The most recommended books about summer

Who picked these books? Meet our 22 experts.

22 authors created a book list connected to summer, and here are their favorite summer books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of summer book?


Book cover of Wishing Season

Kimberly Sabatini Author Of Touching the Surface

From Kimberly's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Mom Coach Chocolate connoisseur HSP

Kimberly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Kimberly Sabatini Why did Kimberly love this book?

I am in love—heart and soul with this book. This touching middle-grade novel is stunning. It makes me want to be a kinder and more empathetic human.

Today, more than ever before, we need more books that bring out the best in us. We need stories that help us navigate the ups and downs of being human. We need to remember that loving others and being vulnerable is a strength and not a weakness. Wishing Season will break your heart and then it will show you how to mend it, so you’ll be stronger for having loved and lost.

Go read this story, my friends. ♥️ Some books are impossible not to share.

By Anica Mrose Rissi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wishing Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A moving middle grade story by Anica Mrose Rissi that will appeal to readers who loved The Thing about Jellyfish and Hello, Universe, about the enduring bond between twins: Anders, who has recently died, and Lily, who has to balance her grief and confusion with a brother who isn’t quite gone—and how to navigate a world that is moving forward without him.

Of course Anders wasn’t lonely in the afterlife. He still, like always, had Lily.

Lily doesn’t believe in making wishes. Not anymore. Not since Anders died.

Wishes can’t fix the terrible thing that happened. Wishing won’t change how…

Book cover of Summersaults

Bob Raczka Author Of Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

From my list on children’s poetry that also appeals to adults.

Who am I?

Many people are intimidated by poetry. For a big part of my life, I was too. So much of the poetry I had been exposed to was either indecipherable or irrelevant to me. Then I discovered some poems that I loved—accessible poems about subjects I related to. I started collecting poetry books, by both adult and children’s poets. Eventually, I was inspired to write poetry of my own. Today, I’m a poetry advocate, recommending my favorites to anyone who shows interest. The satisfaction I get from poetry boils down to this: When I read a good poem, I think to myself, “Wow, I didn’t know words could do that.”

Bob's book list on children’s poetry that also appeals to adults

Bob Raczka Why did Bob love this book?

I love wordplay, and Douglas Florian is a master. His poems are short, fun, and well-crafted. He also illustrates his books, in a style that is sketchy, childlike, and textural. When I need a bit of lighthearted inspiration for my own poetry, Florian always delivers. He has written dozens of books, but his book about summer called Summersaults captures the essence of his style. Here’s a delicious sample:

"A Summery"

June: We seeded.
July: We weeded.
August: We eated.

By Douglas Florian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summersaults as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What do you like about summer?Mountain hikes?
Picking cherries?
Curve balls?
Ice cream cones?
What do you not like about summer?Blackouts?
Bee swarms?
Ninety degrees?

However you answered, Douglas Florian will convince you that summer is great. His poems and pictures add up to the best vacation imaginable -- and it is one you can have at any time of the year. A companion volume to the highly praised Winter Eyes,Summersaults proves that Douglas Florian is a poet for all seasons.

Book cover of The Saturday Night Ghost Club

Shannon Takaoka Author Of The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne

From my list on totally awesome stories set in the 80s.

Who am I?

My soul still possesses a little of my teenage self, which is why I set my latest book in 1987. Whitney Houston had one of the biggest songs, Dirty Dancing was released, and a little girl nicknamed Baby Jessica was rescued from a well. I’m told this makes The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne “historical fiction” which, honestly, is a little alarming, because sometimes 1987 doesn’t seem like that long ago. Other times it feels ancient. I picked a few of these books because they’re full of nostalgia for a slower, analog time. But mainly I chose them for the voice, characters, and great writing.

Shannon's book list on totally awesome stories set in the 80s

Shannon Takaoka Why did Shannon love this book?

The Saturday Night Ghost Club wraps a poignant story about grief and loss inside a nostalgic 1980s package that brings to mind the best of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King.

I’m always a sucker for a group of misfits who band together and learn some important life lessons, and Davidson takes that outline and fills it in with Uncle Calvin, Jake, Billy, and Dove. Uncle Calvin will break your heart, the boys’ friendship will warm it, but the real MVP for me is fierce, wild Dove.

The vibe of this book is sleepovers in wood-paneled game rooms, staying out past bedtime under a full moon, and being on the cusp of leaving childhood fears behind, while learning that the adult world sometimes holds more darkness than you knew. 

By Craig Davidson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Saturday Night Ghost Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An irresistible and bittersweet coming-of-age story in the vein of Stranger Things and Stand by Me about a group of misfit kids who spend an unforgettable summer investigating local ghost stories and urban legends

"A celebration of the secret lives of children, both their wonders and their horrors . . . Immensely enjoyable, piercingly clever, and satisfyingly soulful." -Jason Heller, NPR

Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls - a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place - Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer…

Book cover of The Summer of Lost Letters

Erica George Author Of The Edge of Summer

From my list on YA romances set during the summer.

Who am I?

Growing up, I always loved reading young adult romances where first love and growing up seemed like the perfect kind of summer story. As an adult, and especially as an educator, I have too often seen the likes and interests of my female students dismissed as silly or frivolous, romance being at the top of this list. I love cultivating a diverse classroom library, one that includes books for everyone’s interest and background. Writing stories for young readers and about what interests them has been the great privilege of my life.

Erica's book list on YA romances set during the summer

Erica George Why did Erica love this book?

I am a sucker for contemporary romances with a hint of historical sprinkled in, so when I saw that The Summer of Lost Letters took place on Nantucket (gorgeous), and followed a modern teenage girl whose late grandmother’s love letters to a man other than her grandfather mysteriously show up on her front steps, I knew it was for me. Romance, mystery, and family secrets combine for a compelling summer read!

By Hannah Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Summer of Lost Letters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Ruta Sepetys, this sweet, summery romance set in Nantucket follows seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg as she uncovers a secret about her grandmother's life during WWII.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg isn't exactly looking forward to the summer before her senior year. She's just broken up with her first boyfriend and her friends are all off in different, exciting directions for the next three months. Abby needs a plan--an adventure of her own. Enter: the letters.

They show up one rainy day along with the rest of Abby's recently deceased grandmother's possessions. And these aren't any old…

Book cover of The Queens of New York

Sarah Suk Author Of The Space between Here & Now

From my list on YA that take you on a journey through South Korea.

Who am I?

When I was a kid growing up in Canada, many of my classmates didn’t know about Korea. They’d guess I was Chinese or Japanese, and when I’d tell them I’m Korean, they’d say, “What’s that?” Things have changed since then and now Korea is well-known all around the world, and that’s reflected in our bookshelves too. I’m delighted to see that there are more books out there today that reflect my culture and heritage, in a wide range of genres, age groups, and settings! Speaking of setting, here are some young adult novels that take place in South Korea that I enjoyed, and I hope you will too.

Sarah's book list on YA that take you on a journey through South Korea

Sarah Suk Why did Sarah love this book?

I grew up loving The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and The Queens of New York is reminiscent of that in all the best ways.

Best friends Jia, Ariel, and Everett are spending the summer apart and while I loved all their individual journeys, I found myself most drawn to Ariel who visits Busan, South Korea, where her sister died last year. A tender navigation of grief and identity that simultaneously made my heart ache and feel so full.

By E. L. Shen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queens of New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

From acclaimed author E. L. Shen comes a sun-drenched, cinematic YA novel about three Asian American girls, their unbreakable bond, and one life-changing summer, perfect for fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Best friends Jia Lee, Ariel Kim, and Everett Hoang are inseparable. But this summer, they won’t be together.

Everett, aspiring Broadway star, hopes to nab the lead role in an Ohio theater production, but soon realizes that talent and drive can only get her so far. Brainy Ariel is flying to San Francisco for a prestigious STEM scholarship, even though her heart is in South Korea,…

Book cover of The Other Side

Nancy I. Sanders Author Of D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet

From my list on inspirational African American history.

Who am I?

As a bestselling and award-winning KidLit author of more than 100 books, I’ve been blessed to specialize in writing for kids about the amazing and inspiring legacy of African Americans. From an alphabet book for even the youngest readers to biographies with hands-on activities for middle graders and up, both nonfiction and fiction as well, these stories are my passion because many of these individuals are my personal heroes as well. I want kids to love and honor these men and women who have made a difference in our world as much as I do!

Nancy's book list on inspirational African American history

Nancy I. Sanders Why did Nancy love this book?

I’m a big fan of the art of E. B. Lewis, especially his award-winning picture books. (He illustrated my book.) This book is one of my favorites that he’s illustrated. It’s a story about growing up. And friendship. And how kids know what’s right and wrong even if we as adults get it muddled at times.

By Jacqueline Woodson, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Other Side as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Clover's mom says it isn't safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups' rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

With the addition of a brand-new author's note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and E. B. Lewis's amazing talent shines in his gorgeous watercolor illustrations.

Book cover of The Summer Book

Charlotte Agell Author Of Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship)

From Charlotte's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Open-hearted Curious Optimistic

Charlotte's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Charlotte Agell Why did Charlotte love this book?

I love this book so much that I reread it every year. I read it in its original Swedish but the  English translation is good, too.

I grew up “on” Tove Jansson, genius creator of the  Moomintrolls. This book is for adults. It is gentle, yet piercing. An old woman and her granddaughter have small adventures and conversations about what matters, on a remote  Finnish island. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is magic. It features illustrations (by the author) which take you right to the soulful setting.

This is one of those books that makes you ponder life’s big questions, while being about everyday life. Highly recommend. It’s only  “second” on my list because I read and reread it, so it’s not a “find” to me, rather more like a bible? 

By Tove Jansson, Thomas Teal (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Summer Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature…

Book cover of If Winter Comes, Tell It I'm Not Here

Hyewon Yum Author Of Puddle

From my list on rainy days.

Who am I?

I hate rainy days, I check the weather forecast diligently to make sure I don’t have to go out on a rainy day. However I became a mother of two boys and with little kids, I had to go out rain or shine. My kids don’t get bothered by the rain, they rather love it, so I learned to enjoy the rainy days just like the grumpy old man from RainI And we enjoyed rainy day activities like drawing, reading about rainy day stories while cuddling on the sofa. These books remind me of those happy rainy days and they will certainly brighten up your rainy days.

Hyewon's book list on rainy days

Hyewon Yum Why did Hyewon love this book?

I’m a big fan of Simona Ciraolo, and the cover of this book is so perfect! Every spread is filled with brilliant moments of the four seasons. Especially the rainy day spreads are my favorites. It makes you anticipate rainy days even though you’re not a rain person.

By Simona Ciraolo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Winter Comes, Tell It I'm Not Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Come summer, autumn or winter, a little boy is going to make the best of it.

Nothing is better than summer, swimming every day and eating ice cream. But a little boy's big sister has BIG news. She tells him that summer is going to end soon ... and winter is coming! When winter comes, she says, it will be cold ... and dark ... and rain all the time. They'll be stuck on the sofa for days and won't even dream of eating ice cream...

From author-illustrator Simona Ciraolo, this is a celebration of the changing of the seasons,…

Book cover of This One Summer

Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan Author Of Brain Camp

From my list on scary books for kids.

Who am I?

Both of us grew up in the suburbs, which were honestly kind of boring, especially in the summer—so early on, we turned to books and telling stories to entertain ourselves and others. Susan writes stuff that relies on imagination, fantasy, and creepy stuff—and because she’s kind of immature (what nice people call “a kid at heart”), she also writes a ton of kids’ TV. Laurence’s imagination is more about mysteries and humor—he’s written detective novels and short stories. Writing together is awesome: despite minor differences, we share anxiety, similar senses of humor, and a love of storytelling. In addition to Brain Camp, we wrote the graphic novel City of Spies, as well as the YA dystopian trilogy, Wasteland.

Susan's book list on scary books for kids

Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan Why did Susan love this book?

Okay, this one isn’t scary. But This One Summer is an awesome coming-of-age GN about two young girls who spend a fateful summer at a lake house. While the themes of family dysfunction and the onset of sexual understanding make this skew a little older, the Tamakis really capture the details of not just summer, summer crushes, and summer communities, but also friendship and tween girls in general. Funnily enough, the two of us always hated summer – as kids, we spent them indoors with equal parts air conditioning, books, TV, and for Susan, cats. (Umm, and it hasn’t really changed that much since then.)

By Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked This One Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Every summer, Rose goes with her mum and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mum and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Book cover of Finally, Something Mysterious

Betsy Uhrig Author Of Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini

From my list on featuring triangular friendships.

Who am I?

Friendship among three kids can be fraught, as any former kid (or current parent) knows. There’s always a chance that one member will be sidelined, and that often changes on a whim. But triangles can also be remarkably sturdy in spite or even because of the personality mix and occasional conflicts. I’ve been a member of several friendship trios, successful and not, so I’ve experienced both sides (all three sides?) of the issue. My books often feature triangular friendships because they naturally give rise to complex, personality-driven bickering, which is one of my favorite things to write.  

Betsy's book list on featuring triangular friendships

Betsy Uhrig Why did Betsy love this book?

This book had me with the title alone. Who hasn’t spent a boring school break looking for something – anything – mysterious to investigate? Paul and his two best friends live in a small town in which nothing interesting happens…until hundreds of rubber duckies appear in a nearby yard one morning. Together, Paul (the hilariously observant narrator), Shanks (tiny but tough), and Peephole (whose many fears include the sound of other people’s sneezes) figure out how all those ducks ended up on Mr. Babbage’s lawn. The friendship here is comfortable and worn in, based on fond tolerance of one another’s quirks – as the best friendships usually are. 

By Doug Cornett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finally, Something Mysterious as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best mysteries can only be solved with your best friends. The perfect summer read for fans of Stuart Gibbs.

Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a boring one. Not much for an eleven-year-old to do. Fires are burning nearby, Paul's parents are obsessed with winning a bratwurst contest, and his best friend, one of the founding members of their only-child detective club, the One and Onlys, is about to acquire a younger sister, sort of undoing their whole reason for existing. But then! Hundreds of rubber duckies have appeared on the lawn…