In these early stages of life, children are beginning to get a feel for our cycle of seasons. Help them develop a better understanding of sunny summer with some informative board books that highlight the best features of the season. Just because the Coronavirus pandemic has forced most of us to cancel travel plans doesn’t mean we can’t allow a book to take us on an adventure. This summer 2020 reading list of board books is tailored for babies, toddlers, and up to age four. These great reads offer a creative way to travel and enjoy the season with your littlest one.

Know that this post isn’t just for babies! The majority of these are available as picture books, as well. You can find the option to purchase in this format using the link provided.

*We use affiliate links to share products with you. If you use the link to make a purchase, the cost of the book doesn’t go up for you. However, we will receive a commission and we do appreciate your support.

In the Garden with Van Gogh by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

Gardening is a special pastime during the summer months. It is a perfect place for kids to explore colors, smells, and textures. This board book featuring the art of Van Gogh allows you and your little one the chance to see rich, colorful gardens through the eyes of his unique style. Perhaps you might read it while exploring your own yard! See if you can find some of the same flowers.

This book is part of a collection of books that include other French masters: Degas, Matisse, and Monet. Check out the box set to share these artists with your child.

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

This sweet little book is about a baby bear beginning to explore the great wide world with his mama. He notices and wonders about everything around him; always asking about the purpose or reason something has occurred. He’s asking the same questions your kids likely ask you: What is that sound? Why does that happen? Where is that from?

Mama Bear patiently answers each question. Then as Baby Bear observes, he focuses in on a color associated with his new findings.

Together, they explore the area surrounding their cavern and find many of the things we would experience during the summer months, including delicious red strawberries and a somber thunderstorm.

Carl’s Summer Vacation by Alexandra Day

If you are familiar with the book Good Dog, Carl, and love the fun-filled day he creates, then you will want to read the other books in the series. In each book, a loving Rottweiler named Carl is left to care for a baby. They get into trouble, but somehow always manage to keep their shenanigans a secret from the adults.

Honestly, the story makes me a nervous wreck. What was this mother thinking that she left her baby at home alone? But somehow they survive over ten adventures similar to the first one.

I like the book because the illustrations are well done and a little mischief can be thrilling. You must know that this is the part that keeps your toddler so engaged! There are few words, which gives you the chance to discuss the events apart from ideas being supplied for you.

In the summer adventure, the baby has grown to be a toddler. She and her favorite furry friend get to join their family on a vacation at the lake. Instead of taking a nap as the mother expects, the two sneak off on a canoe trip and enjoy the wildlife.

The link that I’ve shared is for the hardcover version of the book, but it is also available as a board book.

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon

All the World is a beautiful story that was nominated for a Caldecott medal the year it came out. The illustrations take you on a summer vacation to the beach. They draw you in with their warm colors and simple lines.

This story is about a family enjoying their time at the beach in the course of a day. It reminds me of a Florida summer day because they get caught in a rainstorm, as well. Our afternoons frequently bring rain, which makes them perfect for napping! In the story, they stress that not everything is perfect. But you can enjoy it.

First Look Books: At the Park

As a first-time pregnant mom, I am fairly new to the world of books for babies. During one of my showers I was gifted a set of creative black and white books illustrated by Laura Barrett. Several of them featured one of my favorite topics, which is nature.

I was reading over the back cover and it mentioned the importance of high-contrast colors for young, developing eyes. The more I looked into this idea, the more fascinated I became. I came across this article by Happily Ever Elephants that had a few links to some informative studies about the idea. She specifically cited an article referencing details of what a child can see at each stage of development.

Come to find out, high-contrast black and white books are best for babies’ eyes to learn to focus. They gradually see more color and detail throughout their first few months. Once they reach six months old, they can focus completely on different shapes and colors. Amazing!

These books are not on Amazon, but I would like to suggest another great black and white book by textile designer Jane Foster called Jane Foster’s Black and White. We also have this one and I like the design and style it brings to different black and white animals with little pops of color.

Little Traveler set by Mudpuppy and Erica Harrison

Summer is the perfect opportunity to travel! Journey all around the world by describing the different landmarks, foods, vehicles, and animals you might see in the Little Traveler books. This is an exciting way to introduce your child to different cultures and opportunities that you may one day explore together.

The pictures are large and use minimal colors that are high-contrast, making it easy for your baby to focus on.

Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson

This is a cute little tale about a young mouse enjoying the quintessential activities of summer. In Mouse’s First Summer, Mouse frolics in the green grass, observes flying kites and even watches a fireworks display in the evening. They also eat a delicious watermelon with seeds. It makes me miss seed-spitting contests with my cousins when we were young.

Share these experiences through the book, and then enjoy some time doing the same activities with your little one.

Llama Llama Sand and Sun by Anna Dewdney

This is a fun board book that takes you on an adventure by the sea. Llama Llama Sand and Sun tells the story of your favorite llama friend as he plays on the beach. He enjoys splashing in the waves and building a sandcastle. It’s the perfect way to spend your summer!

One thing I especially like about this board book is that there are touch and feel pages that make it interactive for your toddler.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Farm animals and trucks make up the main characters in this board book. There is an emphasis on animal sounds that make it fun for toddlers to hear you read aloud.

In the story, Little Blue Truck is challenged by a large, impatient dump truck. Focused on all his importance, the dump truck inadvertently gets stuck in the mud. In response, Little Blue gathers his friends and they assist the dump truck in getting free. Dump learns the importance of a friend’s helping hand. Although this book is short, it has a great moral that makes it worth adding to your collection.

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

Eve Bunting is a beautiful author that I have been familiar with since I was young. In her summery story Flower Garden, a young girl and her father assemble a window box of flowers as a gift for the child’s mother. The story is told in rhyme and there are warm, calm pictures to accompany the poetry.

The first book I read of hers was The Wall where a father and son visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. She also wrote Terrible Things, which is an allegory for the Holocaust. It teaches young children that they should speak up instead of waiting for others to lead. I would recommend both of these for middle grade kiddos.

I am hopeful you have found some new favorites from this summer 2020 reading list of board books. May your reading be meaningful as you spend time with your little one!

We also have recommendations for your older kids, too:
3rd grade through 5th grade
Kindergarten through 2nd grade