young girl reading in the grass during the summer

Staff Picks to Make Summer Sweeter

Curling up with a book in the winter is great, but is there anything better than reading in the sunshine? First Book’s Book Nerds (a.k.a. the Title Selection & Merchandising teams) love tackling their to-be-read shelves during the summer months, so each staff member has selected four books they recommend for keeping the reading (and learning) going all summer long. From suspenseful books full of surprises to nonfiction picture books packed with facts, these summer reading picks offer up an assortment of awesome titles sure to appeal to your readers.

Perfect for car trips, for snack time, or for pillow forts — add these 24 titles to your summer list and then check them off one by one! Want more awesome suggestions? Be sure to explore our full Staff Picks for Summer Reading section to see what else we’re recommending. Featured titles tend to sell out quickly, but more are always on the way, so check back often. First Book supporters, not currently eligible to join the network, can purchase books through to still directly impact kids in need; 10% of your order is donated to First Book.

Our Summer Reading Recs

Stories That Are Suspenseful, Satisfying, & Full of Surprises

Alison's picks book covers
  1. Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt
  2. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
  3. Root Magic by Eden Royce
  4. Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz

Recommended by Alison Morris, Title Selection

Head in the Clouds Fantasy Picks

Alpha's picks book covers
  1. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
  2. Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera
  3. Ikenga by by Nnedi Okorafor
  4. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Recommended by Alpha Diallo, eCommerce Intern

More is More: Books with Maximalist Illustrations

Courtney's picks book covers
  1. Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki
  2. Saturday by Oge Mora
  3. Coral Reefs by Jason Chin
  4. The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

Recommended by Courtney Claytor, Merchandising

Nonfiction Picture Books That Taught Me Something New

Jack's picks book covers
  1. It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad
  2. 111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh, illustrated by Marianne Ferrer
  3. The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Elizabeth Haidle
  4. Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

Recommended by Jack Pando, Title Selection

Swoon-worthy Young Adult Romances

Lori's picks book covers
  1. Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
  2. This Is My Brain in Love by I. W. Gregorio
  3. Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson
  4. More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

Recommended by Lori Prince, Merchandising

Books That Remind Me of Spending Summers in Japan

Yukari's picks book covers
  1. Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Genevieve Simms
  2. I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi
  3. While I Was Away by Waka T. Brown
  4. Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Recommended by Yukari Matsuyama, Merchandising

Join the Network

Educators can join First Book’s network — the largest and fastest-growing network of educators, schools, and programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada — to bring these titles to your classroom.