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Summer Picture Books: Must-Read Children's Stories for July

Updated: Jan 4

Summer is the perfect time to get lost in some great children's books. If you're looking for a July reading list full of summer picture books, look no further! We've put together a list of must-read children's stories for the month of July that will take readers on magical adventures, introduce them to endearing characters, and help foster a lifelong love of reading. From classics to new favorites, these stories will have your kids excited to crack open their books and explore the wonderful worlds within.

July Reading list for kids summer books to read summer activities

(Psst... Make sure to download a free copy of our July Reading List )


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Summer Picture Books: Duck & Goose Go to the Beach

by Tad Hills

Looking for what to read in July? Look no further than Duck & Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills. In this delightful children's story, two best friends embark on an adventure to the beach. Duck is eager to explore, but Goose is hesitant. However, as they make their way through various landscapes, Goose begins to warm up to the idea of visiting the ocean.

This book is perfect for children who may be hesitant to try new things. The charming illustrations and heartwarming story will captivate readers of all ages. Plus, with summer in full swing, the beach theme is a perfect fit for July reading. Don't miss out on this summer picture book classic!

by Jerry Spinelli

If you're wondering what to read in July to get in the mood for Independence Day, My Fourth of July by Jerry Spinelli is a perfect choice. This delightful children's book tells the story of a responsible little boy who's eager to do his part to celebrate America's birthday. The story takes place in a small town, where the boy wakes up early to help with all the preparations for the big day. He bakes pies, fills deviled eggs, and helps set up for the world's best picnic. Along the way, he meets all his neighbors and friends and gets to experience the joy and excitement of the holiday firsthand.

by Sam Hay

This charming children's book tells the story of a little boy who discovers a lost star and decides to take care of it, keeping it in a jar and carrying it with him wherever he goes.

As the days go by, the little boy becomes attached to his new friend, but he soon realizes that the star belongs in the sky. With the help of his sister, the boy comes up with a plan to return the star to its rightful place, even if it means saying goodbye forever.

This touching tale celebrates the importance of true friendship and the rewards of taking care of those we love. It's the perfect book to share with your child on a warm summer evening, as you gaze up at the stars and appreciate the wonder of the world around us. So if you're wondering what to read in July, make sure to add Star in the Jar to your list!

by Brenda Maier

In The Little Red Fort, readers follow the journey of a determined young girl named Ruby, who sets out to build something great using some old boards she finds. Despite her brothers' skepticism and laughter, Ruby remains focused and determined to bring her vision to life.

With each passing day, Ruby's fort begins to take shape as she learns and grows from each mistake. As her creation comes to life, her brothers start to take notice and even want to join in on the fun. In the end, Ruby's hard work and persistence pay off as she enjoys the fruits of her labor and gets the last laugh.

by David Wiesner

David Wiesner's award-winning children's book, Flotsam, takes readers on an exciting adventure that will captivate their imaginations. This book is a perfect choice for parents looking for a picture book to read with their children during July.

Flotsam tells the story of a curious young boy who enjoys exploring the beach in search of interesting objects that have washed ashore. One day, he discovers an old underwater camera and sets out to develop the photos it contains. What he finds is a stunning and unexpected array of photographs that take him on an incredible journey deep beneath the sea.

by Jacqueline Davies

The House Takes a Vacation is a fun and imaginative story by Jacqueline Davies that kids will love. This book is perfect for July because it tells the story of a house that wants to go on vacation just like the Peterson family who live inside. However, the different parts of the house can't agree on where to go, and chaos ensues.

Children will love the silly and playful antics of the house as it tries to come up with the perfect vacation spot. Finally, the sunporch suggests going to the beach, but the basement isn't too keen on the idea. In the end, the house learns the importance of compromise and comes together to have an unforgettable vacation.

by Julia Donaldson

The Snail and the Whale is a heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between a small snail and a large humpback whale. Written by the acclaimed author, Julia Donaldson, this children's book is a delightful read for the whole family.

The story follows a tiny snail who dreams of traveling to far-off lands. One day, she meets a friendly humpback whale who agrees to take her on an adventure. Together, they journey through the oceans, encountering exotic creatures and beautiful sights along the way.

However, the adventure takes a dangerous turn when the whale swims too close to the shore. It is up to the brave snail to save her friend and ensure that they make it back home safely.

by Liz Garton Scanlon


If you're looking for a picture book that celebrates the beauty of everyday life, All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon is a must-read. The book takes readers on a journey through a day in the life of a family and their community, highlighting the small moments that make life special. From the sound of the ocean to the feeling of a loved one's hand in yours, All the World reminds readers to cherish the simple things that make life rich and full.

by Marla Frazee

This picture book follows a family's trip to an amusement park where they ride a roller coaster. It's a thrilling ride with twists and turns, but the best part of the story is the family's reactions to the ride. The mother, father, and two kids all have different reactions to the roller coaster, making it relatable to any reader who has ever been on a thrill ride. The illustrations in Roller Coaster are dynamic and detailed, capturing the excitement and energy of the amusement park. Overall, Roller Coaster is a fun and exciting read for any child (or adult!) who loves amusement parks and roller coasters.

by Suzy Lee

Wave by Suzy Lee is a breathtakingly beautiful picture book that will captivate children and adults alike. Through wordless illustrations, Lee tells the story of a little girl's day at the beach. With just two shades of watercolor, Lee creates stunning illustrations that evoke a sense of joy, wonder, and freedom.

by Danny Parker

Perfect captures the essence of a perfect day in childhood. The story takes readers on a journey through the simple joys of being a child during summer. From scribbling with chalk to running with kites, digging for shells to paddling and climbing, this book transports us to a place of spontaneity and freedom.

by Davide Cali

Is this tale too epic to be true? That's up to the reader to decide. Cali and his team, who also created the popular I Didn't Do My Homework Because... and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School..., expertly weave a fast-paced, detail-rich narrative that will keep kids engaged from beginning to end.

The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer is the perfect read for children who love adventure and whimsy, and it's sure to become a favorite in your household. So pack your bags and get ready for a wild ride with this unforgettable summer story.

by Eve Bunting

The book is a wonderful ode to the joys of childhood and the power of imagination. The story encourages children to explore their creativity, use their problem-solving skills, and embrace the wonders of the natural world. Sunflower House also beautifully illustrates the growth and transformation of nature throughout the seasons.


by Beth Ferry


Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry is a delightful picture book that celebrates the power of friendship and the beauty of the sea. The book follows Captain Swashby, who loves his life by the sea just the way it is. He is not thrilled when a young girl and her granny move into the house next door and start causing a commotion.

Swashby tries to get his new neighbors to go away by leaving messages in the sand. However, the sea has a mind of its own and the messages keep getting washed away. As Swashby grows frustrated, he starts to realize that maybe the sea knows what he needs more than he does.

This heartwarming story is beautifully illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal and will delight both children and adults alike. It teaches us to appreciate the unexpected changes in life and the power of friendship.

by Michelle Sterling

For those looking for a heartwarming summer read, look no further than When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling. This children's book captures the special bond between a granddaughter and her grandmother who visits every summer.

The book portrays the beauty of family traditions and the power of shared memories. The story also includes snippets of Filipino culture, such as the aroma of mango jam and sweet singing in Tagalog.

by Kelly DiPucchio

This story follows the daring duo of Oona and Otto as they embark on a treasure hunt. But as with any good treasure hunt, there are plenty of obstacles in their way. From messy mishaps to tricky challenges, Oona and Otto are up for anything...even when it involves sharks!

But when the ultimate treasure is trapped in a deep, dark rift, Oona starts to have second thoughts. Will she be brave enough to dive into the unknown waters and face whatever dangers may be lurking?

by Lizi Boyd

This delightful story is a beautiful tribute to the magic of nature at night. The tale follows a young boy on a camping trip, and as the night sets in, he takes out his flashlight to explore his surroundings. What he discovers is a world teeming with life and wonder that he may never have seen otherwise. The story is told entirely through the images, making it a great book for kids of all ages to explore and interpret on their own.


by Sarah Glenn Marsh

One book that should be on your list for July is "A Campfire Tail" by Sarah Glenn Marsh. This heartwarming story follows the adventures of Dragon, who is new to Camp Wildwood. Dragon struggles to fit in with the other campers, causing a lot of trouble along the way. But despite his many mishaps, Dragon's friend never gives up on him.

by Emily Hughes

Wild tells the story of a young girl who was raised in nature, and the stark contrast she faces when she's taken to live in civilization. The book explores themes of identity and the impact of human influence on nature, and the importance of preserving the wildness that still exists in the world.

by Jennifer Hansen Rolli

Have you ever known a child who just can't seem to get enough? Jennifer Hansen Rolli's picture book, Just One More, is a relatable story about Ruby, a little girl who always wants one more of everything. From one more minute of sleep to one more scoop of ice cream, Ruby never seems satisfied.

However, when one more becomes too much, Ruby realizes that sometimes, just one is enough.


Summer Reading list Books to read in July for kids

(Click here to download)

Happy Reading!



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