Summer Reading 2019 | Early Literacy Book Lists

By NYPL Staff
April 16, 2019

You're never too young to use the Library. Reading every day is one small step for you and your children, but one great leap for their early literacy skills. Practice reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing with your kids at home. Then visit your local library for story times, literacy kits, book recommendations, and more.
Check out the following book lists below for babies, toddlers, and pre-K kids.

Summer Book List for Babies

On the Go! by Ailie Busby

Lift the flaps on this board book and learn how both babies and animals move.


Goodnight Bear by Jane Cabrera

As the moon shines brightly, baby animals are encouraged to go to sleep.


Hush a Bye, Baby by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

Father and baby share moments together at bedtime.


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by David Ellwand

These vintage teddies don't want to go to bed, but the evening star's lullaby takes them to a world of dreams.


Who? A Celebration of Babies by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg

This exploration into the relationships babies form with the people and things around them uses repetitive text to engage young readers.


Little Sunny Sunshine / Sol Solecito by Susie Jaramillo

Sing, laugh, and play along with this interactive, bilingual board book that's inspired by a traditional Colombian folk song.


What Do I Feel? / ¿Qué siento? by Annie Kubler

Follow a group of babies as they have fun feeling things that are soft, warm, wet, smooth, and crunchy.


Making Faces by Molly Magnuson

 See baby faces make six facial expressions like happy, angry, surprised, silly, and sleepy. Then make the same faces in the book's mirror. 


Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Baby and Mamma are going to visit Nonna today and traveling in different ways.


Amazing Me! Sing! by Carol Thompson

Celebrate how amaazing it is that we can sing, dance, dress up and make music. 


Watch Me Grow! by Flowerpot Press

Teach little ones about their incredible milestones with this colorful title featuring growing babies from 1 to 24 months.


Summer Book List for Toddlers

Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton

Velociraptor twins and an unidentified tiny little cha-cha-ing dino are featured in a dinosaur dance.


Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths 

Hugs are Huggy the Python's favorite thing, but he needs help learning how to give a gentle hug.

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

When Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk, she ends up tired, wet, and hungry trying to reach it.


Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Nosy Crow, illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang

Sing along as you meet the animals on Old MacDonald's farm.


Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

Page through this interactive picture book showcasing the beauty of nighttime.


Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Ruth Hearson

Baby Leo loves the water, so his father takes him to swim class with the other toddlers.


I Love Trucks by Amanda Miller

In this book, toddlers can point to and learn the names of their favorite trucks.


Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Ant Parker

Follow the rocket's animal crew as they become astronauts heading to the Moon. 



Quiet Loud / Silencioso ruidoso by Leslie Patricelli

Some things are quiet. Some things are loud. But everything is fun! Algunas cosas son silenciosas. Otras cosas son ruidosas. ¡Pero todas las cosas son divertidas!


All Kinds of People by Shelley Rotner

With vibrant photographs ofchildren and a short but astute text, this book will inspire young readers to take notice--and look beyond the obvious.


Rosa Plays Ball by Jessica Spanyol

Rosa and her friends play with balls and have fun.


Figuras y ratones / Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Three mice make a variety of things out of different shapes as they hide from a scary cat in this bilingual book.

Summer Book List for Pre-K

Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch

When Bear decides to give the moon a birthday present, he climbs a mountain to get close enough to ask what day is the moon's birthday.


I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton

A young child thinks about what it would be like to be an astronaut and go out on a mission into space.


Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper

When Max leaves his grandfather's house, the moon follows him all the way home, just as Grandpa promised it would.



Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting by Emma Dodd

In this colorful story of a sloppy dog, you can count on a happy ending.


Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim

This almost-wordless story tells of a homeless cat who finds shelter on a bus where she meets a cat-loving Asian grandfather.



The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Princess Elizabeth is set to marry Prince Ronald, when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps him. In resourceful fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts it, and rescues Ronald, who is less than pleased by her un-princess-like appearance.


Creak! Said the Bed by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Regan Dunnick

In the middle of a dark, stormy night, one child, then another, then a third wake their mother and ask to climb into the bed, but when the last member of the family arrives, Papa declares there is no more room.


Sheep Blast Off! by Nancy E. Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple

When a mysterious spacecraft lands in a nearby pasture, the lovable, blundering sheep get in gear for the ride of their lives.


What Can You Do with a Paleta? / ¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales

A young Mexican American girl celebrates the paleta, an icy fruit popsicle, and the many roles it plays in her lively barrio.


Round Is a Mooncake by Rosaenne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin

As a little girl discovers things round, square, and rectangular in her urban neighborhood, she is reminded of her Chinese American culture.


Moon Rope / Un lazo a la luna by Lois Ehlert

A bilingual adaptation of the Peruvian folktale in which Fox and Mole try to climb to the moon on a rope woven of grass.


For more great recommendations from our expert librarians,  check out our Staff Picks tool or ask your local librarian.