One of my favourite parts of the summer, when I was younger, was the summer reading challenge at our local library. The thrill of getting a sticker upon returning a book was the motivation I needed to keep the pages turning all summer long. By now, your children have probably read every book, watched every show and played with every toy in the house. But, if you’re looking to refresh your library a little, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite books for every reading level to enjoy this summer.
Infants & Toddlers
You Matter By Christian Robinson; Illustrated by Christian Robinson
They All Saw a Cat meets The Important Book in this sensitive and an impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson.
If I Couldn’t be Anne By Kallie George; Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
In what must be a Canadian first, this picture book celebrates the imagination. Anne wonders what it would be like to be the wind dancing around the treetops. But even as Anne’s imagination soars far and wide, she comes back down to earth, recognizing that some things – like friendship! – are even better than the imagination.
My Best Friend By Julie Fogliano; Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
What is a best friend, if not someone who laughs with you the whole entire day, especially when you pretend to be a pickle? This pitch-perfect picture book is a sweetly earnest, visually stunning celebration of the magic of friendship.
Gurple and Preen By Linda Sue Park; Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
This wildly imaginative, crayon-inspired picture book shows that with a bit of teamwork and a universe of creativity, anything is possible!
Shirley and Jamila Save their Summer By Gillian Goerz
This middle-grade graphic novel introduces Jamila and Shirley, two unlikely friends who save each other’s summers while solving their neighborhood’s biggest mysteries. Jamila’s weird new neighbour, Shirley Bones, turns out to be the neighbourhood’s best kid detective. Over the course of the summer, the two girls become crime-solving partners – and friends.
The Gryphon’s Lair By Kelley Armstrong
The second book in the fantastical middle-grade duology by New York Times bestselling author, Rowan is now the Royal Monster Hunter, and her twin brother, Rhydd, is destined to be king. What starts off as a simple enough task soon becomes a dangerous quest, as the group encounters numerous rare and deadly monsters along the way, including wyverns and ceffyl-dwrs. Nothing is easy when you’re a “monster magnet” like Rowan.
The Montague Twins: The Witch’s Hand By Drew Shannon and Nathan Page
A teen graphic novel that’s part Hardy Boys, part Paper Girls – or maybe a less Lynchian Hobtown Mystery Stories – follows Pete and Alastair Montague, mystery-solving twins who uncover family secrets when three girls go missing after casting a mysterious spell. The start of a new series from Toronto-based creators.
Facing the Sun By Janice Lynn Mather
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants meets The Education of Margot Sanchez in this Caribbean-set story about four friends who experience unexpected changes in their lives during the summer when a hotel developer purchases their community’s beloved beach.
10 Things I Hate about Pinky By Sandhya Menon
The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie, which follows Ashish’s friends Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date in order to achieve their individual goals, to disastrous and hilarious results.