(A version of this article first appeared in Kingston Neighbours magazine, July, 2022.)
Ah, summer. Remember when you were a kid, yearning for the last day of school, impatient for the possibilities and adventures of the summer ahead? Summer was epic, almost mystical, full of exuberant times with friends and family in the hot haze of the shimmering sun. Here are some books that capture that summer magic, for little kids, big kids and adults!
Dandylion Summer, ages 3+, by Frann Preston-Gannon — Two sisters make a dandelion wish that brings them a new and unusual summer friend.
The Best-Worst Summer, ages 10+, by Elizabeth Eulberg — Moving back-and-forth from present day to 1989, a bored and lonely Peyton, who has just moved and discovered a time capsule in her backyard, tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the best friends who buried it.
The Mending Summer, ages 10+, by Ali Standish — Staying with her elderly great-aunt for the summer because of her father’s drinking, Georgia discovers a magical lake and makes a new friend, a ‘summer sister’, who helps her come to terms with her family’s problems.
One Lucky Summer, ages 17+ (Young Adult/Adult), by Jenny Oliver — A treasure hunt created by their eccentric late father helps sisters Olive and Dolly heal the memories of their past, mend their present relationship and open them up to future love.
Imagination Vacation, ages 3+, by Jami Gigot — Sam’s family is too busy to take a real vacation, so she plans an imaginary one for them!
The Camping Trip, ages 5+, by Jennifer Mann — A joyful read about Ernestine’s first camping trip, ideal for youngsters who might be nervous about their first camping experience.
Jess, Chunk And The Road Trip To Infinity, ages 13+ (Teen), by Kristin Elizabeth Clark — Transgender teen, Jess, and her best friend, Chunk, take a cross-country road trip to attend the wedding of Jess’s father who still thinks she is a boy just going through a phase.
The Summer of Broken Things, ages 13+ (Teen), by Margaret Peterson Haddix — Teens Avery and Kayla travel to Spain together where they learn about family secrets from long ago.
Indians on Vacation, ages 17+ (Young Adult/Adult), by Thomas King — Bird, a half-Cherokee, burnt-out journalist wrestling with personal demons, and his longtime partner, Mimi Bull Shield, spend a summer following the old European postcards sent by Mimi’s uncle who disappeared years ago.
People We Meet On Vacation, ages 17+ (Young Adult/Adult), by Emily Henry — Poppy misses her best friend, Alex, and their yearly summer vacations they’d taken together since university, so Poppy plans another trip. Inevitably, challenges arise, including their feelings for each other.
Wherever you go, whoever you spend it with and whatever you read, I hope this summer is truly magical for you!