HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Summer Reading List: Best Beach Reads

Summer Reading List: Best Beach Reads

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: July 26, 2011

Whether you’re heading to the beach, park, lake, or hanging-out at home, we have some great summer-themed books picked out for kids of all ages—including a couple of Young Adult titles.

Picture Books

When a Dragon Moves In

By Jodi Moore (Author), Howard McWilliam (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Flashlight Press (May 1, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: On a beautiful day at the beach, a young boy brings his bucket, shovel, and imagination, and builds a perfect sand castle. Right away, a dragon moves in. The boy decides to befriend his dragon and they spend time roaming the shore, flying a kite, braving the waves, defying bullies, and roasting marshmallows all while Dad is busy sunbathing and Mom is engrossed in her book. Unfortunately, no one believes the boy when he tries to share the news of this magnificent creature. That’s when the mischief begins, and the dragon becomes a force to be reckoned with. While adults will recognize the naughty antics as a ploy for attention, children will dissolve into giggles as the dragon devours every last sandwich, blows bubbles in the lemonade, and leaves claw prints in the brownies. Maybe the dragon really is running amok on the beach, or maybe it’s a little boy’s imagination that is running wild.

Add this book to your collection: When a Dragon Moves In

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Seaside Dream

By Janet Costa Bates (Author), Lambert Davis (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 6-10

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Lee & Low Books (September 30, 2010)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: As family and friends arrive from near and far for Grandma’s seventieth birthday, Cora is surrounded by excited shouts and laughter and the smells of favorite Cape Verdean dishes cooking. Everyone’s getting ready for the big beach party tomorrow, but Cora still doesn’t know what to give Grandma as a present. It has to be something special.

Grandma is overjoyed to see so many of the people she loves, but Cora knows she still misses family in Cape Verde whom she hasn’t seen in decades. Could Cora convince her to make the trip overseas for a visit? After a nighttime walk on the beach with Grandma, Cora has a dream that gives her an idea for the perfect birthday gift.

In her picture book debut, Janet Costa Bates invites readers into to a celebration of the strength of family bonds that transcend age and distance. A lush coastal setting and the anticipation that comes with festive preparations form the backdrop for this touching story that warmly depicts the treasured relationship between a child and a beloved grandparent.

Add this book to your collection: Seaside Dream

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The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

By Deborah Diesen (Author), Dan Hanna (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 2-5

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (August 17, 2010)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he’s fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he’s scared of the dark!

Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.

Add this book to your collection: The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark


Early Readers

Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty

By Lisa Pliscou (Author), Tom Dunne (Illustrator)

Reading level: All Ages

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (May 3, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: Whoa! Dude! Learning to read surf-speak has never been so easy, or so much fun! It’s, like, totally radical! (If you need a little extra help, check out the non-bogus glossary at the back of the book.) For beach boys and surfer girls of all ages.

Add this book to your collection: Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty

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Flip Flop! (Step into Reading)

By Dana M. Rau (Author), Jana Christy (Illustrator)

Reading level: Preschool-Kindergarten

Paperback: 24 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 24, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: Two best friends ponder over and partake in summer’s seemingly endless possibilities. There’s fun to be had at the sunny shore, fireworks to watch, and amusement parks to visit. This Step 1 story has big type and easy words, rhyme and rhythm, picture clues and includes two sheets of stickers!

Add this book to your collection: Flip Flop! (Step into Reading)

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Seahorses (Scholastic Reader Level 1)

By Nicole Corse

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (April 1, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: A closer look at an amazing animal!

This reader will provide an introduction to seahorses bringing simple and fun nonfiction information to young readers. Did you know sea horses have to eat all the time to stay alive? In Seahorses, readers will discover where seahorses live, what they eat, what eats them, how they are different from other sea creatures, and how people can help prevent their extinction.

Add this book to your collection: Seahorses (Scholastic Reader Level 1)


Chapter Books

Junonia

By Kevin Henkes

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Hardcover: 192 pages

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (May 24, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: Returning to the beach cottage—a cottage named Scallop—where she has always celebrated her birthday is a special occasion for Alice Rice.

Who will see the first dolphin this time? The first pelican? What will have changed? Stayed the same? And will this be the year she finally finds a junonia shell?

Alice’s friends are all returning, too. And she’s certain her parents have the best party planned for her. Alice can’t wait. If Alice is lucky, everything will be absolutely perfect. Will Alice be lucky?

Add this book to your collection: Junonia

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The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

By Jeanne Birdsall

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: When summer comes around, it’s off to the beach for Rosalind . . . and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend, Jeffrey.

That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick)—a terrifying notion for all, but for Skye especially. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage, with a rocky shore, enthusiastic seagulls, a just-right corner store, and a charming next-door neighbor.  But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalind’s directions about not letting Batty explode?  Will Jane’s Love Survey come to a tragic conclusion after she meets the alluring Dominic? Is Batty—contrary to all accepted wisdom—the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune?  And will Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls . . . these girls who are his second, and most heartfelt, family?

It’s a rollicking ride as the Penderwicks continue their unforgettable adventures in a story filled with laughs and joyful tears!

Add this book to your collection: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

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A Million Miles from Boston

By Karen Day

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (April 5, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: School’s out! That means Lucy is off to her favorite place: Pierson Point, Maine, where she spends summers with her family. And as she tries to forget her worries about starting middle school and about Dad’s new girlfriend, Lucy can’t get there soon enough. Pierson Point is where she feels most like herself, and where memories of her mother, who died when Lucy was six, are strong and sacred.

But this summer, nothing is the same. Ian, a boy from home in Boston, comes to Pierson Point with his family. Ian is loud, popular, and mean. He and Lucy can’t stand each other. To top it off, Dad wants his girlfriend to become a bigger part of Lucy’s life.

Karen Day’s engaging novel shows that people aren’t always what they seem, and that friendship can be found in the most unusual places.

Add this book to your collection: A Million Miles from Boston

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Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything

By Steve Cotler (Author), Adam McCauley (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 22, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: Ronald “Cheesie” Mack is not a genius or anything, but he remembers everything that happened before, during, and after fifth-grade graduation, and he’s written it all down in his own unique and hilarious way—with lots of lists, drawings, and splenderful (that’s splendid plus wonderful!) made-up words.

Cheesie—with a little help from Steve Cotler—writes about family, friendship, and tough choices in an unforgettable voice that will have kids laughing out loud. Readers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love both the clever humor and the black-and-white illustrations throughout.

Add this book to your collection: Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything


Young Adult

The Summer I Learned to Fly

By Dana Reinhardt

Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (July 12, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: Drew’s a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad’s Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom’s cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Drew’s days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he’s there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.

Add this book to your collection: The Summer I Learned to Fly

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A & L Do Summer

By Jan Blazanin

Reading level: Young Adult

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: EgmontUSA (May 10, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Publisher’s synopsis: I’d like to say something clever, but my tongue is paralyzed. This guy is tall and built and—okay, maybe he’s not exactly handsome. Wait, that’s not true. He is exactly handsome. From ten feet away I can see the electric blue of his eyes. All of that put together makes him the Superman of redheads.

After a year in rural Cottonwood Creek, Iowa, city girl Laurel is still adjusting to a place where parties take place in barns, guys ride around in pickup trucks, and a killer senior prank involves getting pigs into the principal’s office. Fortunately, she has her best friend Aspen, an Iowa native, to show her around. The real problem is that neither the country girl nor the city slicker have boyfriends—or any prospects for getting them. Clearly, they need to raise their profile—and they have a summer to do so.

Add this book to your collection: A & L Do Summer

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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