Who can believe that summer has come and gone so soon?

Whether we believe it or not, the school year is just around the corner (if not already here), but that doesn’t mean reading for fun should be ruled out of kids’ pastimes. Quite the contrary, in fact. Here are some BQB favorites that have great lessons for kids interacting with other kids.

The Ugly Bug BallThe Ugly Bug Ball Cover

Don’t let bullies get you down! Go to the ball they aren’t inviting you to just because you’re a stinkbug—that’s exactly what Stanley Stinkbug does in this tale by Michelle Burns and Anissa Freeman. Not only does he stand up for himself, Stanley helps end the tyranny of the bug world’s biggest bully, Prissy Pray. Only good things can come from reading about ol’ Stanley’s adventures in the garden.

The Uppity Swans coverThe Uppity Swans and the Turtle Brothers of Joseph’s Pond

Speaking of bullying, there’s been some of it happening over in Joseph’s Pond. Those uppity swans have been swapping mean words about the turtle brothers, but Frampton Frog won’t stand for it. Find out how he teaches the swans to be more considerate of others’ feelings by delving into the colorful tale by Kathleen Bettilyon with your kids.

Forgiving WatersForgiving Cover v.9

And for the older kids, Forgiving Waters is a beautifully written story by Kenneth Capps that not only confronts bullying but also racism and sins of the past. Mentoring two boys who trespass on his land gives Bo Kelso a chance to redeem some of the actions that haunt his family’s past.

The Enchanting World of Garden Irene McGeenyThe Enchanting World of Garden Irene McGeeny

Sometimes, kids need a bit of an escape–from chores or homework, or maybe just because–and this fantastical tale by Concetta Kennedy will prove to be exactly that. When Garden Irene lets it slip that she lives in castle, she’s stuck in a bind–because she really does live in one! Garden can also teach kids how to make new friends and respect parents’ wishes.

Bonnie the Honeybee and the Case of the Butterfly BluesBonnie the Honeybee

We’ve all had those blues days, when we’re not feeling 100 percent. Bonnie gets hers bad when she thinks of the beautiful butterflies and how she wants to be one. But her mom knows just the trick to snap her out of it–a quick lesson in how beauty doesn’t show up only on the outside. Bonnie’s journey is told in the loving voice only mother and grandmother Lori Lee.

Filly Girls CoverFilly Girls

All of us could benefit from knowing how much we could accomplish if we put our minds to it, and kids doubly so, which is why Filly Girls by Sarah Voskamp is such a great choice for young readers. Three girls have to find a way to make the show go on when their state equestrian show is cancelled. Determination gets them through, even if it’s not in the way they expected.

The Four Princesses CoverThe Four Princesses

Learning our purpose in life is a fulfilling concept for everyone, and The Four Princesses by Jackie Gaskins is a joyful tale of how God made each of us for with a specific purpose in mind. Faith, Hope, Joy, and Love guide children through this story of how the King overcomes Prince Fear’s grip on the kingdom.

Bearful Cover v.3Bearful Bear and His New Moves

Sitting still all day in school is no fun–so get kids up and moving (and learning!) with Bearful Bear by Anna Everhart. The connection between movement and development is maximized in this children’s book that will have your kids leaping, hopping, jumping, and flying.

There you have it: books to enhance your children’s free time. Maybe you’ll benefit from bedtime reads as well! Happy reading!