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Summer Books and Activities for Kids

Weather Report

Weather report

How to explore this theme:

  1. Choose books and book-related activities
  2. Explore more hands-on activities
  3. Try some summer writing
  4. Dig deeper with these websites
  5. Play and learn with interactive mobile apps

#1: Choose kids' books and book-related activities Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain

By: Verna Aardema | Illustrated by: Beatriz Vidal

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The tale of herdsman Ki-pat is set on a dry African plain and is told in the familiar cadence of "The House that Jack Built". Animals are introduced, tension builds and the resolution pours forth as the rhyme builds. Stylized illustrations create place and mood in this engaging verse.

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Clouds

Clouds

By: Anne Rockwell | Illustrated by: Anne Rockwell

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Learn about 10 different types of clouds — cirrus, stratus, and cumulus — as well as cirrostratus, cirrocumulus, cumulonimbus, altostratus, altocumulus, nimbostratus, and stratocumulus! The author describes each type of cloud formation, explains where it is found in the sky, and tells what kind of weather is associated with it. The book ends with simple instructions for making your own cloud.

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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

By: Judi Barrett | Illustrated by: Ron Barrett

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Residents of Chewandswallow were accustomed to their predictable weather which kept them in juice and mashed potatoes (and more) three times a day. That is, until the weather took a strange turn; foods falling not only got larger, but so did the portions! This outrageous tale will be released as a film in September 2009.

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Finn Throws a Fit

Finn Throws a Fit

By: David Elliott | Illustrated by: Timothy Basil Ering

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Young Finn doesn't like anything on this particular day. When offered something he normally likes, Finn throws an earth-shaking tantrum. Readers will likely see themselves in egg-shaped Finn's behavior as his parents try to weather the storm revealed in energetic language and ebullient, sketchy illustrations.

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Like a Windy Day

Like a Windy Day

By: Frank Asch, Devin Asch

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A child imagines being like the wind: playing with hats and leaves, zooming and racing throughout the country and city until she becomes a gentle breeze. Evocative language combines with suggestive illustrations in this breezy book.

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On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weather

On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weather

By: Marilyn Singer | Illustrated by: Frane Lessac

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On the same day that it's icy cold in the Artic, it's foggy in Louisiana, sunny in Barbados, and blowing wild winds called willy-willies in Austrailia. In this poetic exploration of longitude and weather, with bright and detailed paintings of seventeen different places, the author and illustrator show us what's happening from the poles to the equator — all on the same day in March. [Amazon review]

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Otis and the Tornado

Otis and the Tornado

By: Loren Long | Illustrated by: Loren Long

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Otis and his farm friends are enjoying a summer's day playing their favorite game, follow-the-leader. The bull, however, has no interest in playing and stays in his pen, where he delights in intimidating the other animals.Suddenly the day turns frightening: the birds stop chirping, the wind picks up, and the sky turns dark and stormy. It's a tornado! Otis rouses a game of follow-the-leader to get all of the farm animals safe and sound in the dried-up riverbanks of Mud Creek. [Amazon review]

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Rain Play

Rain Play

By: Cynthia Cotten | Illustrated by: Javaka Steptoe

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What is summer without a rainstorm? Alliterative language and richly textured collages create a day's play interrupted by rain — until the sun returns.

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The Blizzard

The Blizzard

By: Betty Ren Wright | Illustrated by: Ronald Himler

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

This picture book has the warmth and appeal of a favorite family reminiscence. The simple story focuses on Billy, who is disappointed that his cousins won't be visiting to help celebrate his December birthday. The day takes an unexpected turn, however, when the same weather that kept his cousins away brings all the members of his mixed-grade, one-room schoolhouse (along with the teacher) to his house to spend the night. The boy's parents turn this impromptu slumber party into a celebration, with plenty of good food, a group sing-along, and, of course, a birthday cake. [School Library Journal review]

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Thunder Cake

Thunder Cake

By: Patricia Polacco

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Many children are frightened by the noise of a storm. Here, a grandmother’s caring and her stories help a girl overcome her fear of thunderstorms. Expressive, informal illustrations are reminiscent of folk art, and complement the warm story.

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Waiting Out the Storm

Waiting Out the Storm

By: JoAnn Early Macken | Illustrated by: Susan Gaber

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Wind whistles in the treetops, thunder rumbles, and lightning flashes and dashes between raindrops. Snug inside, a mother and child listen, watch, and wonder what the animals will do during the storm. Paired with beautiful illustrations evoking the moods and mysteries of the natural world, this lyrical call-and-response text is a lullaby to stormy weather — and to the warmth and safety of home. [Amazon review]

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Weather: Poems for All Seasons

Weather: Poems for All Seasons

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins | Illustrated by: Melanie Hall

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

From the catchy nonsense of X. J. Kennedy's 'Snowflake Souffle' to the simple, surprising imagery of Valerie Worth's 'Sun' to Hopkins's own onomatopoeic 'Thunder,' the short lines, satisfying rhyme, and physicalness of the words can lure beginning readers — and also younger listeners — to the joy of sounds that make sense.

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Wild Weather

Wild Weather

By: Katharine Kenah

Age Level: 3-6 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The Wild Weather Extreme Reader introduces fascinating facts about some of the fiercest weather conditions on earth including, storm cloud, lightning, rain, flood, drought, dust storm, fog, rainbow, hail, snow, ice storm, tornado, hurricane, and the weather service. Dramatic photographs, graphic illustrations, and an amazing “Extreme Facts” list will keep them turning the page. [Amazon review]

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

Down Comes the Rain

Down Comes the Rain

By: Franklyn Branley | Illustrated by: James Hale

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

After rain comes down, the sun comes out and dries the puddles. But the water isn't gone. The heat from the sun has turned it into water vapor-it has evaporated. Eventually, this moisture in the air condenses to form new clouds. Soon the rain will fall again. Read on to find out all the ups and downpours of the water cycle. [Amazon review]

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Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll

Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll

By: Franklyn Branley | Illustrated by: True Kelley

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Did you know that lightning bolts can be over a mile long? Or that they may come from clouds that are ten miles high? Storms can be scary, but not if you know what causes them. Also included is a page containing two simple weather experiments. [Amazon review]

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Hurricane

Hurricane

By: David Wiesner | Illustrated by: David Wiesner

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As the sky grays and the leaves swirl by in a "green blizzard," two young boys and their parents share a cozy supper by the fireplace. The next morning, the boys discover that a big elm tree now lies stretched across their neighbor's yard. The old tree becomes the vehicle that whisks the pair to adventure, as they explore exotic jungles, confront pirates on the high seas, and travel to the stars.

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Hurricanes

Hurricanes

By: Seymour Simon

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Hurricanes, their origin and their destructive power (as well as their relatives, the tropical storm and depression) are presented here in striking photographs and cogent text.

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It's Raining

It's Raining

By: Gail Gibbons

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Water is essential for all life on earth. In the author/illustrator's signature style, the water cycle, clouds, and more are introduced. Straightforward language and characteristic illustrations include maps, cautions, and additional tidbits of nformation about rain and related topics.

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Kissimmee Pete and the Hurricane

Kissimmee Pete and the Hurricane

By: Jan Day | Illustrated by: Janeen Mason

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Kissimmee Pete, the cracker cow hunter, is back for another wild adventure. After rounding up a herd of cattle to send to Cuba, Pete and his trusty dog Mud load the herd onto a steamship and watch the ship leave the dock. But only seconds later, there's trouble in store for Pete. A hurricane has blown in, and it's up to the larger than-life cow hunter to save his cattle and stop the storm before it's too late. [Amazon review]

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Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane

Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane

By: Joanna Cole | Illustrated by: Bruce Degen

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

If only every child could have a teacher like Ms. Frizzle, every field trip would be unforgettable! Here, the kids get the inside scoop on hurricanes by going into its eye in their school bus (turned weather plane) to learn how hurricanes form and to experience their power. There's an extra bit of drama when Arnold becomes separated from the class, but is happily reunited.

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National Geographic Kids Everything Weather

National Geographic Kids Everything Weather

By: Kathy Furgang

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Weather can be wild, freaky, and fascinating! Powerful twisters roar through homes; earthquakes shatter whole cities; hurricanes fly through towns. How does it all happen and how do we know what we do? All you need to know about weather and all of its wildness will be found in the pages of this colorful, energetic, and accessible book. Kids will also learn about real-life encounters with wild weather from National Geographic tornado chaser, Tim Samaras, featured in "Explorer's Corners." [Amazon]

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Snow Is Falling

Snow Is Falling

By: Franklyn Branley | Illustrated by: Holly Keller

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Snow is magical and beautiful and sometimes even dangerous. Through both observation and experimentation, this book introduces the many aspects of snow through crisp text and appealing illustrations that are sure to engage, inform, and inspire younger children.

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Snowflake Bentley

Snowflake Bentley

By: Jacqueline Martin Briggs | Illustrated by: Mary Azarian

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Strong lines and narrative combine in this picture book biography of the Vermonter who figured out how to photograph real snowflakes. The dramatic drawings won illustrator Mary Azarian a Caldecott Medal.

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The Big Storm

The Big Storm

By: Bruce Hiscock | Illustrated by: Bruce Hiscock

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

On the last day of March in 1982 a storm swept off the Pacific coast. Over the next six days the weather system crossed the United States, developing into one of the most powerful spring storms ever recorded. It caused heavy rains in California, avalanches in the Sierra Nevada, blizzards in the Rockies, tornadoes in the Midwest, and deep snow from the Great Lakes to the East Coast. This book explains how big storms are created, and how they travel, with illustrations and simple diagrams of weather patterns. [Amazon review]

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The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting

The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting

By: Mark Breen, Kathleen Friestad | Illustrated by: Michael Kline

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this hands-on science book, kids learn how o make a barometer, record their observations in a Weather Log, use graphs and charts, read the cloud and wind direction, and look to the sunset glow to make more accurate predictions.

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The Legend of Lightning and Thunder

The Legend of Lightning and Thunder

By: Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Orphaned siblings could travel no farther without food and so while camp folk were distracted, the children grabbed meat to eat and a caribou skin and flint with which to play. To avoid punishment, they hid in the sky where they play to this day. And so it is that there is thunder and lightning. The Arctic and its residents are evoked in swirling illustrations and a straightforward telling of an appealing traditional tale.

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The Wild Weather Book

The Wild Weather Book

By: Fiona Danks | Illustrated by: Jo Schofield

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

There's always something to do outside regardless of the weather. A range of activities are presented through short descriptions and photographs with notation to indicate if the activity can be done independently or if adult help is needed. Some are messy, all are doable.

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Tornado! The Story Behind these Twisting, Turning, Spinning and Spiraling Storms

Tornado! The Story Behind these Twisting, Turning, Spinning and Spiraling Storms

By: Judith Fradin | Illustrated by: Dennis Fradin

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sophisticated readers curious about weather science will be riveted by this highly illustrated, well documented, and clearly written look at tornadoes and their power. Photographs from satellites and the ground, newspaper headlines and more are presented album-like to dramatically present the storms power.

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Tornadoes

Tornadoes

By: Seymour Simon

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

The power of nature and its destructive potential is presented in astonishing photographs and clear text. The book also introduces the reader to the way scientists study tornadoes.

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Weather

Weather

By: Seymour Simon

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

What causes the weather and its patterns? How do we measure weather? All your meteorological questions are explored with crisp text and dramatic photographs.

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Weather Words and What They Mean

Weather Words and What They Mean

By: Gail Gibbons | Illustrated by: Gail Gibbons

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Independent Reader

Award-winning nonfiction writer Gibbons clearly explains and illustrates four big weather concepts: temperature, air pressure, moisture, and wind. Kids will connect what they see outdoors with the information in this engaging book, and learn how to identify clouds or the types of wind and rain storms. The book ends with a page about curious weather facts.

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What Will the Weather Be?

What Will the Weather Be?

By: Lynda DeWitt | Illustrated by: Carolyn Croll

Age Level: 6-9 years old | Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Will it be warm or cold? Should we wear shorts or pants? Shoes or boots? Read and find out why the weather is so difficult to predict. [Amazon review]

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More great summer resources for parents from Reading Rockets

Read Aloud Tips

Read Aloud Tips

Read aloud every day with your child and talk about what you're reading. These two simple activities help build your child's vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Get tips (In English and 10 other languages) >

Downloadables

Downloadables

Download these colorful ready-to-print lunch box notes, play date cards, and door hangers for the kids in your life.

Download and print >