15 Amazing Vintage Summer Reads for Kids - Edventures with Kids

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form

15 Amazing Vintage Summer Reads for Kids

Posted by on in Be Kid-Friendly
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 19444
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

I'm a huge fan of kids lit! 

I know, no surprise there if you've read even a few of my posts which include more than 70 themed Book Lists for Kids!

But even more than kids stories, I'm a big lover of vintage, classic kids books -- the really great stories that we all heard as kids or may have even been read by our parents & grandparents in their childhood. 

It's these amazing books that should still be read with kids today!

So many of these classics for kids were written with a message or moral, the illustrations are gorgeous and the text is poetic.  And kids will adore them!

In order to help parents & teachers sift though the millions of kids books to find the gems that will be treasured, we've created a set of seasonal lists of classic kids literature that's sure to please!


Classics for kids - wonderful vintage books about summer the kids will LOVE!

15 Vintage Classics for Kids

I love to share many of my childhood favorites with our kids.  And since we change the books on our shelves with the seasons, this list focuses on the vintage faves for summertime -- stories that include oceans, islands, play and relaxing summer days.

We're including affiliate links for each of our selections along with details about when the book was first published (in order to 'make the cut' for our lists, a book has to be at least 40 years old!)

I hope you find a few that bring back fond memories!


Picture Books

Time of Wonder

I had a few favorite authors as a child and Robert McCloskey was one of them. 

Time of Wonder is a wonderful read at this time of year.  This classic story shares the adventures of a family, especially the two girls, who spend some summer days in Maine.  Lobsters, sea gulls, sail boats and summer storms are all a part of this delightful book that will bring you back to nature and what it's like to be a child. (One item of note -- you should mention that life jackets are important when you ride in a boat -- the story is old enough that they weren't used when it was first in print.)  Published in 1957.

Another wonderful summer read by Robert McCloskey is Blueberries for Sal. 


McElligot's Pool

Fans of Dr. Seuss will recall the wonderous tale of McElligot's Pool.  

What will you catch when you go fishing in a pond where others throw their junk?  Well, if you an optimistic sort of fellow, you can never tell what might live below the surface.  Readers will love to imagine along with the young fisherman and also learn that having a positive outlook on life can make it much more enjoyable! Published in 1947.


Harry by the Sea

Who doesn't love Harry (the Dirty Dog!) - such a classic for kids!  And now he's off to the beach with the family in Harry by the Sea

Follow along on his adventures as he gets lost in a crowd, covered with seawood and is mistaken for a sea serpent!  What will happy to Harry and will he find his way back to his family?!  Published in 1976.



Anatole is a special mouse with an amazing palatte. 

In order to earn a living, he sneaks into the Duvall Cheese Factory in Paris and leaves tips on how to improve them!  And who better to taste cheese than a mouse :)  Kids will love the illustrations that go along with this story (most are done in black and white with some blue and red added in) as they follow Anatole through the city of Paris.  Published in 1956.


Kermit the Hermit

Another favorite author from my childhood was Bill Peet!  I loved his illustrations and art work, and would read the books over and over before returning them to the library. 

Kermit the Hermit was a fun summer read as it's about a hermit crab in Monteray Bay and has those beautiful pictures of ocean and beach life.  Kermit is not a very nice crab -- in all honesty, he's got a very 'crabby' personality.  But when a young boy does him a favor one day and saves his life, Kermit is determined to repay the boys kindness.  It's a longer story but with rhyming text, flows very nicely as a read aloud for kids.  Published in 1965.


The Little House

Another fondly remember classic for kids of many generations is the story of The Little House which focuses on an adorable small cottage that loves where it lives.  But then the city begins to grow and expand around it; the little house becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of all the happens. 

The ending is very happy for the house but what really comes to life in this book are the messages about how cities develop over time and that there will always be someone who appreciates you.  I've always imagined a summer would be wonderful at The Little House.  Published in 1942.


Easy Readers

The Digging-est Dog

I will be the first to admit that some of the messages in this book may be mixed (I'm not happy that the boy who adopts the dog in 'disappointed' that he can't dig) but there's something about the story that draws you in for more.  Maybe it's the fast pace, the crazy digging or the fact that there's a lesson to be learned -- plus, a cute pup! 

Kids will love to follow The Digging-est Dog as he tears up the down and then patches things up in the end.  Published in 1967.


Bears in the Night

I wasn't sure whether to include this on our vintage summer or fall list - but I opted for summer as the illustrations reminded me of those cool summer evenings when kids love to stay up late and explore the outdoors.

With very few words in the book, Bears in the Night is one that kids can begin to read on their own as they experience the adventures of the bears who sneak out their window one night.  Such a classic story by the well-known authors Stan & Jan Berenstain!  Published in 1971.

If you'd like to see which titles make our Fall list, check out 16 Vintage Kids Books for Autumn!


Chapter Books & Read Alouds

The Enormous Egg

What happens when your hen lays an egg that hatches a dinosaur?! 

That's what Nate Twitchell discovers in The Enormous Egg when it happens to him one summer.   Once the science community gets wind of this amazing discovery, they flock to Freedom, New Hampshire to meet Nate and his new triceritops.  After befriending a kind scientist who only wants what's best for Nate's pet (Uncle Beazley), Nate is headed to the nation's capital and finds himself involved in the whirlwind of politics.  A great read for older kids!  Published in 1956.


Homer Price

Homer Price is an average kid growing up in a small American town -- he loves to tinker with items, help out at his Uncle's donut shop and solve mysteries. 

This book is actually six shorter stories about Homer's escapades in Centerberg.  Kids will love Homer's independence and his ability to get into (and out of) some sticky situations.  Written by Robert McCloskey, it's another example of a time when life was more relaxed and adventure could be found in your own backyard.  Published in 1943.


Gone-Away Lake

Part summer adventure and part mystery, Gone-Away Lake shares the experiences of two siblings when they head to visit their cousins one summer. 

One of the things I adore about this classic for kids is that it takes place back when tweens could head out for the day and explore unsupervised by parents or adults!  As the cousins explore the woods near the house, they come upon a small town that has been lost to the world!  The town is uninhabited with the exception of a darling old couple who befriend the children.  A wonderous tale of summer adventure! Published in 1957.

And author Elizabeth Enright also wrote many other great stories, Thimble Summer being another that would make a nice summer read too. Published in 1938.


The Boxcar Children

If you've never read the Boxcar Children, you may want to start with the first book to learn how four siblings came to live in a boxcar and find their grandfather.  These are wonderful mysteries for the younger set with just enough suspense to keep them wanting more without all the 'scary' that you find in newer books. 

Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children) is actually Book 2 in the series and the kids head to a private island for summer vacation.  Lots of adventure for the Aldens in this story!  Published in 1949.


Charlotte's Web

And of course, who doesn't remember the classic tale of a young girl who adopts a runt pig to raise one summer. 

Kids of all ages will still delight in Charlotte's Web , a wonderful tale of friendship and courage.  Published in 1952.




16 Vintage Kids Books for Autumn

10 Wonderfully Warm Classic Books for Winter

Vintage Kids Books that Celebrate Spring!



15 Classic Summer Books for Kids


What classic books do you remember for your childhood? 

I'd love to hear -- please leave me a comment! 



You may also enjoy:

Map Your Summer Reading

Map Your Summer Reading




  • Guest
    Ms. Yingling July 09

    You hit a lot of my favorites right here. Remember loving Thimble Summer, and also The Good Master and Mandy. My children loved all of them, too, and my students continue to check out Mandy, at least!

  • Guest
    Samantha July 10

    LOVE the Boxcar children!

  • Guest
    DinoMama July 10

    We read aloud Charlotte's Web and managed to finish it just in time to watch the play in May. We enjoy it very much and I was surprise when my boy was not affected when Charlotte died.

  • Guest
    Kim July 20

    Thank you for this wonderful list of great stories. A couple of young people that are readers need some books to read that aren't too modern as they are younger darlings. I will be sharing this list. Many are known to me but not The Gone Away Lake. Thanks so much!

  • Guest

    These are absolutely "gems" and I have loved nearly all of them over the years with my own children and grandchildren. Couldn't think of a better "short list!" Bears in the Night all time favorite!

  • Guest
    Hannah June 13

    Great list! But you misspoke when you said the author of Goodnight Moon also wrote The Little House. Virginia Lee Burton wrote The Little House and Margaret Wise Brown wrote Goodnight Moon. :)

  • Jacquie Fisher
    Jacquie Fisher June 13

    Thanks for catching that Hannah! So many wonderful vintage books -- I was confusing The Little House with The Little Island -- both The Little Island and Goodnight Moon were from the lovely Margaret Wise Brown :)

Leave your comment

Guest June 28
Fun Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year
Books & Activities for Chinese New Year
  Exploring the world and learning about different cultures is an important way to help your kids to grow.  Kids enjoy learning about new cultures and how others around the world live, work...
Continue Reading...
Road Trips Games: Play the License Plate Game
Road Trip Games: The License plate game with free US map
In your car a lot during the summer?  I know I am!  So our family started playing the License Plate game in our own hometown!  It's fun, there's some learning involved and we have a ...
Continue Reading...
Finding Free Kids Books Online
Finding Free Kids Books Online
   Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for all our latest finds!!   We're heading out for summer vacation soon and I asked my daughter what she wants to bring in her suitcase - he...
Continue Reading...
Kids Books that Celebrate the Joy of Summertime
Books to read with the kids this Summer
Summer is the time to kick back, relax and enjoy those long, don't-need-a-schedule type of days.  Kids relish in having time to explore, create and head out on a few adventures.  Plus fun ...
Continue Reading...







Follow Jacquie @ Edventures w/ Kids's board on Pinterest.