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In the sweltering heat of lazy summer days, we have come to love retreating inside for story time. With my littlest (3) on my lap and my two oldest (5 and 7) leaning on either side of me, we settle in on the couch under the fan and read (at least) three picture books a day. We usually have a popsicle or snack in hand to keep the commentary to a minimum and encourage good listening skills.

You’re probably thinking – THREE books a day? Yes, three books a day (and sometimes more!). That can add up to a lot of books over the summer. So naturally we aim to visit the library at least once a week. Library visits are a fun, budget-friendly indoor activity for the summer where kids can develop their love for reading and feel ownership in the process by picking out books to take home.

Now, navigating the library can be tricky and sometimes overwhelming with multiple kids and their varied interests. While I do let them pick out their own books on-site, I also plan ahead by ordering books through my library’s website to help curate a treasury of books I know they will learn from and enjoy.

Reading is a passion of mine, so in my spare time, I have spent hours combing through reviews, summaries, book lists and recommendations. Through this, I have compiled countless lists and categorized them by season, holiday, interest — you name it!

Whether you’re a new parent or just looking for some tried-and-true good reads for the summer, I’ve got you covered in the genre of children’s picture books!

Here is a list of my family’s top twelve favorite summertime reads:

1.   Mike Mulligan and More: A Virginia Lee Burton Treasury by Virginia Lee Burton
If you have littles that love big trucks, machinery or playing outdoors, check this one out! Inside this collection you’ll find heartwarming stories with lessons in resilience, patience, gratitude and problem-solving.

2.  Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This beautifully illustrated book takes you through a colorful world exploration and invites the reader into thinking outside of yourself and creating a legacy.

3.  Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
We love origin stories! This is the true story behind the famous cartoon Winnie the Pooh series. Who knew that Winnie was based off of a real bear?

4.  Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
A cute and humorous story about a bold, trailblazing bird who tries to fly.

5.  The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
An encouraging read with lovely illustrations about small beginnings that lead to big, beautiful transformation.

6.  A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider by Barbara Herkert
Another origin story – the true tale of E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web, told by way of pictures and simple sentences.

7.  After the Fall by Dan Santat
If you’ve ever wondered what really happened after Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, make sure to read this one. You’ll never guess what happens!

8.  Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
For a book you’ll giggle through together, see how Floyd tries to rescue his kite that got stuck in a tree.

9.  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
This imaginative tale of a town that receives their food by way of the weather, told by a loving grandfather to his grandkids at bedtime.

10. Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
This brightly colored book simply depicts how a garden grows from start to finish.

11. The Circus Ship by Chris van Dusen
A creative tale about a ship full of circus animals that get marooned and enter a bustling town of unsuspecting people. It has witty rhymes and even some “hidden pictures” that the kids will enjoy interacting with.

12. Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall
One of the most beautifully illustrated books I’ve seen that tells the story of an old, abandoned house and all that may have gone on in it years ago.

After being a parent for more than seven years, I can easily say that some of the most meaningful and rewarding memories we’ve made together have come through reading books.

Whether you have a baby, a toddler, or a school-aged child, reading is a beneficial way to bond with your child and introduce them to an enriching, life-long love for books.

Reading aloud to your kids is also a great way to help them build great speech and literacy skills. Even the littlest of listeners is able make real world and emotional connections through the books you read to them.

While we do lots of reading at Lionheart, don’t let your kids’ teachers have all the fun. I always say that time in a good book is time well-spent. Even if you don’t have time for three books each day, I encourage you to set aside intentional time to curl up with your kids, a little snack and a stack of picture books to make sweet memories of your own this summer!

Lionheart Staff Member

The mother teaching telling story to son