Summer is a time for taking a break from school, right? But don’t let your children’s reading skills dwindle during the summer slump. This Summer Reading List for Early Elementary will keep them engaged and wanting to read!
Plus, your kiddo will need a break from the sun and some downtime during the long summer days. Curl up with a great book, keep their minds sharp and create some fun family memories with this wonderful summer reading list!
You can find these books at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience. And a special thanks to the Association for Library Service to Children for the wonderful summer reading inspiration.
Don’t miss out on my other summer reading lists for all the kiddos!
Summer Reading List for Early Elementary
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards): Are you bored with being so proper? Do you want to have more fun? Mr. Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild. But does he go too far? From Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown comes a story that shows there’s a time and place for everything…even going wild.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Irma S and James H Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature Awards): Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.
Wolfie the Bunny: The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can–and might–eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it’s Wolfie who’s threatened, can Dot save the day?
The Book with No Pictures: You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say… BLORK. Or BLUURF.
Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY. Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)
Rain!: One rainy day in the city, an eager little boy exclaims, “Rain!” Across town a grumpy man grumbles, “Rain.” In this endearing picture book, a rainy-day cityscape comes to life in vibrant, cut-paper-style artwork. The boy in his green frog hat splashes in puddles—“Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy!”—while the old man curses the “dang puddles.” Can the boy’s natural exuberance (and perhaps a cookie) cheer up the grouchy gentleman and turn the day around?
Goodnight Already!: Meet Bear. He’s exhausted. All he wants is to go to sleep. Meet Duck, Bear’s persistent next-door neighbor. All he wants is to hang out . . . with Bear. Jory John, author of All My Friends Are Dead, and Benji Davies join together to create this standout hilarious picture book that will make bedtime memorable.
The Princess in Black: Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring!The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret?
From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.
Old Mikamba Had a Farm: This fabulous version of the classic nursery song “Old MacDonald” introduces children to a menagerie of African animals and their sounds. It is beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora, with her signature collage-style artwork. Old Mikamba had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm he had . . . a giraffe, a baboon, and an elephant! Meet Old Mikamba, who watches over a wide variety of animals on his game farm in the plains of Africa. Children will discover a whole new set of fun animal sounds as they are invited to sing along and roar with the lions, bellow with the rhino, whinny with the zebras, honk with the wildebeests, and more!
Flashlight: Inside a tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.
Last Stop on Market Street: Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.
Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal. A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book. A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015. A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015.
Big Red Lollipop: Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do? Rukhsana Khan’s clever story and Sophie Blackall’s irresistible illustrations make for a powerful combination in this fresh and surprising picture book.
Power Down, Little Robot: It’s time to power down for the night, but Little Robot isn’t ready! He quickly opens his stalling program. Luckily, Mom Unit knows exactly how to get him into his sleep module. From a debut picture book author and the illustrator of Little Boo, this funny twist on a familiar nighttime routine will click with bedtime avoidance experts everywhere.
Ten Rules of Being a Superhero: In order to be a real superhero, you have to follow some important rules: Rule #1: A superhero must ALWAYS respond to a call for help. Rule #2: Saving the day is messy. But everyone understands. In this handy guide, Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy, take young readers on an adventure to learn all ten rules of being a good superhero.
Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World: In his latest eye-popping work of picture book nonfiction, the Caldecott Honor–winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins explains how for most animals, eyes are the most important source of information about the world in a biological sense. The simplest eyes—clusters of light-sensitive cells—appeared more than one billion years ago, and provided a big survival advantage to the first creatures that had them. Since then, animals have evolved an amazing variety of eyes, along with often surprising ways to use them.
My New Friend Is So Fun! (An Elephant and Piggie Book): Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In My New Friend Is So Fun!, Piggie has found a new friend! But is Gerald ready to share?
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog: Fans of Mo Willems’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back will love meeting this willful young frog with a serious identity crisis. Frog wants to be anything but a slimy, wet frog. A cat, perhaps. Or a rabbit. An owl? But when a hungry wolf arrives—a wolf who HATES eating frogs—our hero decides that maybe being himself isn’t so bad after all. In this very silly story with a sly message, told in hilarious dialogue between a feisty young frog and his heard-it-all-before father, young readers will identify with little Frog’s desire to be something different, while laughing along at his stubborn yet endearing schemes to prove himself right.
Shark vs. Train: If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train?
Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons: Caldecott Honoree and New York Times bestselling author/artist Jon J Muth takes a fresh and exciting new look at the four seasons! With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth–and his delightful little panda bear, Koo–challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.
How Big Were Dinosaurs?: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a Velociraptor for a walk, or try to brush a Tyrannosaur’s teeth? We think of dinosaurs as colossal giants, but how big were they REALLY?
With kid-friendly text and seriously silly illustrations, this fact-filled book puts dinosaurs next to modern animals so that you can see exactly how they size up. And a huge fold-out chart compares the dinos to each other, from the tiniest Microraptor to Argentinosaurus, the largest animal to ever walk the land.
Weasels: Weasels. What do you think they do all day? Plot world domination — that’s what! This rollicking madcap weasel adventure is packed full of mischief and mayhem, featuring hilarious weasel antics rendered in Elys Dolan’s exuberant style. Will the weasels succeed in taking over the world?
Journey: A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great: Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool-until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it’s cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Pirates Love Underpants (The Underpants Books): Grab your peg leg and your parrot—and don’t forget the underpants! This wacky picture book pairs pirates and underwear in an uproarious adventure. This laugh-out-loud Underpants adventure is full of pirates, sharks, and treasure. You’ll be yo-ho-ho-ing with hilarity until the pirates conclude their zany expedition!
I Got the Rhythm: On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her― from butterflies, to street performers, to ice cream sellers everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.
Niño Wrestles the World: Señoras y señores, put your hands together for the fantastic, spectacular, one of a kind . . . Niño! Fwap! Slish! Bloop! Krunch! He takes down his competition in a single move! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño―popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor!
Don’t miss out on some other awesome resources to stave off summer brain drain for your kids and keep that summer learning going all season long!