School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean learning ceases. This is one of the most opportune seasons to engage your young reader and increase out-of-school reading time. Here’s a list of great children’s books to get the summer rolling in style:
Daddy Calls Me Man, Writer, Angela Johnson, Illustrator, Rhonda Mitchell, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
Inspired by his family experiences and his parents’ paintings, a young boy creates four poems.
How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk; illustrated by Sara Palacios (Viking Books for Young Readers, ages 4-8)
All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever!
Joshua by the Sea, Writer, Angela Johnson, Illustrator, Rhonda Mitchell, Recommended for ages 2 to 5
Joshua goes to the shore with his family. There is a serene, understated quality to the gentle watercolors and spare text featuring a young African-American boy as he explores his world, with his loving family always nearby.
The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.
Be Boy Buzz, Writer, bell hooks, Illustrator, Chris Raschka, Recommended for ages 4–8
Luke Goes to Bat by Rachel Isadora
Upset over the way he played stickball with the neighborhood kids on Bedford Avenue, young Luke is about ready to give up his dreams of playing for the majors until his grandfather takes him see his hero, Jackie Robinson, play at Ebbets Field and learns an important lesson about determination and perseverance.
City Shapes, Writer, Diana Murray, Illustrator, Bryan Collier, Recommended for ages 4 to 7
From shimmering skyscrapers to fluttering kites to twinkling stars high in the sky, everyday scenes become extraordinary as a young girl walks through her neighborhood noticing exciting new shapes at every turn. Far more than a simple concept book, City Shapes is an explosion of life. Diana Murray’s richly crafted yet playful verse encourages readers to discover shapes in the most surprising places, and Bryan Collier’s dynamic collages add even more layers to each scene in this ode to city living.
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