San Diego Moms Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

The sun is shinning outside in San Diego and school is closed for the summer break but that doesn’t mean your kids need to throw all their academics out the window! Summer reading is a great way for kids to continue their learning, build their creativity and expand their imagination! San Diego Moms has created a list of our favorite Summer Reads for your family! 

San Diego Moms Summer Reading Guide is Sponsored By:

Strawberry Pencil Magic 


Strawberry Pencil Magic is colorful children’s picture books that allow a child’s imagination to flourish! The books are sold in Barnes & Noble stores and Barnes & Noble online. Recently shared by celebrity Chris Brown’s daughter “Royalty Brown” @missroyaltybrown on Instagram. Royalty Brown just posted about one of the author’s latest stories: Peri and Her Plant.” The author, Michael Girgenti, loves the limitlessness of children’s books and writes his stories without fear of failing. From Girgenti’s original stories about talking shirts and socks taking an adventure from the mall to the ocean, to the bestselling book with otters wearing helmets and using their archery skills to defend their den and family, your child will be entertained and asking for more SPM! Strawberry Pencil Magic entertains and inspires the creative minds of the future by creating stories without limits.

Strawberry Pencil Magic

Archer Otters

Written By: Michael Girgenti

Archer Otters

Archer Otters is a story about a trip of sea otters who battle against an evil fisherman in attempt to rescue their kidnapped friends. 

Archer Otters Megalodon Outbreak

Written By: Michael Girgenti

Archer Otters 2

When the otter community’s food supply suddenly becomes scarce, the Archer Otter trio is forced to explore the dangerous depths of the sea. 

I Did, with An Ostrich

Written By: Michael Girgenti

I did with an ostrich

I Did, with An Ostrich is a story about a little girl and her confidence. Meet Hardihood, the large flightless bird that lives inside all of us. This tale is intended to encourage and inspire. 

Peri and Her Plant

Written By: Michael Girgenti

Peri and her plant

Making the world a greener place is not an easy task, but after Peri finds friendship in an unexpected gift, opportunities begin to sprout. Together, Peri, Lavie, and Snotty will heal the Earth. Will you join them?

New Readers (Birth – Age 5)

My Little Brave Girl

Written By: Hilary Duff

My Brave Little Girl

A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant.

The Bench

Written By: Meghan The Duchess of Sussex 

The Bench

The Bench touchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between father and son and reminds us of the many ways that love can take shape and be expressed in a modern family.

I Wish You More

Written By: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I wish you more

The infallible team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have combined their extraordinary talents to create this exuberant, inspirational book for kids of endless good wishes. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace.

The Circles All Around Us

Written By: Brad Montague

The circles all around us

This is the story of a circle. When we’re first born, our circle is very small, but as we grow and build relationships, our circle keeps getting bigger and bigger to include family, friends, neighbors, community, and beyond.

The Day The Crayons Quit

Written By: Drew Daywalt

the day the crayons quit

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Blue crayon needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. Black crayon wants to be used for more than just outlining.  And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou: Kauai’s Beloved Pup

Written By: Bridget Burton

Annie Kai

Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou: Kauai’s Beloved Pup is a children’s sing-along book where children 3–6 years can join Annie Kai Lani on her island adventures in Kauai.  The book is named after the famous Hawaiian queen, with the word “kai” meaning both sea and the sky. Annie Kai Lani Kai Lou’s island activities are as boundless as her energy—from zip-lining to sailing, golfing, surfing – even dancing at a luau with a Shih Tzu! The book comes with downloadable sing-along music, featuring vocals by the author, Bridget Burton, and light-hearted ukulele Hawaiian music in ten verses. Children can sing or read each verse about Annie’s exploration, fun, and playful spirit!  [CAUTION: The tune might just get stuck in your head 😉 ] This fun and educational book is also available in an animated digital version with sing-along text and a map of Kauai, showing Annie and the real place she visits on the island. Buy the print and get a discount on digital versions with your online purchase.

The World Needs More Purple People

Written By: Kristen Bell

the world needs more purple people

What is a purple person? Great question. I mean, really great! Because purple people always ask really great questions. They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what’s right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh (especially at Grandpa’s funny noises)! A purple person is an everyday superhero! How do you become one? That’s the fun part! Penny Purple will lead you through the steps. Get ready to be silly, exercise your curiosity, use your voice, and be inspired.

I Sang You Down From The Stars

Written By: Tasha Spillett-Sumner

I sang you down from the stars

As she waits for the arrival of her new baby, a mother-to-be gathers gifts to create a sacred bundle. A white feather, cedar and sage, a stone from the river . . .

Each addition to the bundle will offer the new baby strength and connection to tradition, family, and community. As they grow together, mother and baby will each have gifts to offer each other.

Bronco and Friends: A Party To Remember

Written By: Tim Tebow

a party to remember

Bronco received an invitation to a party, but he can’t find the puzzle piece everyone is supposed to bring. During his search, he encounters a variety of friends with their own set of worries: a flightless bird, an allergic goat, and a clumsy bunny. The animals team up to find both Bronco’s puzzle piece and the party, arriving to discover that the party is in their honor!

This sweet story of animals with different challenges and abilities is core to Tim Tebow’s message to fans and friends of any age who have special needs.

The Magic Of Me: My Magical Foods

Written By: Becky Cummings

my magical foods

Do you know a picky eater? Do you wish your children or students would eat more vegetables? Raising healthy eaters starts early and you can instill great habits now in the littles you love! My Magical Foods teaches children how fruits and vegetables come naturally from the Earth, which make them some of the best food on the planet. It also shows super strong animals like the gorilla and giraffe that eat plant based. Finally, it will share ideas that motivate children to pick healthy snacks and meals.

When A Dragon Moves In

Written By: Jodi Moore

when a dragon moves in

On a beautiful day at the beach, a young boy brings his bucket, shovel, and imagination, and builds a perfect sand castle. Right away, a dragon moves in. The boy decides to befriend his dragon and they spend time roaming the shore, flying a kite, braving the waves, defying bullies, and roasting marshmallows—all while Dad is busy sunbathing and Mom is engrossed in her book. Unfortunately, no one believes the boy when he tries to share the news of this magnificent creature. That’s when the mischief begins, and the dragon becomes a force to be reckoned with.  Maybe the dragon really is running amok on the beach, or maybe it’s a little boy’s imagination that is running wild.

What Should Danny Do? (The Power to Choose Series)

Written By: Adir Levy 

what should danny do

What Should Danny Do? is an innovative, interactive book that empowers kids with the understanding that their choices will shape their days, and ultimately their lives into what they will be. Written in a “Choose Your Own Story” style, the book follows Danny, a Superhero-in-Training, through his day as he encounters choices that kids face on a daily basis. As your children navigate through the different story lines, they will begin to realize that their choices for Danny shaped his day into what it became. And in turn, their choices for themselves will shape their days, and ultimately their lives, into what they will be.

Elementary School Readers

What The Road Said

Written By: Cleo Wade

what the road said

It’s okay to be afraid or to sometimes wander down the wrong path. Bestselling poet and activist Cleo Wade’s What the Road Said features illustrations by Lucie de Moyencourt and encourages us to lead with kindness and curiosity, remembering that the most important thing we can do in life is to keep going.

Never Let a Unicorn Wear a Tutu

Written By: Dianne Alber

never let a unicorn wear a tutu

Have you ever seen a Unicorn wear a tutu?!?This story is about a little girl who over heard her friend say, NEVER LET A UNICORN WEAR A TUTU. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a chance to ask why, and now she has a fantastic tutu for her UNICORN and she isn’t sure what to do!

The Good Egg

Written By: Jory John

the good egg

Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed. But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.

Dynamic duo Jory John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those we love (even if they are sometimes a bit rotten).

Dragons Love Tacos

Written By: Adam Rubin

dragons love tacos

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

Scribble Stones

Written By: Diane Albert

scribble stones

This story starts off with a little stone who thinks he will be become something amazing but then soon realizes he had become a dull paper weight. He’s on a mission to become something greater and in the process meets scribble and splatter and they all come up a creative way to bring joy to thousands of people. 


Written By: Lupita Nyong’o


Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Other Words For Home

Written By: Jasmine Warga

other words for home

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before.

But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Lyle the Crocodile)

Written By: Bernard Waber

lyle lyle crocodile

Lyle the crocodile lives in a house on East 88th Street in New York City. Lyle enjoys helping the Primm family with everyday chores, and playing with the neighborhood kids. He’s the happiest crocodile any home ever had…until one neighbor insists that Lyle belongs in a zoo! Mr. Grumps and his cat, Loretta, don’t like crocodiles, and everything Lyle does to win them over seems to go wrong. It will take all of Lyle’s charm—and courage—to reveal the hero, and friend, behind the big, crocodile smile.

Middle School Readers

Beyond The Bright Sea

Written By: Lauren Wolk

beyond the bright sea

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Vivid and heart-wrenching, Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.


Written By: Barbara O’Connor


Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets
Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

The Girl Who Drank the Moonlight

Written By: Kelly Barnhill

The girl who drank the moonlight

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Embark on a magical journey with The Girl Who Drank the Moonlight!

The Secret Zoo

Written By: Bryan Chick

the secret zoo

Noah, his sister Megan, and their best friends, Richie and Ella, live next door to the zoo. Megan is the first to notice the puzzling behavior of some of the animals. One day Megan disappears, and her brother and their friends realize it’s up to them to find her. Their only choice is to follow a series of clues and sneak into the zoo. But once inside, they discover there’s much more to the Clarksville City Zoo than they could ever have guessed…

The One and Only Ivan

Written By: Katherine Applegate

The one and only ivan

Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.


Written By: Eric Hunter


For fans of Warriors, Survivors, and animal fantasy series like Wings of Fire and Foxcraft, Seekers is a sweeping and incredible journey through the beautiful, dangerous world of wild bears. 

The Last Kids On Earth

Written By: Max Brallier

the last kids on earth

The kids and their monster buddies are hanging out in the tree house, when Jack launches into an epic, totally-heroic, super rad story of one of his many post-apocalyptic adventures. Of course, after he’s finished, everyone’s eager to one-up his tale with a story of their own. Soon, Quint, Dirk, June and Skaelka, and even Globlet regale the group with sometimes outrageous, often hilarious details of their action-packed escapades during the monster-zombie apocalypse.

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Written By: Dan Gemeinhart

the remarkable journey of coyote sunrise

Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation. It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash. Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it. Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all…but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”


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