Check out our list of fantastic summer kids books to add to your children’s reading list this year.
Written by Janice Shefelman Illustrated by Tom Shefelman
In this picture book inspired by the life of Antonio Vivaldi, the composer himself narrates how a creative, determined boy grew up to create masterpieces like “The Four Seasons.”
Despite his mother’s vow for him to become a priest, young Vivaldi is only interested in music. He soon grows from a feisty, violin-obsessed boy into a stubborn young man who puts his musical training ahead of his studies for priesthood. Beautiful, ornate artwork portrays the spirit and splendor of Vivaldi’s hometown of Venice. A historical note, musical score, and glossary will help readers more fully appreciate the composer’s Baroque context and his enduring genius.
Written by Alain Serge Dzotap Illustrated by Delphine Renon
When Leo opens his birthday presents, he receives an amazing gift: a pen! Inside it, Papa says, are many beautiful things. But how do you get them out? None of his friends can guess. Super-Zombo doesn’t get anywhere by blowing on it, and Coco-Tembo thinks it’s too tiny to hold anything important. Maybe Leo’s mama will know how to reveal all the wonders inside…
This warm, charming story is a perfect introduction to the joy of writing. Like Leo, young readers will discover how a simple utensil can express all the words in the world—even one’s own name.
“A beautiful look at the wonder of creativity and self-expression. Not to be missed!”
— Kirkus Reviews
I’ll Always Come Back to You
Written by Carmen Tafolla Illustrated by Grace Zong
What happens when someone you love heads out the door? When a mother goes out to work and her daughter stays behind, Mom reassures her child that nothing can keep her from coming back home again. Mom promises that she would even ride on a whale or fight off a passel of bears, if that’s what it takes to return to her child! Her daughter might have to wait with Gramma or a friend at home. Whether their time apart has been long or short, the family will be together again.
This humorous and touching book reminds young readers that distance cannot diminish love. Perfect for children struggling with separation anxiety or a change in family life, this book represents a parent’s promise that they will be back, no matter what! Reassuring rhyme and amusing illustrations create a story to cherish when loved ones have gone away—and also when they’ve come back at last.
“A touching picture book that addresses separation anxiety with heart, humor, and heroic flair.”
— Kirkus Reviews
It’s So Difficult
Written and illustrated by Raúl Nieto Guridi Translated by Lawrence Schimel
A school day can be so overwhelming: so many people, so many noises, so many things to remember. Grown-ups say it’ll get easier with time, but even saying hello is incredibly hard. Thank goodness for comforts like math, for anything that can relax a restless mind. Maybe this time a few words will come out at last…
An empathetic look at anxiety and overstimulation, It’s So Difficult follows a child throughout the challenging routines of a single day. Even the smallest step forward can be an enormous triumph.
Written by Davide Cali Illustrated by Monica Barengo
A dog has an important job to do, especially if his human is a writer. Without a dog by his side, the writer would forget to eat. He’d never get out of his pajamas, and he’d probably stare at the computer all day long. But even the best French bulldog can’t do everything. Maybe this perfect pair needs someone new in their lives…
Illustrated in warm, earthy tones, this witty story reflects the ways dogs change our lives for the better. Our canine friends can make—and find—the best companions.
Written by Amanda Cley Illustrated by Cecilia Ferri
If you try to fit in with the pack, you’ll look the same as everyone else. You’ll be a part of the group, but you’ll lose parts of yourself. Eventually you won’t even recognize yourself anymore. Breaking free from the pack isn’t easy, but it is possible. If you find the courage to leave conformity behind, you can finally discover who you are.
Resonant and haunting, The Pack imagines what happens when a human being wears wolf’s clothing. This poetic, powerful book will start unforgettable conversations about identity, peer pressure, and finding one’s own path.
“Boldly reflective and compelling in its vulnerability.” — Kirkus Reviews
I’ll Say Goodbye
Written by Pam Zollman Illustrated by Frances Ives
Beach days with Uncle Mike always bring something unexpected, like a shiny shell that turns out to be a hermit crab. But Uncle Mike has cancer. Not every surprise is a good one anymore. Soon Uncle Mike starts spending more and more time at the hospital, and the grown-ups start saying “we don’t know” over and over. One day Mom says Uncle Mike is gone. Gone where? What place could be better than his house on the beach? How could he leave without saying goodbye?
This gentle, evocatively illustrated story addresses illness and loss from a child’s perspective. Though grief, confusion, and anger can be overwhelming, we can find ways to move forward with the memory of our loved ones.
A Perfect Spot
Written & Illustrated by Isabelle Simler Translated by Vineet Lal
A ladybug needs a safe place to lay her eggs, but where can she find an open spot? Katydids flutter in the leaves, stick insects hide in the branches, and thorn bugs pop out from every available stem. Even those bright pink flowers are orchid mantises ready to strike! Will any of these creatures be the right neighbors for the ladybug’s eggs?
Illustrated with lush, vibrant details, A Perfect Spot is a fascinating introduction to the diverse world of arthropods. Acclaimed creator Isabelle Simler presents a bug’s eye view of camouflage, metamorphosis, and other natural wonders.
I Hate Borsch
Written and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
All Ukrainians are supposed to love borsch—but what if you hate the red stuff? A young girl despises Eastern Europe’s most beloved soup, and not even the grandmothers of Kiev can persuade her to change her mind. But when she immigrates to the United States, American food leaves her feeling empty. One day she discovers borsch recipes in an old suitcase. Maybe that disgusting beet soup deserves another chance…
Imaginatively illustrated with splashes of borsch-bright red, this book captures the complicated experience of rejecting and embracing one’s culture. A recipe and author’s note provide further ways to interact with the story. Witty and poignant, I Hate Borsch will encourage readers to ponder how history, heritage, and food can shape our identities.
The Book that Kibo Wrote
Releases April 26
Written and illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson Translated by Lawrence Schimel
One night under the acacia trees, Kibo writes a story about home. His neighbor Naki reads his words, binds them into a book, and brings it to the city. There Camilo devours Kibo’s story, remembering his childhood in the savannah. The next day he shares the book and his memories with his friend Simon. Soon Simon starts writing new songs about distant lands. Where will Kibo’s book go next, and what will it spark for its next reader?
Featuring a charming cast of animal characters, The Book that Kibo Wrote showcases the power of stories to connect readers across the globe.