Summer Reading List: Age-by-Age Guide to Fun Reads

by Madeleine Deliee
Jun 10, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. ET
This age-by-age guide will help your kids discover the beauty of reading this summer.
Image: Getty Images, Amazon/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

Reading early and often offers a ton of benefits, both for kids and for their parents. Not only does it build language skills, it also increases the ability to visualize and use imaginative thinking to foster empathy and understanding. Reading also provides a moment of quiet in which parent and child may bond without distraction. Opportunities like that often seem increasingly hard to come by, but even just one story at bedtime helps to create a habit that has lifelong benefits.

These titles are a mix of classics and newer works that I've loved reading and sharing over the years. Try to talk to your child about what you're reading, whether it’s together or solo, and see what they think of the book. Not only will this help you to find other future favorites, but it will provide insight into how they are thinking and growing in other ways as well. Parent tip: If reading is a less-desired activity, I've found that setting up a book picnic with lemonade and snacks helps to sell summertime reading. Enjoy! 

1 /28: 0 – 3: 'Over in the Meadow'

1/28 :0 – 3: 'Over in the Meadow'

Over in the Meadow by Olive A. Wadsworth features beautiful illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats and a lovely end-of-day rhyming story. (Amazon, $5.99)

2 /28: 0 – 3: 'In the Night Kitchen'

2/28 :0 – 3: 'In the Night Kitchen'

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak has simple text and comical illustrations. This is a good one for older siblings too. (Amazon, $4.51)

3 /28: 0 – 3: 'Hippos Go Beserk'

3/28 :0 – 3: 'Hippos Go Beserk'

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton has plenty of the author's usual sense of fun and silliness. (Amazon, $4.41)

4 /28: 0 – 3: 'Hush! A Thai Lullaby'

4/28 :0 – 3: 'Hush! A Thai Lullaby'

Rhythmic language and lots of animals make Hush: A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho a great choice. (Amazon, $6.85) 

5 /28: 0 – 3: 'Blueberries for Sal'

5/28 :0 – 3: 'Blueberries for Sal'

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is a classic story of berries and bears and good for reading to older and younger kids together. (Amazon, $6) 

6 /28: 0 – 3: 'Tails'

6/28 :0 – 3: 'Tails'

Tails by Matthew Van Fleet is a board book with fun rhymes and tails that can be moved around — just make sure kids know to be somewhat gentle or you end up (as we did) with ripped-off tails. (Amazon, $11.15) 

7 /28: 4 – 6: 'The Seven Silly Eaters'

7/28 :4 – 6: 'The Seven Silly Eaters'

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman is a fantastic choice for the picky eater in your life, with beautiful illustrations and rhyming text. (Amazon, $6.58)

8 /28: 4 – 6: 'Monsoon'

8/28 :4 – 6: 'Monsoon'

Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami follows a girl who is waiting for the yearly storm and has gorgeous pictures. Kids love the idea of all that rain! (Amazon, $5.98)

9 /28: 4 – 6: 'Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like'

9/28 :4 – 6: 'Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like'

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay Williams is an entertaining story that reminds kids to not judge by appearance, plus it has amazing illustrations. (Amazon, $9.99)

10 /28: 4 – 6: 'Bee-Bim Bop!'

10/28 :4 – 6: 'Bee-Bim Bop!'

Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park has a bouncy rhythm plus a recipe for bee-bim bop that kids will actually want to try to cook. (Amazon, $6.10)

11 /28: 4 – 6: 'Chrysanthemum'

11/28 :4 – 6: 'Chrysanthemum'

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes stars a relatable (mouse) main character who learns to be proud of her unique name. (Amazon, $4.99)

12 /28: 4 – 6: 'The Rainbow Goblins'

12/28 :4 – 6: 'The Rainbow Goblins'

The Rainbow Goblins by Ul de Rico is a fun story of the bad guys getting what they deserve, related with beautifully painted illustrations. (Amazon, $15.48)

13 /28: 4 – 6: 'Tar Beach'

13/28 :4 – 6: 'Tar Beach'

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold takes a loving look back at summer in the city and growing up in 1930s Harlem. (Amazon, $7.99)

14 /28: 7 – 9: 'Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing'

14/28 :7 – 9: 'Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing'

Judy Blume's perennial classic Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is just as funny, honest and fresh today as when it was published.(Amazon, $4.97)

15 /28: 7 – 9: 'Ronia, the Robber's Daughter'

15/28 :7 – 9: 'Ronia, the Robber's Daughter'

From Astrid Lindgren, the author of the Pippi Longstocking books, Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter is the story of a girl who refuses to do what's expected of her. (Amazon, $5.95)

16 /28: 7 – 9: 'From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

16/28 :7 – 9: 'From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg is the story of a brother and sister who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and become mixed up in a mystery of artistic identity. (Amazon, $4.91)

17 /28: 7 – 9: 'The Egypt Game'

17/28 :7 – 9: 'The Egypt Game'

In The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, a group of children become fascinated with ancient Egyptian culture, but then strange things start happening. Note: There is some near-violent danger at the end of the book. (Amazon, $5.79)

18 /28: 7 – 9: 'A Box of Clementines'

18/28 :7 – 9: 'A Box of Clementines'

The Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker is a fun, first-person gallop through the world of Clementine, an honest and true-to-life modern girl. (Amazon, $8.59)

19 /28: 7 – 9: 'Danny the Champion of the World'

19/28 :7 – 9: 'Danny the Champion of the World'

Danny the Champion of the World is quieter and more realistic than most of Roald Dahl’s books, but the relationship between Danny and his dad and the way they form and carry out their exciting plan is one of the author's best. (Amazon, $7.99)

20 /28: 7 – 9: 'The Hundred Dresses'

20/28 :7 – 9: 'The Hundred Dresses'

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is a still-timely story about who people are, who they seem to be, and what our treatment of others really means. (Amazon, $6.14)

21 /28: 10 – 12: 'I Survived'

21/28 :10 – 12: 'I Survived'

The historical fiction series I Survived by Lauren Tarshis is exciting and fast-paced. Recommended for more mature readers because of the danger in each. (Amazon, $31.01)

22 /28: 10 – 12: 'The Mysterious Benedict Society'

22/28 :10 – 12: 'The Mysterious Benedict Society'

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is a great choice for fans of Harry Potter and/or the Lemony Snicket books. (Amazon, $6.99)

23 /28: 10 – 12: 'The One and Only Ivan'

23/28 :10 – 12: 'The One and Only Ivan'

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a beautiful novel-in-verse series of poems told through the perspective of a gorilla in a run down petting zoo. (Amazon, $6.78)

24 /28: 10 – 12: 'Where the Red Fern Grows'

24/28 :10 – 12: 'Where the Red Fern Grows'

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is a classic story of a boy and his dogs — be warned, this one is a tearjerker. (Amazon, $6.39)

25 /28: 10 – 12: 'The Westing Game'

25/28 :10 – 12: 'The Westing Game'

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is a mystery loved by generations, fun and fast-paced. (Amazon, $6.39)

26 /28: 10 – 12: 'Bridge to Terabithia'

26/28 :10 – 12: 'Bridge to Terabithia'

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is a lyrical story of two kids who are outsiders until they find each other. This is another one with an emotionally tough ending. (Amazon, $3.80)

27 /28: 10 – 12: 'The Saturdays'

27/28 :10 – 12: 'The Saturdays'

The first in Elizabeth Enright's series of books about the Melendy family, The Saturdays is about how four siblings decide to pool their resources so they can each have a Saturday doing exactly what they want. (Amazon, $4,26)

28 /28: Great books for kids of all ages

This age-by-age guide will help your kids discover the beauty of reading this summer.
Image: Getty Images, Amazon/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

28/28 :Great books for kids of all ages

Pin this for later and your kids will have glorious books to lose themselves in this summer!