Keep Learning Going Throughout the Summer Blog Series · writing workshop

Books Inspire Writing: Keep Learning Going Throughout the Summer

Summer is almost here, and if you’re like me, your TBR pile is growing. I’m looking forward to time. Time for reading. Time for writing. Time for learning. And I’m thinking about books to support my and students’ writing during that time.

When we read like writers, we find ideas and inspiration in books, and today I’m sharing some of my favorite titles.  In addition to the lists below, I’ve created a Google Doc and I invite you to add to and share it.

Books to spark ideas for writers of all ages

Many books that make great read aloud or read together choices for our students also work well to inspire writing ideas. Consider previewing or revisiting some of these books in the final weeks of school. Brainstorm writing ideas with your students and invite them to use these books as springboards for some fun summer writing. Low stakes writing opportunities abound with these titles.

Books to inspire writing about everyday happenings, familiar surroundings and ordinary events:

  1. Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter
  2. Every Friday by Dan Yaccario
  3. Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe
  4. Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
  5. Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  6. Thundercake by Patricia Polacco
  7. All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
  8. Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka
  9. Marshfield Dreams by Ralph Fletcher
  10. Tornado by Betsy Byars

Books to inspire book making, notebook keeping, journaling and scrapbooking:

  1. The Scraps Book by Lois Ehlert
  2. Max’s Logbook by Marissa Moss
  3. Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss
  4. Look at My Book by Loreen Leedy
  5. Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills

Books to inspire writing about vacations:

  1. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
  2. Pictures from our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins
  3. Diary of a Wimp Kid, The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  4. The House Takes a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies
  5. Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams

Books to inspire playing with words and ideas or just doodling and noodling.

  1. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
  2. I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  3. Courage by Bernard Wabar
  4. Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

A book to inspire cookbook writing and illustrating:

  1. Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson

Books to spark ideas for adult writers

I have a number of favorites when I need a writing nudge. Here are a few more I plan to keep close this summer.

  1. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  2. Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  3.  Still Writing by Dani Shapiro
  4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
  5. 59 Reasons to Write by Kate Messner
  6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

Here’s to a summer full of delightful books and enjoyable writing.



  • This giveaway is for a copy of Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing. Many thanks to Heinemann for donating a copy for one reader. (You must have a U.S. mailing address to win a copy of this book.)

  • For a chance to win this copy of Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing, please leave a comment about this or any blog post in this blog series by Sunday, May 7th at 12:00 p.m. EDT. Betsy Hubbard will use a random number generator to pick the winners whose name will be announced in the ICYMI blog post for this series on Monday, May 8th.

  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Betsy can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, our contact at Heinemann will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

  • If you are the winner of the book, Betsy will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – JOY WRITE BOOK. Please respond to her e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Please join us for a Twitter Chat on Monday, May 8th at 8:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. PDT.

43 thoughts on “Books Inspire Writing: Keep Learning Going Throughout the Summer

  1. Lisa,
    Love your lists and the evergrowing TBR stack can attest to that! And remembering in August to see which books inspired students and teachers to read . . . For additions to the list!


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful list of books! 😊 I also like the book A River of Words: The Life of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant.


  3. Thank you for sharing books that will inspire both the young writer and adult writer. Summertime is the perfect time to read and grow as a professional. I also love using wordless picture books with students to help build sense of story.


  4. This is a fantastic list of books to inspire writing! I’ve just finished Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Now I need to order Textbook. Thanks for the inspiration!


  5. I also love using wordless books to inspire writing. Especially Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris vanAllsburg.


  6. This is another great post…one more to add to a great series! My work with teachers will definitely include planning for summer writing with students. And I will be excited to share all that I have learned here. Thank you for all of your thinking and work on this topic!


  7. Thanks for sharing your TBR list. ♡ that you categorized! This is such an exciting time for educators and our students as we inch toward our opportunity for summer reading and learning. Our literacy coach and I will definitely be adding these lists to our Share With the Team list. Happy summer to you ! @princAmyMay


  8. As always … your blog posts inspire me! I already have a few of these titles but I’ll be heading out to search for the new ones! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your passion for literacy and for the opportunity to win Ralph Fletcher’s new book! Love him!


  9. What a great list of resources for writing with students! Thank you! I would be most joyful to win the book, Joy Write!


  10. I always love book lists. Many of these are familiar to me, and some are new titles that I look forward to reading. I also love the categories you created with them. Thank you, LIsa!


  11. Thank you for the book suggestions! We are launching Writer’s Workshop this fall and these titles will be a nice addition in our book room!


  12. Love the book list! They will provide a great springboard to get my students into writing mode for the summer! I am thinking of coupling one of the books with a writers notebook as an end of year gift….maybe even plan a lunch time get together in September with last years class to share their stories and writing with one another! Thanks for the ideas and the opportunity to win!


  13. This compilation is very useful for not only making writing during the summer enticing, but also to use in my classroom. I love it when someone finds the jewels among the costume jewelry. Thank-you!


  14. Love the list of books. Great resources. Summer is such a great opportunity for crossing off books on my list too;) can’t wait!


  15. Thanks for the lists! I am in a small town, and considering taking the book suggestions to the local library to see if we can form a summer writing/reading partnership. Perhaps kids can write at the library this summer??


  16. The list of books will be a great help as I end the school year. I think I am going to give each student a summer writing notebook . The books listed could be used for end of the year minilessons to help spark some summer writing entries.


  17. Thank you for the list of book. Several will be added to the TBR list. I really enjoyed the ideas presented in this post and the others. I have been inspired to put together some suggestions for my students.


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