London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies

Best summer reads: 6 picks for grown-ups and kids under 4

What better time to read than school & summer holidays? Here are my suggestions for the summer reads: some relatively recently published books, my all time contemporary favourites and some which are just about to be released.

The what for Parents/ (Optional) Grown-ups 

1.For hilarious and light hearted tales. The 100 years old man who jumped on the window and disappeared. Jonas Jonasson’s books are easy reads & gems that will cheer you up.

2.For a contemporary love story beyond dating and falling in love. The shenanigans and joys of the married life kids included from the wise and charming Alain de Botton – The course of love.

3.For one of my favourite contemporary English writers, sobering communist times , background and life of a musical genius – Shostakovich : The noise of time. Enlightening for any of my Western European friends who grew up under the misconception that communism had anything remotely bohemian, intelligent or romantic.

summer reads4.For travel tales and unconventional modern families on the road and home schooling – Robyn’s book The road less travelled about to be released on Amazon in August.

5.Murakami for anyone who has not discovered his surrealism. Kafka on the shore and Dance dance dance my favourites.

6.For any broken hearted, depressed, disillusioned professionals or exhausted City fellows – Consolations of philosophy from again the erudite Alain de Botton. Lots of chapters put elegantly in perspective sorrows, concerns, frustrations or various first world problems.

The hows. Physical books have their undeniable charm, but if you are like us, trying to keep it as light as possible when travelling, downloading them on ipad is much more convenient. Chances are also you only get the chance to read when kids are in bed plus ipad may be grateful to get a break from Peppa, nursery songs or Paw Patrol. If the writer is new to you, for most books you can also get a taste with 20-30 pages for free which will give you a better idea rather than cover, summary or reviews if it’s for you.

The what & how for under 4s. Illustration and playing goes a long way for my boys.


1.Peter Rabbit, (popular ever before turning 1). It can’t be a coincidence that my eldest favourite rabbit is Peter. Willows Activity Farm and this summer River & Rowing Museum spoilt us with a cool playground and a very sweet exhibition on 3 levels, outdoor Mr McGregor garden included.books for babies

2.Alice in Wonderland. R has seen and has been part of Alice in wonderland on many occasions for the last 2 years. Mad Hatter tea at Sanderson hotel, cool exhibition at British Library, Holland Park Opera on Yucca lawn and their open day this year.

3.Volcanoes book (French). Not only tales and fairies, but my boys are very technical and in love with science already. Natural History Museum surely has something to do with it – volcanoes have been a fascinating topic for over 1.5 years. The holidays on volcanic islands also are very well received, with Nevis, Naples and Tenerife particularly popular.books for kids4.Little Red Riding Hood (Romanian, French & English). The beauty of raising trilingual kids means I can enjoy my own favourite childhood tales in 3 languages. Friends are also telling me reading same stories in 3 Languages does certain tricks – long term benefits the experts reckon.

5.The Gruffalo. Funnily enough, illustration did not help with this book though, as one 3 years old found the Gruffalo performance on the stage too scary. Book nevertheless is still a favourite.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6. On our list for the next long weekend in Menorca: The wind in the willows. We’ve seen twice River and Rowing Museum lovely exhibition plus located in Cornwall the most fantastic themed gardens right by Fowey. So looking forward to making it part of our summer reads!

For magazines for kids and grown-ups, check Scoop. We love it and had it in Maldives in the winter holidays, Italy summer and so on!

Happy summer & happy readings all!

24 comments on “Best summer reads: 6 picks for grown-ups and kids under 4

  1. yourfriendkate
    August 9, 2017

    Some great ideas, but have to say I think I’m in the children’s category, love Alice in wonderland and the wind in the willows and Beatrix Potter is always good!!

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 9, 2017

      Haha Kate, I am with you, also love Alice in Wonderland and Beatrix Potter! Currently reading the Wind in the Willow, all great stuff so far but have to admit that’s all before 8pm – after in need of something bit more grown up!

      • yourfriendkate
        August 9, 2017

        It depends what mood I’m in. I think because I’m not lucky enough to have children yet and that I have almost too much adult to cope with because of my disability that I need some release. But there are some very adult books I like too!!!

  2. Lovely book suggestions – my daughter loves the Gruffalo & I’m starting to read her the Beatrix Potter books now 🙂 x

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 9, 2017

      Gruffalo is soo much fun! 😉 thanks a lot for stopping by Sophie and keep us posted. X

  3. My two year old is into lift the flap books at the moment, he can’t get enough of them.

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 9, 2017

      Yes, that’s definitely the age! So is our younger son – Peter Rabbit shapes and textures, Mr Fox & Dear Zoo flap books. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. dearbearandbeany
    August 9, 2017

    I love book suggestions! Both my girls love peter rabbit and my eldest always wants Alice is Wonderland as that is her name. We haven’t read wind in the willows yet, must get that one soon

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 9, 2017

      Hehe, we are in the same boat then 😉 just started Wind in the Willows, will keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Kira
    August 9, 2017

    Some great suggestions . I’m a mother of all girls so Alice in wonderland win hands down in this household 🙂

  6. NM (@nmdiariesx)
    August 10, 2017

    I am so grateful to my aunt for introducing Alice in Wonderland to me as a child it was my most read book ever! I hope your little one feels this way about it too!


    • Zen Babytravel
      August 13, 2017

      Lovely aunt! In my case it was my grandfather who read me lots up to the age of 10. I am still feeling incredibly grateful and lucky to grow up with him!

  7. countryheartdeb
    August 10, 2017

    aww such good choices and i love Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter has always been a huge favourite with mine!

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 13, 2017

      Thank you and great to hear! Peter Rabbit is soo much fun!

  8. Lucy Dorrington
    August 11, 2017

    What a helpful post! I can never decide which would be a good choice just from the blurb, so this is great!

  9. Newcastle Family Life
    August 12, 2017

    I adore Beatrix Potter, every since I was a young child I have read the books. Some good choices x

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 13, 2017

      Thank you! Yeap some of those are childhood discoveries, some of them recent ones thanks to our kids 😉 X

  10. I’m rubbish at picking up books and reading these days. When I do I love to read classics like Alice in Wonderland so that I can escape to childhood!

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 13, 2017

      I know, I also feel guilty, reading a lot less than I used to ! Social media and kids are quite distracting 😉

  11. Someone else has mentioned the 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared to me, actually. It sounds really intriguing. I also love Peter Rabbit and it’s been lovely sharing the stories with my children. x

    • Zen Babytravel
      August 22, 2017

      Intriguing and good fun! And slightly more grown up league than Peter Rabbit though 🙂 X

  12. borvest inkral
    August 29, 2017

    Some truly superb content on this website , appreciate it for contribution.

  13. Pingback: 7 fab family daysout in London: culture, summer, fun - Zenbabytravel

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