We still have about four weeks left of school this year, but with warmer temperatures outside come visions of the hot summer months and activities we can plan to pass the time. Reading is obviously a huge part of our life during the school year, but that certainly doesn’t stop when we put our school books away for the summer. Today I thought I’d share a few of our favorite books with warmer-weather themes. Or no themes….just good books. 🙂
Summer by Gerda Muller. This book has no words, but shows scenes anyone might experience during an average summer day. It’s beautifully illustrated and is part of a four-season series that our kids have enjoyed since they were teeny tiny.
Summer Story by Jill Barklem. This is another series of books that C especially loves. This one tells the story of preparations in the mouse town of Brambly Hedge for a summer wedding. The illustrations in these books are gorgeous and both of my kids especially love the cutout images of the little mouse homes showing how everything is laid out.
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. Without fail, every single time we read this, my kids want to make their own circle of sunflowers in the backyard.
The Curious Fish by Elsa Beskow. I’ve mentioned Elsa Beskow before and I’ll probably be mentioning her forever as we love her quirky little books. This one is about a fish who wants to explore, gets caught, but is rescued by friends with a little magic.
The Land of Long Ago by Elsa Beskow. Another Elsa Beskow book about two children who use their imagination to travel to a far away land and the adventures they encounter.
Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey. I am a huge admirer of Robert McCloskey’s illustrations and without fail, this book makes me want to move to Maine every single time I read it.
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey. Another beautifully illustrated book from Robert McCloskey about a girl losing her first took while clamming with her dad.
Summertime in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Renee Graef. C loves the My First Little House Books series as I think young Laura is her kindred spirit. I also love that these are based on Garth Williams’ illustrations from the blue series of the “real” books that I’ve had since I was a little girl.
A Little Prairie House by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Renee Graef. Another in the My First Little House Books that summarized the Ingalls family’s journey across the plains and the building of their log home. We love this book in particular as our little neighborhood is surrounded by vast prairie land.
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran. Barbara Cooney’s illustrations are magical and this story pairs so well with them. We read this just before visiting family in Arizona and it was the perfect introduction to the southwestern United States.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. This classic, a lovely little rhyming book about a little girl living in a boarding house who gets appendicitis, includes beautiful illustrations of sites from around the city of Paris.
Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans. Another book in the Madeline series, this one has the girls traveling to London (with more lovely illustrations of the city) to visit their friend, Pepito, to celebrate his birthday.
Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett. Jan Brett is another author-illustrator whose books are not only a feast for the mind but also the eyes. She includes wonderful details in all of her illustrations and one of my kids’ favorite parts of reading her books is finding the little things she sneaks into each page. This is the classic story of the town mouse and the country mouse trading places and finding things to be thankful for where they’re from.
Mossy by Jan Brett. Another story filled with Jann Brett’s amazing art, this book is about a turtle who is taken to live in a local museum and her subsequent return to her beloved pond.
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear. The classic poem illustrated by Jan Brett, this is one of C’s favorite books in our collection.
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema. With colorful illustrations, this book tells the story of how Ki-pat, who tends the animals on the plain, ended a draught and made it rain.
The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. This book introduces children to the idea of simply listening when you’re out walking, or even when you’re sitting in your room, and lists some of the sounds you might hear.
Amos & Boris by William Steig. This story, about helping others in need and the beauty of frendship, is one of my very favorites of all the picture books we own.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. This one is so popular in our house that we also own the audiobook version. This is the story of Sylvester, a donkey who finds a magic pebble, makes a wish, and immediately regrets it. William Steig had a talented way of taking complex issues that might be somewhat scary for a child and simplifying them in such a way that they’re easier for children to work through.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. This is another one of my favorites as it’s a book I received at my baby shower for B. This is the story of a sensitive bull who is recruited to fight in Barcelona but surprises everyone at the stadium.
The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela by Cristina Kessler. This is the story of a determined little girl who decides to make the best honey in her village despite others laughing at her.
The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie da Paola. No picture book list would be complete without at least one from Tomie daPaola, who is another favorite in our house. This one is about the unlikely outcome of a fight between a knight and a dragon.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev. This is a cute little book about how excluding others because of differences is wrong and how beautiful welcoming all can be.
The Empty Pot by Demi. This story from China tells the story of a challenge from the Emperor to find his successor and the value of honesty.
Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. Most people know about The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Eric Carle has also written and illustrated many other books about other animals such as this fun one about a seahorse who carries his eggs around and learns how other sea dads take care of their babies.
Little Cloud by Eric Carle. Eric Carle has also made books about other natural objects, like clouds! This one is about a little cloud who enjoys going his own way as well as joining the crowd.
Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton. Another cute little story about a little owl who gets lost and how he eventually finds his way back to his mother with help from friends.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. This is based on the true story of a boy living in Malawi who dropped out of school and spent most of his time reading books at the library. There he learned ways to help his village, including building windmills out of scrap metal.
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. Another classic that includes a man peddling an enormous stack of hats balanced his head and monkeys in trees. A perfect little story that contains just the right amount of silliness.
Johnny Kaw: A Tall Tale by Devin Scillian. This book with watercolor paintings is about the life of a sort of Paul Bunyan of the plains. A must-read if you live in the middle states of the upper United States.
Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle. This book includes illustrations reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts. It tells the story of a young, 17th-century girl who found butterflies so fascinating that she decided to study them in secret despite the risk of those around her accusing her of witchcraft.
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. This book is honestly good at any time of year and is another one of our favorites. It tells the story of a quiltmaker and a king who has everything and teaches a lesson about the gift of sharing.
The Quiltmaker’s Journey by Jeff Brumbeau. This is the “prequel” to The Quiltmaker’s Gift, explaining where she came from and the journey she took that eventually led her to becoming The Quiltmaker.
Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favorite picture books?