Summer Picture Books for Upper Elementary

Summer Picture Books for Upper Elementary


Students love talking about all the things that they are going to do over summer break! They have big plans, even if it is just sleeping in!


If you teach through June like I do, getting knee-deep in all things summer is the best way to keep students engaged! And reading aloud amazing summer-themed picture books is the best way to keep them critically thinking, even as the school year winds down. (See the end of year read alouds HERE)


These fun-to-read summer-themed picture books are perfect for your upper elementary students! They are chock full of themes to explore, adventures to visualize, and information for them to devour. You will want to make these books a staple in your classroom library.




I am the Shark written by Joahn Holub


shark read aloud picture book


Sharks are instant engagement!
I love this book because it goes beyond just learning about the Great White Shark, and includes learning about all different sharks like the Hammerhead, Whale Shark, and Greenland Shark. Told from sharks perspectives, this book is perfect to compare and contrast different species of sharks and encourage note taking too. This book is the perfect read aloud to share before doing any animal research project, during a nonfiction reading unit, or just to learn all about the highly engaging sharks!




Come on Rain! written by Karen Hesse


come on rain picture book activity


This book was the first book I ever bought for my classroom library, so it holds a special place in my heart. Beyond that, this book is such a wonderful depiction of summer! The heat, the lazy days, and just hanging around the neighborhood with friends! This book follows the main character as she is waiting for a little rain to cool her off during a hot humid summer day. The word choice and figurative language in this book are wonderful models for any descriptive writing lessons.




Summertime Song written by Irene Haas


read alouds for summer



This story is a magical tale, written in stanzas about an adventure dreamed up by a little child. If you love reading fantasy books and want to offer your students something a little different in a read aloud, this is the book for you! Connections to the story Alice in Wonderland and Where the Wild Things Are will definitely be made!




Cece Loves Science and Adventure
written by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R Johannes


summer stem read aloud


I love the Cece series and this one is just perfect to get your students excited about summer!  Cece is a strong and curious female character who loves to explore and learn new things. Talk about an amazing role model for children, she is it!  This book follows Cece as she goes on a camping adventure, faces several problems, and overcomes them all with science and quick thinking. I especially love the STEM worksheet that Cece uses to solve her problem. The science facts included at the end show how science and STEM thinking is all around us! I love this one!



Jules VS the Ocean written by Jessie Sima


picture book about building sand castle


All of Jessi Sima books are so beautifully illustrated and tell such sweet stories, and this one is no different! This story follows Jules as she is determined to make the BEST sandcastle without the ocean getting in her way! This book is cleverly written, includes humor, and filled with onomatopoeia that your students will love to read and then try out in their own summer writing! The background story focuses on Jules' relationship with her sister, which makes this book perfect to discuss theme and life lessons, too!



The Raft written by Jim LaMarche


the raft read aloud picture book


Well, yes, this book makes almost every single one of book recommendation lists. I just love The Raft written by Jim LaMarche. If there is one book to buy for your classroom library and read over and over again with a different lens, this is it! This book follows the main character as he has to spend the summer with his outdoorsy grandmother who does not have a TV, the horror! He thinks he will have a terrible time but instead ends up having a summer filled with fun, learning, and discovery. This book will inspire your students to have summer adventures of their own!




Weslandia written by Paul Fleischman


read alouds for summertime for kids


Weslandia, written by Paul Fleischman, is another one of my highly recommended books and so perfect to read as the year winds down and summer fever is in full effect!  This book is about a boy who does not feel like he fits in with his peers. Since he feels alone in his community, he builds a community of his own that reflects his own interests and personality. He realizes that being himself is just what he needs to make friends. I love this book for a beginning of the year read aloud and then revisiting it all year long, especially at the end of the year!



Help harness your students' excitement for summer with these high-engagement summer-themed picture books that lend themselves to meaningful discussions, content-baed activities, and summer discussions. Happy summer, teacher friends!




You might be interested in reading:







Check out my favorite summer activities HERE

Like this procedural writing project!



how to build a sand castle writing activity





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list of must read summer books for kids




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