Media Reviews: Perfect Summertime Books for Kids

These five recommended titles and Roadtrip-Bingo app offer seasonal-themed enjoyment for toddlers to teens.

Elizabeth Snowden
Summer Song

Summer Song by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

From the sight of green grass to the sound of a cool fan to the warmth of a hot day, this picture book will have the whole family wishing for summer all year long. The poetic prose encourages strong vocabulary development and the use of descriptive language to evoke the five senses. It’s also the perfect addition to educational units about the four seasons. Check out the other wonderful books in this series: “When Spring Comes,” “In the Middle of Fall” and “Winter is Here.” FOR AGES 3-6

Dive In: Swim with Sea Creatures at Their Actual Size

Dive In: Swim with Sea Creatures at Their Actual Size by Roxie Munro

Swim under the sea with this informational picture book about sea life. Readers can expect to discover new facts about marine life such as the rainbow parrotfish, the spotted scorpionfish and the yellow nose goby. With expandable, fold-out pages, the eye-catching illustrations drawn to real-life scale will delight all readers with their bold, tropical colors. Just watch out for sharks! FOR AGES 6-9

Camp of No Return

Camp of No Return by J.H. Reynolds

Harper can’t wait to have the best summer ever at Camp Moon Lake, but soon after she arrives, strange things begin to happen. Campers start to disappear, and the camp counselors start acting oddly. What starts out as the best summer of Harper’s life may end up being her last. Readers who love ghost stories or the Goosebumps series will find another spine-tingling adventure in this installment of the Monsterstreet series. FOR AGES 8-12

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz

Jamila’s summer looks lonely and boring until she meets a new friend, Shirley, who happens to be a great detective. Together, Jamila and Shirley solve mysteries in their neighborhood, like the case of the stolen gecko. But solving crime isn’t easy, and soon Jamila and Shirley’s new friendship is put to the test. The biggest mystery they will solve is what it means to be a good friend. This graphic novel will appeal to developing readers who still enjoy the addition of pictures in their books as well as great friendship stories. FOR AGES 8-12

Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe

Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski

Sam is spending the summer as a counselor at Camp Blue Springs and expects to have the worst summer after her boyfriend ditches her for a European adventure. But then Sam starts hanging out a lot with the handsome sailing instructor, Gavin. Gavin fills Sam’s summer with unforgettable moments and adventures, which leads her to start questioning her decisions and what she really wants out of life. This coming-of-age story will leave fans of contemporary romance with swooning hearts and a wish for that perfect summer day. FOR TEENS




The perfect boredom buster for a long car ride, Roadtrip-Bingo by Toughturtle LLC offers an interactive “I Spy” for the whole family. With nine different themes from restaurant signs to vehicle logos, the app allows players to go it alone or challenge an opponent. Young children especially will benefit from the game’s use of vocabulary and emphasis on matching, concentration and memory, all of which contribute to developing literacy skills. Try out this fun game on the way to your next summer vacation.

Elizabeth Snowden is the youth services supervisor at the Barnett branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

This story is from the Summer 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.