Kids summer book picks from the Free Library

Wherever you’re heading this summer — the beach, the park down the street, or your very own couch—take the Free Library with you! Summer is a great time to dig into fun and fascinating books, and we’ve handpicked some top summer reads for children, students, and teens. Check out these great titles, and don’t forget—summer is also a great time to visit your neighborhood library! The Library’s Summer of Wonder begins today — readers of all ages are invited to explore, create, play, and, of course, read at the Library all summer long.

Recommendations for Younger Readers (ages 2-7)

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari wants to jump off the high dive, and today is the day. He is really going to do it—his very first time. Jabari says he’s not scared, “but when his dad squeezed his hand, Jabari squeezed back.” The pool looks so far away from up on the dive!  This is a lovely book about a little boy finding the courage to face his fears. Beautifully illustrated, it is perfect for a summertime read.

Summer Supper by Rubin Pfeffer; illustrated by Mike Austin

A farm-to-table book with a unique twist: All the words in it start with the letter “s.” Moving from planting in spring, to a farmer’s market in the summer, to an outdoor picnic on a warm sunny day, this is a great read-aloud book to share with everyone (just like a yummy meal!).

Run Wild by David Covell

Summertime is the best time for outdoor fun: for running around and exploring, for being out in the world. In the woods, on the beach, toes in mud, feet in water, who can resist the appeal of nature? Share this book with all your wild little ones.

Recommendations for Elementary School Students (grades 2–5)

In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years by David Elliott; illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Have you ever done the sneaky parent thing and disguised vegetables as something your kids would like to eat, like mixing mashed carrots into chocolate chip cookie batter?  Well, this book will work the same way. What you will see:  exquisitely detailed illustrations of prehistoric animals, arranged chronologically as they appeared by epoch, with the text in verse. What your child will see: large, colorful illustrations of dinosaurs and other ancient animals, along with some funny facts. Just don’t call it poetry!

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, Book 1 by Julie Falatko; illustrated by Colin Jack

On a mission to rescue their boy from boredom at school, two dogs dress up as new transfer student, Salty Woofadogington. Fooling everyone except their owner, they use their love of food and expertise with squirrels to save their boy’s science presentation. It turns out the dogs love school, especially music class and gym. This silly series opener is a good pick for reluctant readers.

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

It’s the summer before 8th grade and Bina is dealing with all kinds of changes in her life. Her best friend, Austin, spends a month away at soccer camp. Her older brother and his husband are adopting a baby, so nobody has time for Bina. She escapes all of this through her love for indie music and playing her guitar. And she finds an unexpected friend in Austin’s older sister, who also loves music. This graphic novel will be enjoyed by readers who liked Smile by Raina Telgemeier and Real Friends by Shannon Hale.

Recommendations for Teens (ages 12–18)

Check out these books coming to the big and small screens soon:

Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run “rehabilitation camp” for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children. If you are in the mood for dystopia, you should definitely read this one before it hits theaters on August 3.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Khalil died. This New York Times bestselling book is coming to theaters October 19 and stars Amandla Stenberg, Common, and Anthony Mackie. You’ll definitely want to read this one before you go.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Maybe you’ve heard of John Green or seen other movies based on his books, like The Fault in Our Stars or Paper Towns. Now his award winning debut novel about 16-year-old Miles’s first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama is being adapted as a TV mini-series, coming out in late 2018. For those who can’t get enough of friendships and the kind of conversations about the meaning of life you can only have as a teen, this is a must read before you see the show.

Monica Carnesi and Teresa Arnold are Children’s Material Selectors, and Rachel Fryd is a Young Adult Material Selector from the Free Library of Philadelphia.