10 Great Books To Read Under The Stars with Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

10 picture books to read under the stars summer reading challenge

As many of you know I have a long standing relationship with Scholastic. I co-anchor their Raise A Reader blog with Amy Mascott and I am a huge fan of their Summer Reading Challenge as well. When I was asked to join the challenge and share it with my readers it was a no-brainer. I am always impressed with how creative Scholastic is year after year. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Reading Under the Stars” (powered by EVEREADY®). Throughout the summer, kids will read around the galaxy and unlock star constellations as they log reading minutes.

As all parents know one of the hardest things to get our kids to do is school work during the summer. Can we really blame our kids? If you were told that you’d have a vacation for 2 months but then your boss said ” But here is the work you are expected to do.” and handed you a packet would you be happy?

Luckily we have resources like Scholastic that make reading so much fun that it doesn’t seem like there is any work at all.


Scholastic Summer  Reading Challenge is a must! Even if you are participating in a summer reading program at your local library do not skip this one. It’s cinch to sign up !

My son is a competitor by nature so for him having a cool dashboard where he can log his minutes and see weekly challenges makes all the difference. But the Summer Reading Timer App is hands down the coolest. He is game as long as he can compete. You can even hook up with your school and have your minutes go towards the school’s total minutes read. You can compete with friends and their schools all over the nation. The other thing he loves are the videos. Book trailers to get your kids excited about books, videos about popular series ,and even meet the author videos. All of these little details work so well to promote the idea that reading is rad.

The challenge is super social this year too.

  • Every Monday, check Scholastic on Twitter for the #MondayMinutes. See the total number of minutes kids have read to date!
  • Every Friday, check out the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board for a new collage of summer books.

I didn’t want to share this Summer Challenge with you without giving you some great book suggestions. Here are 10 books perfect for reading under the stars. Don’t forget to log your minutes!

grandfather twilight

Grandfather Twilight  by Barbara Helen Berger is a calm sweet story about Grandfather Twilight who carefully takes a pearl from his treasure chest every night and lovingly puts it into the sky, then goes to bed. Great bedtime story for little ones.


Nightsong by Ari Berk is a gorgeous book with a classic tale of stepping out into the world for the first time without a safety net. In this case it’s a young bat ready to go out at night alone for the first time with only it’s “good sense” to see in the darkness. Before he leaves his mother warns him not to go past the pond unless he is sure in his ability. While adults will see this as a show of his confidence when he does, the children I have read this to have all been worried for him when he goes further thinking that the warning was because it was unsafe. I like this book but I think it’s a little figurative for the audience that the format will appeal to. Grab it at the library and decide for yourself.

night lights

Night Lights by Susan Gal is a simple books that will make you want to jump into it’s pages. The patterns used in the illustrations make this book feel like home, I want to jump into it and stay forever. The text follows a little girl as she explores all the different lights found in the dark. From flashlights to fireflies. I love this book and love how it can be used for younger children but isn’t too simplistic for older ones.

the way back home

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian, and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotions he manages to convey are amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the feeling we all have when it’s time to say goodbye to something we don’t want to let go of. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!

your moon my moon

Your Moon, My Moon: A Grandmother’s Words to a Faraway Child by Patricia MacLachlan is a sweet story about a grandmother who lives far from her beloved grandchild. The story overflows with love and longing. You can feel how much this grandmother misses her grandchild and it’s a great reminder to young kids how much they are loved. The image of the grandmother on the airplane on the way to see her grandson made me tear up. It made me think of the times I am away from my own children and how those plane rides feel like forever. Lovely book!

dark night

Dark Night by Dorothee de Monfried is a book all about overcoming fear and the role that teamwork can play in that. A little boy is in the woods at night when he sees various monsters and retreats to a hollow tree. After meeting a friendly rabbit they work together to get the little boy home. I like the message that even scary beasts can be scared and that brains can often win over brawn. My daughter LOVED this book although I think it would have terrified her brother at the same age ( just 4).


Light Up the Night by Jean Reidy has a great retro feel to it. The rhyming book is a little boy’s fantastical dream that takes him from his safe bed through the whole universe. The book would be perfect for teaching children about how they fit into the universe. Starting with his bed and expanding out through space then returning his continent, country, state… all the way back to his bed. The fun rhyming text is a great bonus.


Blackout by John Rocco is a book that will mean different things to different readers. My daughter who is four read it with me noticing how something scary happened ( power outage) but that the family ended up having fun anyway. At 37 I read it as a reminder that sometimes it takes being forced to unplug to really step away from our duties and spend time together. The illustrations are fab and you will feel like you are in that city on a hot summer night forced out onto the street along with your neighbors… and love it.

little owl night

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan is a sweet story that introduces children to nocturnal animals in a gentle way. The dark may feel scary to young children but as they read this book they will see that the animals that wake up at night aren’t all scary beasts to be fearful of. The cartoon like illustrations are amazing and bright despite the night time setting. Very cute book.

goodnight mr night

Good Night, Mr. Night by Dan Yaccarino This is another wonderful and calming bedtime book, Mr. Night quiets the animals , closes the flowers and gets the world ready to go night night! I love this book- I keep meaning to pick up the board book version! Like ” Goodnight Moon” there aren’t too many words, but the illustrations are perfect! My son likes to say “Come here Mr.Night” while getting into bed when we read this one.


As mentioned above this post is sponsored by Scholastic.