2020 Summer Reading For Kids Book List

There are hundreds of book lists for kids on Growing Book by Book.  But, this one is extra special.  It’s the first annual Summer Reading for Kids Book List.  As adults, we enjoy summer reading book lists each year to discover new reads and expand our reading horizons.  I always look forward to the Modern Mrs. Darcy for my personal summer reading suggestions.

We can spread this same anticipation and enthusiasm with children too. We are all truly interested in growing readers and helping children fall in love with books.


So, let’s dive into the picks for this year.  A printable book list is also available.  See below to download it.  You can even share it with families.

Summer Reading for Kids

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

A few notes about this book list.

  • Most of the books on the list are picture books that can be shared with young children.
  • You’ll find a mix of new releases and older favorites.
  • The categories are fun and playful- just what summer reading should be.
  • As with all the book lists on Growing Book by Book, I read each and every book before I recommend it to you.  Only the top picks make it on any Growing Book by Book list.

Ok, on to the list!

Reads That Will Make You Laugh So Hard You’ll Spit Out Your Milk

Books that guarantee loads of giggles.

Pacho Nacho by Silvia Lopez

There once was a family with two sons.  One of those sons had a very long name- Pacho-Nacho-Nico-Tico-Melo-Felo-Kiko-Rico. And this long-named boy falls in the river.  Can his brother, Juan, get help in time? Based on a Japenese folktale, this version takes a Mexican twist and it’s just pure fun to read aloud.

Potato Pants by Laurie Keller

This one was on repeat for weeks at our house.  There is a special one-day-only sale going on for potato pants.  Will Potato get his stripey pants?

For more super funny books check out this list.—>Funny and Silly Books

Book and Cook

Read a book and then try out the recipe included inside.  Yum! Yum!

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang

Amy loves making bao with her family. It’s difficult to make a perfect bao and Amy is having difficulty getting her bao just right. Her dumplings are always too full or too empty. But, Amy has a plan to make her bao perfect just like her parents and grandmother.  After reading, enjoy making your very own bao.

If you love the book, you’ll want to grab out special Book Dive that goes along with it.—>See the Book Dive.

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

Master storyteller, Patricia Polacco takes us to the farm as a grandmother distracts her grandchild from the rumbling thunder by gathering the ingredients to make a cake.  This dessert has a very special and a bit unusual ingredient.  After enjoying the story, make your own thunder cake with the included recipe.

We have more books that will inspire you to read and cook.—>Books to Inspire You to Cook

Leave Home Even When You Can’t Books

2020 has been filled with lots of stay home days and that will still continue for many us as we head into summer.  The books in this category will take you to places you might not be able to go right now.

My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf

Every sense will awaken as you read My Ocean is Blue.  You’ll smell, feel, taste, see, and hear the ocean as it is described in the story.  It’s the next best thing to actually being there in real life.

Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare

Let your imagination go wild in this wordless book as you land on the moon.  Do you think it will ever be possible to take a class trip to the moon? Children get to enrich their vocabulary by adding their own words to this imaginative tale.

I Want to Do That When I Grow Up

Explore a dream job to look forward to someday.

What Do You Do If You Work at the Zoo? by Steven Jenkins and Robin Page

There are so many jobs that one can have at the zoo and if you take care of the animals.  You may do some unusual tasks from wearing a vulture puppet and pretending to be a mama vulture feeding a baby to slathering sunscreen on an aardvark’s ears.

Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy

This one is for every young child who wants to know what it takes to be a firefighter. Backnotes include a firefighter interview, children’s questions, and more.

Read and Watch

Read the book and then watch the movie.

Shrek by William Steig

Many people don’t know that Shrek was a book long before it was a movie.  Grab a copy of the book and enjoy reading it.  Then, watch the movie.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

This is a classic written in the 1930s and still packing a powerful message in 2020. And, it’s probably one you remember from your own childhood.  I love to share books with children that I read when I was little.  Grab the 2017 movie, Ferdinand, to watch after reading.

If you like this category, then you’ll definitely want to join us for our Family Dinner Book Clubs this year.  Each month we are reading a book that is also a movie.—>Check out Family Dinner Book Club.

Creature Features

Books about some amazing and maybe unusual creatures.

Prickly Hedgehogs by Jane McGuinness

This is an informational book packed with tidbits about these cute little creatures. Travel through a day of a hedgehog and learn lots of interesting facts. Did you know that hedgehogs don’t exist in the wild in North America?

Pink Is For Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals by Jess Keating

How many pink animals can you name?  You’ll meet a whole bunch in this fascinating book.  This is a book you’ll reread several times learning more each time you read.

What to read even more books about animals.  We’ve got so many lists from bees to whales.—>Animal Books for Kids

Grab a Graphic Novel

Graphic novels are a great entry point for children who say they don’t like reading.

Peter & Ernesto Sloths in the Night by Graham Annable

Our favorite sloths are back in the third Peter & Ernesto graphic novel.  Can they find their friend Bernard? Find out in this nighttime adventure.

Team Taekwondo: Ara’s Rocky Road to White Belt #1by Lee & Jeffrey Nodelman

Character building at it’s best. Ara and his friends are ready for the Tiger Fitness Challenge. Lots of action and full-color illustrations make this book super appealing.  My youngest son breezed through all three books and hopes there will be more.

I Can Read This All About Myself

New readers will love to read these books all by themselves.

Egg or Eyeball? by Cece Bell

Oh my goodness…I don’t think my 7-year-old laughed so hard in his life as he did when he read the first Chick & Brain book- Smell My Foot!  Well, they are back in the new Egg or Eyeball.  It’s pure silly beginning reader fun.

There’s a Pest in the Garden by Jan Thomas

I recommend Jan Thomas books all.the.time.  They are so good.  They make great whole group read-alouds.  My all-time favorite of her books is The Rhyming Dust Bunnies.  But, she’s got this amazing beginning reader series too.  The kids will want to read them all.

Check out these other early reader books.—>Easy But Not Boring Early Readers

Fall in Love With an Early Chapter Book Series

Read a book and then get hooked on the entire series.

Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors

Meet Wedgie, the excited dog with personality.  And, meet Gizmo, the evil genius guinea pig.  They are pets in the same household and they have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  There’s never an adventure that doesn’t involve them.  Check out all three books in the series.

Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro

If you haven’t discovered Zoey & Sassafras, now is the time.  Zoey and her mom have a unique ability to talk to interesting creatures that ring their barn doorbell in need of help.  More importantly, they use their science knowledge to help the animals solve their problems.  And, Sassafras, the cat, tags along for the scientific discoveries.  Check out all seven books in the series.

Check out even more early chapter book series in our whole post dedicated to the topic.—>Early Chapter Book Series

Something for the Earbuds

Audiobooks 100% count as reading.  Try these audiobooks to entertain you on the go or to play in the background while the kids play Lego, put together a puzzle, or mix play dough.

Charlotte’s Web read by Meryl Streep

I’ve always loved the audiobook version of Charlotte’s Web read by the author, E.B. White and now there is a new version read by Meryl Streep and cast.  I never tire of reading or hearing this story read aloud.  It’s a classic.

Spin: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical

It’s a musical spin on the Rumpelstiltskin story and it’s a delight to your ears.  The cast is lead by Jim Dale who is one of my favorite audiobook narrators.

For more audiobook suggestions and how to best listen to them check out our Audiobooks 101 Post.

This list should have you well on your way to a summer full of reading fun.  Let me know which book the kids love the most.  You can share in the comments or tag me on social media.

Summer Reading Printable Book List

Grab a printable list of the books above and keep track of your reading all summer long.

Keep the summer reading learning fun going all summer long with these resources on Growing Book by Book.

Books About Summer for Preschoolers

Summer Book Based Activity Calendars

20+ Summer Reading Ideas

Happy Summer Reading!

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