1. If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano
if you want to see a whale
you will need a not-too-comfy chair
and a not-too-cozy blanket
because sleeping eyes can’t watch for whales
and whales won’t wait for watching.
The lyrical nature of this book, coupled with the deceptively simple (yet gorgeous) illustrations make this one a joy to read over and over (and over and over) and over and over again.
The end is pretty awesome, too.
2. When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore
This book is pure fun. “If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.” However, only the little boy can actually see the dragon. All of the dragon’s antics *could* be explained away (are those dragon prints in the sand, or the prints from the boy’s flippers?) and it’s been fun to see Raines start to realize that there’s more to the story. Also? The book is funny. Like honestly and ever-so-slightly-dry humor, funny. Making it another one of the few I can read three times in a row without losing my marbles.
3. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
When I was little, this book was called The Lupine Lady. It’s a story of Alice, a little girl whose grandfather tells her that there are three things she must do in life: visit far away places, live by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful.
This story is simple, yet feels expansive. It’s heartfelt and meaningful, but never preachy. The illustrations steal my breath. It’s a perfect story for setting out on an adventure of your own, or looking up at the stars and trying to make sense of our very small place in this big world.
The book ends with Alice’s great-niece (the narrator all along) saying,
“When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places and come home to live by the sea.”
“That is all very well, little Alice,” says my aunt, “but there is a third thing you must do.”
“What is that?” I ask.
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”
“All right,” I say.
But I do not know yet what that can be.
(And the strong woman role model here just totally floats my boat.)
4. The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow
One night, a mother is asked by her son to describe the seashore. This book is her description, complete with illustrations so gorgeous, it’s impossible not to be transported. The text is longer than most picture books, however, so the littlest ones might have trouble. However, the author invokes all of the senses (for example the water feels like “peppermint” on your skin) and it never fails to calm my boys. In fact, this is the book to read at the end of a long summer day. It’s like reading a lullaby (aka THEY WILL SLEEP. YESSSSS).
These are our summer favorites….I’d sincerely love to hear yours. (We’re pretty big book nerds around here.)