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The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Early Elementary

Summer Reading list for kids

We asked local librarians to tell us their top picks in summer reading for preschoolers and their recommendations were spot on! Discover tons of great books to read together and keep kids occupied during family road trips, trips to the beach or pool and settling down after a long day of summer fun. These books will inspire them, teach them and help develop their imagination all season long.

I Do Not Like Books Anymore

With a wonderful voice and phenomenal artwork, Disy Hirst captures a familiar struggle of learning something new and the pride you feel when you finally succeed. This fun picture book will help teach children they can read this summer in a fun, new way.

Harold and Hog Pretend For Real!

A spinoff of the beloved series by Mo Willems, Dan Santat creates a fun, simple tale of two friends’ friendship as it tries to survive a game of pretending to be Elephant & Piggie. A brand new #1 best seller, the two authors have been described as being a comic genius in this fun summer read!

The Bad Guys (Series)

A hysterical, graphic novel hybrid series by Aaron Blabey follows four “bad guys” as they set out to change their reputation. The expressive illustrations and typography will capture early reader’s attention and become a favorite series of the summer.

Tale of Despereaux

A Newbury Medal- winning tale by Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful serving girl and a princess names Pea who embark on a journey that takes them through all of the wonders of a child’s imagination. A great story to read outload as a family this summer.


A perfect summer series for young readers. Author Ursula Vernon combines comic book style panels with text and introduces irresistible, hilarious characters your children will love. The story is fun and engaging and will hopefully delight even the toughest of “I don’t want to read” protests this summer.

What Do They Do With All That Poo?

We know how funny poop is to our kids! Find out what happens to all the poo at the zoo in this funny and factual picture book by Jane Kurtz. How fun would this be to read as you drive home from the zoo this summer? A little bit hysterical, a little bit informational!

Misty of Chincoteague

A beautiful, classic chapter book that takes places on Assateague Island, a favorite summer vacation spot for Hudson Valley residents. This long-to-be remembered tale is a favorite from Marguerite Henry, a beloved author of many classic horse stories.

Amos & Boris

A NY Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, Notable Children’s Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year winner, William Steig creates a peaceful tale of devoted friends with nothing in common except good hearts and a willingness to help others. A must read with your children this summer.

Hilo (Series)

A book similar to two popular series, Dog Man and Big Nate, these books are perfect for grades 2-5 about a boy who crashed to earth written by Judd Winick. Hilo is a relatable, action-packed, fun-loving character your children won’t be able to stop reading about.

Mercy Watson (Series)

You can’t go wrong with any of the Mercy Watson chapter books by Kate DiCamillo to pass the time this summer. Children love to follow this adventurous pig as they immerse themselves into the beautiful world of fiction. A wonderful way to introduce young children to chapter books.

Read More:

Summer Reading List for Babies

Summer Reading List for Preschoolers

Summer Reading List for Tweens

Thank you to the Pawling Free Library, Wallkill Public Library and West Hurley Library for helping us compile this list! Hudson Valley Libraries offer an endless amount of summer adventures for your family this year. Stop into the cool air conditioning, pick up all your favorite books for your summer day trips and don't forget to sign up for a summer reading program and sneak learning into summer fun.

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