Brilliant Children's Books to Read this Summer

Don’t hit the pause button on your child’s reading skills this summer. Browse our selection of recommended books for children from pre-school through to secondary from the librarians at Stamford American International School and GESS.
Brilliant Children's Books to Read this Summer
By Carli Allan
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As parents, we don’t just want our children to read – we want them to read for pleasure. The long summer vacation is an ideal time to help develop your child’s lifelong love for reading and improve their language and literacy skills.

Whether it’s self-directed reading or parent-child read aloud, it will help to avoid the so-called summer slide. Studies show that children can lose up to two months’ of reading performance over the summer months, and research suggests that the unstructured activity of reading for fun will do more to keep children’s minds sharp and engaged than weeks of maths and science holiday homework.

Kim Klein, Head Librarian at Stamford American International School, explains why reading is so important.

"There are many reasons to read … to learn something new, to keep reading skills sharp, and also to dream, to laugh, to wonder, to grow!! That is why we encourage students and their families to read over the summer break. The more students read, the more proficient they become at reading and writing.

"Reading research supports summer reading as it helps maintain gains achieved through the previous school year. Along with having academic benefits, reading also has social-emotional benefits. Reading helps students see themselves in characters and stories and this helps students develop empathy and an understanding of people who may be different from them."

David Veinot, Teacher Librarian at GESS, adds:

"It would be safe to assume a month or two of school vacation may come to weeks of almost no learning for many children. And sometimes that leads to a backward slide in academic progress, also called summer learning loss. 
"This phenomenon is not a myth. Research shows that students lose an average of one month’s worth of learning over the summer break. It happens and, quite frankly, it’s a huge deterrent for kids and teachers – who wants to “restart the engine” for the first four weeks of school, over diving into valuable learning?"

Mr Veinot offers five top tips to help parents prevent the “summer slide”.

  • Encourage your child to practice reading throughout their vacation. It is a good idea to develop a routine – not reading for hours and hours, but just for a few minutes every day. Consider scheduling this in the morning, so reading gets done before the day’s activities.  
  • Decide how much your child needs to read on their own. This depends somewhat on their age, but I suggest at least 10-20 minutes per day. This already keeps their brains from slipping out of practice during the summer months.
  • Keep plenty of books around the house for easy access and take full advantage of your local library to check out more.
  • Don't forget audiobooks – these can provide great entertainment when traveling. Many audio books for young readers also make for great family listening, providing everyone with an all-too-rare, shared reading experience.
  • Remember, kids learn best through a sense of fun.  Let them stay up late to read in bed with a headlamp - it's summer vacation after all. And be sure to let them choose what they want to read. It's not just about the book, it's about the personal experience of reading.  

To get you started, Mr Veinot and Ms Klein recommend the following books for children of different ages.




Early Years: 3 years and above

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
Warm, funny lesson about gratitude featuring a monkey’s bad mood. 

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Farm animals go on strike in funny, award-winning book.

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
Excellent vocabulary builder is also big wacky fun, from one of the most-loved children's illustrators of all time.

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
Crazy Moose mayhem in freshest alphabet book in years.

You Matter by Christian Robinson
Beautiful message of self-worth and seeing the world from different points of view.


What’s in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery
Teatime Around the World by Denyse Waissbluth
Green Lizards and Red Rectangles and the Blue Ball by Steve Antony
Elephant And Piggie series by Mo Willems
I Say Ooh You Say Aah by John Kane

Young Readers Ages 7-10

Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
Get whisked back in time in the magic tree house with Jack and Annie!

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Heart-warming story of a heroic, artistic, captive gorilla.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Immigrant kid tackles racism, bullying in this powerful tale.

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman 
When the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher, triumphant life lessons are the results.

I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis
Riveting, emotional fiction brings one of history’s most stirring events to life.


Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen
We Shall Remember: The story of Singapore at War by Sim Ee Waun
King of the Birds by Elise Gravel
The Secret of the Magic Pearl by Elisa Sabatinelli
Accidental Trouble Magnet (Planet Omar, Book 1) by Zanib Mian

Older Readers: Ages 10 - 14

The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein
Lively middle-school adventure celebrates knowing stuff. 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Roirdan
Greek myths meet fast-paced adventure in boy-demigod tale.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Sweet, funny When Harry Met Sally romance for tweens

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Super intense apocalyptic alien-invasion nail-biter.

Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Complex, suspenseful story of developing one of the most dangerous weapons ever built.


When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
Samira Surfs by Rukhsanna Guidroz
The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore, Book 1) by Amanda Foody
The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat


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