Summer & Stories


It is summer time in the Pacific Northwest! The unofficial Harris family bucket list is under way and we are thrilled to already have swim lessons, lake swimming, visits to the beach, kayaking, popsicles, slurpees, and naps in the hammock checked off our list! Among other fun summer adventures on the docket, we love to read! In fact, this Mama needs an hour or so of quiet time every day after lunch. While we have somewhat of a schedule in place, it varies from day to day. Sometimes the kids grab a book and take off to a quiet couch, hammock, or their rooms to rest and read. Sometimes we just all cuddle up in the living room and I read aloud. Here are some summer reading ideas that may inspire your own reading adventures:

Biographical Picture Books

We love to read about real life people in history and learn about their lives, which people and places they were connected with, and what world events shaped their lives and stories. With my daughter and sons, we read about ordinary men and women and the unique part they played in history. Some of the ones we are checking out this summer are:

On a Beam of Light: The Story of Albert Einstein

Louisa May’s Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women

Joan of Arc

Young Thomas Edison

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen

Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World

Adventure Fiction

There are some stories that settle all around our hearts. Classics that become dear to both parents and children. They are stories that become part of our story and the memories created around the reading of them are cherished stories in and of themselves. One day, some friends came over to our house to drop off a series of books called The Wingfeather Saga written by Andrew Peterson. We had heard of these books but hadn’t gotten around to reading them yet. Our friends were determined that we begin this reading adventure. We are currently on Book 2 in the series and it is a family favorite! So much so, that when we go hiking, I warn the kids to watch out for the Fangs of Dang!

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

North! Or Be Eaten

The Monster in the Hollows

The Warden of the Wolf King

Early Readers

Among the plethora of early reader books, there is a treasure trove of enjoyable books to practice reading aloud together. These books bring laughter and fun as my 2nd grader and I work through several books in the series!

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together

Chapter Books

My older readers are diving into captivating chapter books, and this stage is delightfully fun too! I love picking out books for my kids to read that I loved as a kid! There are many great book lists to choose from. We are using one from our children’s classical school. Here are just a few treasures we have picked so far this summer!

My Side of the Mountain

The Cricket in Times Square

Five Children and It

A Wrinkle in Time (and the other books in the Time series)

Henry Huggins

Henry and Ribsy


The Cat of Bubastes

The Family Under the Bridge

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Winnie the Pooh


Books About the Moon & Stars

On the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Landing, we are reading and learning more about the moon, the events of the Apollo mission, and how the moon affects tidal waves. There are so many fun books to check from the library to get kids excited about this milestone anniversary in the history of the world.

Moon: A Peak Through Picture Book

The Moon’s Almost Here

Destination Moon

The Moon

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Night Sky: Find Adventure! Go Outside! Have Fun! Be a Backyard Stargazer! 

Constellations: A Glow-in-the-Dark Guide to the Night Sky

Starry Skies

Christian Classics & Church History

Reading with our kids about the history of the Church, its strengths, its flaws, its joys, its failures, is important for us. Growing up in a Christian home and with grandparents who fled their country due to persecution for their faith and civil unrest, I learned about my people group, the Anabaptists (aka The Radicals), throughout my growing up years. I was proud to hear the story of my great-great-grandmother who sacrificed her life for the life of her daughter. I wouldn’t be alive today if she had not laid down her life in her place. I learned more about church history in public school as we studied Western Civilization. When I was sixteen years old, our youth group girls had a sleepover and watched the movie, Lady Jane, which further piqued my curiosity about the history of the church. My search for understanding continued through the years. Eventually, I delved further into the study of Church History, trying to understand how we got from Acts 28 to the present day. I want my children to grow up learning about the history of our faith, where it comes from, and help to anchor them in truth.

Dangerous Journey

The Faithful Spy

The Radical Book for Kids

The Bible

I can’t stress enough how important it is to read the Bible with your children. We follow a simple reading plan, Community Bible Reading, that takes the reader through the entire Bible in three years. It is something my husband and I have started this past year and now are implementing with our kids this summer.

The assumption of CBR and The CBR Journal has always been that believers do not have to read the Bible to earn or keep God’s love, but that believers get to read the Bible to enjoy and become more aware of God’s Love.

CBR Reading Plan - Community Bible Reading


One Final Tip

Many of these books can be found at your local library. If the library doesn’t have them, oftentimes, you can request that they purchase it for the library. Many of these classic chapter books can be found at thrift stores for $2-3 or less. Good times to check out thrift stores are after holidays, at the beginning of summer break and right before school begins. Many schools and families are purging their books at that time.

Happy Summer Reading!