I don’t think there’s anything that says summer more than the beach. Whether it’s along the river, at a lake or at the ocean, sun, sand and water capture the essence of summer for many people. These books present a variety of beach stories for children, reflecting a range of experiences.
“Beach Day!” by Candice Ransom and illustrated by Erika Meza. In this book—whose author lives in Spotsylvania County—the bouncing rhythm of the rhyming text conveys the joyful experience of a family spending a day at the beach. Readers see them chasing seagulls, searching for shells, jumping waves, flying a kite and going on rides at the carnival. This is one day packed with fun!
“Bitty Bot’s Big Beach Getaway” by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Tad Carpenter. Robots love to splash and play at the Botco Bay beach. But Bitty Bot does not like the sand or the heat and is frustrated when Bitty’s parents want to stay longer. Bitty takes a walk down the beach and comes across other bots who are not enjoying the beach, and all the bots work together to create a submarine in which they explore the depths of the ocean.
“Day at the Beach” by Tom Booth. Every summer, Gideon and his sister, Audrey, build a sandcastle together at the beach. But this year, Gideon is older and has a tremendous castle building plan that is much too complicated for his little sister to help with. Gideon toils away on his own and builds an amazing sandcastle, but comes to realize it’s not much fun if he doesn’t have anyone to share the experience with.
“Hum and Swish” by Matt Myers. Jamie loves to be on the beach, creating things with sand, shells, rocks and other found objects. But the questions from people walking by are frustrating. Jamie doesn’t want to talk about the creations or explain what things are and just wants to be left alone. Then a painter shows up on the beach and without a word sets up an easel near Jamie.
Jamie enjoys the silent company of the artist and, at the end of the day, they share their work with each other.
“Jules vs. the Ocean” by Jessie Sima. Jules is determined to impress her older sister by building “the biggest ... fanciest ... most excellent castle that has ever been built.” Her first attempt is destroyed by a wave. Her second attempt is destroyed by a wave. Even after she starts keeping an eye on the water, the waves keep ruining everything.
Then her sister comes over and after moving back from the edge of the water more, they work together to build a giant sandcastle together. They dance and jump around celebrating their creation, until a giant wave comes and crashes down on top of it. In the end, they are left in awe of the power of the ocean and the tides.
“The Pirates of Scurvy Sands” by Jonny Duddle. Matilda’s pen pal, a pirate boy named Jim, picks up Matilda in his family’s pirate ship and takes her on a special trip to Scurvy Sands, a beach-side resort town just for pirates. But once there, the other pirates raise a ruckus because Matilda is a “lubber,” not a pirate.
Her teeth are too clean, she can’t wield a cutlass, and she’s too polite. But Matilda and Jim think of a way to prove to everyone that Matilda is worthy of being included.
“This Beach Is Loud!” by Samantha Cotterill. A little child is very excited to go to the beach, gets up early to wake their dad, gets breakfast ready, packs everything (and more) needed for the beach, gets dressed and into the car. Once at the beach, though, all the people and noise and activity are overwhelming.
The child walks to get away from all the people, but scratchy sand gets in the child’s shoes and suit and toys. It’s all just too much for the child, who demands to go home. The dad reminds the child to take a deep breath and use a counting strategy while they walk to a quiet part of the beach.
After a little quiet time, the child starts playing in the sand and water and, by the end of the day, is asking when they will be back.
“Ty’s Travels: Beach Day!” by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Nina Mata. When Ty wakes up in the morning and sees the sun shining, he decides it is a perfect day for the beach.
Ty and his dad put on their swimsuits, gather together everything they need, and play “beach” in Ty’s sandbox in their backyard, complete with a sandcastle, a beach ball and refreshing popsicles.
Darcie Caswell is Youth Services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library.