Best summer books for kids of all ages

This is a guest post by Lauren Savage, the owner of Reading Bug Box, a nationwide subscription box service for children’s books. We’ve been getting Reading Bug Box for about a year and are huge fans. They have an uncanny ability to choose the perfect books for each of my kids, so I was thrilled to have Lauren give us some of her best tips for high-interest books at every stage.

During the school year, many school-age kids are required to read for a certain number of minutes per day either alone or out loud with a parent. I like having that routine…a schedule that keeps my kids on track. But as summer arrives, schedules change with camps, vacations and other craziness. Finding time to read (and the right books for your child’s age and interests) can be a challenge. I’ve listed some of my favorites for every age.


Babies (newborn to 1 year)

Just about anything goes at this age…babies love to hear the sound of your voice!  At our daily storytimes at The Reading Bug, we like to introduce babies to music & movement early on.  Some of our favorites include:  Port Side Pirates, Driving My Tractor, Duck & Goose Let’s Dance and a new picture book version of the 80’s hit Footloose featuring animals! Looking for a newborn gift book? All the Wonderful Things You Will Be has gorgeous artwork and a lovely message for a new baby and parent.




Toddlers (1-3 years)

Rhythm and Rhyme are great for this age group to keep kids engaged.  Toddlers just want to explore and keeping them still for a story can be quite a task. Try bouncing your toddler on your knee to the rhythm of a rhyming book!  Some favorite rhyming books are Down to the Sea With Mr. Magee, The Lion Inside, and most any book by Julia Donaldson.  Her new book with Helen Oxenbury, The Giant Jumperee has fun rhymes…”I’m the giant jumperee and I’m as scary as can be!”

4-5 years

I love the theme of friendship & kindness…we all know the world can use more of these important virtues.  Kids start to form real friendships and begin to learn about empathy around this age. My favorite friendship book is The Spiffiest Giant.  I also love The Sandwich Swap, The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles (this one is really for ALL ages including grown-ups), and a clever book about standing up for one another, Stick & Stone.

6-7 years

These 2 years are so exciting because your child is learning to read! Building that confidence and finding the right material (to keep that confidence growing) can be tricky.  We love the Fly Guy series for very early readers.  And early chapter books such as Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series or the new Princess in Black series are wonderful illustrated chapter books.   Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie series is fantastic for new readers and although Mo is no longer writing these books, there is a new spin off series featuring the characters.  We are Growing and The Cookie Fiasco are the first two hilarious books in the new series. We Are Growing recently won the Theodor Seuss Geisel award.


8 years

Eight year olds are at such an in-between age because many books are written for ages 6-8 OR 8-12.  Content can become dense in the 8-12 year old category and the books are longer which can be daunting for some and thrilling for others.  Many are still too young to read Harry Potter alone still but reading it aloud can be a great way to spend a Summer evening!  There are new illustrated editions of books 1 & 2 out now!  For something slightly less challenging but also so much fun, try Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures.  This new series is a great alternative and may be able to be read alone if you have a child who loves fantasy.  Pip even draws diagrams of some of the fantastical creatures she meets!


9-10 years

For kids who do not care for fantasy, there is some excellent realistic fiction for this age group including Jennifer Holm’s Full of Beans (you’ll also want to check out her new graphic novels in the Sunny Side Up series… Swing it, Sunny releases early in the Fall).  If you have girl who likes books such as Dork Diaries, do not miss I Love You Michael Collins…a new book about a girl who writes letters to an astronaut revealing stories about her life and family throughout.  This book releases on June 20th and is available for pre-order.

11-12 years


Ready to explore all types of genres?  If you find your child is just reading one type of book, here are a few to help expand their repertoire.  How about a mixture of mystery and science…pick up Jack and the Geniuses. It’s written by Bill Nye, the Science Guy!!!  Another new favorite is A Crack in the Sea.  This book weaves historical fiction with mythology and fantasy which is perfect for every reader because it spans so many interests all in one book!  


Need more suggestions?  We’ll do the work for you… subscribe to Reading Bug Box and we’ll send you a personalized selection of the best books based on your child’s age and interests every month.  For a special extra addition to our summer month boxes, we are presenting Reading Bug Bingo.  Fill up the bingo card over the summer, and send it back to us…we’ll send you a certificate of completion and an extra gift in your next box!


Be sure to follow us on Instagram or Facebook where we often post anecdotes about new favorite books and authors.

Lauren Savage is the owner of The Reading Bug, a children’s bookstore in San Carlos, CA and Reading Bug Box, a nationwide subscription box service.  She lives in San Carlos with her husband and 3 children, ages 8, 6, and 1.  


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