I’ve yet to meet a child who didn’t love summer! Warm weather, ice cream, swimming, playing outside…there are so many fun things to enjoy. And reading about summer just adds to the excitement.
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This diverse collection of summer picture books books show all kinds of kids enjoying summer in different ways. If you’re looking for books to add to your summer reading list, or, you want to celebrate the new season approaching, this list will give you ideas that multicultural in scope, and, best of all, are fun to read. Summer is for everyone, and summer themed books for kids should be the same!
9 Diverse Summer Picture Books
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold – One of my all-time favorites! In this gorgeous book, readers follow the dreams of Cassie Louise Lightfoot as she flies over her New York City apartment and all around the city. As she looks down, readers get a glimpse of Harlem in the summer of 1939. This book is excellent for reading with kids ages 5 and up.
Come On Rain! by Karen Hesse – Tess is melting in the summer heat. And she’s not the only one; every thing around her seems to be listless and drooping. Tess is hoping for rain more than anything, and when it finally comes, she joins her friends and family to celebrate the relief a summer shower brings. Kids will love the right imagery and beautiful illustrations in this book. I recommend it for ages 4 and up.
Blackout by John Rocco – What do you do when the power goes out? When the power goes out on a hot summer night, a family is pulled away from their individual activities. At first, they bemoan the heat and lack of electricity, but they soon find that they’ve been given a unique opportunity to spend time together. This book is a great reminder about how we all need to unplug sometimes, and is great for reading with kids ages 5 and up.
Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee – In this rhyming story, a sweet little girl explores the world around her on a hot summer day. She chases butterflies, drinks lemonade, enjoys a picnic, and cools off in the pool. Little ones will recognize some of their favorite summer activities in the pages of this book. Younger kids (ages 5 and under) will really enjoy this simple, lovely book.
A Lullaby of Summer Things by Natalie Ziarnik — This is another rhyming story that is both simple and beautiful! A diverse family enjoys their time together on their beach vacation. Readers can follow along as they look back fondly on their fun summer day, while winding down and getting ready for bed time. Kids ages 7 and under will love this book, and it’s perfect for reading after your own fun summer day together.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall – Jabari is ready to jump of the diving board at the swimming pool. Almost. He’s a strong swimmer, but he’s worried about his first jump. Luckily, his dad is there to encourage him and help calm his fears. This story of perseverance is encouraging to both kids and adults, and everyone will celebrate when Jabari takes his big leap! You can also find this book on our list of 101 Diverse Picture Books.
Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard — This tasty picture book is about more than just pie! It shows a multicultural community coming together to share food, fun, and friendship on the Fourth of July. What seems like a simple book about sharing is really a beautiful picture about what American can, and should, be. I recommend reading this one with kids of all ages!
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson – Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and is one of my all-time favorite authors. In this poignant picture book, Clover lives on one side of a fence that runs through town — the black side. Anna lives on the others side; the white side. Each girl is told not to cross to the other side, but they meet and form a friendship while sitting on the fence. Over the summer, their relationship grows stronger, and they talk of a day when fences won’t keep people apart. This is an important book, and one that I recommend for kids in kindergarten and older.
One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews – Join a little girl as she navigates her city on a hot summer day. Dogs pant heavily as women shade themselves with umbrellas, in an attempt to keep cool. At last, relief comes in the form of a rain storm and some grape popsicles. The gorgeous and unique illustrations and delightful word-pictures Crews paints make this an enjoyable summer read. It’s wonderful for sharing with kids ages 4 to 7.