Boring Summer Children’s Book Reviews

There is an immense power in letting children experience boredom for building motivation, creativity, and self-reliance.

For a deeper dive, check out this article by Oliva Goldhill,“Psychologists recommend children be bored in the summer” in Quartz about the potential benefits of Summer Boredom and the downsides of over-scheduling children.

See below for some of my favorite books for young children that have to do with being bored!


Citation: Henkes, K. (2015). Waiting. New York: Greenwillow books.

Age Range: 0 to 5 years old

What to expect:

Five toys sit on a windowsill waiting waiting. What are they waiting for? A series of events happens take place outside of the window and on the windowsill, but the toys do not “do” anything throughout the book. The illustrations are soft and interesting without being busy, bright, or overly detailed.

Why I love this book:

An interesting story is maintained and anticipation builds without there being an expectations on the characters to be busy. The toys are content despite their slow days of waiting. There is a sense of peace throughout the book which makes it a good lazy day or bedtime story. The illustrations add to the meaning of the story, and the ability to interpret it on many levels make this book great for a wide range of ages.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Citation: Johnson, C.. (1955). Harold and the Purple Crayon. New York: Harper Collins

Age Range: 3 and up

What to expect:

This simple and ingenious story has become a classic. Harold is left alone with only a purple crayon with which to entertain himself. The drawings that he makes become both the illustrations in the book and an exciting world of Harold’s imagination. Harold’s imagined and drawn world becomes bigger and more fantastic until he final draws his way back to his own room and goes to bed.

Why I love this book:

Harold demonstrates mastery, imagination and self-efficacy through this simple story. It is a beautiful example of what children are capable of when left to do things on their own. The story is easy and free flowing and even Harold doesn’t know what will happen next. It also shows that children can be the author of their own story, flipping the perspective of the child from passive listener to empowered illustrator and author.


Citation: Lehemen, B. (2007). Rainstorm. Boston: Hougton Mifflin.

Age Range: All Ages

What to expect:

This wordless book uses illustrations to tell the story of a boy who is lonely on a rainy day. He finds a key and unlocks a passage to a lighthouse where he befriends other children. The weather is nicer there and the children play outside until dinner when the boy returns home. The next day, the boy bring the children he has met to his own room to play.

Why I love this book:

Wordless books offer the opportunity to be told many ways by different readers and by the same readers over time. Coming up with words for a book that doesn’t have any is an excellent cognitive and social literacy building activity that allows children to learn things like plot, voice, imagination, critical thinking, speaking, coherence, and more. The story shows children building friendships through play and sharing without words, which can be a powerful example for children learning a second language.

So the next time your kids say “I’m bored,” let them be, and remember all of the things they are learning while doing “nothing.”