children to Kick Off the Summer: Find these books at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience. All recommendations are mine.
Summer is here. It’s time to get out the swimsuits, oversized towels and head for the beach! We’re in the Midwest, but Lake Michigan offers up a terrific beach. So embrace those books about the beach and kick off the summer.
I write so often about books, I’ve put them in one central location and created a collection of all of my book lists! Find more great reading book lists here.
To View the Full List of Beach Books
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach By Melanie Watt: We know by now that Scaredy Squirrel only feels safe when he’s at home in his nut tree, with his defenses, his emergency kit and his back-up plans at the ready. So even though the sun is shining and it’s time for a vacation, Scaredy does not want to go to the beach — that vast, frightening place where a squirrel could get stranded. (Not to mention other hazards such as sea monsters, falling coconuts, seagulls, pirates and lobsters.)
What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld: A house is a home for you, a nest is a home for a bird, and a cave is a home for a bear. But for some animals a shell is a home. Snails and turtles and crabs and clams all have shells that act as their homes and protect them from harm. In this book you’ll learn all about these and other crustaceous creatures, for whom a shell is just the right sort of home.
Good Night Beach By Adam Gamble: The beach, an iconic fixture of many children’s summers, is artfully celebrated in this boardbook. Designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the environment’s natural wonders, the book features a multicultural group of people experiencing all that the beach has to offer. Rhythmic language guides children through the passage of a single day of fun at the seaside—splashing, playing in the waves, boating, fishing, identifying wildlife, and more.
Ocean (DK Eyewitness Books) By Miranda MacQuitty: DK’s classic look at the world’s oceans, now reissued with a CD and wall chart.
Ladybug Girl at the Beach By David Soman and Jacky Davis: Lulu loves the beach. Well, she’s never been there before, but she knows she will love it. And then she sees the ocean and it is big and loud and rough. That’s okay—Lulu wanted to build sand castles and fly her kite with Bingo anyway. But while they are building their sand castle, the sneaky ocean comes in and tries to steal Lulu’s favorite pail. This is a job for Ladybug Girl!
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor By Joanna Cole: When Ms. Frizzle drives the Magic School Bus full speed ahead into the ocean, the class takes a submarine expedition that’s anything but ordinary. With a well-meaning lifeguard in tow, the class takes a deep breath and learns about hot water vents, coral reefs, plant and animal life on the ocean floor, and more!
Harry by the Sea By Gene Zion: Harry, a friendly little dog on a visit to the seashore, is mistaken for a sea serpent when a big wave covers him with seaweed.
Nate The Great And The Boring Beach Bag By Marjorie Weinman Sharmat: It’s gone! Oliver’s boring blue beach bag is gone. Inside are his clothes, shoes, and a special seashell. All he has left is his beach ball. This is a perfect case for Nate the Great and his trusty dog Sludge. But they don’t find many clues in the sand and surf. What trail should they follow next? Follow the leader to find out!
Curious George Goes to the Beach By H. A. Rey and Margaret Rey: Once shore-side, Curious George plays ball, pretends to be a lifeguard, and discovers some very hungry seagulls! Can George help his friend Betsy overcome her fear of the ocean while saving the day? We all know the answer. Surf’s up!
Clam-I-Am!: All About the Beach By Tish Rabe: Norval the Fish is hosting a seaside talkshow for the Fish Channel–and the Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two are Cameracat and Crew! Among Norval’s special guests are his old friend Clam-I-Am (a shy gal who lives in the sand and likes to spit), along with horseshoe and hermit crabs, jellyfish, sand fleas, starfish, seagulls, and miscellaneous mollusks. Seaweed, seaglass, tides, tidal pools, dunes, driftwood, and waves make cameo appearances, too.
The Berenstain Bears’ Seashore Treasure (I Can Read Book) By Jan and Stan Berenstain: The Bear family is all set to have a relaxing time at the shore–but that’s before Papa Bear finds a treasure map! Now Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear are diving into the task of finding the booty. Might it be silver, gold, glittering diamonds or rubies?
Science in Seconds at the Beach: Exciting Experiments You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less By Jean Potter: Surf’s up for fantastic science fun with these quick, easy experiments and activities from Jean Potter. You can complete each in just ten minutes or less, and the clear step-by-step instructions and illustrations help you get it right every time. The projects help you learn about everything from how seaweed can forecast the weather to why waves break as they reach the shore. You will find most of the required materials already in your toy chest, home, backyard, or around your neighborhood.
Hello Ocean By Pam Munoz Ryan: Spend a day at the beach, and take in the ocean through the senses of sight, hearing, feeling, taste, and smell in this lively romp through sand and waves. Glorious illustrations of water, sun, and sky accompany brief, evocative verses, making this a perfect keepsake of a seaside vacation or a striking introduction to the pleasures of a day by the ocean.
Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach (My First I Can Read) by James Dean: In Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach, Pete is spending the day at the seashore. He has fun collecting shells and building a sand castle. But the beach is very hot. There is a whole ocean for Pete to cool off in, but it looks scary. Pete’s brother, Bob, offers to teach Pete to surf. Will that be enough to help Pete get over his fear of the water?
Just Grandma and Me (Little Critter) By Mercer Mayer: Little Critter and his grandmother spend the day at the beach in this funny-and-true picture book about Mercer Mayer’s popular character. Little Critter is a good helper, even at the beach. When his grandmother’s hot dog falls in the sand, he washes it off in the ocean. He promises to blow up the inflatable seahorse but needs a little help in the end. The joys and mishaps of a special summer day with Grandma are all brightened by Little Critter’s sunny disposition.
Sally Goes to the Beach By Stephen Huneck: Told from the dog’s point of view and brought to life through charming and brightly colored woodcut prints, this endearing story of Sally’s vacation is the perfect companion to a child’s own trip to the beach or any new place.
Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures By Bonnie Worth: The Cat in the Hat, Sally, and Dick take an undersea voyage aboard the S.S. Undersea Glubber! Traveling down from the Sunny Zone to the Dark Zone to the Trench at the bottom, Captain Cat and his crew get up close and personal with the different life forms found at each level of the ocean. Along the way, they meet sharks, jellyfish, dolphins, manatees, whales, and sea cucumbers, to name just a few!
Flotsam By David Wiesner: A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam – anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share …and to keep.
Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef By Marianne Berkes: Kids will sing, clap, and count their way among pufferfish that puff, gruntfish that grunt and seahorses that flutter, and begin to appreciate life in the ocean. And the art will inspire many a project. Plus there are several pages of extension ideas for curriculum and art projects as well as resources on the web and elsewhere.
Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea By Jan Peck: In a singsong text, a little boy describes his adventure into the deep blue sea.