Finding Summer Fun Inspiration Through Picture Books

umbrella at beach

Summer vacation has been under way for a few weeks now, and while kids never want that freedom to end,  they -- or their loving yet beleaguered parents -- might be looking for ideas of what to do with the free time that remains.  Maybe the themes of these children’s books will spark an idea or two -- or at the very least, a visit to the library is a wonderful way to break up the day! It’s not too late to Carpe Aestas! (Seize the Summer!)

 

 

 

 

VISIT AN AQUARIUM:

Aquarium book cover art

Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE ALONSO

Alonso has created a wordless picture book where the illustrations speak for themselves.  When a little girl finds a fish on a nearby dock, she takes it to her house where she creates an awe-inspiring aquarium for her new friend, until she ultimately realizes that she must return it to its original home.  If you have a chance to visit a local aquarium (sometimes we have discounted tickets to the aquarium in Riverhead, so give us a call!), this would be a great way to compare the girl’s imaginative solution to the real thing, or your child could use artwork to brainstorm their own ideas of how they would make an elaborate home for a fish in your house!

TAKE A TRIP TO THE BEACH:

To the Beach! cover art

To The Beach by Linda Ashman (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE ASHMAN (SUMMER STORIES)

In this rhythmic story with charming illustrations, a family eagerly embarks on a trip to the beach, but has to constantly return home to pick up forgotten items. If you read this book before your family’s beach trip, maybe you can avoid a similar fate!

 

 

 

GO ON A BIKE RIDE:

The Patchwork Bike cover art

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE CLARKE

The Patchwork Bike is an excellent book for summer vacation, because the theme of the story is all about being creative and making fun with what you have.  The main characters use innovative thinking to create a bike out of a collection of found parts and imagination.  Hopefully this book will inspire your child to request a family bike ride or maybe they can plan what to make from found objects in your home.

 

 

 

STOP BY A SWIMMING POOL:

Jabari Jumps cover art

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE CORNWALL

Today is the day – the day that Jabari will jump off the diving board! Nothing will stop him! Except, maybe, a slight case of nerves.  Hopefully, with some support from his dad, he’ll find the courage to achieve his goals.  This delightful story will surely rouse a desire for a trip to the pool, and with the high temperatures we've been enduring enjoying this summer, I’m sure that plan will be approved by the whole family.

 

 

SPEND A DAY AT THE AMUSEMENT PARK:

Roller Coaster cover art

 Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE FRAZEE

Thanks to amazingly vibrant illustrations, this simple tale of a group of strangers who are about to ride a roller coaster makes readers feel like they’re part of the fun! Whether a day at the amusement park is on your summer vacation agenda or not, this is an entertaining way to imagine how fun a thrill ride can be -- even if your little one (or you) aren’t a fan of coasters in real life!

 

 

GAZE AT THE NIGHT SKY:

A Big Mooncake for Little Star book cover art

 A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE LIN

Lin tells the delightful story of Little Star, who can’t resist her Mama’s baking, so she nibbles a little bit of the big moon cookie each night, mimicking the waning phases of the moon.  This book would be a great companion to a night spent staring at the sky and imagining new stories of the moon, stars, and constellations.

 

EXPLORE A MUSEUM:

Lost in the Museum book cover art

 Lost in the Museum by Will Mabbitt (1st-3rd grade)

J793.73 MABBITT

Similar in style to I Spy books, this immersive book is a seek-and-find adventure set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The idea is that Stevie is lost in the museum and must locate different works of art to find her way back to her family.  While I don’t necessarily recommend your child get lost in a museum, I definitely would recommend a trip to the Met if you are able to make a trip into Manhattan.  (By the way, although the recommended admission price for the Met is $30 for adults/free for children under 12, did you know that New York residents can pay whatever price they like by showing valid NYS ID at the Met ticket desk?  Seriously!)

 

IMMERSE YOURSELVES IN THE OUTDOORS :

Camping Trip book cover art

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE MANN

City resident Ernestine might not be used to the great outdoors, but she couldn’t be more excited for the overnight camping trip she’ll be taking with her aunt and her cousin.  Some of her camping experiences might take a little getting used to, but by the end of the trip, she’s already looking forward to returning next year!  Maybe your family can give camping a try as well?  Even some backyard space would do for a family camping adventure!

 

 

TAKE A NATURE BREAK:

Hike book cover art

 Hike by Pete Oswald (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE OSWALD

Nature awaits a young child and father as they spend a day hiking, exploring nature, and giving back as well.  This nearly wordless book leaves plenty of space for breathtaking imagery.  Surely you can’t resist the call to enjoy the beauty of nature yourself -- or if a hike in the woods is not possible, what about coming up with another idea to help the environment a little closer to home?

 

 

 

ENJOY A SUMMER CAMP EXPERIENCE:

Away book cover art

 Summer Camp by Sher (PreS-2nd grade)

PICTURE SHER

Oh, the joys and tribulations of summer camp!  In this story, cleverly told entirely through sticky notes sent between a mother and daughter, readers get a glimpse of the potential ups and downs of going away to camp.  After reading, you and your child can participate in a sticky note conversation of your own, or maybe set up a summer camp at home for a few days if the full summer camp experience isn’t possible!

Published by on August 06, 2022
Last Modified February 08, 2023