During the long, lazy days of summer, reading—in a hammock, on a picnic blanket, or tucked in at night after a very busy day—is the perfect quiet time activity to connect with your kids. Here are some of my favorite summer-themed board and picture books:
Jamberry by Bruce Degen is a“berry” fun, wacky, rhyming, board book for babies and toddlers who will appreciate its silly rhymes and awesome berry art. Ages 0-3.
The Napping House by Audrey Wood and Don Wood is a wonderful nap-time book with rhythmic, repeating text that makes it easy for little ones to jump in and keep track of everyone sleeping in Granny’s bed. Ages 0-3.
The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. This classic board book is the best introduction around to farm animals, and it has that magically addictive Margaret Wise Brown lilting text thing going on, so kids can’t help but love it. Ages 0-3.
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. Even if your child hasn’t seen any hermit crabs skittering across the sand, he will appreciate the story of this crab who must move into a larger shell, and proceeds to decorate it with sea plants and creatures he meets wandering along the ocean floor. Carle’s gorgeous collages are just so juicy and appealing. And the underlying message--that change (a new shell) can seem scary, but works out in the end—is incredibly soothing for kids. Ages 3-5.
Ten Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. Inspired by the actual story of a case of rubber ducks falling off of a container ship, this colorful picture book is an entertaining counting adventure at sea. (At the very end—after learning about all manner of sea creature—there is an interactive, squeaky surprise that will delight your child.) Ages 3-5.
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Jon J. Muth. Spare text and expressive watercolors teach us about the seasons, friendship, and the cycle of life in a beautiful book that is both powerful and comforting, and may open the door to meaningful conversations. Ages 3-6.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. If you haven’t gone berry picking with your child, you should—it is an easy, instant-gratification activity that’s ideal for tiny fingers. If you have gone berry picking, then you’ll appreciate this charming story of a mom-kid adventure, with a few bears thrown in. The humorous treatment of what could be a frightening experience (Sal briefly loses her mother while they’re out) can be reassuring for children with separation anxiety. Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk. Ages 3-6.
And while we’re in a Robert McCloskey state of mind, One Morning in Maine has it all—the salty air, the rocky coast, and ice cream cones. Plus, the excitement of losing a first tooth! And in a very quiet way, it deals with change, and getting bigger. Note that this book has a lot of text (it was so clearly written in the days of longer attention spans) so not every child will be able to make it through in one sitting. But McCloskey’s finely detailed drawings give children plenty to look at while you’re reading. Ages 3-7.
To create a sensory retreat /reading nook at home, read more here.