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17 Summer Picture Books That Belong in Your Beach Bag

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summer picture books
Image source: Babble | Disney Book Group | Penguin Random House | CREATESPACE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING PLATFORM

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of summer is time. As we slow our pace, soak in the sunshine, and savor the flavors of the season, togetherness is what makes the time so special. And picture books are a wonderful way to enhance the summer experience with kids. Whether your child is camping, beaching, swimming, exploring, visiting, or all of the above, they’ll delight in the stories and images these summer picture books bring.

We invite you to cool down, snuggle close, and turn the page on your next great summer adventure — together!

1. Vampirina at the Beach by Anne Marie Pace

Vampirina at the Beach
Image source: Disney-Hyperion

Do vampires love the beach? You bet! Vampirina and her best monster pals head to the beach during the full moon on a perfect summer night to enjoy all the fun and festivities the beach has to offer. Along the way, Vampirina’s beach adventures highlight the importance of beach safety to ensure an epic adventure for all.
Available from Amazon, $11.50

2. Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein

summer books
Image source: Text Copyright © 2017 by Barry Wittenstein. Illustrations Copyright © 2017 by London Ladd. Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.

Summer is the season of baseball, and what better way to celebrate than with the true story of Pumpsie Green’s rise from the minors to the Boston Red Sox in 1959. As the final major league team to integrate black athletes, young Bernard and his family travel to Fenway Park to witness Pumpsie Green take the field in this inspirational tale of equality and progress against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.
Available from Amazon, $9.61

3. Summer by Alice Low

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

Summer brings so many things, and for a spirited boy, eager girl, and excited pup, the season is filled with adventure. With clever rhyming words, clever phrasing, and playful images, your child will love following along as this energetic trio takes in all the sunshine, big beach waves, fireworks, and sweet treats of this truly memorable time of year.
Available from Amazon, $6.23

4. The Night Before Summer Camp by Natasha Wing

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

Sure, camp sounds fun, but when you don’t quite know what to expect, it’s only natural to feel a little nervous away from Mom and Dad. With rhyming prose and cheerful illustrations, this reassuring story of an reluctant boy who comes to enjoy all the fun summer camp brings will have your child ready to take on their own camp adventure!
Available from Amazon, $3.52

5. Moana and the Ocean by Heather Knowles

Moana and the Ocean
Image source: Disney Press

From the time she was a baby, Moana had a special relationship with the ocean. Take a dive into these inspired illustrations as Moana follows her heart into the deep blue sea. This wonderful companion book to the film is the perfect escape for Moana fans young and old.
Available from Amazon, $11.32

6. S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James

summer books
Image source: Sleeping Bear Press

For author Helen Foster James, camping is more than just a fun thing to do — it’s a passion. Every beautifully illustrated page pays homage to the glory and goodness of camping from A to Z. Not only will your child learn all about the camping experience, they’ll be introduced to the great outdoors in a new and magical way.
Available from Amazon, $16.16

7. Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

Not everybody feels comfortable in the water, just ask Froggy. Scared to get his splash on, Froggy learns that with the right attitude and a little encouragement, practice is all Froggy needs to become a great swimmer and enjoy all the fun water brings! Fun dialogue and energetic imagery make Froggie and instant favorite!
Available from Amazon, $6.99

8. Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

Should I Share My Ice Cream?
Image source: Disney-Hyperion

Gerald the elephant is about to enjoy a delicious ice cream cone, but what about his best pal, Piggy? If he shares, there will be less of the sweet treat for him to enjoy. If he doesn’t, Piggy may be sad. Can Gerald make a decision before his ice cream melts? Take a taste of this classic moral dilemma with bold illustrations and simple text that open the door to important conversations about friendship and sharing.
Available from Amazon, $9.79

9. Sun, Sun by Brad Gray

Sun, Sun
Image source: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

This rhyming celebration of fun in sun all your family needs to soak up summer’s very best. Life-like illustrations ignite the senses and bring back memories of summer’s past and dreams of the summers to come. As an added bonus, this sweet read comes with a free coloring book to really color your child’s summer!
Available from Amazon, $9.99

10. When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

What goes into camping? Setting up tents and looking at stars? Sure, but there’s also so much more! Get to know nature and all the mystery and wonder she brings as a family embarks on an epic outdoor adventure. Educational as it is fun, this image-rich story will lead your child to explore deeper into the woods than ever before.
Available from Amazon, $8.93

11. The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Image source: Disney-Hyperion

Ever wonder what would happen if you swallowed a watermelon seed? Crocodile has wondered (and worried) about it quite a bit! Will he grow a watermelon in his belly? Will he sprout crazy vines? He’s not quite sure, but when the concerned croc accidentally swallows a seed, his imagination takes over and hilarity ensues!
Available from Amazon, $9.95

12. And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

The smell of fresh-cut grass. The chill of ice cream on your tongue. The sound of crickets at night. This lyrical feast for senses is as much a commemoration of the season as it is a summer bucket list! Nostalgic illustrations and descriptive text warm your heart and inspire play like never before.
Available from Amazon, $11.28

13. Three Little Words by Amy Novesky

Three Little Words
Image source: Disney Press

Dory’s “Just keep swimming!” message of perseverance is perfect for any one who has ever felt like they were drowning. Follow Dory an unforgettable adventure as she finds her way in this beautiful watercolor adventure of friendship and survival.
Available from Amazon, $12.06

14. There Might be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

Meet Suki. She’s a small dog with a big fear of the beach. When a rescue is in order, Suki saves the day, proving that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Quite possibly the perfect picture book for anxious kids timid to try new experiences, this timeless treasure opens the door to calming dialogues and messages of bravery and triumph.
Available from Amazon, $11.84

15. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

summer books
Image source: Penguin Random House

You know that feeling when you’re as excited as you are scared to make a leap? That’s how Jabari feels about his debut jump off the diving board. He knows how to swim. He knows jumping off sure looks fun. But does he have what it takes to take a the plunge? With some gentle encouragement from his loving father, Jabari jumps.
Available from Amazon, $11.26

 16. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Image source: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Summer makes for some beautiful memories when relatives come to visit. Join in the fun as a family reunites for a summer they will never forget. Warm and inviting language combined with thoughtful illustrations bring the story of this family’s summer reunion to life.
Available from Amazon, $5.56

17. A Moment in Time by Jennifer Butenas

summer reads
Image source: The Perfect Moment LLC

In this lyrical ode to the recognition of small and beautiful moments, a family celebrates the magic of togetherness. Mindfulness, intention, and appreciation are central themes of this inspired and delightful picture book your family is sure to treasure.
Available from Amazon, $9.99

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