book list, social-emotional, summer

List: Summer Vacation

And Then Comes Summer (Candlewick)
Written by Tom Brenner
Illustrated by Jaime Kim

For ages: 4-8
Few days are as bubbling over with the potential for fun & adventure as the first day of summer break. This book, part of the “And Then Comes…” series, starts with a little boy’s final day of class. That’s followed by games of hide-and-seek, fireworks, parades, camping, and swimming in the lake. The boy and his friends leap from one activity to the next, allowing that free-wheeling summer feeling to exude from these pages. Jaime Kim does an excellent job of making those joyful emotions contagious through her beautiful illustrations.

It Began With Lemonade (Dial Books)
Written by Gideon Sterer
Illustrated by Lian Cho

For ages: 4-8
Lemonade stands are rare, but it is an activity closely associated with summertime fun. The narrator of our story, a child, takes their lemonade stand out of the city and into rural environs. They end up by a river and discover business is booming here. Customers come in the form of an octopus, alligators, a diver in an old-timey helmet, and even a sea monster. Such success fills the young entrepreneur with dreams of a lemonade empire. However, details in their bedroom hint that this excursion may have been a sweet dream.

Finding Wild (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Written by Megan Wagner Lloyd
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin

For ages: 4-8
Two children step beyond the concrete world they know and discover lush green spaces. This path takes them to mountains, lakes, a spring meadow, a winter tundra, and a rocky coastline. The text doesn’t tell us their story; the illustrations perfectly do that. Instead, the author asks what it means for something to be wild. Wild can sting, burn, and be painful. But Wild can also soothe, provide peace, and center our mind & body in a natural place. The Wild awakens our senses. Halpin’s watercolors are the perfect accompaniment to this philosophical book about the beauty of nature. 

Sun (Templar)
Written & Illustrated by Sam Usher

For ages: 4-8
Sam Usher continues his story about a little boy and his grandfather experiencing all sorts of weather. It’s summer in this book, and Grandad wants to go on a picnic. Usher provides detailed illustrations of the spread, the sort of pages kids love to pore over to soak up all the little details. Then they search for the perfect picnic spot, an arduous journey. Eventually, things become pretty fantastic when the duo encounters a boat of pirates. They are friendly, though, and the ideal location is on board their ship. Usher’s work will remind you of the kinetic linework of William Steig, quite prestigious company to be in.

The Golden Glow (Tundra Books)
Written & Illustrated by Benjamin Flouw

For ages: 4-8
A fox is thumbing through a book on flowers and discovers an entry without a picture for The Golden Glow. His curiosity makes this a must-have for him. The Fox packs everything he needs in a labeled & informative spread. Along the way, our protagonist identifies the plants & trees he sees, helping the reader learn more about the diversity of wild growth. Other animals along this path assist in the ways they can. The destination lies at the top of a mountain, and The Golden Glow can only be found at a particular time. Perhaps it’s not even a flower at all…

Perfect (Little Hare Books)
Written by Danny Parker
Illustrated by Freya Blackwood

For ages: 3-7
Perfect is a difficult thing to define. I believe what is perfect is when things are as they are, not without flaws. Perfect for the children in this lyrical book written by Danny Parker is to take in their world as it is. They appreciate the moments full to the seams of excitement but also the quiet, coziness of nighttime. It’s three siblings playing games all day and going to the edges of the world they know. Not much more to say about this than that it’s pretty perfect.

The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer (Chronicle Books)
Written by Davide Cali
Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

For ages: 6-9
In a book that brings summer to an end, a narrator tells his teacher about the antics he got up to over his summer break. She is quite skeptical as he weaves his wild tale. It begins on a beach where the boy finds a treasure map. A magpie snatches the map away, and the boy gives chase. The adventure keeps escalating from a pirate ship to a deep sea submarine to the set of a medieval movie. Then he goes international, visiting places like the Taj Mahal and The Great Wall of China. There are some clues about this adventure’s truth if you pay close attention.

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