Check out this summer reading list for Kindergarten. A list of books to share with families to read over the summer with some literature comprehension activities and ideas for picture books for kindergarteners. Poetry, prose, fiction and nonfiction summer reading recommendations! What is a good book for a Kindergartener to read? Look no further!
If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
Inspired by the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space. When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars floating gliding and discovering. Follow Mae as she learns that if you can dream it and you work hard for it, anything is possible. An amazing story about a diverse scientist!
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend. This is a great book for back to school time in bilingual classrooms.
Escargot by Dashka Slater
Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things:
1. To be your favorite animal.
2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book.
But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there’s a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one―with a little help from you!―he discovers that it’s not so bad after all
Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett
You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can’t even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo’s efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin.
Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd
What is happening outside today? Peek through the window to find out. What is happening inside? Peek again! Whimsical die-cuts throughout lead to charming and surprising reveals with every turn of the page. Filled with fun details (can you find the two mice playing throughout?), this deceptively simple book is one readers will visit again and again.
My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano
she is my best friend i think
i never had a best friend so i’m not sure
but i think she is a really good best friend
because when we were drawing
she drew me
and i drew her.
What is a best friend, if not someone who laughs with you the whole entire day, especially when you pretend to be a pickle? This pitch-perfect picture book is a sweetly earnest, visually stunning celebration of the magic of friendship.
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
What happens when you are tired of controlling yourself? Are you bored with being so proper? Do you want to have more fun? Mr. Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild. But does he go too far?
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Blue crayon needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. Black crayon wants to be used for more than just outlining. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?
Olivia by Ian Falconer
It’s everyone’s favorite pig…it’s OLIVIA! Join Olivia as she…dresses up,sings songs, builds sand castles, naps (maybe), dances, paints on walls, and—wears out her mom—
…finally goes to sleep at last.
Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry
Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene.One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them. When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?
Lost in the Library by Josh Funk
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude is the first picture book about Patience and Fortitude, the two lion statues that faithfully guard the New York Public Library. When Patience goes missing, Fortitude realizes the secret to Patience’s disappearance may be within the Library itself.
Blackout by John Rocco
One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, “Mommm!” His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can’t work on her computer, and Dad can’t finish cooking dinner. What’s a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights–in stars that can be seen for a change–and so many neighbors it’s like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun–talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal . . . but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again.
Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare
It’s field trip day, and students are excited to travel on their yellow spaceship bus from their space station to the moon in this wordless picture book. Climb aboard the spaceship bus for a fantastic field trip adventure to the moon! Once their bright yellow ship lands, students debark and set out with their teacher to explore. They jump over trenches and see craters and mountains on the moon’s surface and even Earth in the faraway distance.
But when one student takes a break to draw some pictures and falls asleep, they wake up to discover that the rest of the class and the spaceship are gone. How the student passes the time waiting to be rescued makes for a funny and unexpected adventure that will enchant children all over the galaxy. A beautiful wordless picture book to share with your students!
Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
Mel Fell is a hilarious book that kids are sure to love. A baby bird decides one day that she is going to fly! Despite her siblings’ misgivings and her neighbors’ attempts to stop her, Mel falls…straight down. She falls and falls until she hits the water and catches her first fish. Then, she flies! Mel, it turns out, is a kingfisher. She’s supposed to fall… into the water! Corey R. Tabor’s story is a joy, and his illustrations add a layer of comedy that Caldecott committees eat up. An excellent story about bravery and confidence and discovering your true purpose in life!
Friends Stick Together by Hannah Harrison
Rupert is a rhinoceros of refined sensibilities. Levi, the new tickbird in class, is not. He burps the alphabet, tells corny jokes, and does really embarrassing air guitar solos. Worse, he lands right on Rupert and is determined to be Rupert’s symbiotic best pal! Rupert wants him gone. But when Levi finally does bug off, Rupert finds the peace and quiet a little boring. It turns out, Rupert could really use a friend like Levi.
This book has a really great message of acceptance for all of the Levis and Ruperts in your class. Certainly one of my favorite children’s books about friendship!
Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones
H, Little O, and Baby Em are stuck in the city for the summer with only their pet goldfish—Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss—for company. It’s looking like it might be a pretty boring vacation, but one day, something exciting happens. Someone starts fixing up the old fountain down the street—the one Grandpa says horses used to drink from before everyone had cars—and a sign appears: “Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home.” H, Little O, and Baby Em can’t wait to send their goldfish on vacation, and the fish, well, they seem pretty excited too. Based on the true story of Hamilton Fountain in New York City, this charming tale of one special summer will delight readers young and old. Author’s Note included.
Hike by Pete Oswald
Take to the trails for a celebration of nature — and a day spent with dad.
In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive — and closer than ever — as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fear and anxiety, Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
There is only one way for Chester to do things—his own way. “You definitely have a mind of your own,” said Chester’s mother. “That’s one way to put it,” said Chester’s father.
Luckily Chester’s best friend, Wilson, likes doing things just the same way as Chester. When they cut their sandwiches, it’s always diagonally. When they ride their bikes, they always use hand signals. If Chester is hungry, Wilson is too. They’re two of a kind—until indomitable Lilly, who has her own way of doing things, moves into the neighborhood. Because Lilly has her own way of doing things!
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again? How could this classic NOT be one of my favorite September read alouds?
Lilly’s Big Day by Kevin Henkes
Lilly’s favorite teacher, Mr. Slinger, is getting married, and Lilly is going to be his flower girl! Well, Lilly, thinks she is going to be his flower girl. It turns out that Mr. Slinger’s niece Ginger is the official flower girl. But Lilly rises to the occasion as only Lilly can, turning heartbreak into wedding cake (a delicious three-tiered frosted Swiss cheese, no less), and disappointment into friendship! A #1 New York Times bestseller by Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
“I am the queen!”
Lilly loves all sorts of things. She loves school, she loves dressing up, she even grows to love her stinky baby brother, Julius. In fact, Lilly loves everything! But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse to school and can’t wait until sharing time to show off the purse and her movie star sunglasses, her teacher, Mr. Slinger, has to take away her prized possessions.
Lilly’s fury leads her to draw a mean picture of her favorite teacher. It isn’t until Mr. Slinger gives her belongings back to her with a kind note and snacks that Lilly realizes she owes Mr. Slinger an apology. A great book for back to school!
Owen by Kevin Henkes
“Fuzzy goes where I go.”
Owen’s fuzzy yellow blanket is his favorite possession. Everywhere Owen goes, his blanket goes with him. Upstairs, downstairs, in-between. Inside, outside, upside down. Everywhere! Owen’s parents are in despair—soon Owen will begin school, and he can’t take Fuzzy with him then. Whatever can be done? Everyone who’s ever had a favorite blanket will know exactly how Owen feels!
Weekend With Wendell by Kevin Henkes
Wendell was spending the weekend at Sophie’s house. Playing house, Wendell was the father, the mother, and the children; Sophie was the dog. Playing bakery, Wendell was the baker; Sophie got to be the sweet roll. But when Wendell gave her a new hairdo with shaving cream, it was the last straw, and Sophie made up a game that left Wendell speechless for a time—and won the day for friendship.
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . .This book is one of my favorite children’s books for back to school!
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers’ most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.
The Bad Seed by Jory John
This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy? A great book for showing students that they can make a change and to not always believe what others say to create self-fulfilling prophecies.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Students will argue about the ending and it provides a great opportunity to discuss inferring!
Frederick by Leo Lionni
Frederick’s brothers and sisters are busy preparing for winter gathering things they will need, but it appears that Frederick is doing nothing. His family tells him as much, but he replies that he is gathering for winter. When the winter is cold and food is running short, Frederick’s poem about the memories he gathered turns out to be just what everyone needed. This is also one of my favorite children’s books of poetry for Kindergarteners.
Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima
Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been a little bit different—his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer, and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp discovers that he and the creature are actually unicorns. The revelation leaves him torn: is he a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? But perhaps, if Kelp is clever, he may find a way to have the best of both worlds.
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
It can be a little scary to be small in a big city, but it helps to know you’re not alone. When you’re small in the city, people don’t see you, and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is sometimes hard. But this little kid knows what it’s like, and knows the neighborhood. And a little friendly advice can go a long way. A great book about seeing a things in another’s eyes as the child attempts to find her lost cat.
Flotsam by David Wiesner
A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep. An amazing wordless picture book to discover and explore!
Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel
In a letter to his children, a father recounts memories of the role Steve, the tree in their front yard, has played in their lives. Turtleback binding is a highly durable alternative to a hardcover or paperback book. The comprehensive cover reinforcement process will drastically combat wear and tear, keeping your favorite books in great condition for years to come! Turtleback books are ideal for any reader, or for use in schools or libraries.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality. A great LGBT children’s book!
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.
Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin
How does Racoon love pizza? Oh, let him count the ways. He loves the gooey cheesy-ness, salty pepperoni-ness, sweet sweet tomato-ness, and of course the crispity crunchity crust. But someone is always chasing poor Raccoon away from his favorite food with a broom! What’s a hungry raccoon to do? Plan an elaborate secret pizza party, of course!
But shhh! It’s a secret! A hilarious picture book ideal for Kindergartners.
Yoko by Rosemary Wells
Mmm, Yoko’s mom has packed her favorite for lunch today–sushi! But her classmates don’t think it looks quite so yummy. “Ick!” says one of the Franks. “It’s seaweed!” They’re not even impressed by her red bean ice cream dessert. Of course, Mrs. Jenkins has a plan that might solve Yoko’s problem. But will it work with the other children in class?
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . . In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?
Me…Jane by Patrick Mcdonnell
In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of “a life living with and helping all animals,” until one day she finds that her dream has come true. This is an amazing book to read during Women’s History Month or as a read aloud for Earth Day!
Conclusion Best Summer Reading List For Kindergarten
What are some of your favorite books on your summer reading list for Kindergarten? Are there any must read books that you have on your Kindergarten summer reading list that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!
Download the Printable Summer Reading List for Kindergarten:
If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!
Other Great Kindergarten Read Aloud Stories
Looking for other great Kindergarten read alouds? Here are a few more to explore:
30 Best Kindergarten Read Aloud Stories
Narrative Nonfiction Books for Kindergarten
Black History Month Books For Kindergarten
Back to School Books for Kindergarten
Black History Month Kindergarten Books
Realistic Fiction Books For Kindergarten
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