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A Complete List of Summer Reads for Your Kids

Are your kids reading this summer? While you want them outside enjoying the sunshine and summer activities, like swimming and sports, it's also crucial that children and teens continue to read while on summer break. To get your kids interested in reading, sign them up for reading logs at public libraries or bookstores. You can also have a family book club, which I've done in the past, where my teens and I read the same book and had a few designated discussions scheduled over the summer.

Sometimes, kids don't know what to read—in that case, here are some suggestions to get your children and teens excited about books. I've included a mix of classics, fiction, and nonfiction for each age group.

Toddler/Preschool

The toddler/preschool age is the ideal time to introduce your children to the wonders of books. This isn't the time to push how to read, but rather how to love reading.

The Amazing ABCs of Successful Faith by Antwan House. This book teaches children their ABCs in a way designed to grow their faith.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. This classic shows the love between a parent and offspring.

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper. This classic teaches children the importance of perseverance in overcoming obstacles.

Our God is Bigger Than That! by Michelle Medlock Adams and Eva Marie Everson. It's a book geared for children who are dealing with fear.

A Servant Like Jesus by Lee Ann Mancini. This story shows children what it looks like to walk with Jesus daily.

Why I Get Into Trouble by Sharon Norris Elliott. This book helps kids understand and begin to control their sin nature.

You are Wonderful by Melissa Heiland. This book teaches children about how God values them and is always with them. Also available in Spanish.

Early Elementary (grades K-2)

Sometimes, the early elementary grades become more focused on learning to read than enjoying to read. Be patient if your little one is struggling to figure out what the letters mean when grouped together as words—you don't want to quash their love of reading when they're having trouble with reading.

Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne. One of the Magic Tree House series following siblings through exciting adventures.

Eat God's Food: A Kid's Guide to Health Eating by Susan U. Neal. This book teaches kids what foods are healthy and unhealthy.

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. The adventures of Harold and his purple crayon teach children about reality.

I Love You to the Sun and Beyond by Michelle Medlock Adams and Cecil Stokes. This book tells children just how much they are loved.

Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry G. Allard. An award-winning tale about a classroom of students who have terrible behavior.

Too Many Pigs in the Pool by Wendy Hinote Lanier. This book includes the concepts of days of the week and doubling numbers.

The Very Best Story Ever Told: The Gospel with American Sign Language. By Robin Currie and David Kurtz Williams. A rhymed telling of the Gospel incorporating simple ASL signs.

Late Elementary (grades 3-5)

This is a time when books become magic, a way to transport a reader into other worlds and situations. Most children devour books at this stage. Consider getting them their own library card, so they can check out books on their own.

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. This classic tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a spider (Charlotte) and a pig (Wilbur).

Children's Bible Stories for Bedtime by Julie Lavender. This book of key biblical figures and their ancient adventures inspire young, curious minds to build a relationship with God and ponder His never-ending love.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh. This book gives kids a glimpse into what courage means.

Fairy Tales & Faith by Antwan Houser. This book takes the stories kids already know and gives them a moral and spiritual application to apply to everyday life.

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein. Children enjoy these delightfully humorous and cleverly written whimsical tales.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Children learn about family ties when two siblings run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have an adventure.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Children love to hear about Laura and her determination to survive and thrive living on the prairie.

Loved and Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls by Michelle Nietert, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Lynn Cowell. Girls discover perfect, unconditional love in God.

Our Daily Bread for Kids: 365 Meaningful Moments with God by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley. Kids who read this book will learn how to apply the Bible to their everyday lives.

Middle School (grades 6-8)

In middle school, some kids start to drift away from reading as school becomes harder and electronic devices become more prevalent in their lives. If your child still enjoys being read to, continue that practice for as long as they let you.

Avalanche by M. Liz Boyle. This series delves into God's plan and how it plays out in the lives of its teenage protagonists.

Devos for Brave Boys by Karen Whiting and Jesse Florea. Sixty short devotions are paired with an activity geared toward boys. Companion one for girls: Devos for Brave Girls by Kathy Cassel.

The Giver by Lois Lowry. This book teaches children about family and home, friendship, and remembering the past.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This book tells the story of four children who discover the magical world of Narnia and learn about courage and forgiveness along the way.

The Lost Property Office by James R. Hannibal. The first book of the Section 13 trilogy, this series teaches the importance of family and follows Jack Buckles as he reconnects with his dad on a new level as he comes of age.

Roll With It by Jamie Sumner. This book features a protagonist in a wheelchair who overcomes her circumstances to shine.

The Secrets of the Castle by Aaron M. Zook, Jr. This book helps children better understand world cultural settings, life lessons, and faith in action through a riveting story.

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill. This story of an ambitious sixth-grader showcases the simple mechanics of math and ingenuity.

High School (grades 9-12)

In high school, the pressures of school and extracurriculars can eat into free time, but encouraging your kids to have device-free time will help their stress and build in reading time.

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex Harris and Brett Harris. This book challenges teens not to shy away from the hard things in life.

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr. This book helps teens understand our callings and how God works through them.

His Gift by Joan C. Benson. This story parallels our Covid-19 losses and how people can find a way to deal with great loss by trusting God for the bigger picture.

The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson. This book tackles how to overcome our tendency to judge a person by outward appearances.

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson. A retelling of The Frog Prince, this story discusses gender, race, and class.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This classic helps teens tackle issues like free will, sin, and reason in light of the Gospel.

Wolf Soldier by James R. Hannibal. The first book in the Lightraider Academy fantasy trilogy teaches loyalty to Christ" desires over our own and helps readers understand real-world Scripture applications by showing allegorical applications in the fantasy world.

Above all, don't push too hard to get your kids reading this summer. Instead, take them to the library often, schedule quiet time every day, and set a good example yourself by putting down your phone and picking up a book (or your e-reader).

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Vichien Petchmai

Sarah Hamaker is a national speaker and award-winning author who loves writing romantic suspense books “where the hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.” She’s also a wife, mother of four teenagers, a therapeutic foster mom, a UMFS Foster Parent Ambassador, and podcaster (The Romantic Side of Suspense podcast). She's a biblical parent coach and certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ with a heart for helping parents develop stronger relationships with their children. For more on her encouraging and commonsense approach to raising kids, visit her online at sarahhamaker.com.

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