Must-Read Summertime Book List

Ok, so we are officially in June and the last days of school are upon us! Just because school is out and lazy summer days are ahead of us, it doesn’t mean we stop reading…no way! I want kids to enjoy reading so much that they’ll want to do it instead of picking up an iPad or TV remote. So, I’ve begun collecting a list of books that will be irresistible to them! Below, I’m sharing some of our summer reads (which are primarily graphic novel/chapter books now) as well as some awesome picture books which I know younger readers will love to dive into all summer long!

Let me know down in the comments if you’ve read any of these and if you have recommendations for me to add to the list – I’m always on the look out for new books! I’ll link to purchase them at bookshop.org (a wonderful way to support local booksellers in your area!).

Victoria Jamieson has quickly become a favorite author of ours. When the Stars are Scattered is a wonderfully eye-opening story about the experiences of 2 brothers living in a refugee camp in Kenya. My 10 year old daughter LOVED this book, read it several times, and I appreciate that we had some conversations we never would have had otherwise. Definitely an empathy-builder. Roller Girl is our current nighttime read – and I am loving how our main character is spending her summer dealing with friendship, supposed enemies, and pursuing a goal. It’s also really cool to read a story about roller derby players! All’s Faire in Middle School is on the shelf and ready to be cracked open. The story revolves around a girl who is heading into public school after being homeschooled. She is faced with navigating this new and unusual and sometimes treacherous new environment. I’m looking forward to reading this one! Even though these books feature middle school aged kids my elementary kids are really enjoying them, they are understanding the trials and tribulations the characters face, and the content seems to resonate with them completely, so don’t worry if you think it will be too advanced or over their heads. The graphic novel style storytelling is very inviting to young (and reluctant) readers.

Camp by Kayla Miller is about the struggle to connect with new friends and the fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone. I love seeing characters deal with these issues because they become great conversation starters with my girls afterwards. The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag is a great choice for kids who might feel like they just don’t fit in. All of the Dav Pilkey Dog Man (Mothering Heights is the latest in the series) and Captain Underpants books are great choices for summer reading – I recommend purchasing a few of them for your kids’ bookshelf rather than borrowing from the library because they will most likely be read over and over again all summer long!

Picture books are always in our reading rotation and one of my all-time favorites for the summer is Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis. Check out my read along video here. Some new picture books that I am looking forward to discovering with my kids this summer are: How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk – it’s entertaining and educational. And then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner is a celebration of the sunny season. The Dinosaur Lady by Linda Skeers is an enlightening biographical picture book. The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw will surely inspire summertime hikes and a deeper appreciation of nature. Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq is about a family’s first ever camping trip – a perfect summertime read! Jory John is one author we always love to read and I know Summer Camp Critter Jitters will not disappoint us.

These books should keep us happy all summer long! Let me know which are your old favorites and which you’ll be reading this summer. The best way to avoid the ‘summer slide’ is to keep books available and accesible to your kids. Select titles and styles they love and mix in some new ones for them to discover on their own…and, keep reading aloud to them every single day!

Happy Reading and Happy Summer!

🎃 Spook-tacular Halloween Picture Books!👻

Looking for some truly awesome Halloween books? Below are some favorites in my household, as well as some recommendations from our fantastic Story Time with Michele Book Club members! I’ve included something for everyone on the list: younger children perhaps just learning about Halloween to grade-school kids who will want to read these over and over again each year.

I think reading about Halloween ahead of the holiday is a great way to build excitement and assuage any fears your younger ones may have. Halloween doesn’t just have to be about scary things and these books will definitely put a smile on everyone’s face! 😁

There are so many great picture books out there and I am discovering new ones everyday! Enjoy my collection and PLEASE let me know if your favorite is missing so I may add it in the future.

I have included links to purchase these books from my list on Bookshop.org. Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. I participate in their affiliate program in an effort to help support these businesses. You can also find all of these titles on Amazon or wherever you purchase books!

10 Books I Recommend Reading for Back-to-School!

Well, here we are…back-to-school time again…albeit from home (for us)! Whether you’re heading back in-person or staying home, I’m sure there are many kids out there who are nervous about this new school year, especially those starting school for the first time. In a previous blog post I shared a lovely book that helped my youngest with her transition to school (you can read all about “Lion Heart Goes to School” here.). Since then, I have discovered so many more books that are wonderful for parents and teachers to share at the beginning of the school year.

I hope this list of 10 books inspires excitement about returning to school! Let me know in the comments which book you love for back-to-school.

I have provided links to purchase each book from Bookshop.org – an online resource which connects you with book sellers in your local area. It’s a great way to support small business owners and get to know bookshops nearby you! I’m sure these titles can also be easily found in your public library.

The Day You Begin

“Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.”


School’s First Day of School

“It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.”


Sweet Summertime fun!

Photo by Jean Balzan on <a href=Pexels.com” width=”300″ height=”200″ />

I hope you’re all keeping up with your summer reads…it’s Week 4 of our Soar Into Summer Reading program! Have you read “Ice Cream Summer” by Peter Sis yet? Check to see if your library has a copy you can borrow or just read along with me in the video!


I hadn’t read this book before and I was pleased to have really enjoyed reading it with my girls. We loved pointing out all of the different sweet treats on each page and we did learn some ice creams facts, i.e. that it was invented over 3,000 years ago!

My #1 takeaway from this story is that it is written as a letter from a little boy to his grandfather and that got me thinking about encouraging my littles to write a letter to someone. My 1st grader learned letter writing in school so I have put them to task and each will write a letter to a friend this week. Try it with your kids – everyone loves getting a letter or card in the mail!
Check out these resources for letter-writing tips:

Avoid This Summer Slide…

pexels-photo-261348Have you heard of the dreaded ‘Summer Slide’ before? I’m NOT talking about the slide  your kids want to play on this summer! Many children, especially early and/or struggling readers, lose a lot of progress they may have made during the school year if they don’t read over the summer break.  They may ‘slide’ out of practice and find it even more challenging to get back to where they were during the previous school year.  Pretty much every expert recommends that parents prioritize reading as a summertime activity. So let’s do it together!

I found this very informative article from Scholastic with 3 tips to prevent the summer slide:

  1. Reading just 6 books over the summer could help a young reader from losing any reading progress!
  2. Parents need to read something every day! Doing this models great behavior for your kids to mimic. If they see you reading books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, anything and everything, they will too!
  3. Keep reading aloud to them! This benefits children of all ages – yes, it does! Reading books out loud, which are at or above their current reading ability, will build their comprehension skills, listening skills, sharpen their focus, increase vocabulary, among many more wonderful benefits.

So here’s where my Soar Into Summer book club comes into play! In collaboration with RIF, I am featuring the 12 books they have selected for their summer reading program and, I will be reading them aloud on my YouTube channel. It’s a chance for you and your kids to read along with me. If you can’t find the selected book on your bookshelf, at your library, or at your local book shop, don’t worry as I will clearly feature all of the words on screen so that we truly can read along together. Be sure to encourage your little ones to read out loud too!

After reading along with me, visit the Story Time With Michele Book Club group on FaceBook and we can discuss the story. I’ll link to games, activities, and craft ideas related to each book as well. The goal is to stay engaged and excited about each and every book!

Here’s the full reading list for the summer. Stay connected with me via my Facebook page and YouTube channel, and let’s have fun reading all summer long!

Soar into summer full reading list v2

Love to read!

channel-art-youtube-4.pngHi everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted but I’M BACK! And I’m super excited to share my latest project, Story Time With Michele! I’ve had so many fans reach out to me over the past year recounting special, touching family memories involving The Good Night Show. Thank you for continuing to share those stories with me. Sadly, I can’t bring the show back since it was never mine in the first place. I have, however, figured out a way to stay connected to children in a meaningful way.  The Story Time channel on Youtube is my first attempt at creating something, on my very own, for kids.

So, why am I reading books aloud? As a mom, reading is a priority for my family. I am very passionate about the importance of literacy. Did you know that 25 million children in the US cannot read proficiently? This is such a disappointing fact and thankfully there are non-profit organizations like Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) who are fighting everyday to help our kids!

For me, I have always loved reading books and I work hard to nurture that same love in my young children. By sharing stories aloud I hope your kids will be encouraged to read more books and become little bookworms as they grow up!

These stories are meant for anyone wanting a sweet, soothing story read to them – who doesn’t like that?! Beyond the enjoyment of having a story read to you, here are a few more reasons why I’ve launched Story Time With Michele:

  • Reading aloud is an ideal way to model how to read language, by demonstrating when to pause and react to punctuation, for example.
  • It promotes early literacy skills, engages young minds by encouraging curiosity, builds memory, and can even increase attention spans in our little ones.
  • Children are exposed to a richer vocabulary which will help stretch comprehension and language development.

There’s tons of research out there showing us that reading aloud to a child daily is one of the most important activities you can do to ensure future reading success. I hope my short videos are enjoyed by your family and, in conjunction with your time spent reading aloud, together we can spark a life-long love of books!

Please check out Story Time With Michele and subscribe to the channel while you’re there!


(sources: http://www.readaloud.org/why.html, http://www.reachoutandread.org/our-story/importance-of-reading-aloud/, https://edsource.org/2015/study-says-reading-aloud-to-children-more-than-talking-builds-literacy/82045, http://www.rorri.org/importance-of-reading-aloud/)