20 Children’s Books About Summer Camp
There are so many great books about camp that it’s hard to choose just a few, so here are twenty books that are great for kids who are about to go to summer camp or to bring along to read before bed or on a rainy day. Even if your kids aren’t going to camp, these book featured by Western MA mom, Lisa Woods, are all fantastic summer stories!
Children’s Books About Summer Camp
by Lisa Woods
Ahhh, summer! Many kids are looking forward to the last day of school with a few months off to relax. I remember how exciting that feeling was. I have fond memories of singing songs, learning to swim, arts and crafts, and hiking in the woods. My kids have been to both day and overnight camp and loved them both. Both types of camp can bring on feelings of anxiety and nervousness for parents and children. I think camp is a great way for my kids to accomplish a sense of independence and for them to know that I trust them to be on their own to make happy memories, friends, and even mistakes, without my input.
I had a tough time letting go and being ok with my kids staying overnight somewhere without me. To lessen my anxiety and theirs, we went on a tour of the camp and a welcome day where we could have lunch and check out everything the camp had to offer several days before drop off. I also bought them a Gizmo watch so we could be in contact if they needed me, usually just sending a text at night to say goodnight to each other. They won’t always want or need to have this link to us, but while their young I really appreciate having it. Seeing kids return from camp, exuberant, and a little bit more grown-up is a reassuring thing for a parent. The memories made at camp will be something your child will cherish long after they come home.
Here are some great books for adults to read aloud or for younger elementary school-aged kids to read on their own.
The Night Before Summer Camp
by Natasha Wing (Author) and Mindy Pierce (Illustrator)
This is an excellent rhyming book told in the same manner as The Night Before Christmas story. It’s about a boy going to day camp, but he’s a little nervous and reluctant since this is his first camp experience. Once he gets there, he finds that he’s enjoying everything camp has to offer. He ends up having a fun day of swimming, playing with boats, and looking at animals in nature. He does get homesick around lunchtime, but the camp counselor tells him she was really nervous too because it was her first day on the job.
By Emily Sher (Author) and Qin Leng (Illustrator)
The beautiful watercolor illustrations in this book help tell the story about a child who is afraid to go to summer camp. I love how they communicate back and forth with sticky notes, the child going over all the reasons she can’t possibly go to camp and the mom trying to give her all the reasons she should go. The turning point is when grandma comes to visit and tells a story about the mom having been afraid to go to camp when she was young and how much fun she had when she went. This is the perfect book to read with young children going to camp for the first time. My kids loved looking for Lester the cat on every page.
Froggy Goes to Camp
by Jonathan London (Author) and Frank Remkiewicz (Illustrator)
This is a fun book for younger kids, it’s part of a series of books featuring Froggy. In this one, he’s excited to go to sleep away camp but has several problems getting there. First, he forgets his sleeping bag, so they go back home to get it. Then he forgets his swimming trunks, so they go back again to get them. By the time they get to camp, it’s late, and Froggy is nervous that he doesn’t know anyone. His first night goes well, and over the next few days, he has a lot of fun making friends, swimming, learning archery and a lot of other fun activities.
Tacky Goes to Camp
by Helen Lester (Author) and Lynn Munsinger (Illustrator)
If your young camper needs some laughs to stop the new camper nerves, this book might be just what’s needed. This is from a series of books starring Tacky the Penguin. In this book he’s off to camp, but he has trouble with every activity. His mistakes are really silly, and when I read this out loud, the kids love to point out the crazy things Tacky does. Even though Tacky has a rough start, he ends up saving the day when a bear comes looking for snacks.
The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp
by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This much-loved series has a book for almost every situation that kids might find themselves in. This one is about brother and sister bear going to day camp. They have a really good time at the beginning of camp, swimming, playing games, hiking, and canoeing. Sister bear is nervous towards the end of the week when they’re going to have a sleepover outside. She talks to her brother, and her friend Lizzie about her worries and they are very supportive. They have a trial run at home in the backyard that helps her see that everything will be fine.
Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp
by Syd Hoff
Danny and his friend dinosaur have been around since 1958. These books are as good now as they were back then. In this story, Danny and his dinosaur go to camp together. Everyone loves the dinosaur, he gives them rides when their feet are tired from hiking, and he takes part in all the activities. Just like Clifford the Big Red Dog, kids find it fun to imagine having a giant pet.
Princess Lulu Goes to Camp
by Kathryn Cristaldi (Author) and Heather Maione (Illustrator)
Lulu is a princess with an attitude. She has everything a princess could want except friends and although she pretends not to care she really does. Her parents send her to Camp Ruff ‘n’ Tuff where she will finally learn how to be a friend.
Great for adults to read aloud and for kids in upper elementary & middle school to read.
Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp
by Shana Gorian and Vicotria March (Authors), Ros Webb and Josh Addessi (Illustrators)
This is an excellent book for kids starting to read chapter books, especially if they like the Magic Tree House series. Rosco is a two-year-old German Shepherd who goes to an overnight camp for the first time with 10-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister Mandy. Even with homesickness and a bully, they are still having fun at camp. Then an unexpected thunderstorm strands the bully in the woods and Roscoe must go save him. There are a lot of lessons on friendship and overcoming struggles. Rosco is similar to Lassie in that he is intelligent and likes to come help.
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
by Marla Frazee
I love this funny book about two young boys, James and Eamon, and their adventures during a week spent with Eamon’s grandparents. The illustrations are beautiful and kept my kids interested in the story. During the day, these two great friends go to nature camp. They learn a lot and have some fun, but they find it mostly boring. When they come home from camp, they spend their evenings playing video games, watching TV and having stuffed animal parties. I think this is what summer should be all about when you’re young.
The Parent Trap
by Erich Kästner (Author) and Walter Trier (Illustrator)
I just had to include this book, I loved it so much as a kid, and we watch both movies (from 1961 and 1998) at least once a year. The story is about two young girls who go away to summer camp and find out they are actually identical twins separated after their parents are divorced. They decide to switch places and spend time with the parent they don’t know while working on a plan to get their parents back together.
Summer According to Humphrey
by Betty G. Birney (Author)
Kids will enjoy reading this much-loved series about Humphrey, a beloved class pet, who has all kinds of adventures. In this book, he gets to go with the class to summer camp where the campers deal with homesickness and some bad attitudes. The kids learn a lot of great lessons like how even when you don’t think you can win an event, you should still do your best, how competitors can always be friends and how losing doesn’t mean you can’t cheer for everyone else.
Captain Awesome Goes to Superhero Camp
by Stan Kirby (Author) and George O’Connor (Illustrator)
This book is the fourteenth in the Adventures of Captain Awesome and the Sunnyview Superhero Squad.
After a dull start to summer, Eugene (aka Captain Awesome) heads to Camp Ka-Pow with his two best friends. This camp is all about doing exiting superhero stuff like zip lining and laser obstacle courses. They meet some other kids there who are mean, and they start to wonder if they are supervillains in disguise. This book is perfect for beginning readers with its cute illustrations and exciting storyline. The kids aren’t really superheroes but just play-acting, which makes it even more adorable. This might be a good pick for kids who aren’t that interested in reading.
Cam Jansen Series: The Summer Camp Mysteries
by David A. Adler (Author) and Joy Allen (Illustrator)
If your not familiar with this series I can tell you that it’s like a Nancy Drew for the younger crowd. In this book, Cam, a girl detective, and her friend Eric are off to Camp Eagle Lake for a few weeks. She’s looking forward to all the activities, while she’s there she uncovers a few mysteries that need solving. If you have a young one on their way to camp this summer, they might like the adventures Cam finds herself in.
Detective Camp (A to Z Mysteries Super Edition, No. 1)
by Ron Roy (Author) and John Steven Gurney (Illustrator)
This is another terrific chapter book series with lots of mysteries. In this installment, kid detectives, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are off to detective camp. They can’t wait to spend a week following clues, learning about the science of crime solving, and working on mysteries. While they’re taking part in camp activities, they stumble onto something that seems suspicious. They wonder if a real crime could be happening at detective camp. This super edition has clues hidden in the illustrations that have to be solved.
The Summer Camp Survival Guide
by Chris Pallatto and Ron DeFazio (Authors), Ethan Long (Illustrator)
This is an excellent book for kids who are going to camp for the first time and are nervous about what to expect. There are ideas on what to bring, safety information, and tips on how to make friends. It’s packed with activities, games, stories, and plans for skits. It’s an excellent guide for anyone heading off to camp. I love that at the end of the book there are tear-out postcards you can use to send home news about camp.
by Rich Wallace (Author)
Riley is off to Sports Camp and although he’s excited he’s more than a little nervous about being the smallest and maybe the weakest kid there. There’s a lot of pressure to win the coveted Big Joe Trophy for winning the Olympic style games, and he’s afraid of letting his cabin mates down. Once the games begin, he realizes that being big and robust will work for some of the events, but he finds that endurance and speed may help him win. There are the usual campfires and ghost stories, but the one that bothers him the most is about Big Joe, the vicious snapping turtle that supposedly lives in the lake. He’s afraid since he’s counting on doing well during the swimming portion of the games. His plucky determination is what endears us to him and keeps us rooting for him all the way to the end.
Jack & Louisa: Act 3
by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead (Authors), Ben Kirchner (Illustrator)
This is an excellent book for middle school-aged kids about Jack and Louisa, two friends who love the theater and get to spend two weeks at Camp Curtain-Up. This is the third installment in a series written by two Broadway actors. The kids are looking forward to taking part in musical sing a longs, rehearsals, and meeting lots of new friends who love the theater as much as they do. There are some tests to their friendship involving new romantic relationships and deciding between parts in different productions that they both want.
Cheesie Mack Is Cool in a Duel
by Steve Cotler (Author) and Adam McCauley (Illustrator)
The Cheesie Mack book series is a lot of fun to read. In this installment, Cheesie and his friend Georgie are excited to go to camp. Once they arrive, they find that they are going to be bunking with older kids who turn out to be bullies, Even worse one of them is his mean sister’s boyfriend. Cheese endures a lot of the bullies antics, like unscrewing the salt shaker top so that it pours all over his food and short-sheeting his bed. Despite all this, he still has a great time at camp. His adventures are both fun and educational. I like how the author puts more significant words and their definitions into the book, so the reader’s vocabulary is unsuspectingly expanded. The author has an interactive website (www.cheesiemack.com) and encourages readers to leave comments and check out release dates for new books.
by Kayla Miller
In this graphic novel, Olive and her best friend Willow are off to camp. Olive is super excited to meet new people, but Willow is shy and has a harder time with that. Willow becomes clingier with Olive, and it really tests their friendship. They begin fighting, and their friendship is fractured by the end of camp. Luckily they find a way to make up and are friends again. This story is very timely for me right now with an 11-year-old daughter dealing with all kinds of friendship drama. She read this book and loved it, she also read the authors first book, Click. It’s hard when feelings get hurt, and kids are just learning about how to communicate their feelings to their friends. All friends argue once in a while, and so little is done to teach them to navigate their way back to good feelings. I like what this author is doing through her stories. This is an excellent book about the ins and outs of friendship, dealing with jealousy, the fear of missing out and how to apologize and makeup, all told with the help of beautiful illustrations.
Galaxy’s Most Wanted, Book 1
John Kloepfer (Author) and Nick Edwards (Illustrator)
This is a fun book about a group of kids at a science camp who invent a way to contact aliens. They succeed in doing that but not in the way they hoped. Their call is answered by a small, fuzzy alien with four arms named Mim. He seems friendly at first, but things take a turn for the worse, and the kids have to stand with their fellow campers to try to save Earth. Kids will love the mildly gross humor, silly situations, and cartoon illustrations. The fun will be continued in the sequel to this book called Into the Darkness.
P.S. I Hate It Here!: Kids’ Letters from Camp
Diane Falanga (Author)
I loved this collection of real letters from kids aged eight to sixteen who are attending summer camp. Some of the letters were so funny that I laughed out loud. My only complaint is that the letters are all written in the child’s handwriting, which is endearing but makes it hard to decipher some of the words. The author wrote a second book, P.S. I Still Hate It Here: More Kids’ Letters from Camp.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa spent a decade traveling the world for her work before realizing her dream was to create art and write. She now lives in Chicopee, MA with her husband and two children where she homeschooled her kids for the early grades. Lisa has a real passion for books, especially children’s literature, collecting children’s books since the age of fifteen. She is now working on her first children’s book.