Summer vacation is here, and that often means water, water everywhere! From pool day fun to ocean vacations to rainy afternoons, celebrate the wonder of water with these stories.
by Gaia Cornwall (Candlewick Press, 2017)
Recommended by staff at Tattered Cover Book Store and both Denver and Boulder public libraries, this story shows how a boy processes excited and scared feelings at the same time, when he decides to jump off the diving board. “It takes courage, but Jabari finally jumps—with lots of support from his dad and his little sister,” says Kate Brasch, children’s book buyer at Tattered Cover. “The illustrations of the swimming pool in the city are vivid and many-colored and summery.”
by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Raissa Figueroa (Katherine Tegen Books, 2021)
Oona the mermaid and her otter friend search for treasure every day, but she fixates on a treasure at the bottom of the ocean that she can’t reach: a sparkly crown. Oona devises many plans to get the crown which don’t quite work. She finally reaches it with the help of some other items (some goggles and a seashell), and sees those items’ value, too.
by Miranda Paul; illustrated by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press, 2015)
This book, recommended by Denver Public Library children’s librarians, teaches about the water cycle through clever, poetic text: Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless…it heats up. Similar language continues throughout, showing kids experiencing water in all its forms and through all seasons of the year.
by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020)
Jules is determined to impress her older sister with the biggest sandcastle ever. When she starts building at the edge of the ocean, the tide continually washes her creations—and then her bucket—away. She starts to think the ocean is against her. It’s a tale to which many young shore-builders will relate, alongside the theme of sisterhood.
by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Chris Turnham (Chronicle Books, 2021)
Summers in Colorado are sure to mean surprise afternoon showers—the perfect time to teach your kids how to have fun in the rain. The story celebrates all the good things that rainy days can bring, and is full of figurative language, action, and quiet moments, too.
by Sally Lloyd-Jones; illustrated by Leo Espinosa (Random House Children’s Books, 2018)
Three siblings are stuck in the city for the summer with their pet goldfish, when one day, someone starts fixing the old fountain down the street. A sign appears by the fountain: Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home. The kids are excited to release their goldfish into the fountain for “vacation.” They visit them often, and at summer’s end, they splash in the fountain with other families to scoop up the fish in nets. It’s based on the true story of the Hamilton Fountain in New York City.
Librarians and book experts also recommend:
- The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho; illustrated by Jess X. Snow
- Rain by Sam Usher
- I Am The Shark by Joan Holub; illustrated by Laurie Keller
- Soaked! by Abi Cushman
- Take Your Octopus to School Day by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun
- Don’t Let Go! by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal
- A Whale in the Bathtub by Kylie Westaway; illustrated by Tom Jellett
- How Do You Take a Bath? by Kate McMullan; illustrated by Sydney Hanson
- Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
- Pool by JiHyeon Lee
- Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis
- All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon; illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
- Rain! by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Christian Robinson
- Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton; illustrated by Don Tate
- Alpha, Bravo, Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes by Sara Gillingham
- Saturday is Swimming Day by Hyewon Yum
- My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf; illustrated by Ashley Barron
- Sakamoto’s Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory by Julie Abery; illustrated by Chris Sasaki
Pool background: Constantine Johnny/Getty Images. Jabari Jumps: Candlewick Press; Water is Water: Macmillan; Oona: HarperCollins; Jules Vs. The Ocean: Simon & Schuster; Hello, Rain!: Chronicle Books; Goldfish on Vacation: Penguin Random House.