I picked books for this series that encompassed the glorious care-free feeling of summer and focused on the special kind of love that radiates from family and friends. As a kid out of school for the summer the best thing was getting to hang out with friends in the neighborhood, go on vacations with family, and the essence of pure freedom that only summer can bring. These books display these same feelings in the lives of their characters, and are sure to bring summer fun to the whole family! These books are all dear to my heart. They are personal favorites and ones that I highly recommend.
Oh and I added some free printables at the bottom of this post, just for the readers of my fave site, Delicious Reads! These books have such great quotes on friendship, I couldn't resist!
I firmly believe that you are never too young (or too old) for a picture book. These sweet stories will give you all the feelings! Enjoy them with babies in your belly, babies in your lap, screaming toddlers, and kindergarten through second grade. Your kids will love meeting these characters and looking at the gorgeous illustrations!
“The friend I always wanted! So big, so strong and wise!”- David and JJ Heller, The Golden Feather
“Hooray! My good friends are here!” – Philip Christian Stead, A Sick Day for Amos McGee
“Then it was hugging time. Talk about hugging! Those relatives just passed us all around their car, pulling us against their wrinkled Virginia clothes, crying sometimes. They hugged us for hours.”- Cynthia Rylant, The Relatives Came
These books are for kids in grades 3-6. If your child struggles with the words or says they are bored with the book, it may be that it is slightly beyond their reading level. That’s okay! Try reading the book with them as a read-aloud. Kids K-6 would love these books read aloud to them!
“Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White, Charolttes’ Web
“Dear God, thank you for warm summer nights and candlelight and good food. But thank you most of all for friends. We appreciate the complicated and wonderful gifts you give us in each other. And we appreciate the task you put down before us, of loving each other the best we can, even as you love us. We pray in Christ's name, Amen.” –Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie
“How they love the old boxcar!” - Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Boxcar Children
For Teens/Young Adults
I love these books for grades 5-12. These would be fun ones to get two copies of the book and read them along with your teen. Then discuss them together! (NOTE: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is recommended for grades 9-12).
“You know what the secret is? It's so simple. We love one another. We're nice to one another. Do you know how rare that is?”- Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
“I think a friend is someone who helps you change for the better. And whether you see them once a day or once a year, if it’s a true friend, it doesn’t matter.”- Krisitn Levine, The Lions of Little Rock
Mom, be prepared to shed a few tears with these books! These are some seriously great reads that will immerse you in different time periods in American history. You will laugh, you will cry, you will gasp, and you will want to keep reading late into the night!
NOTE: I picked these books for you, mom, but your teens (grades 9-12) may enjoy them too. Just be aware that some of the subject matter might be beyond the high-school level. I recommend you read them first and see how you feel before you let your teens read them.
“There at the kitchen table, May June and Miss Bettina sat, fanning themselves in the muggy heat, chatting away like old bird friends who have landed next to each other on the same wire time and again.” - Sharon Short, My One Square Inch of Alaska
“...one person can come along and change your life, and that being a misfit, as I was, doesn't mean you won't find friends and your place in the world.” – Amy Hill Hearth, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society
“To make real friends you have to put yourself out there. Sometimes people will let you down, but you can't let that stop you. If you get hurt, you just pick yourself up, dust off your feelings, and try again.” – Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane **
“That was the thing about best friends. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours.” – Krisitn Hannah, Firefly Lane**
**You’ve probably all read by now Kristin’s book The Nightingale, and Firefly Lane is another one totally worth your time (and great for warm summer nights!)
Enjoy your summer reading!
PS. Here are your free printables! To print them, just right click the image and select "save as". Then print in your desired size .