From the Gardens: Summer Reading Guide for Kids

CMBG At Home, Gardenshop, Outdoors

Summer is a great time to get reading as a family. We went to the experts on our staff: Gardenshop’s buyer, a retired primary school teacher now working in Gardenshop, and the Gardens’ Youth and Family Program Manager. Together, they compiled a collection of nature-based books for young readers of all levels. This is the ideal time to embark on a reading adventure that connects us more deeply to nature discovery–explore lush forests, encounter fascinating creatures, and uncover the hidden treasures that our planet holds.

Board Books

Board books are a delightfully indestructible way to introduce vibrant colors, shapes, and nature-themed content to our youngest budding book-lovers. With interactive seek-and-find elements, they’re perfect for little ones who love nothing better than spending one-on-one time with their favorite people. These board books, with their durable, heavy-duty pages, are tough enough to be loved and played with. Ages 0 to 3.

  1. Tap the Magic Tree
  2. Planting A Rainbow
  3. Some Bugs
  4. Flip, Flap, Find! Into the Woods
  5. Little Naturalist Johnny Appleseed
  6. Hello Garden!
  7. Touch and Explore Animals at Night
  8. Build-A-Bug

You can check out these recommendations here ,or browse all of our board book offerings. 


Story Books

These books are perfect for those ready to read on their own, but who also still love being read to. Wonderful illustrations accompany stories about family, nature, and life in Maine. Perfect for ages 3 to 8, these books develop and explore nature themes more deeply, great for learning readers and as bedtime stories.

  1. The First Blade of Sweet Grass
  2. The Thing About Bees
  3. ABCs of Maine
  4. I Hear You Forest
  5. The Keeper of Wild Words
  6. Home of the Wild
  7. Celia Painted a Garden

Shop our recommendations here, or browse all of our story books.

Chapter Books

These are classic tales and great stories for independent readers. Perfect for vacation downtime, a rainy day, or a summer evening, read alone or aloud together as a family. For ages 8 and up, these chapter books explore a longer nuanced story set in nature or inspired by the natural world or history.

  1. The Yearling
  2. Lab Girl
  3. Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask
  4. Charlotte’s Web
  5. The Theory of Hummingbirds
  6. My Side of the Mountain
  7. Lost on a Mountain in Main
  8. The Penderwicks

Shop these books and so many more!

Activity Books

Get inspired to get outdoors and explore this summer. These books have hundreds of ideas for fun ways to learn about nature, plant a garden, and get creative with crafts using natural materials. Deep-dive on topics like birds, bugs, writing, or art–these books will inspire kids to look more closely at the world around them. Think of them as guides to summer magic, and you’ll never hear “I’m bored” again!  Ages 5 (with adult supervision) and up. 

  1. The Acadia Files
  2. Backpack Explorer: Bug Hunt
  3. Backpack Explorer: Bird Watch
  4. 642 Big Things to Write About
  5. The Ultimate Book of Scavenger Hunts
  6. Nature’s Art Box
  7. Put Your Owl Eyes On

Find these books in one convenient location, or shop all of our activity books here.

Find all of these great books and more at Gardenshop—online or in person.