The Night Before Summer Camp
An adorable installment in the best-selling "night before" series, a little boy has a big case of the butterflies. Told in verse and filled with colorful pictures depicting an idyllic place, this is a sweet story for kids 4+ embarking on their first camp season.
Best Children's Books About Summer Camp
For kiddos who are about to embark on a week of summer camp for the first time, the prospect of making new friends may be pretty scary. The thought of staying overnight in a cabin, cut off from mom and dad for a few days, is scarier still. Kids will learn about all the fun activities, like boating, hiking, campfires, bike riding, ropes courses, arts and crafts, and more. Kids headed off to summer camp for the first time may be a little nervous about what to expect. It can be especially challenging for kids who are going to camp without a friend they already know. Consider reading stories about swimming so your little campers learn to have fun while staying safe in the water. The characters in these stories share the same nervous feelings before they start. But after the very first day, the kids have made new friends, experienced fun outdoor activities, and wonder why they were ever jittery in the first place.
Froggy Goes to Camp
Kids will learn they are not the only ones a little nervous. Homer the dog has always felt a longing to be more wolf-like, so when he receives an invitation in the mail to a place to help, he is the first to sign up. Homer's counselor's teach him how to howl, hunt and much more. Homer learns a lot while away, but most of all he realizes that he misses home.
Tacky Goes to Camp
In order to stay connected during their extremely busy days, a mother and daughter exchange written notes. This special communication keeps their bond strong and provides the little girl with the reassurance she needs to overcome her fears. This is especially true as she prepares to go away for summer camp. Soft, watercolor illustrations combined with an endearing story of love between a mother and daughter make this book a real winner. We highly recommend this book for all your little ones who are experiencing an extra dose of anxiety around leaving home.
The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp
This book will ease the jitters of any kid ready to head off to summer camp for the first time. Each of the animals has a secret little worry- bear is afraid of strange noises in the woods, duck can't swim, and sloth is unsure how he will eat lunch. Once they arrive, they quickly forget their fears, make lots of new friends, and enjoy all the fun activities.
Arthur Goes to Camp
Fans of Arthur books will enjoy this book about his first experience going away. Things are off to a rocky start for Arthur, who doesn't seem to be very good at any of the activities. And he's not too thrilled with some of the things happening- like clothes disappearing and frogs in their beds. He just needs to get through the day so he can participate in the epic scavenger hunt. Will he be able to make it?
Lots of kids would love to attend an out-of-this-world camp experience on the moon, but Lucas is less than thrilled. Everything seems to be going wrong for him. From getting lost on the nature hike to his potential allergy to moon dust, Lucas is feeling down in the dumps and homesick. Just when he thinks moon camp is not going to work out, he makes a new friend named Sam. Suddenly, things don't seem so bad after all.
A perfectly rhyming book about the most exciting place around. All the little ninjas are excited to learn from their master. He has a lot of important things to teach them, like being strong, swift and stealth in their movements. Most important of all, they learn how to be good teammates. At the end of the week, the ninjas engage in a competition. They put their sharpened agility skills and self-discipline to use and win the game.
Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!
Gilbert is looking forward to a fun, overnight adventure. Unfortunately, Lewis spoils all of his fun by telling tall tales about ghosts that haunt the camp. Will Gilbert be brave enough to spend the night? Kids will relate to his initial nervousness until he sees through Lewis's lies.
Mad Libs: Letters from CampA fun Mad Libs novelty book to tuck into your little camper's suitcase before heading off to summer camp. Funny letters with fill-in-the-blank spaces for kids to input their own words based on a theme. Pages are formatted so they can be folded and mailed from camp to friends and family all over.
Summer Camp Novels for Tweens
Novels for tweens about summer camp cover all the best parts of the experience for kids who are approaching their teenage years. There are stories of summer crushes, friendship drama, mysteries, and mischief. Coming-of-age chapter books capture a special time when tweens are figuring out a lot about themselves during carefree days hanging with friends by the lake, chatting by campfires, and whispering in dark cabins after curfew.
Cam Jansen: The Summer Camp Mysteries
This short chapter book (117 pages) for the 7-9 age group follows Cam and her best friend Eric at they spend three weeks at sleep away camp. Mysteries must be solved when money disappears, sports equipment goes missing, and lots of other unexplained occurrences make this camp experience unlike any other.
Summer Camp Secrets: Tug-of-War
A solid 250 pages for the 8-12 crowd, girl drama plays out as camp friends merge with school friends. A girl named Chris is caught in the middle and does her best to navigate a sticky social situation and keep making the best summer memories.
Summer According to Humphrey
A fun chapter book in a series for ages 7-12, Humphrey the resident classroom hamster is sad that school is ending. He loves being the classroom pet! Then he learns that he will be going to camp for summer break. A fun and funny read for kids who want to learn all about this experience through the eyes of their favorite furry friend, Humphrey!
Werewolves Don't Go to Summer Camp
Disclaimer: This one is quite scary! A bunch of third-graders arrive at camp only to discover that their beloved teacher is barefoot, eats raw meet, and avoids light at all cost. He tells them the tale of a little boy who went missing. Could this teacher actually be the werewolf responsible for the mysterious disappearance? At under 100 pages, this is a quick read for brave kids new to chapter books.
A highly recommended chapter book for the 8+ crowd features a 10 year old boy who is excited about going to a six-week summer sleep away camp. It's not your average place, though. Only the most intellectually gifted kids are invited to go, and well, this particular middle-schooler is a bit concerned about being a labeled a nerd.
A Clatter of Jars
Magic and fantasy make this place stand out from all the rest. Only kids with special talents are invited to attend. On the surface, it may look ordinary with bonfires in the evening and swimming in the lake. But there is a deep, dark secret the director has buried. Mysterious events involve talents and memories swapping from one camper to the next, with no explanation. This is a real page-turner until the very end.
The Spy School Book Series is wildly popular with the middle school crowd. In this installment, Ben is looking forward to a relaxing summer after a stressful year as a top level spy. He is diverted to spy camp where he must again identify and defeat the evil enemy. Packed with action and suspense, this book is fun to the very end.
Heidi Heckelbeck Goes to Camp
In this easy, illustrated chapter book, Heidi is very excited to go to summer camp with her best friend, Lucy. It is her first time at Camp Dakota, a two-week sleep away adventure. Much to her dismay, Lucy reunites with her friends from the previous year and Heidi feels cast aside. At first she plans to cast a friendship spell, but then she takes the more practical approach of talking to the girls about her feelings.
Captain Awesome Goes to Superhero Camp
Superheroes prepare to head off to get some special training in this graphic novel. Illustrations on every page help tell the story of a superhero gang's adventures. They encounter a suspicious crew who may just be supervillains in disguise.
Ivy and Bean Make the Rules
Bean has a case of jealousy. Her older sister is headed to sleep away camp where she will get to do exciting things. Arts and crafts, a music festival and first aid training are some of the fun activities planned. Unfortunately, Bean is not yet 11 years old, which is the minimum age to attend. So Bean decides to join together with Ivy and create their own adventure that will be even better than the one her sister is attending.
Camp Rolling Hills
This coming-of-age book for tweens captures the essence of this experience. Summer camp is a special place where kids can reinvent themselves, form lifelong friendships, and escape from stress. In this page-turner, Stephanie returns to her home away from home where she easily adapts to life with her cabin mates. Bobby, on the other hand, arrives for the first time and is slower to adjust to his new surroundings. The two soon develop mutual crushes and are then thrown in the middle of a friendly war between the boys and the girls. A fun, fast read for kids getting ready for an eight-week adventure.
Siblings are on a quest to find their missing parents. In this installment of a popular middle-grade series, the kids find themselves at a summer camp that appears to be normal upon first glance. All the typical activities like canoeing and arts and crafts are happening around them. As time goes on, they start to notice some mysterious things, including that fact that everyone has missing parents.
An outstanding graphic novel about a drama that unfolds between best friends. Willow and Olive are excited to embark on this overnight adventure together. When the girls arrive, Olive quickly makes a lot of new friends. Willow, who is more of an introvert, latches on to Olive and does not engage with the other campers. Tension between the girls builds to the point that their friendship is in jeopardy. Will they be able to patch things up or is their friendship ruined forever?
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Why Read Children's Books About Summer Camp
Canoe rides, rope swings, arts and crafts, bonfires, s'mores, nature hikes, bunk beds, and best friends forever is a short list of the wonderful things that happen at summer camp. Campers stay up late at night to gaze at the stars and listen to the sounds of nature. They head out to chase the twinkling lights of fireflies across the dark sky. Kids navigate being away from home, sometimes overnight for weeks at a time, and create the fondest of memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. Reading books about sleep away camp before you children leave can help them get excited for this new experience. Reading about this upcoming experience will help answer questions, ease little nerves, and get kids excited.
Summer Camp Tips
Going to summer camp for the first time, especially if it is an overnight experience for a week or more, can bring on a case of the jitters. In addition to reading kids' books about summer camp, there are some other things parents can do to get their kids ready for this new experience.
- Validate the wide range of emotions a child is feeling leading up to the departure date. It is common for kids to ride a rollercoaster of emotions, from excitement to fear, that can change on a a moment's notice. Be careful not to dismiss the feelings a child is sharing. As a parent, you will want to listen openly and provide some positive encouragement while acknowledging that is is normal to be a little nervous.
- Visit the camp beforehand if at all possible. If you can't tour the property in advance, then find photos on the camp's website to help your child become familiar with the location. Focus on showing your child all of the fun attractions, like rope courses, paddle boats, and arts and crafts studios.
- Take your child shopping so they can pick out their own supplies. Having your kids involved in as many decisions as possible will help them feel empowered and independent enough to enjoy all that summer camp has to offer.
- Clearly establish expectations about communication before your child leaves. The camp likely has guidelines about cell phone usage, perhaps not allowing them at all or giving kids very limited access. These rules may seem extreme for a first-time camper, but they are in place for a very good reason. The best way for kids to fully emerge in the camp experience is by limiting contact with home. Talking to your children frequently during sleep-away camp may invoke feelings of homesickness and interfere with their ability to adapt.
Buy your children a journal so they can take some quiet time to write down their experiences, funny stories, emotions, and anything else notable about their time at camp. This journal can also be used as a scrapbook where photos and mementos are affixed on the pages inside. Your children will appreciate that their memories will be forever preserved.