Big List of Family Summer Read-Alouds
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Big List of Family Summer Read-Alouds
The school year is time for books that challenge and stretch, but summer reading is the time for fun! It’s easy to let the summer weeks fly by, but intentional family time will help you slow down and enjoy these restful months.
Whether you choose morning read-aloud time, bed-time story time, or sometime in between, taking time to delight in stories together this summer will help anchor your days. Yes, summer weeks can be busy with activities, camps, and travel. That’s part of the fun! However, there’s always time for sharing a story.
In addition to stacks of picture books you get from the library, we highly encourage you to dive into a chapter book with your kids over the summer. When days (and kids) feel scattered, one story that you’re reading together throughout the summer can be unifying.
And it doesn’t matter if several days go by before you get to another chapter. There will be days you simply can’t get to it, and that’s completely fine. Kids especially have an outstanding ability to jump right back into a story and remember where you left off.
Wondering which book to read? We’ve got some great suggestions!
Books young kids will enjoy. Books for older kids. Lighthearted family stories, and exciting adventures and mysteries. There’s something for every family!
Regarding age levels…if your kids cover a wide range, we recommend aiming for somewhere in the middle for a summer read-aloud. If it’s a great book (like all of these), everyone will enjoy it no matter what.
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Lighthearted Family Stories
Let’s start with some lighthearted read-aloud options. These are chapter books with simple family adventures, silly situations, and the like. They’re often uplifting as well as exciting. Some are sweet and heartwarming. You’ll find all of these elements in these choices.
Meet the Moffats. There is Sylvie, the oldest, the cleverest, and-most days at least-the responsible one; Joey, who though only twelve is the man of the house...sometimes; Janey, who has a terrific upside-down way of looking at the world; and Rufus, who may be the littlest but always gets in the biggest trouble.More info →
McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm
McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm: When Josh McBroom learns that the eighty acres of Iowa farmland he's purchased are all stacked up on top of each other at the bottom of a muddy little pond, he thinks he's been bamboozled.More info →
The Enormous Egg
The Enormous Egg: When twelve-year-old Nate Twitchell takes care of an gigantic egg laid by one of his hens, he is shocked to find that it hatches into a triceratops.More info →
Henry Huggins: When Henry adopts Ribsy, a dog of no particular breed, humorous adventures follow.More info →
Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he's shy and thoughtful, he's also a true lover of adventure. You'll be rooting for him as he sets out to help a friend.More info →
Ginger Pye: A heartwarming, yet quirky, story about a boy called Jerry whose much-loved puppy, Ginger Pye, goes missing.More info →
Fortunately, the Milk
Fortunately, the Milk: Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cerealMore info →
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale Of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, And A Very Interesting Boy
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale Of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, And A Very Interesting Boy: While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.More info →
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden: Return to Harlem in this companion to the "wildly entertaining" Vanderbeekers of 141st Street as the biracial siblings struggle to grow a community garden after catastrophe strikes. Illustrated with charming black and white drawings.More info →
Swallows and Amazons
The first title in Arthur Ransome's classic series, originally published in 1930: for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Swallows and Amazons introduces the lovable Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat island, the able-bodied catboat Swallow, and ...More info →
Thimble Summer: A Wisconsin girl has an eventful summer following her discovery of a silver thimble that she believes to be magic.More info →
A Long Way from Chicago
A Long Way from Chicago: A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.More info →
Exciting Adventure, Fantasy, & Mystery
Maybe your family is in the mood for action-packed adventure! Here are some chapter books filled with exciting escapades, mysteries to solve, survival stories, and whimsical fantasies.
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles: The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animalsMore info →
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death.More info →
The Hobbit: Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure.More info →
Amari and the Night Brothers
Amari and the Night Brothers: Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. When she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton.
More info →
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic: Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge, who longs for heroic adventures, overhears a secret that thrusts her into the middle of a dangerous mission that could destroy the island on which she lives.More info →
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.More info →
The Green Ember
Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world. (The Green Ember Series: Book 1)More info →
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes: Raised to be a thief, blind orphan Peter Nimble, age ten, steals from a mysterious stranger three pairs of magical eyes, that lead him to a hidden island where he must decide to become a hero or resume his life of crime.More info →
A Wrinkle in Time
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.More info →
Summer of the Monkeys
Summer of the Monkeys: Fourteen-year-old Jay tries to recover a group of wily monkeys escaped from a circus train in the hopes the reward will buy him the gun and pony he has so long wanted.More info →
Holes: As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.More info →
My Side of the Mountain
Terribly unhappy in his family's crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.More info →
Nim's Island: Nim loves her island home and the animals she shares it with even while her scientist father is away doing research, but trouble is on the way and a new e-mail friend could be the only one who can help.More info →
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling. Found in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles aren't ordinary children.More info →
The Westing Game
The Westing Game: The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.More info →
The Mysterious Benedict Society
This first book in the bestselling, award-winning Mysterious Benedict Society Series is not to be missed! "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities? "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them.More info →
Summer is the perfect time to relax and make memories as you share these fun read-alouds together. We hope your family enjoys Big List of Family Summer Read-Alouds as much as we do!
All of these books sound amazing! How have I only heard of a handful of them?!? Onto the wishlist they go, and I’m presently printing the guide to keep handy when out and about. Thanks Katie and Leslie!
You are so welcome! It is our mission to highlight great books. Remember, you can always search our curated and categorized Book Finder for more great book ideas!