Ten books to read with your little ones this summer

A. L. Sestier chooses some of the best children’s books to consider for this Summer Term, as an invited guest author. A. L. Sestier is the author of the Peter Perseus series, and can be found on www.annasestier.com, Instagram (a.l.sestier), and Twitter (@ALSestier).

Finding new books to read with your little one can be a challenge. There are so many books out there and it’s difficult to choose a story that will really capture your child’s imagination. As an author and illustrator, I am always on the lookout for interesting reads partnered with colourful and timeless illustrations. I have put together a list of ten books, which are a mixture of new and upcoming releases, that pair sweet and clever stories with beautiful, elegant pictures.


1. Flora and the Chicks (Age 2-4)

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle:

With fun, fold-out pages, this is a delightful story about Flora going on a new adventure with some fun, energetic friends. I am a fan of any book that uses more complicated words to improve children’s vocabulary. Molly Idle started her illustration career at DreamWorks and her characters are beautifully realised; most definitely animated.

2. Roller Coaster Ride Around the Body (Age 5-7)

 Roller Coaster Ride Around the Body by Gabby Dawnay, Illustrated by Alex Barrow:

It is great to get children excited about science from an early age and this is a wonderful book to pique their interest. Bright, fun and shortlisted for the School Library Association Under 7’s Information Book Award 2017, this is well worth a read.

3. A River (Age 5-7)

A River by Marc Martin:

This award-winning book is truly stunning. Through cities and countryside, we follow the river. The pictures are so beautiful that you and your child will definitely fall in love with this one.

4. Hug Me Please! (Age 5-8)

Hug Me Please! by Przemyslaw Wechterowicz, Illustrated by Emilia Dziubak:

From a Polish author and illustrator team, Hug Me Please! is full of beautiful illustrations of the daddy bear, his little one and their animal friends. This woodland tale is a new release and sure to entertain.

5. Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat by Katie Harnett (Age 3-5)

Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat by Katie Harnett:

This long-named tale is a truly heart-warming story about a cat that brings joy to a lonely woman and her neighbours. It is a simple, touching story with lovely pictures to accompany it.

6. Tree (Age 3-5)

Tree by Patricia Hegarty, Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup:

This vibrant and exciting picture book is a tour of the seasons with rhyming text. I really like this book because it teaches children how to spot the changes that come with spring, summer, autumn and winter in a simple, memorable way.

7. Hug Machine (Age 4-8)

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell:

This is a great story about love and affection with beautiful, unique illustrations. It will make you feel warm and happy and encourage your little one to be their sweet selves with messages like “…hugs make the biggest feel small [and] the smallest feel big…”

8. I’ll Always Love You (Age 3-5)

I’ll Always Love You by Mark Sperring, Illustrated by Alison Brown:

Rhyming, reassuring and beautifully illustrated this is a simple, sweet book that you can read with your children over and over again. 

9. The Great Heffalump Hunt (Age 3-8)

The Great Heffalump Hunt by Giles Andreae, Illustrated by Angela Rozelaar:

Winnie the Pooh is one of the most memorable characters of all time and in this story he and his trusty friend piglet go on an adventure. This book will be released in April and is a classic tale of friendship and courage.

10. Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud (Age 3-7)

Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett:

Lastly, another book from Katie Harnett with an equally touching story of a young girl and a raincloud. This deals with sadness in a beautiful and sensitive way that will touch both you and your child. It will be released this May and I highly recommend you pick up a copy.

Happy Reading!

Reading with your little ones is incredibly important for their language development but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to bond. Nurturing a love for stories at a young age can help to stimulate their imagination and foster an interest in learning that will stay with them throughout their lives.

I often run workshops with children in Primary schools and the children with the most developed language and comprehension skills are avid readers, whose love of words began by listening to their parents read aloud.

I hope you and your children enjoy exploring these new reads together this summer and in no time at all they will be reading them back to you!