The Best Books of Summer

by | Jul 30, 2018 | Books, Reading | 3 comments

One of the reasons I love classic middle grade/YA (and one of the reasons I write in this genre) is that these books are ideal for summer. I’ve collected a list of books that are particularly suited to summertime; a perfect complement to blooming flowers, breezy days, long walks in the woods, and (perhaps best of all!) ice cream and raspberries. 🙂

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson
This story of a young girl’s year on an awe-inspiring Pennsylvania farm won the Newbery Medal in 1957, and it’s full of rich descriptive language and the beauty of nature—a must-read for anyone who loves maple syrup, meadows full of flowers, and—of course!—miracles.

The Time Garden by Edward Eager
Edward Eager’s magical adventure books are always a delight, and The Time Garden is one of his best. A Revolutionary War-era mansion by the sea, an encounter with the March sisters from Little Women, and a slew of witty mishaps are just a few of the facets of this tall tale.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Often compared to the stories of Enright and Streatfeild, the Penderwick family’s original novel (there are five books in this series) will enchant readers who long for stories reminiscent of old favorites. (Birdsall says that she was inspired by The Secret Garden and E. Nesbit’s The Enchanted Castle when creating Arundel.)

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
When two cousins discover a ramshackle resort town while exploring in the woods, they spend the summer learning the secrets of this forgotten place and the eccentric individuals who still live there. The sequel, Return to Gone-Away, is even more delightful, in my opinion!

The Magic Summer by Noel Streatfeild
Mystery and mayhem abound when four siblings from the city are sent to live with their great-aunt in the Irish countryside. (I love the poetry quoted in this book—it’s a fun touch!)

Jill’s Story by Jean Fiedler
This 1965 book is greatly unknown—I had to add it to the Goodreads database myself! But if you can find a copy of Jill’s Story, you’re in for a treat—it chronicles an unforgettable summer at Cape Cod for Jill Robertson, an aspiring young writer.

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
A well-spoken and well-traveled doll, Hitty is carved from mountain-ash wood around the 1820s, and her sweet memoir describes the first hundred years of her adventurous existence, from life on a whaling ship to the streets of New York and her first ride in an automobile. (Published in 1929, it was the ninth winner of Newbery Medal!)

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I’ve reread this book probably every summer since I was ten years old, and it still feels wonderfully fresh. I love the new editions of the Montgomery books from Tundra, illustrated by Elly McKay—so breathtaking!

Carney’s House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace
All of the Betsy-Tacy books are splendid for this season, but I chose Carney’s House Party for this list, because it’s set during the summer of 1911, when Carney Sibley returns home from Vassar to host a house party for her friends in picturesque Deep Valley.


  1. Marion

    I just read your summer list. Some of the books I have never heard about, Hitty,Carney’s House party, and Anne Of Green Gables are a few favorites. Thank You for this list. The other books are ones that I would love to read.

  2. Lyn

    I just found Miracles on Maple Hill at a used bookstore. I’m excited to read it this summer.


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