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Summer Reading Ideas for You and Your Toddler

Summer reading ideas for you and your toddler – some new, some old, but all of them are favorites! 

Summer Reading Ideas for You and Your Toddler // One Lovely Life
I guess I’m just in a summery mood. And–always–I’m hungry for something good to read. You all had such great suggestions last time I asked. I read and enjoyed several of them! I thought I’d share a few summer reading ideas (some newer, some older) that have become our favorites. I know that most of these aren’t hot-off-the-press, but they are some of the books I read over and over again. I love them that much!

Have a great book suggestion for me? PLEASE leave me a note in the comments!

Summer Reading Ideas // One Lovely Life
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I know I’ve mentioned this one more than a few times, but this book is just so good. I’m a sucker for a good title, but this one also has great characters and a fun writing style. I always want to live in a small town (okay on a small island) after reading this book. If you haven’t read it yet, do. With haste.

(You might also like: The Flavia de Luce Novels)

2. Cold Sassy Tree
This one is sometimes hard to find, but it takes place in a small Southern town. The characters are just beyond great (you will LOVE Will Tweedy), and the dialogue makes me laugh. It’s because of this book that Michael and I say “hesh up” instead of “hush.” I love it.

(You might also like: A Long Way From Chicago  and A Year Down Yonder)

3. Dad Is Fat
I love reading funny books, and it can be so disappointing when a lot of the book turns out to be pretty off-color. Jim Gaffigan keeps it almost 100% clean. I literally cried laughing almost every time I picked it up to read a section. Perhaps it’s because I’m in the throes of young motherhood, but this was funny.

(You might also like: The Honest Toddler)

4. Love Does
THANK YOU to the readers who recommended this book when I asked in February. It was WONDERFUL. One of the best books I’ve read in ages. I couldn’t believe how fast it was over, and I wanted there to be more. Contrary to the sound of the title, this isn’t a romance. It’s about living with love and openness and kindness and goodness.

(You might also like Notes from a Blue Bike)

5. Carry On, Warrior
I love Glennon Doyle Melton, and her blog Momastery. She’s honest, she’s real, and she has a magical ability to find goodness and love where it hides and then send it out into the world. I loved her essay “Why I Don’t Carpe Diem.” I read it when I needed it, and I re-read it every few months when I need it again.

6. Peter Pan
This is technically for children, but it’s not, really. It’s one of those stories that you tell to children, but the adults suddenly find they know what it’s really about. J.M. Barrie is charming, and if you haven’t read it (or read it in a while), it’s worth your time.

7. The Honest Life
Blah, don’t judge. Yes, this is written by a celebrity. But it’s also a very good read. I was already trying to find some direction when looking to change our household and personal products for cleaner/greener ones, and was pleased to find lots of specific brands mentioned. There was also an easy-to-read explanation of why you should avoid certain chemicals and what they do. Yes, I use Honest products. No, I don’t ONLY use Honest Products.

(You might also like: It’s All Good. It’s a great primer for some squeaky clean recipes and the pictures are just gorgeous).

Summer Reading Ideas for Your Toddler // One Lovely Life
Aaaand because I feel like I get to do more reading for toddlers than for myself… here are a few books your toddlers might like.

1. Boy + Bot
I love this one. Love the illustrations, love the simplicity, and love that it’s made Sophie love robots. We followed it up with this free printable robot coloring page.

2. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
We loved the first Little Blue Truck book, and this second one is great too. This one takes Little Blue Truck to New York City. Our favorite pages are the police car and the street sweeper. Both Sophie and Milo can say “swish-swish-swish.”

3. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
This is one that Michael’s family has loved for ages, and both our babies love. Sophie can recite almost the whole thing by heart (in her little garbled, toddler-speak) and she’ll correct me if I try to change anything at all. The illustrations are darling, and my kids both get the giggles when I shake the book as the mouse tries to pick the strawberry. You’ll love it.

4. Plant a Kiss
This book is SO sweet. I love the illustrations, and the simple text is so fun to read. It would actually make a great poem for a child to memorize and recite. I love it. (Thank you Aunt Lovey!)

5. Let’s Look!
Sophie started speaking because of Baby Einstein DVDs. That might sound dramatic, but it’s the absolute 100% truth. Her vocabulary improves every time we watch one. After borrowing our therapist’s copy, we finally found our own copy at TJ Maxx, though I’ve since seen it at Ross and Barnes & Noble sometimes. There are lots of great pictures, great chances to work on vocabulary, labeling, matching, shapes, instruments, animal sounds, and following directions. We love it.

6. Dear Zoo
We’re always big fans of lift-the-flap books. This book is great for practicing animal sounds and both babies love those flaps. It’s a fun little read.

7. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Although we bought this book with Milo in mind (when we got him a little set of construction trucks), Sophie has loved it just as much as he has. I simplify the book for Milo, whose patience basically extends to me saying “Hi, crane! Bye crane!” But both babies like identifying the trucks they see, and the book follows a good rhythm.

8. Dragons Love Tacos
I just really love these illustrations. It’s a funny little take on, you guessed it, dragons eating tacos. Also, after reading it, you’ll want to make tacos. Stat.

What are YOU (and your toddler) reading this summer? What should I read next? Leave me a note! 

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  1. May I add my ‘second’ to the suggestion that you check out the “Flavia de Luce” novels pictured at the top of this post? They are some of my favorite books of all time. The first chapter of the first book – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – was for me, some of the best writing I’ve ever read. It had my heart beating wildly, almost instantly! The remainder in the series have all been equally delightful.

    Thanks for some great recommendations!

  2. Thanks Emily for the suggestions! I always love a good book. Are you on Goodreads by chance?? If so I’d love to be your “friend”. I look forward to trying to fit in some of these books this summer.

  3. I know these are more “celebrity written” books, but I really enjoyed these books written by Candace Cameron Bure: “Reshaping it All” and “Balancing it All”. These books were really inspiring and encouraged me to improve both my physical health and my relationship with God. I strongly recommend these books. These are ones I hope to re-read often to keep fresh in my mind.

    Thanks for all the fun book recommendations Emily!

    1. Emily – I actually just finished “Balancing it All” two weeks ago and enjoyed it! It made me want to check out the other one!

  4. Long time reader, but I rarely comment. I knew your sister in high school and I believe you met my sister-in-law Megan a while back. Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog–come back to it often. Also, the links aren’t working for me. I get a big “Not Acceptable!” page instead of going to the book. This could just be a problem on my end, but wanted to give you a heads up just in case. 🙂

    1. Stephanie – THANK YOU! I had no idea the links weren’t working! I think I’ve sorted it out, but PLEASE let me know if you have any more problems. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  5. Hey girl!
    Thanks for the list! I have been on a mission lately to find some good reads. I asked some friends on Facebook a while back to give me some good suggestions and I got soo many! I just finished Unbroken.. so good! and now I am reading Wonder! I also hear The Fault In Our Stars is good by the same author! Thanks for your list! I am excited to read some of them!

  6. I loved both of Melanie Shankle’s books: “sparkly green earrings” and “the antelope in the living room”; another recent fave is “a little salty to cut the sweet” by Sophie hudson

  7. Fun post! I’m planning on doing a list of top 10 favorite books for toddlers soon but need 2 more on my list. I’ll have to check these out. My kids are already HUGE fans of Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site. It is probably their favorite book. I’ll have to check out some of the books you suggested too. I am starting to read more books again and I love it!

  8. I just finished “The Fault in Our Stars” and it was wonderful – the kind of book that I need to read many times over just to absorb it all. I read a ton – especially memoirs…here are a few that I recommend – The Alchemist (or anything else by Paulo Coelho)…A Long Way Gone – Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Ishmael Beah)…Warriors Don’t Cry (Melba Pattillo Beals – she was one of the Little Rock Nine). There are others but I just moved and I am unpacking many boxes of books, so if I come across more titles I will pass them along 🙂

    1. The Alchemist is one of my favorites EVER. I love it! I can’t wait to check out the others. Thank you for the suggestions!!

  9. Thanks for the list!!! The Guernsey etc. book is one of my all time favorite love stories. You know, where the romance is subtle and not the whole point of the book but still written beautifully. The whole book is written beautifully. I love an attention to writing style– is it just me, or are the Brits better at clever writing styles? I’ll have to check out the Southern town one you mentioned. I look forward to looking into your suggestions!!! We also loved Boy+Bot; stories about robots not only appeal to my kids but also to my science fiction loving self 🙂

  10. You have a lot of books on here that I’ve loved–so I’m checking out (literally–on my kindle) a few of the others right now! Can’t wait to read them!

    I wanted to suggest a couple of books for littles. “Not a Box” and “Not a Stick” by Antoinette Portis are so cute. And, some of my FAVORITES are “Little Hoot,” “Little Oink,” and “Little Pea” (especially that last one) by Amy Krause Rosenthal.

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