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Picture Books for Summer Reading: 24 Recommendations from Parents

What books will you be reading with YOUR kids over this Summer? We asked a number of parents we know that question, and ended up with a fantastic list of great reads, which is sure to inspire!

(Click on the titles or cover images below to find out more about each book, or purchase a copy.)

ZogWe weren’t surprised to find that many of the littlest kids are requesting old favourites be read to them, over and over again. (For more on this, see our article on why reading that same, favourite book at bedtime is doing your preschooler good.) Classics including Where is the Green Sheep?, Zog and other Donaldson/Scheffler collaborations, Hairy Maclary, Each, Peach, Pear, Plum and Possum Magic continue to be popular, bedtime after bedtime.

The brilliant lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo will be being shared in my family – it’s a favourite with the kids, and a lot of the aunts and uncles who’ll be visiting over the holidays love it’s gentle guessing game, too!

One mum mentioned the more recent – and wonderful – Michael Rosen book, The Bus is for Us: ‘we are reading (and re-reading and re-reading) this one; he loves things that go.’

This and ThatQuite a few kids will be finding some newer titles in their Christmas stockings, too. Mem Fox and Judy Horacek’s latest collaboration, This & That, is a popular nomination, as are Pig the Fibber and My Dog Bigsy.

I’m giving Charlie & Lola: My First and Best Ever Story Collection to Mister 4. These stories are terrific for lots of kids, but extra perfect in this case as he has a little sister, just like Charlie in the book.

Many families have a tradition of sharing books that celebrate Summer and the holiday season at this time of the year. Favourites include Grandpa and Thomas, Greetings from Sandy Beach, Magic Beach and Are we There Yet? (You could also check the library shelves for Not a Nibble by Elizabeth Honey, which isn’t available in bookshops at the moment.)

Grandpa and ThomasThe beautiful new Danny Parker & Freya Blackwood book, Perfect, isn’t specifically about holidays but celebrates a ‘day off’ when the hours stretch endlessly ahead and can be filled with innocent delights like cooking, drawing, kite-flying and exploring.

And for older kids, Roland Harvey’s family holiday series (At the Beach, In the Bush and others) feature loads of humour and lots to look at and find.

And speaking of books for older kids, several of the families we surveyed continue to enjoy more complex picture books together, as well as reading chapter books and novels.  Their suggestions include Maurice Sendak’s books (his best-known, Where the Wild Things Are, and also In the Night Kitchen, The Sign on Rosie’s Door, and others) and Numerical Street and Alphabetical Sydney. (We were interested to spot a newspaper report that Prime Minister Turnbull will also be reading Alphabetical Sydney with his grandkids this Summer!)

And perhaps they should be classified as graphic novels rather than picture books, but the TinTin series are eternally popular. They generally suit kids of around 9 and up for reading alone, but the content definitely appeals to slightly younger children: ‘My 7 year old reads them with dad, and then re-enacts them in the yard, local playground or friend’s house. TinTin is the latest obsession.’

For more, see our Summer Reading Novels and Chapter Books List

We have to say a huge thank-you to all the parents – publishing and book industry colleagues, family, friends and friends-of-friends – who took time to help us with this and our other Summer Reading lists. We hope you’ve all discovered some wonderful new reads in the process!

What will you be reading with your kids this Summer? We’d love to hear from you in comments.

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