Librarians’ 2020 Summer Reading Picks for Kids

By on

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, students and their families are facing uncertain times, but one thing remains as true as ever: reading is a great way for kids to stay engaged with learning during the summer.

Every year, youth librarians from the Association for Library Service to Children compile a list of their top summer reading recommendations for kids of all ages. While most libraries are currently closed to the public, you can still find many of these books available as eBooks and audiobooks.

For more information about these books and why they were selected, visit the 2020 Summer Reading List webpage. Check with your local library for additional suggestions.

For Toddlers and Preschoolers

Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses
by Jen Arena, illustrated by Blanca Gómez

by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Hair Love
by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Ten Little Toes, Two Small Feet / Diez deditos de los pies, dos piececitos
by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Jane Massey

Littles: And How They Grow
by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by AG Ford

You and Me
by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Susan Reagan

Tomorrow Most Likely
by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Lane Smith

Lucía the Luchadora
by Cynthia Leonor Garza, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

Up, Up, Up, Down!
by Kimberly Gee

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse
by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Blanca Gómez

Before & After
by Jean Jullien

Rainbow: A First Book of Pride
by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Anne Passchier

My Heart
by Corinna Luyken

One Lonely Fish
by Andy Mansfield, illustrated by Thomas Flintham

by Barbara McClintock

Be Kind
by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill

Summer Supper
by Rubin Pfeffer, illustrated by Mike Austin

All Kinds of People
by Shelley Rotner, photographs by Sheila M. Kelly

Ciao, Baby! In the Park
by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug
by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Jay Fleck

Hello Humpback!
by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers

For Kindergarten Through Grade 2

Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths
by Graham Annable

Camp Tiger
by Susan Choi, illustrated by John Rocco

The Patchwork Bike
by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd

Our Celebración!
by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Ana Aranda

Meet Yasmin!
by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Just in Case You Want to Fly
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings
by Francie Latour, illustrated by Ken Daley

Where Are You From?
by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jaime Kim

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family
by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly

All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

Hey, Water!
by Antoinette Portis

My Papi Has a Motorcycle
by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña 

by Christian Robinson

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac

Llama Destroys the World
by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox

Fox the Tiger
by Corey R. Tabor

by Blair Thornburgh, illustrated by Scott Campbell

by Cao Wenxuan, illustrated by Yu Rong

Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero!
by Kara West, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez

For Grades 3 Through 5

by John David Anderson

Sanity & Tallulah
by Molly Brooks, illustrated by the author

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
by Monica Brown and Sarai Gonzalez, illustrated by Christine Almeda

Ruby in the Sky
by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet
by Jess French

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
by Lamar Giles, illustrations by Dapo Adeola

The Simple Art of Flying
by Cory Leonardo

Indian No More
by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell

The Book of Boy
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Aquicorn Cove
by Katie O’Neill, illustrated by the author

Knights vs. Dinosaurs
by Matt Phelan, illustrated by the author

Stanley Will Probably Be Fine
by Sally J. Pla, illustrated by Steve Wolfhard

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The Cardboard Kingdom
by Chad Sell, illustrated by the author

To Night Owl from Dogfish
by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
by Rita Williams-Garcia, illustrated by Frank Morrison

For Grades 5 Through 8

Be Prepared
by Vera Brosgol, illustrated by the author

New Kid
by Jerry Craft, illustrated by the author

Putting Peace First: 7 Commitments to Change the World
by Eric Dawson

Just Jaime
by Terri Libenson, illustrated by the author

Caterpillar Summer
by Gillian McDunn

Queen of the Sea
by Dylan Meconis, illustrated by the author

by Yehudi Mercado, illustrated by the author

White Bird: A Wonder Story
by R. J. Palacio, illustrated by the author and Kevin Czap

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum

For more awesome reading suggestions from libraries, subscribe to the I Love Libraries newsletter.