Summer Holiday Reading for Kids

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Summer is upon us and parents across the nation are either rejoicing that alarm clocks and lunch boxes can be put aside for a while or are cursing the logistics of a school and early education system that has 11 weeks off a year. Who designs these things? Certainly not working parents!

In an ideal world, we would all pack up our families and head off for the summer to our fabulous beach houses with gorgeous ocean views. (I wish!) Still, even if you are lucky enough to be living my alternative life, the weather in Australia sadly does not guarantee sunshine throughout the school holidays. There will be times when the little ones need either entertaining or being bought in from the hot summer heat.

These are our picks of the picture books to help with the Summer entertaining. Including activity books and even something to cook with together. Enjoy!

Noni the Pony goes to the beach by Alison Lester

Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach by Alison Lester

Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach is the sequel by Alison Lester to the best-selling “Noni the Pony”. In this charming story Noni and her friends explore all that is fun about the beach. They chase seagulls, build sandcastles and peer into rock pools. When Dave swims out too far, Noni has to be brave and wade out to rescue him. This CBCA honour book is a delightful read aloud full of summer fun. Told in rhyme it is a lovely read aloud for pony and beach loving kids.  Recommended for ages 1-4.

Max by Max Martin

Max by Marc Martin

Max the Seagull likes fish and chips and Bob (who luckily runs a Fish & Chip shop) who he visits every day. When Bob moves away Max is very sad.  Max waits and waits and then flies off to find Bob.  

This is a cute story of enduring friendship told in stylish colour by Marc Martin. This book captures summer days at the beach and the peace of two friends fishing together in a beautiful way.

Perfect by Danny Parker

Perfect by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood.

On a perfect day, the hours stretch endlessly ahead….

Capturing an idyllic childhood on a perfect summer’s day, this is a gorgeous book to read aloud. Children will relate to hours spent drawing, baking, climbing trees and flying kites. We love how the children seem to entertain themselves and are so happy in each other’s company.

How nice to be a child again with endless summer days in front of you and spend them climbing trees and playing on the beach.  We recommend Perfect for children age 3-5


Activity Books

the Zog activity book


The Zog Activity Book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Schefller.

This is the Activity Book featuring the characters and scenes from Julia Donaldson’s Zog. It includes press-outs, colouring, recipes, bunting, dot-to-dots, spot the difference, plenty of sticker fun and things to make and do.

It is perfect for rainy days, long car trips, aeroplanes, and restaurants!

This is a fantastic activity book bound to keep little hands and minds busy for ages. We recommend for ages 5-8. We especially like that the stickers are reusable and the recipes are perfect for school holiday baking. 

Stop Sticking Stan

Stop Sticking Stan by Nicola Killen

Kids and stickers. A sure fire hit.

Stan loved collecting things, like sock and buttons and feathers. One day, when he had been extra good, his parents gave him a sticker. But of course one sticker was not enough for Stan.

You have to love a book where a child eats all of his vegetables, goes to bed the very first time he is told and cleans his room. All to get more stickers! This is a fun book and comes complete with a page of stickers for kids to enjoy. We recommend for ages 3+

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Sticker Activity Book

We are going on a Bear Hunt activity book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

This activity book for children is based on the classic We're Going on a Bear Hunt. In it a family treks through rivers, grasslands, snow and caves to find a scary bear. The activity book includes more than 50 stickers, activities, puzzles and a bear hunt game.

It includes colouring, dot-to-dots, mazes, spot the difference, look and finds, sticker jigsaws and even a crossword puzzle. 

This is a simple and fun activity book, perfectly suited to those that know the original Bear Hunt book well. We recommend for ages 4-6

Stew a cockatoo My Aussie Cookbook

How to Stew a Cockatoo

This is a very Australian cookbook for kids age 5+. Covering Aussie classics such as Damper, Pikelets, Anzac Biscuits, Scones, Rissoles, Spag Bol, Pavlova, and Peach Melba. The book includes some sillyness (probably best to not actually Stew a Cockatoo!) and much Aussie Slang.  There are also recipes extending on ready-made ingredients, like lamingtons using bought sponge and pie floaters using frozen meat pies.  Great to start learning to cook early with a parent or grandparent in the kitchen to help. The book could be used independently as kids mature.

Leigh Hobbs illustrations add lots of interest and this is a good collection of recipes to get your children interested in cooking. This is a funny book, perfect for School holidays or rainy days.

The onions great escape

The Onion by Sarah Fanelli

A young onion is scared of becoming victim to “the fry up” and begs the reader to help him escape from this book. Part activity book, part memory book this is a truly original picture book.  Full of questions like “what do people call you when they are pleased with you?” and “what is your earliest memory?” This book encourages drawing and writing and carefully tearing the onion out of the pages. It included instructions to construct the onion to keep. 

Completely quirky and original and hours of fun for children who are confidently writing. It is part origami, part philosophy lesson. We highly recommend for ages 6-8

there is a bird on your head

A reader. We will be choosing something from the Elephant and Piggie series.

I am a little bit scared that Master 6 will walk away from school around the 18th of December and expect to not have to pick up a book until February. Sadly I have news for him. I hope to keep on with the discipline of reading a “reader” every day. I also hope now that there are a couple of books he can read independently, I can introduce him to the joy of lying on the trampoline or a picnic rug under a tree with a book.


So that’s our list. Pop one in a Christmas stocking or make sure there are a couple tucked into your summer packing. Most importantly remember books are not just for bedtime and maybe it’s time to read a book together on a blanket in the sunshine under the shade of a tree.

Last update: Mar 29, 2017


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