KP and MBB Talking with Students
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emeritus Katherine Paterson and NCBLA President and Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett discuss books with young people at a library in Washington, D.C.

Whether your summer adventures take place at a sun-splashed beach or the cool mountains, at Grandma’s house or your own backyard, be sure to give reading a starring role!

A great place to start looking for summer reading fun is your local library. Almost every public library sponsors special programs, author visits, reading contests, book clubs, and free passes to area museums and attractions. And remember that the librarians are also a rich resource. They can offer expert advice about completing summer projects and book suggestions for even the most reluctant readers.

To discover some great summer learning activities, browse our treasure chest of ideas below. You may also want to check out the ideas on the Reading Rockets’ Summer Reading page.

Beyond the Book: Take a Literary Field Trip

Have you ever read a book and wondered what inspired the author to write it? Or perhaps you have contemplated how you can help your young people learn more about writers and their work by going beyond the pages of the book to a place you can visit and experience. Fabulous literary heritage sites await you from coast to coast, from the California Salinas Valley and home of John Steinbeck to the home and gardens of the Alcott family in Concord, Massachusetts where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her beloved book Little Women.

Orchard House
Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts

You can discover the literary heritage sites in your own state by contacting the Library of Congress Center for the Book office. Each state office sponsors programs and printed literary history maps that show the locations of literary cultural sites and points of interest. Some state offices even provide interactive literary maps online. Visit the Center for the Book State Center Affiliates page for a complete list of state Center for the Book offices and direct links to their websites

For a list of museums and galleries that offer exhibits of children’s book art, refer to the NCBLA article “A Literacy Field Trip.” For more tips about connecting books to places, read the Reading Rockets article “Day Trips for Book Lovers.”

Reading List Suggestions for Kids and Families

Supplement this summer’s mandatory reading with these engaging suggestions from the NCBLA and other organizations.

American Heroes Series I: Folklore Legends

American Heroes Series II: Historic and Cultural Heroes

Great Books for Boys

Dog Day Reading

Great Reads (Great Reads is an extensive list of books beloved by authors and illustrators)

Home Run Reading: Baseball and Books for Kids

Discovering Fantasy Beyond Harry Potter

Also, be sure to check out the most up-to-date summer reading lists from The Horn Book, Reading Rockets, Start with a Book, and (which specializes in adolescent interests).

For a digital reading adventure, share the electronic pages of some fabulous Classic Books on Read.Gov, such as The Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and The Secret Garden, all of which feature the complete texts and illustrations of the originals.

Progressive Story Games

ECA Book CoverExquisite Corpse Adventure fans! Don’t forget to try your own hand at writing progressive stories and playing progressive story games. Whether you are cooped up in the car on a long road trip or banished to the basement on a rainy afternoon, kids of all ages will enjoy testing their imaginations while creating their own exquisite corpse story.

A Guide to Progressive Stories

The Progressive Stories Game

The History of the Exquisite Corpse Art Form and How It Is Played

Creating Your Own Exquisite Corpse Story Adventure

Read or listen to each episode of the rollicking, progressive story game The Exquisite Corpse Adventure on