Maintain that vital school-year reading progress and get some QT at the same time, with these summer read-alouds.
With summer vacation in full swing, you may be seeing a lot more of your kid. So why not make the most of your face time and their free time with summer read-alouds? Reading during summer break is the best possible way to keep the learning momentum going from the school year. And reading out loud together has the dual benefit of letting you take part of that journey while making some great memories along the way.
So we’ve pulled together some of the best titles on Epic to get you started. From early children’s books for kids getting ready for kindergarten to more advanced picture books for older readers, check out this list of some of our best summer read-alouds below.
Written by: Child’s Play
Illustrated by: Ailie Busby
Ages: 4 & under
This digital version of the adorable board book is one of our favorite summer read-alouds for preschoolers, and it’s the perfect way to introduce them to all things summer. From ice cream and water fights to bare feet and tickly grass, it’ll warm your early and pre-reader’s hearts. With simple text and cheerful illustrations, it’s a bright, sensory way for you to enjoy summer themes together.
By: Patricia Keeler
Who doesn’t remember the familiar sounds of the ice cream truck making its way through the neighborhood during a hot summer day? Meet Scoop, an old-fashioned truck that’s seen his fair share of summers. But lately, he doesn’t quite feel like he fits in. The newer trucks are more modern. They offer organic options and a plethora of flavors and toppings, putting his humble vanilla cones to shame (or so he thinks). He sets out to change and catch up to the rest, but when his old frame makes it impossible for him to make the necessary upgrades, he discovers through friendship that he’s perfect the way he is. With colorful illustrations and heartfelt storytelling, it’s the perfect read-aloud to share with your little one.
Written by: Shana Keller
Illustrated by: Ramona Kaulitzki
One evening a lone firefly is carried out over the sea, and gazing down at the shimmer waters it mistakes it for other fireflies. Wanting to join its ”family,” it dives into the ocean waves. Some human bystanders see the plunge and come to its aid, stopping it from the water. Based on real events witnessed by nature writer and ecologist Rachel Carson and told in rich, lyrical rhyming text, this gorgeously illustrated book will inspire wonder in your child. It also includes fascinating science facts on fireflies and bioluminescence (the mechanism that allows creatures like fireflies to emit light), making it one of the most illuminating summer read-alouds on this list, for both you and your kid.
Written by: Devin Scillian
“Day OneI swam around my bowl. Day Two I swam around my bowl. Twice.“ So begins this diary-style Read-To-Me book starring a contentedly solitary Goldfish. One day, his personal space is invaded by an assortment of intruders, including a slime-eating snail, a pair of lovey-dovey guppies, a crabby crab and others. Things get more and more crowded and chaotic and he desperately misses his peace and quiet. But over time he warms up to his new companions and finds out what he’d been missing. This book teaches kids that while at times it‘s tough, being part of a family can be better than being alone. And, bonus! If your kid like this book, they’ll love this printable activity guide.
By: Heena Baek
This witty, slightly weird take on the classic folktale will offer your kid a whimsical introduction into the world of Korean folklore. One sweltering summer night, everyone is struggling to fall asleep. And the heat is so intense, the moon begins to melt! Granny can hear the dripping and scrambles to catch the moon drops in a bucket. What to do with a bucket of moon drops, she wonders. Turn them into ice-cold moon popsicles (moon pops), of course! Granny’s moon pops help her neighbors stay cool. But then the rabbits who live on the moon have lost their home. So she uses the remaining moon drops to grow them a new moon. With otherworldly illustrations and quirky narration, this picture book will enchant you and your child.
By: Paul Meisel
In this hilarious installment of the The Nature Diary series, your kid can get an accurate “bug’s-eye-view” look at the life cycle of the praying mantis. P. Mantis opens his diary by jubilantly declaring: “I was born today! It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day!” One of 150 siblings, P. Mantis discovers that she can hide from predators by making herself look like a stick, and eventually she can even fly. Her diary focuses on her entire life, including the not so bright moments (“I ate one of my brothers. Okay, maybe two”). Colorful artwork and engaging text bring this fascinating creature’s existence to life in an entertaining, often humorous way.
By: Paul Reichert
When Caroline sees her disabled friend Shannon struggling with an old, rundown wheelchair, she starts a lemonade stand and begins selling cups using her grandmother’s secret recipe to help buy a new one. As other kids take notice, they each do their part to pitch in: looking for spare change, washing cars and more. The kids’ efforts inspire Caroline’s grandmother to raise funds with a paddle race down the river. This inspiring book shows kids the value of helping others and the infectious power of kindness.
By Gaia Cornwell
When Dad takes Jabari and his little sister to the pool, Jabari is convinced that today is the day he will jump off the high dive. He’s finished his swim lessons and he’s not scared. He’s ready… or is he? This beautifully illustrated story is the perfect summer read-aloud to show kids how, even though tackling new skills might make them a little nervous, it can turn into a great achievement.
Written by: Taghreed Najjar
Illustrated by: Maya Fidawi
Noura LOVES watermelon. In fact, she refuse to eat anything else. She sees no harm in it, until one night she hides the summer treat under her bed, and it grows and grows and grows until the bed reaches the ceiling. She walks through a door on the side of it, and what ensures is a wild adventure that serves as a cautionary tale to any kid about being too greedy, and shows them that it’s better to try new things and share than to overdo it with one food. The silly, hilarious illustrations will get your kid giggling, even as they learn a valuable lesson.
Written by: Margret Rey and H.A. Rey
George is back! And he’s looking for a way to beat the summer heat and cool off. Ice cream seems like the perfect idea, but he misses the ice cream truck. So he tries splashing around the pool, running through sprinklers, sipping on a glass of lemonade… but nothing works. When he spots the truck coming down the corner, he gets the perfect idea to make sure this time, he catches it so he can finally get a fix of his favorite cold treat.
Written by: Candace Fleming
Illustrated by: Amy Hevron
From the award-winning author of “Honeybee” comes this rich depiction of dozens of species of ocean life that dwell in the tide pools along the Pacific Coast. Some look like plants, some move too slowly to see that they’re moving, and others sometimes too fast to see at all. They range in size from microscopic to roughly the size of a small hand. All of these creatures have evolved to rely on the tides to survive the drying effects of the sun. Known for making science and nature fun for kids, Fleming presents an engaging account of this fascinating habitat.
Written by: Joe McGee
Illustrated by: Bea Tormo
This first installment of the Epic Originals series is a funny, heartwarming introduction to a very special camp, “where being different isn’t unusual…it’s FUNusual!” Norm is a Bigfoot worried about fitting in. Oliver, the only human, is small enough to be knocked over by a strong wind. With the help of their new friends, Hazel (a hyperactive jackalope) and Wisp (a boy fairy who has trouble flying), they’ll have to work together to earn their canoeing certification without disturbing the resident lake monster—or the villain Barnaby Snoop, who will stop at nothing to capture Norm for his personal rare creature collection. If your kid is a fan of Norm’s summer adventures, check out part two and part three of The Secret of Shadow Lake next.
Written by: Julie Danneberg
Illustrated by: Judy Love
Fans of Mrs. Hartwell of the acclaimed Jitters series will love spending the last day of school in classroom. In this sweet story, Mrs. Hartwell’s students fret that she‘ll miss them too much over summer vacation, so they come up with a plan to help make sure she won‘t be too sad. The usual antics ensue to hilarious effect as Mrs. Hartwell‘s and the other teachers‘ plans plans come to odds with their own. This is part of an entire series about zany, but heartwarming in-class adventures that encourage kids to step into their teachers’ shoes and see things from their point of view.
Written by: Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by: Sarah S. Brannen
Most grade schoolers are familiar with winter hibernation, but what about sleeping all summer? This book introduces kids to a phenomenon known as estivation, a state of prolonged sleep during hot, dry periods. With engaging watercolor illustrations and fun facts throughout, it’ll teach your kid about 12 estivating creatures and critters and their habits, from ladybugs and salamanders to desert hedgehogs.
Written by: Craig Battle
Welcome to Camp Avalon, also known to campers as Camp Average. In the final book of the series, Mack and Andre, who normally spend the summer at Camp Avalon, are at the rival Camp Killington. While they’re being bullied by their fellow campers, their friend Miles is at Camp Average trying to keep the peace and get Mack and Andre back on their home turf.
Reading this entertaining chapter book (and series) together will not only help hone their skills, it’ll be a great conversation starter about relatable themes like friendship, teamwork and cooperation.
Written by: Dana Meachen Rau
Illustrated by: Kathleen Petelinsek
While not technically a ”read-aloud” book, it’s the perfect choice to enjoy some fun times together with your older kid. Take a trip to the beach and this informative how-to book will fill you in on the basics of how to erect the most epic sandcastles. It‘ll also give you lots of practice as it walks you through building your own modern city, haunted hill, intricate sand maze and more. You’ll never be stumped on how to create a sturdy, imaginative, awe-inspiring sand creation again.
Want more great summer read-alouds? Check out these picks not on our platform, all available on Amazon.
- “A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee,” byChris Van Dusen
- “And then Comes Summer,” by Tom Brenner
- “James and the Giant Peach,” by Roald Dahl
- “Rosetown Summer,“ Cynthia rylant
- “The Lemonade War,” Jacqueline Davies
That’s our book list! For even more summer book recommendations, check out our Go Anywhere summer reading adventure, featuring 6 weeks of fun summer collections. You can also find more summer activities and summer read-alouds on Epic in our post: “Come Together Through Reading.”