Summer is a great time to catch up on reading, and these books about summer share the joys of ice cream, summer camp, vacations, and a day at the beach.

“Are We There Yet” by Dan Santat, 2016, Little Brown, ages 5 and up.

On long car trips, children often ask the age-old question, “Are we there yet?”. But if they will let their imagination carry them away, a car trip can become an adventure, just like in the book “Are We There Yet”. A young boy’s ride includes pirates, dinosaurs, and robots, but when arriving at the family’s destination, he realizes the trip was not quite as long as it seemed.

“Ice Cream Summer” by Peter Sis, 2015, Scholastic Press, ages 5-8.

Ice cream becomes the focal point of a young boy’s summer, as described in letters to his grandfather. Interwoven among the story are facts about the history of this delicious frozen treat, developed 2000 years ago in ancient China. The author also shares titles of informational books used in his research that readers may find interesting. Soft illustrations present the ways ice cream made this child’s summer the best one ever.

“If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t!” by Elise Parsley, Little Brown, ages 5 and up.

A summer day at the beach just isn’t fun without bringing your piano, at least according to Magnolia, who soon learns a piano at the beach is no picnic. When Magnolia finds a beach treasure, she decides it’s much easier to take home than a piano. A hilarious story and expressive illustrations make this book a fun companion to Elise Parsley’s other book, “If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t”.

“A Clatter of Jars” by Lisa Graff, 2016, Philomel, 217 pages, ages 9-12.

The freedom and fun of summer and the imagination of a fantasy story come together in this children’s novel. Children with special talents arrive at Camp Atropos hoping for a camp experience where being unusual is the norm. But the camp turns out to be anything but ordinary, as a force begins taking, trading, and adding talents to children and erasing memories from others, until everything and everyone is topsy-turvy. Campers must work together to sort out what is magic and what is friendship and loyalty.

“Nerd Camp 2.0” by Elissa Brent Weissman, 2014, Atheneum, 282 pages, ages 9-12.

Gabe cannot wait to return for another summer at Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, aka Nerd Camp. He and his friends had a blast last summer learning about history, languages, literature, and feeling safe in knowing that all the campers are there to learn, rather than play. But when a fire destroys a nearby summer camp, SCGE agrees to host campers who see summer camp as a time for outdoor fun and games, including Gabe’s stepbrother, Zach. The two groups of campers struggle to coexist and keep each one’s identity until Gabe and Zach broker a truce. The author uses humor and realism to address issues of bullying and acceptance through her creation of two strong boy characters that can set a positive example through a story of conflict and resolution.

Review by Elizabeth Dobler