I have a secret; I am addicted to buying books.

Few things in life bring me more pleasure than a stack of new books on the counter of my favorite bookstore, purchased and ready to come home. The problem is, I’ve run out of places in my house for these stories to live. My children attempted to conquer the daunting task of organizing our endless book piles. What started out as house cleaning project, quickly turned into the three of us huddling together under the covers re-reading — and re-living — nearly every one of our favorite books.

We clearly required organizational leadership. Assuming the role of household librarian, my daughter decided that we needed some kind of a system for our never-ending piles of books. This reading list is that system, developed and sorted by my children.

Many of the recommended book lists published online are written by publishers, parents, and academic scholars. Don’t get me wrong, their recommendations are invaluable, but there is something really special about a child recommending a book. It means they’ve read it, identified with it, loved it, and asked for it again and again. The book has become part of who they are, and they want to share it.

 Summer picture book reading list

Kid-loved, kid-tested, kid-approved.

Hard Work, Perseverance, and Courage

The Story Of Ruby Bridges


The Most Magnificent Thing, Ashley Spires

Giraffes Can’t Dance, Giles Andrae

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon, Patty Lovell

The Story of Ruby BridgesRobert Coles

How I Became a PirateMelinda Long

The Curious GardenPeter Brown



Innovative, Curious, and Problem Solving

Rosie Revere, Engineer
Iggy Peck, Architect


What Do You Do With an Idea, Kobi Yamada

Iggy Peck, Architect, Andrea Beaty

Going Places, Paul A. Reynolds

Rosie Revere, Engineer, Andrea Beaty

If I Built a Car, Chris Van Dusen

If I Built A House, Chris Van Dusen

The Tree House That Jack Built, Bonnie Verburg




Dog vs. Cat
Double Trouble in Walla Walla
The Napping House
The Snatchabook


All of his books, Dr. Seuss

The Napping House, Audrey Wood

Don’t Be Silly, Mrs. Millie, Judy Cox and Joe Mathieu

Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type, Doreen Cronin

The Book With No Pictures, B.J. Novak

Double Trouble in Walla Walla, Andrew Clements

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorist

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Lauren Numeroff

If You Give a Moose a Muffin, Lauren Numeroff

If You Give a Dog a Donut, Lauren Numeroff

If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Lauren Numeroff

The Snatchabook, by Helen Docherty

Dog vs. CatChris Gall

Bark, George,  Jules Feiffer



Inspirational, Adventurous, Life Lessons

Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney
One, Kathryn Otoshi
Owen, Kevin Henkes
The Blessing Cup, Patricia Polacco
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce


The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn

Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy and Fearful Cats, Alicia Potter

One, Kathryn Otoshi

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, Amy Rouse

CorduroyDon Freeman

Miss RumphiusBarbara Cooney

The Story of FerdinandMunro Leaf

The Three QuestionsJon Muth

The Circus ShipChris Van Dunes

Have You Filled a Bucket TodayCarol McCloud

Where the Wild Things AreMaurice Sendak

The Giving TreeShel Silverstein

Louise, The Adventures of a ChickenKate DiCamillo

The Blessing CupPatricia Polacco

Thunder CakePatricia Polacco

The Keeping Quilt, Patricia Polacco

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris LessmoreWilliam Joyce

StellalunaJanell Cannon

The Giant CarrotJan Peck

Sylvester and the Magic PebbleWilliam Steig

OwenKevin Henkes

Ira Sleeps Over , Bernard Waber