It’s summertime! And you know what that means? Pools, parks, popsicles, and the perfect opportunity to explore reading. There’s nothing better than grabbing a book or two for an afternoon of engaging (but also quiet) activity.
We’ve found that creating a summer reading list—for you or the entire family—not only helps keep our minds sharp; it ultimately encourages creativity, adventure, and outdoor activity. Reading a book about dinosaurs with your kids? Take a field trip to your local natural history museum to bring it to life. Enjoying pirate tales? Have your kids create a scavenger hunt for treasure that can be found on a neighborhood walk. Love the beach? Grab a non-fiction book that details the marine life you might see on your trip.
Here are some of our favorite books that will add to your family’s summer fun. Of course this list is just the beginning, so please share in the comments what you would add to the vacation reading rotation. And enjoy our free printable bookplates as you continue to grow your library this season (see instructions for downloading them below).
Summer Reading Inspiration
1. At Honest, we’re fans of delightful boxes and creatively repurposing them. So, it’s no surprise we love Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. After reading this with your little ones, they’ll dash to the garage to create their own robot, rocket ship, hot air balloon…
2. Celebrate the new season of summer with Green from Laura Vaccaro Seeger. The book brings color and nature to life and will leave you wanting to explore the outdoors. Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure also teaches the signs of the changing seasons, including berries ripening in the warmer months (pie, anyone?). Bonus: It’s printed on recycled paper.
3. Some of our toddlers our obsessed with…garbage! I Stink by Kate McMullan and Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash by Barbara Odanaka are a great way to introduce your kiddos to the trash lifecycle and offers a great jumping off point for talking about how we can reduce, reuse, and recycle.
4. Anything from Oliver Jeffers is in high demand by our kids! Lost and Found is an especially endearing story for animal lovers and can be further explored with a trip to zoo or a volunteer day with a local pet rescue organization.
5. Lauren Child is another author/illustrator not to be missed. Her series of stories about siblings Charlie and Lola are supremely enjoyable (especially read aloud using a British accent). Start out this summer with We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers and I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (a true treasure for your fussy little eaters).
6. If you're looking for something for the 9 to 99 crowd, all of Keri Smith's books are must-haves (unlike any books you've ever seen!). But How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum is the ultimate read for super summer fun. More than just a book, it's a get-out-of-your-seat-and-do-
7. For kids ages 7 to 10, try Babymouse — a super fun, sweet, and silly graphic novel series by Jennifer Holm. Camp Babymouse is perfect for keeping with the summer theme, but you'll probably end up having to get them all. Kids can't put them down! (Holms also has an equally engaging series called Squish about a lively little amoeba if that's more your child's style.)
Free "Summer Fun" Bookplates
Our talented designer Cristina created these colorful bookplates using our most summery Honest patterns, so your kids can have fun creating a library with their fave reads of the season. The four bookplates are printable in any size on sticky paper or labels. Simply download the images, save to your desktop, and resize to your liking using these links for the Strawberry, Hippo, Whale, and Anchor bookplates.