32 Enthralling Summer Reading Books For Kids Of All Ages

06/10/2015 05:05 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2015
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Summer break is upon us! Your kids can't wait to hit the pool, hang with friends or escape to camp. You're worried they'll forget how to read -- the dreaded "summer slide" looms in your mind -- so you look around for something to throw in the swim bag or camp suitcase.

But what's that you say? The toddlers have eaten all their board books? The elementary schoolers have read everything on their shelves? The tweens and teens think reading is boring and they'd rather hang at the local pizza joint? Not to worry! HuffPost blogger Devon Corneal has compiled this collection of wonderful titles even the most reluctant readers won't be able to resist. Check them out, and add your own suggestions in the comments.

Little Readers (Pre-K)

  • Where's the Pair?, by Britta Teckentrup
    Britta Teckentrup is a master of illustration and color. Your child will spend hours searching through this book of creatures big and small for matching pairs of gloriously drawn animals. Beware of the decoys!
  • 8: An Animal Alphabet, by Elisha Cooper
    When you're an author, you can do anything you want. For Elisha Cooper, author of Train and Beaver is Lost, that means you can make an alphabet book filled with a multitude of common and uncommon animals. You can also then repeat one animal for each letter eight times because eight is your favorite number. Enjoy Cooper's gorgeous watercolor illustrations and encourage your child to find the repeated animals in the midst of the zoological wonders on each page. X is pretty easy. I'm just saying.
  • I Don't Want to Be a Frog, by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt
    A frog doesn't want to be a frog, so he begins to imagine what it would be like to be other animals. What about a rabbit? Or a cat? Despite what his father tells him, young frog doesn't believe there's anything good about being green until ... well, you'll have to read it to find out. Your youngest will be in stitches reading this silly story.
  • Wait, by Antoinette Portis
    Using only the words "wait" and "hurry," Antoinette Portis perfectly captures the daily tensions involved in getting a small child to school. Where a toddler sees opportunities to meet neighborhood animals and dodge raindrops, his mother sees only obstacles designed to make them late. Parents and children alike will recognize themselves in these pages -- and maybe learn to see the other's point of view in the process.
  • The Tortoise and the Hare, by Alison Ritchie, illustrated by Nahta Noj
    Colorful and creative, this cut-out book tells the classic racing tale in a whole new way. You may already know how it ends, but the journey has never been more fun.
  • Ice Cream Summer, by Peter Sis
    I personally hate the ice cream truck, with its cloying music and annoying ability to show up just when I'm trying to get my kid to eat something healthy. That being said, I seem to be in the minority. In the latest from Peter Sis, one little boy can't get the delicious frozen treat out of his head. Full of fun facts and inventive illustrations, this is a perfect book for those long, humid days of summer.

Picture Books

  • Ella, by Mallory Kasdan, illustrated by Marcos Chin
    It's a new century, and we need a new spoiled hotel dweller to love. Eloise, meet Ella. Ella is an urban child who lives at The Local Hotel. She has a nanny named Manny, starts her day with yoga, and attends fundraisers for Hillary Clinton. Take Eloise out of the Plaza, put her on a scooter, and give her a smartphone -- and what you get is sheer perfection.
  • The Book With No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
    OK -- so technically, this isn't a picture book. I mean, it has no pictures. But what it lacks in illustrations, it makes up for in sheer funny. If you missed the hype about it last year, now is your time to add this title to your home library. You won't be disappointed, although you may end up a little embarrassed, or even slightly humiliated. Trust me, it's all for a good cause.
  • Wolfie the Bunny, by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
    Ame Dyckman is a favorite author of mine, and her latest book is as clever as I've come to expect. When the bunny family adopts a wolf cub, little Dot is the only one who seems to realize the danger they're in. Can Dot learn to accept her new sibling, and can Wolfie learn to eat carrots instead of rabbits for lunch?
  • Battle Bunny, by Jon Scieszka, and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matthew Myers
    Ever gotten a book and wanted it to be a little different? Tell a better story? It's in your power to change that, you know. When one little boy gets a book called Birthday Bunny, he decides he'd prefer the story to be about an eye-patch-wearing soldier rabbit, and changes the words and the pictures to create the story he'd like to read. (Kids, just don't do this to all your books. Your parents won't be happy.)
  • Little Bird's Bad Word, by Jacob Grant
    Little Bird has just learned a new word from his dad, and he's eager to share it with his friends. Unfortunately, Little Bird doesn't realize that this word is not a nice word. It's one that's going to get him into trouble. An important lesson told with cheerful illustrations and a perfect last page for the grown-ups, this is a must-read before your kids head off to summer camp and start learning a bunch of new words.
  • You may not know all the rules of being a superhero, so it's a good thing someone wrote them down. Otherwise, how would we know what to do once we've put on our mask and cape?
  • Max's Math, by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
    The best way to keep kids learning is to pretend that they're not. Hide interesting information inside funny, clever and interesting books so they think they're just reading a story, while you secretly spoon-feed them math and logic problems. In this fantastic picture book of mixed-up numbers and shapes, Max spends his days looking for problems and figuring out how to solve them. Your kids will have no idea what hit them.
  • Sleeping Cinderella, by Stephanie Clarkson, illustrated by Brigette Barrager
    Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty are bored with their stories. Each thinks the others have it better. When they switch places, they'll discover that maybe the grass isn't greener over at the other castle.
  • Bear and Duck, by Katy Hudson
    Bear doesn't want to be a bear. He wants to be a duck. He is tired of his shaggy fur and sleeping all winter and eating honey. So he asks for help. But when he gets it, he learns that being a bear isn't so bad after all.
  • Skunk, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
    Skunks are smelly and sneaky and very persistent. So if one starts to follow you, I suggest you lose him, and fast. If you can, that is.
  • Good Night, Firefly, by Gabriel Alborozo
    Nothing says summer like catching fireflies. So it isn't surprising that Nina captures a single firefly one evening and puts it in a jar to light up her room and scare away the shadows. But when the firefly's light starts to dim, Nina has to decide how to fix him.
  • Welcome to the Neighborwood, by Shawn Sheehy
    Love the outdoors? Love animals and bugs? Love books? Then this book is for you. Since it's filled with intricate pop-ups of animals found in and around our backyards, woods, and ponds, your child can compare the paper version to the real thing during the long summer days.
  • Orion and the Dark, by Emma Yarlett
    Orion is scared of the dark. To be fair, Orion is actually scared of everything, but the dark is particularly problematic. But one night, the Dark comes to visit and takes Orion on an adventure to overcome his fears. Suddenly, the dark doesn't seem so frightening.

Tweens & Teens

  • The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure, by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
    My neighbor's chickens do a lot of pecking and squawking and egg laying. Those are normal chickens. Dirt, Sugar, Poppy and Sweetie, however, have bigger plans. Not content with life in the coop, they're out to solve mysteries and fight crime. They'll start with a panicky Squirrel and move on from there.
  • Claudia and Reese Tapper are at war. Maybe. Or maybe they're not. If they are, no one is really sure who started it or why. What starts out with the usual pranks between siblings quickly escalates until these twins have to decide whether they're willing to pay the price to destroy each other. Anyone with a brother or sister will be able to relate.
  • Pip Bartlett's Guide To Magical Creatures, by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
    Take a tribble, cross it with Hermione and throw in a bit of Nancy Drew and you'll start to get a sense of what you're in for when you meet Pip Bartlett. Pip can talk to magical creatures -- although not everyone believes her. When the Fuzzles invade town, it's up to Pip to figure out what's going on and stop them from taking over.
  • Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
    Theo Tenpenny is having a rough summer. She's broke, her mom won't leave the house, her neighbor hates her chickens, and her grandfather has just died, leaving her in possession of what could possibly be a stolen (and priceless) Renaissance painting. And you thought summer school was bad.
  • Anyone But Ivy Pocket, by Caleb Krisp
    Ivy Pocket is a clueless and slightly deluded orphan with an attitude. She's also the last person you'd expect to be entrusted with the delivery of a priceless necklace. Part Jane Eyre, part Lemony Snicket and a lot of fun, Anyone But Ivy Pocket is a must-read of the summer.
  • Story Thieves, by James Riley
    When Owen discovers his classmate, Bethany, climbing out of a book, school goes from boring to life-changing in an instant. When Owen learns that Bethany is half-fictional and is jumping in and out of books to find her father, Owen blackmails Bethany into taking him into his favorite series. What he finds there, however, will change his life forever.
  • Shivers! The Pirate Who's Afraid of Everything, by Annabeth Bondor-Stone & Connor White, illustrated by Anthony Holden
    Most pirates are brave and bold and a little rough around the edges. Not Shivers. He's the scarediest pirate who ever lived. Still, you can't help but love him and his loyal fishmate. Read this book and you'll never look at pirates the same way again. Or giant squid, for that matter.
  • Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley
    If you're looking for a magical and heartwarming story for your summer reading, this is it. Micah's grandfather has long regaled him with stories of the Circus Mirandus and its host of extraordinary creatures and performers -- including the Man Who Bends Light, who owes Grandpa Ephraim a miracle. When Micah realizes his grandfather is dying, he sets out to find the Circus and collect on the Lightbender's promise to save his grandfather. But what happens if he doesn't succeed?
  • Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige
    Sometimes, things happen. Bad things. Sometimes, you get ripped up by a tornado and sent to Oz, to discover that the story you've been told all your life may not, in fact, be true. Dorothy might be evil -- and if she is, maybe she has to die. For anyone who likes a good story turned on its head, Dorothy Must Die is a must-read. Then, check out the sequel, The Wicked Must Rise, to see what happens next.
  • The Iron Trial, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
    Callum Hunt has to pass the Iron Trial to be admitted to the Magisterium -- it's every kid's dream. At least, it is for everyone but Callum. His father warned him against the dangers of the Iron Trial and the magic it involves. So now Callum is doing his best to fail -- but at what cost?
  • Hellhole, by Gina Damico
    Max Kilgore didn't mean to unleash a devil. Really. But now it's here and living in Max's basement. In order to protect everything he loves, Max has to comply with his new houseguest's demands, which stretch to lots of junk food and a hot tub. There's plenty of hilarious to balance out the troubling in this new novel from the author of Croak.
  • Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
    Mare Barrow has red blood, which in today's world wouldn't be anything remarkable. In her world, however, Mare is a second-class citizen at best, ruled by those with silver blood and supernatural powers. But one day, Mare discovers that she has powers, too -- and becomes embroiled in a dangerous game set in motion by the king in order to save her life and those of the people she loves.
  • Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern
    Amy Van Dorn has a problem. She doesn't have any friends, which could be because she can only speak with the help of a computer and has been surrounded by person aides her entire life. Cerebral Palsy has its downsides. But this is her senior year of high school, and Amy is determined to change everything. And that's when she meets Matthew and things change in ways she could never have imagined.

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