Books for Kids Going to Summer Camp

Camp K-9, written by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Nancy Hayashi.   Recently published in May 2011, this charming book will sure to be a favorite among kids. Rodman attended summer camps as a child and later became a camp counselor.   The illustrations are in lovely pastels and set the tone for the book.  Hayashi began writing and illustrating her own books in third grade.

Roxie and her fellow dog campers are headed for Camp K-9.   But, Roxie has a secret she tightly guards in her pooch pouch — her blankie.   From the beginning she and all the campers are taunted by a white Standard Poodle, Lucy.   It’s rotten luck for Roxie when she is paired with the large canine trouble maker.  They share a bunk and are partners in many camp activities that include swimming, boating, and arts and crafts.   One day Lucy is missing.  The camp is in an uproar searching for  Lucy.   But, Roxie  finds Lucy and discovers that she has a secret.  Will she tell?

Plantzilla Goes to Camp, written by Jerdine Nolen and illustrated by David Catrow for kids 4-8 years of age.   I must say this is one of the most imaginative and vividly designed books I’ve run across.  The text is written in letters, post cards and telegrams.  It is  heartwarming with a very subtle message about friendship and self-confidence.  The illustrations are bold, colorful and quirky, which just adds to the total charm of the book.  Kids will love this book!  It is the second in a series, the first book is Plantzilla.

Mortimer Henryson is off  to Camp Wannaleaveee for a month.   He’s following family tradition and attending the  camp his father attended as a boy.  The only problem is that he’s not allowed to take along his pet.  For Mortimer this means he’ll be separated from his beloved  exotic plant, nicknamed Plantzilla by the kids in his class, and his dog.   His teacher offers to plant-sit and dog-sit.  At camp, Mortimer shares a cabin with a bully who is the biggest kid in camp.  He pleads to come home.  Plantzilla, sensing his friend is in trouble , shows up to camp.   That’s when the fun begins and many lessons are to be learned by all.

Cowboy Camp, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Mike Reed, for kids 4-8 years of age.  The illustrations are colorful, bold and humorous.  They beautifully support the text and western theme.   Cowboy Camp is another book kids will  identify with, and want to read again and again.

Avery knew the minute he arrived at Cowboy Camp, that he didn’t fit in.  All the kids were larger than he was, and had names like Hank and Jimmy Dean.  His belly heaved when he ate cowboy chow.  Even worse, he was allergic to horses.  How would he ever live up to Cowboy Dan’s expectations to act, walk and talk like a buckaroo.   Avery sits alone by the campfire one evening contemplating his situation, when he hears a strange noise and sees a shadow.   Avery acts in his own unique way, and  becomes the camp hero and  the bravest cowboy of all.

Going to summer camp is a rite of passage for children.  For many, it is their first time away from home.    I like these three books because they address all the fears and concerns kids face on their own.  They worry about not fitting in,  homesickness and  bullies.  There many good summer camps available to children including scouting, sports, horse, music and art, and  weight-loss camps.   Attending a camp can be a great way for kids to begin to build independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

7 thoughts on “Books for Kids Going to Summer Camp

  1. What quirky, fun books these are Pat. Hayashi obviously knew where her career was going at such an early age. I loved the colouring of Camp-K9.

    Plantzilla Goes to Camp, certainly caught my eye, not only the illustration but the name. It is certainly creative, Camp Wannaleaveee, indeed!

    The last book certainly looks hilarous and I have heard the term “buckaroo” before.
    These are wonderful Books Pat, a great choice for kids learning about the enjoyment of going off to camp.


    • Two of the books were very quirky, but great fun and kids would love the. The Platnzilla Goes to Camp, was the second in the series. The first one was about the young boy taking the plant home during the summer, nursing and loving it until it became monstrous. It really set the stage for second, but wanted to focus on some camp books for children. Also have one YA book, but due to circumstances, I didn’t get it read to post this weekend. Loved all three books.


  2. These books look great — I’m particularly intrigued by the format of Plantzilla Goes to Camp, as I love picture books that are written as letters/postcards. I suspect that I would have found these books helpful when I was a kid, as I talked about going to camp with one of my friends, but was always stopped by my fear of being away from home. I could have used a heaping helping of that “independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence” that you mention in the last paragraph.

    These books sound like excellent ways to encourage children to experience the joys of camp — or perhaps to prepare them for a week at Granny’s or some other “away from home” time.

    Thanks, Pat!


    • Yes Beth, you would have enjoyed the format of the Mortimer telling his story through letters and postcards. I found it refreshing. I wished would have had books like this before I went to camp as a kid. Was homesick for a couple of days, but then was mad I had to leave when the time was over. Loved the independence. And, I camped a lot with my family growing up, so I was fearless than — except for snakes and having to use the outhouse in the dark at night. The camps my daughter attended were more modern.

      I agree with you about introducing kids to the concept of camp, encouraging and preparing them for the future. I felt these books were meant for kids 7-8 yrs and older. They would also be great if a child had sibling attending camp. But, kids of all ages attend today.


  3. One of the strengths of your blog, Pat, is your choice of books and topics that I would not normally think of. Summer camp sounds like a great book topic for cultures for whom this is a common activity and, as Beth says, for any young child maybe going away for the first time for a few nights by themselves. Is it typical for primary children to go away to camp in the USA? These books seem to cover exactly the concerns a young child might have before the first camp experience and would be excellent preparatory material.

    Plantzilla sounds like a unique and fascinating character!


    • Thank you Joanna. Knowing that summer is upon us, I thought it a timely subject to address. As Beth mentioned, I think they are great books to introduce a child to camp. But, there are so many different camps, and kids of a variety of ages attend. Especially with working parents. I felt the books were more for kids 7-8 yrs and older. My daughter attended horse camps at around 9 yrs of age, just because she loved horses. But, the camp was nearby.

      You would have really enjoyed the Camp K-9 book. It was just released in May, and right up your alley. It was my favorite, because it was a little more traditional, but fun!


  4. Pingback: Camping Theme Resources | Music Sparks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s