A Dozen Long & Short Reads About Summer for Kids, ages 8~12

WeAreTeachers website helped me select several Summer Reads about Summer to interest 8-12 year-old children. Some are short reads & others are long reads.

I enjoy both ~ but prefer a nice, long read…..especially during Summer ~ in a hammock under a shady tree with a tall, cool drink and, maybe a snack or three.

The book selections are listed alphabetically by author and include their page number as well as a brief plot description from GoodReads & GoogleBooks.

  • Atwood, Megan ICE CREAM SUMMER  272pages

Four friends live and work together on a New England apple orchard in this first novel of a brand-new series about the bonds of friendship.

Welcome to the Orchard!

Every summer the Garrison Family Apple Orchard opens its ice cream stand and lets two kids run the show. Now it’s best friends Lizzie and Sarah’s turn.

Then new kids Olive and Peter join their ice cream team. Sarah had big plans and she’s not too happy about sharing the stand or her best friend. But a disaster at the grand opening results in a mysteriously empty cash register, these four kids have to become good friends—and expert detectives—before this Ice Cream Summer turns into the Worst Summer Ever.

  • Cassidy, Sara BLACK GOLD  96pages

Cyrus and Rudy spend the last days of summer selling dahlias, blackberries and tomatoes at their roadside stand. When a neighbor drops off a bin full of red wigglers, California earthworms that break down compost into fertilizer, Rudy and Cyrus become worm moguls as they discover just how in demand the Eisenia fetida are.

Black Gold is the third book featuring Cyrus and Rudy’s adventures on the farm, following Not for Sale and Blackberry Juice.


Elliot Stone’s Summer is ruined! Not only will he be away from his best friend Jake, but he’ll have to miss Cassie’s graduation party of the century while he spends an entire month in a Vermont cabin on Lake Bomoseen. After Elliot’s dad shares the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, a month at the lake suddenly doesn’t seem so boring. The situation quickly escalates as Elliot encounters a strange sighting in the lake.

But when he meets Marley, the totally cute girl next door, they embark on a mission he hadn’t quite planned on.

  • Flouw, Benjamin THE GOLDEN GLOW  48pages

Fox loves nature. There’s nothing he enjoys more than reading about and picking flowers. One evening he comes across a rare specimen in his old botany book — the golden glow, a plant from the Wellhidden family, found only in the mountains . . . a plant that has yet to be described. Fascinated, Fox decides to set off on a quest in search of the mysterious Golden Glow.

He packs his knapsack, a map, a compass, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and other items for his hike. Along the way Fox observes many different kinds of trees and plants. He also encounters woodland friends who help him make it to the summit of the mountain. But when Fox eventually stumbles upon the object of his quest, he makes a surprising decision.

With spreads of educational content interspersed throughout, The Golden Glow is a charming story that details the simple pleasures of a nature hike and celebrates observing the beauty of nature.

  • Funk, Josh HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE  44pages

From the computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code comes this lively and funny story introducing kids to computer coding concepts.

Pearl and her trusty rust-proof robot, Pascal, need to build a sandcastle before summer vacation is over, and they’re going to do it using code. Pearl breaks the big we-need-a-sandcastle problem into smaller steps, then uses conditionals, loops, and other basic coding concepts to tell Pascal exactly what to do.

But building a sandcastle isn’t as easy as it sounds when surfboards, mischievous dogs, and coding mishaps get in the way! Just when it looks like the sandcastle might never work, Pearl uses her coding skills to save the day and create something even better: a gorgeous sandcastle kingdom!

  • Lloyd-James, Sally GOLDFISH ON VACATION  40pages

H, Little O, and Baby Em are stuck in the city for the summer with only their pet goldfish–Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss–for company. It’s looking like it might be a pretty boring vacation, but one day, something exciting happens. Someone starts fixing up the old fountain down the street–the one Grandpa says horses used to drink from before everyone had cars–and a sign appears: “Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home.”

H, Little O, and Baby Em can’t wait to send their goldfish on vacation, and the fish, well, they seem pretty excited too. Based on the true story of Hamilton Fountain in New York City.

  • Magnin, Joyce JELLY BEAN SUMMER  272pages

Joyce soon discovers she’s not the only one who’s been driven to rooftop living. With the help of a pair of binoculars, a sketch pad, and a pen, Joyce makes an unexpected friend and sets in motion a summer she’ll never forget.

  • McDunn, Gillian CATERPILLAR SUMMER  304pages

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond–Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a “meltdown” she’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn’t go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes.

  • Meisal, Paul MY AWESOME SUMMER BY P. MANTIS  40pages

May 17: I was born today! It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day!

This is the diary of P. Mantis, one of 150 brothers and sisters born on a garden bush. P. Mantis is an amazing insect: she can make herself look like a stick to hide from predators, she can swivel her head all the way around, and when she’s grown up, she’ll even be able to fly!

Told in dated entries, P. Mantis describes the entirety of her life, sharing the fun and beauty of her world as well its little ups and downs. ( “I ate one of my brothers. Okay, maybe two.” ) My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis introduces young children to the life cycle of a familiar insect.

  • Polacco, Patricia WHEN LIGHTNING COMES IN A JAR  48pages

It’s family reunion time! Trisha and her cousins can hardly wait to see one another again. They can’t decide what they like best: the great feast (with zillions of meatloaves and gazillions of Jell-O salads), the softball game, the storytelling . . . the yearly rituals go on and on.

But this year, Gramma has a new surprise in store: She promises to teach the grandchildren to catch lightning in a jar. Lightning in a jar! Trisha can’t wait to find out what she means. It’s a secret she will pass down to her own grandchildren one day, along with the family stories handed down with love through all the generations.

  • Sell, Chad CARDBOARD KINGDOM  288pages

Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters–and their own inner demons–on one last quest before school starts again.

In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be–imagine that!

  • Spinelli, Eileen SUMMERHOUSE TIME  240pages

Every year a rented pink cottage full of family, swapping stories, and riding waves mean Summerhouse Time for Sophie. Best of all is sharing a room with her favorite cousin and laughing and trading secrets like two happy peas in a cousin pod. Sophie can’t wait! But when she asks the now-a-teenager Colleen if she’s looking forward to their time together, Colleen just says “I guess so.”

What? It’s the best time of the year, the time they both love. In just a little bit, they will all be together in the cottage on the beach. Will this year be just as wonderful, just like always?

Accompanied by charming black-and-white illustrations, classic growing-up experiences radiate throughout the pages of this sunny, anytime story.


Don’t these books sound great!?! I can’t decide which one to read first because I’m probably going to read them ALL!!!

And if none of these suggestions appeal to you, here’s a Summer Reading site with a few more choices:


How about some FUNNY books?

NOW THAT’S FUNNY!! Books for Smiling, Giggling & Laughing Out Loud


Poetry Collections for K~5

I could go on, but I think you know how to find a GOOD BOOK to read….

Share some of you and yours favorite  books about Summer with us!

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