First-Time Summer Fun | Milestones

These 10 titles can help young children process their emotions as they go through some thrilling firsts associated with the summer holiday, whether it's flying in an airplane or jumping off a diving board.

Summertime means a change in routine. While the break from school is most often welcomed by young students, the new experiences that come from going somewhere for the first time or even trying something for the first time can also bring out a range of emotions. These 10 titles can help young children process their emotions as they go through some thrilling firstswhether it's flying in an airplane or jumping off a diving board.


Getting Ready and Getting There

The Alpactory: Ready, Pack, Go! by Ruth Chan. ­illus. by Ruth Chan. Harper. ISBN 9780062909510. 
At the Alpactory, friendly alpacas help a young snake get ready for a sleepover, an adorable penguin pack a backpack for the first day of school, and a gerbil prepare for a camping trip. By the end of the tour of this quirky factory, the animal children realize that all they really need for a trip is themselves. There is no need to worry about leaving things behind: They will find what they truly need along the way. This colorful new spin on anxiety management strategies is a great addition to any collection.

See also: So Long, Farewell: 10 First Books About Moving Away | Milestones

Maisy Goes on a Plane by Lucy Cousins. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763678258. 
Through simply stated text with a friendly tone, readers' journey along with Maisy from check-in, boarding, and finding a seat to buckling seat belts, holding the hand of a nervous friend, and taking off. With its trademark bright, saturated colors, black outlines, and flat illustration style, this title is ready-made for the preschool set and will help prepare for a first plane trip, or serve as another reliable transportation title.



Camping and the Beach

Raj and the Best Vacation Ever! by Sebastien Braun. illus. by Sebastien Braun. Candlewick/Templar. ISBN 9781536217056. 
Young tiger Raj and his father are taking a vacation, a trip that takes days of planning and luggage packed tightly into the car. Vibrant color and digital cartoon art move the action forward, following the pair as they prepare. A suggested general purchase, this title takes readers through the ups and downs of a first camping trip, made even better when everyone works together.

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K Mann. illus. by Jennifer K. Mann. Candlewick. ISBN 9781536207361. 
It’s Ernestine’s first camping trip and she is excited. At the Cedar Tree Campground, Ernestine’s aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha introduce her to all the wonders and fun; they swim in the lake, hug huge trees, and eat delicious broccoli salad and s’mores, of course. From the car ride to the tent setup, young readers will get a solid foundation in what to expect from camping. A great guide for those heading out on their first outdoor adventure.

See also: First Books about New Siblings | Milestones

Maisy Goes on Vacation by Lucy Cousins. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763647520.
Maisy and company pack up and head for the beach. After a train ride deposits them at the shore, she and her friends build sandcastles, write postcards, and stay overnight in a hotel. This book gives children a preview of what can happen when they leave home to go on vacation and turns apprehension into anticipation.  

redstar This Beach Is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill. illus. by Samantha Cotterill. Dial. ISBN 9780525553458.
In this much-needed new series, author/illustrator Cotterill shows the excitement and challenges of going to the beach for the first time. At the beach they seek a spot to set up their day camp. On their way, the itchiness of the sand and the surrounding noises becomes overwhelming for the young boy, but soon, after being able to soothe himself with a couple of techniques, he is able to play. Many children will be able to identify with the stresses of a new experience, and Cotterill, on the spectrum herself, has deliberately left this open-ended so any child with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and/or autism can identify with the experiences represented in the book.



Swimming Lessons and Community Pools

Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn. illus. by Ruth Hearson. Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580897259. 
Leo (of Lola Reads to Leo fame) loves the water. In preparation for an upcoming swim class, the toddler and his dad read a book that gives a nod to Eric Carle's Mister Seahorse, then head off to the pool for baby/parent swim time. At swim class, the children learn how to kick and splash, and Leo gets a fun ride on his daddy's back. A solid choice for preschool storytime or one-on-one sharing, especially to introduce a swim class or lesson.

Saturday Is Swimming Day by Hyewon Yum. illus. by Hyewon Yum. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763691172. 
A young child conquers a fear of swimming in this charming, child-focused picture book. Slowly, the child becomes more comfortable in the water (a better-fitting swim cap helps), progressing all the way to floating alone like a starfish and having splashing contests with the other children. An empowering story of gradually overcoming fear that will resonate with young children. 

See also: First Books About Weddings | Milestones

RedReviewStar Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall. illus. by Gaia Cornwall. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763678388. 
On a beautiful summer day in the city, Jabari heads to the community pool with his father and baby sister, sure that he’s ready to jump off the diving board, but the boy has second thoughts when it comes time to climb the very tall ladder. It will take words of quiet encouragement from his dad and a heartening deep breath before he is able to gather his courage and take the plunge. Jabari's story will help assuage the fears kids experience when faced with a new and daunting adventure. A terrific seasonal storytime read-aloud that's perfect for one-on-one sharing.

1, 2, 3, Jump! by Lisl H. Detlefsen. illus. by Madeline Valentine. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781626726819. 
An unnamed narrator instructs a young girl in the proper ways to approach swimming lessons. As the child gets ready, the narrator guides her through the various beginning stages of swimming, including choosing the right swimsuit and proper swim etiquette. A great way to encourage children to both explore the world around them and incorporate new activities into their daily lives.

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