Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Books to Read by the Pool or at the Beach: A Definitive Guide to the Best Water-and-Summer Themed Books for Kids and Grownups

Just for you, just for summer, I've culled through all the amazing summer-y, water-y books out there. Trust me. These are the best.


Picture Books

Come Away from the Water, Shirley

On a day trip to the seaside, Mom and Dad settle down in their deck chairs to snooze the day away, while for Shirley, it’s a chance to set sail for uncharted seas. "Come away from the water, Shirley," caution her parents. But Shirley has already set out on an adventure, where she encounters danger, pirates, and buried treasure!




The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, who lives alone atop a hill, has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottles found at sea and make sure that the messages are delivered. He loves his job, though he has always wished that, someday, one of the letters would be addressed to him. One day he opens a party invitation—but there’s no name attached. As he devotes himself to the mystery of the intended recipient, he ends up finding something even more special: the possibility of new friends.





Jabari Jumps

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.





I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

When a giant squid takes inventory of all of the creatures in the ocean, he realizes that he's way bigger than most of them! Of course, there are bigger things lurking around . . . but maybe this giant squid with a giant touch of hubris doesn't really care?





Summer by Alice Low

Better than fireworks, this classic Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss celebrates all the wonderful things that come with summer! From trips to the beach and eating watermelon to fireworks and fishing, Alice Low and Roy McKie’s Summer will have young readers eager for the kind of fun only warm breezes and sunny weather can bring.





Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition

Dive right into this kids edition of the New York Times bestseller! This delightful book features brand new photographs, as well as old favorites, of the cutest canines chasing after their toys. With fun, joyful rhymes and information about each dog breed, this is a special treat for kids and adults alike. And the full-color poster on the back of the jacket is sure to be a doggone hit!





The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

Nick loves to read books—and he loves to play with his cats, Verne and Stevenson. So naturally Nick decides it’s a great idea to teach his cats to read. But Verne and Stevenson don’t appreciate when Nick wakes them up with a flashcard that says NAP. Nick finally piques Verne’s interest with words like MOUSE and FISH. But not Stevenson’s. While Nick and Verne go to the library, Stevenson hides under the porch. Will Nick ever find a way to share his love of reading with his feline friends?





Mr. Gumpy's Outing


Mr. Gumpy lives by a river. One sunny day he decides to take a ride in his small boat.
It is such a perfect idea, for such a perfect summer day, that he soon has company: first the children, then the rabbit, the cat, the dog, the pig, the sheep, the chickens, and still others until-- Mr. Gumpy's outing comes to an inevitable but not unhappy, conclusion.



The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau was the world’s ambassador of the oceans. His popular TV series brought whales, otters, and dolphins right into people’s living rooms. From the first moment he got a glimpse of what lived under the ocean’s waves, Cousteau was hooked. And so he set sail aboard the Calypso to see the sea. He and his team of scientists invented diving equipment and waterproof cameras. They made films and televisions shows and wrote books so they could share what they learned. The oceans were a vast unexplored world, and Cousteau became our guide. And when he saw that pollution was taking its toll on the seas, Cousteau became our guide in how to protect the oceans as well.


Chapter Books




Amazon Adventure by Willard Price

Hal and Roger Hunt crash-land into the middle of a pioneering expedition to the unmapped regions of the greatest jungle on earth: the Amazon. And when their mission to explore the uncharted territory of the Pastaza River goes off course... it's the survival of the fittest.




The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.





The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.





Call It Courage

Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided tha sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered-- so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gave him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island found him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grew and how he finally returned home. This is a legend. It happened many years ago, but even today the people of Hikueru sing this story and tell it over their evening fires.




Kensuke's Kingdom

When Michael's father loses his job, he buys a boat and convinces Michael and his mother to sail around the world. It's an ideal trip - even Michael's sheepdog can come along. It starts out as the perfect family adventure - until Michael is swept overboard. He's washed up on an island, where he struggles to survive. Then he discovers that he's not alone. His fellow-castaway, Kensuke, is wary of him. But when Michael's life is threatened, Kensuke slowly lets the boy into his world. The two develop a close understanding in this remote place, but the question of rescue continues to divide them.





Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.






Discovering Titanic's Remains by Meish Goldish

After the Titanic sank in 1912, many schemes were proposed to lift the great ship from its watery grave. But there were problems—no one knew exactly where the Titanic had sunk, and, even if they had, the technology to reach the ship, which lay on the ocean floor almost two miles down, didn’t exist. By the 1970s, however, new technologies allowed explorers like Dr. Richard Ballard to search the deep ocean. Finally, in 1985, Dr. Ballard found something . . .Discovering Titanic’s Remains is the thrilling story of how the most famous shipwreck of all time was found. It’s a tale of unbelievable persistence and the amazing technology that revealed the once-grand ship disintegrating on the deep ocean floor. The fascinating content and large-format color images, maps, and fact boxes bring the Titanic’s amazing re-discovery to life.





Half Magic by Edgar Eager

It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk.
     Jane finds the coin, and becasue she and her sblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen.
     And something does: Her wish is granted.
     Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true.






One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams


Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.
While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.





The Cay

   Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of CuraƧao. War has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.
   When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother’s warning about black people: “They are different, and they live differently.”
    But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip’s head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.




Grownup



The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.






The Summer Before the War

East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.

But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.





Three Men in a Boat

Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather-forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks - not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.'s small fox-terrier Montmorency. 




Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco

In Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco presents a hypnotizing postmodern fable of human malady--psychological, existential, erotic--and the sea as a means of deliverance. At the Almayer Inn, a remote shoreline hotel, an artist dips his brush in a cup of ocean water to paint a portrait of the sea. A scientist pens love letters to a woman he has yet to meet. An adulteress searches for relief from her proclivity to fall in love. And a sixteen-year-old girl seeks a cure from a mysterious condition which science has failed to remedy. When these people meet, their fates begin to interact as if by design. Enter a mighty tempest and a ghostly mariner with a thirst for vengeance, and the Inn becomes a place where destiny and desire battle for the upper hand. Playful, provocative, and ultimately profound, Ocean Sea is a novel of striking originality and wisdom.




Hawaii by James Michener

Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener brings Hawaii’s epic history vividly to life in a classic saga that has captivated readers since its initial publication in 1959. As the volcanic Hawaiian Islands sprout from the ocean floor, the land remains untouched for centuries—until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian seafarers make the perilous journey across the Pacific, flourishing in this tropical paradise according to their ancient traditions. Then, in the early nineteenth century, American missionaries arrive, bringing with them a new creed and a new way of life. Based on exhaustive research and told in Michener’s immersive prose, Hawaii is the story of disparate peoples struggling to keep their identity, live in harmony, and, ultimately, join together.





The Light Between Oceans

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.





A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson

Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod. At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take pleasure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn't realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an "unfinished woman" was full of possibilities. Out of that magical, difficult, transformative year came A Year by the Sea, a record of her experiences and a treasury of wisdom for readers.





Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Originally serialized between March 1869 and June 1870, Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” is one of the greatest underwater sea adventures of all time. It is the story of Professor Pierre Aronnax who sets off aboard an American frigate to investigate a series of attacks, which has been reported to be made by an amphibious monster. The monster in question is actually the submarine vessel the ‘Nautilus,’ which is commanded by the eccentric Captain Nemo. When the Nautilus destroys the Professor’s ship, he is taken prisoner by Captain Nemo along with his trusted servant Conseil and the frigate’s harpooner Ned Land. What follows for the three is a tale of great adventure and scientific wonder. An early pioneer of science fiction, Jules Verne’s work is noted for its prediction of scientific advancements. In the case of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” Verne accurately forecasted the development of submarine vessels. It is at once a harbinger of technology to come and captivating tale of adventure which has delighted readers ever since its original publication.




Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Artic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.  

Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. He also explores Cook the man: an impoverished farmboy who broke through the barriers of his class and time to become the greatest navigator in British history.






The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high―a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control.



Can you think of any others I need to add to this list?

Here is the list of Wendy at Falconer's Library. It's amazing.



Here are some other Beach Books Lists I've made in the past:

Best Beach Books

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend as Good Beach Reads


Books That Should Be in a Beach Bag


Looking for Beach Reads?





Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

13 comments:

  1. That's funny, I put The Penderwicks in my post as well! But I haven't read it yet. My Top Ten Tuesday was more of a TBR list.

    –KB @ thissideofstoryland.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rarely see gentle stories like The Penderwicks these days. It is quite refreshing.

      Delete
  2. I love this list! You have a great mix of old and newer titles. My favorites of the ones you mention are Mr. Gumpy and Half Magic. Here's my TTT: http://www.readathomemom.com/2018/06/arcs-on-my-tbr-for-summer-2018.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm itching to read Half Magic again. The summer would be a perfect time.

      Delete
  3. This is a great and all-inclusive list. Something for everyone. The only adult book I've read is Hawaii, a really long time ago. Boy, that was a long book, as were all of Michener's books.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have fond memories of my fifth grade teacher reading The Cay to us after lunch every afternoon - what a fun list!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, Deb, I'm so flattered you shared my list here! I love yours as well. The Summer Book, Kensuke's Kingdom, The Summer Before the War, A Year By the Sea, and all of the picture books are moving onto my TBR now. My mom's name was Shirley, and it's so rare to see the name used for anyone not of that generation! And I LOVED Edward Eager (and E. Nesbit) as a kid. It would indeed be great to revisit Half Magic this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just added THE SUMMER BOOK to my TBR pile. Sounds magical. I realized as I read this post just how much you are going to miss your job as a librarian for little kids. All those wonderful beginning books! Sigh. I am still having trouble letting go of all the YA things I did in my job, though I have found much joy in reading adult books without guilt that I must be missing some YA book that would become a book recommendation for a student. In fact, right now I am reading a YA book which is making me roll my eyes...so cheesy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the covers of children's books; they are so fun and lively! And the Cay is one of the books I read in elementary school that I remember reading.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very summery list! I love that you included picture books. I haven’t seen any other lists that included those today.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always include picture books. They are my favorite.

      Delete
  9. I'd love to spend some time reading book on the beach....

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!