It is also a good way to get them to take a break from the sun in addition to feeling less guilty about not opening that summer reading list the teacher sent.
Books for Non-Readers and Young Readers
The Sand Castle Contest by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko – This book is about a boy named Matthew who while on vacation takes part in the local sandcastle contest where the winner gets a bathtub filled with ice cream! It had me at ice cream.
Harry By the Sea by Gene Zion – Part of the classic Harry the Dog series, Harry’s day at the beach is filled with adventure and fun but as usual the well-intentioned little dog causes chaos to the people trying to relax on the beach (warning for parents: some children’s classics feature stereotypes that you may want to discuss with your children).
Surf Sharks: The First Ride by Shelly & Chance Wolf – Sharks are a popular these days. This shark-inspired series is about a group of young surfers and sharks who forge a friendship and ride the waves together as they help each other solve the daily challenges faced by all growing kids and they also learn about respect for sea creatures.
Science with Stuff: Shark-tastic by Lori Stein – This a non-fiction series that includes a pack of real shark teeth. It has real life photos of all types of sharks and their anatomy. Recommended reading level for 8 & up but younger kids will enjoy.
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole – In this edition, the most awesome teacher, Ms. Frizzle, drives the Magic School Bus full speed ahead into the ocean as the class takes a submarine expedition filled with adventures and learning.7+
Tar Beach by Faith Ringold – This story started as a quilt story created by the artist herself. In it 8 year-old Cassie doesn’t have a beach to go to but with her imagination she creates her very own “tar beach” on the roof of her Harlem apartment building and the adventures only start there. 8+
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – This ultimate adventure book is the fictionalized account of the true story of Juana Maria, a Nicoleño Indian left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California in the 19th century. This is the first in a series. 10+
Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine – An introspective boy uncover a family mystery while visiting his grandmother’s rustic cabin during a summer on the shores of Three Bird Lake. 10+
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord – This summer Lucy’s family moves to an old house on a lake where she meets Nate, the boy next door whose grandma is not well. A budding photographer, she captures photos for a local contest and learns that the camera sees more than what meets the eye. 11+
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia – Set in the summer of 1968, this book is about 11 year-old Delphine and her two sisters who travel from Brooklyn to Oakland, California to spend time with their estranged mother, who abandoned them after they were born. Adventures ensue. 11+
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – Deep in the ocean, six mermaids fight to keep their world secret from the humans. This is the first in a series about this underground community and has all the drama, fantasy and adventure that girls like. Ages 12+
Primes by Andrew Crossland – Not a book about the beach but books that interest boys are harder to find. This sci-fi book is about 12 year-old Ben whose chaotic life is changed forever when he meets two new students who seem not of this world. 11+
If you’re heading to the beach this summer, check out our family beach vacation packing list and the things you need to know before renting a beach house.