A Quirky Summer Reading List for Your Family

Here’s my idea of a neato summer reading list. I would say this list would best be suited for ages 3-8…a huge age range, I know, so some are for older ones and some are for the wee sweethearts.

1. A lovey dovey read-aloud

IMG_5080I am smitten with Teagan White’s illustrations, AND she is local folk, like went to school at MCAD and lives in Minneapolis local, which makes me happy. This one is all cuddly and warm and fuzzy. Simple and sweet. A hug & kiss and an “I love you!” at the end is inevitable.

2. A charming series of short stories

IMG_4707This classic, written in the 1940’s, charmed me to no end. A club of cats that gather at dusk in the courtyard of a Greenwich Village apartment complex? Sign me up! This one would make a great early read-aloud.

3. A wordless adventure


I was never a fan of wordless books until I read them with a child. The opportunity for a pre-literate child to tell the story in their own words and read to you instead of it always being the other way round completely changed how I felt about this format. “Journey” by Aaron Becker is breath-taking.

4. A Biography for younger ones


This story about Jane Goodall actually made me cry at the end. The illustrations are darling and the message inspiring.

5. A Biography for older ones

IMG_4781If you don’t know Peter Sis, check out all his books now! This book is about the fascinating life of the man who wrote “The Little Prince”. Sis is the master of combining creativity and beauty with hard facts. A tour de force of fantasy and reality.

6. A first read-aloud

IMG_4725This classic is the first ever chapter book you should read to your child. Chock-full of whimsy and humor!

7. An interactive story for the younger set

IMG_5072A pointing and searching game of a book with delightful graphic art. Brian Wildsmith has some gorgeous Bible stories to his name as well.

8. An interactive story for the older set


This one is a little harder because it involves lots of counting and gobs of focus!

9. A book with a lesson


This book is specifically about being biracial: the inevitable identity crisis and the sweet suprise of finding of one’s self in the unexpected.

10. A book of short poems


If you haven’t laid eyes on the masterpieces of Dahlov Ipcar you seriously have not lived!!!!!!!! This book is a great intro to poetry as each short poem about a different bird makes for one cohesive and evocative story.

11. A book of longer poems


For me, poetry for kids is hard. Robert Louis Stevenson kind of gives me a headache…am I allowed to say that? But in this book, another Dahlov gem, poetry comes alive. It’s creative and haunting. It moves and transports. Poetry of the best kind.

12. A collection of famous poems


The whimsical, blindingly bright illustrations breathe new life into a collection of well-known poems.

13. A cute one just for fun


Don Freeman is the master of creating a world in busy places at their most deserted: a bat in an old, dark theater, a bear in an empty department store, a mouse in the back room of a giant museum. Those make for the best of stories.

14. The perfect summer science book


A simple story yet amazingly illustrated and full of facts without being annoyingly ‘facty’. A living book at it’s best.

15-17. Three books set in a foreign country


I adore the “Anatole’ series. Each book has a highjinks-filled plot peppered with French expressions and culture.


A very sweet story of a little girl who lives in Florence, Italy complete with nuns, Gallerias, markets, Piazzas, cats, artists, all things Italia.


London landmarks come alive with Freeman’s bright art and adorable plot.

18. A book to pore over


“D’Aulaire’s Book of Animals” folds out over six feet showcasing animals the world over in their various habitats. The prolific D’Aulaire’s are another great source for beautiful living books.

19.-21. An author study

Tao Nyeu is an artistic genius, creating stories that delight me to no end.


Wonder Bear: Wordless, imaginative merrymaking!


Bunny Days: My favorite of Tao’s. A book where a gaggle of bunnies get sucked up a vacuum, sent through the washing machine, and have their cotton tails sewn back on by an ever-patient bear. The charm overflows from this one.


A story about best friends and how they understand you deeply and love you through the adventure that is life. Humorous and lighthearted. Each page is illustrated with endearing details.

22. A collection of myths


The D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths is a favorite of homeschoolers, but it’s oft-overlooked Norse counterpart is just as if not more compelling.

23. Something short and sweet


A Two-Way Story, meaning you can start at the beginning or the end for two stories in one! Simply a list of words paired with Frank Viva’s quirky illustrations.

24. A magic book


Another Sis…this one definitely for the older ones. I was blown away with this book. An ode to Sis’ homeland, the mysterious Prague.  Haunting, utterly magical, akin to a Miyazaki film.

25. A book to make you cry


This heart-warming story is about adoption and motherhood and family and strength. My favorite part: “Little One was given love and time, the greatest gifts of all.”

No truer words! Delve into this list, spending time discovering new worlds together and showering with love the little (or big) ones cuddled on your lap. These are the gifts that make a house a home, a person a parent, and a gaggle of people a beautiful family.

xoxo chloe ella


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