9 Fantastic Summer Reads That Moms Love

Looking for a good summer reading list?

Maybe you’ve got a vacation planned (with some much needed time by the pool), or you know you’ll have more breathing room in your schedule now that school is out.

Either way, summer is a wonderful time to curl up with a good book! Finding a great summer book to read is a treat I give myself this time of year.

Here are 9 book recommendations, divided by category.

What on your summer reading list? Finding a great summer book to read is a treat I give myself this time of year. You’ll love these book recommendations for non-fiction, fiction, christian fiction, parenting, spirituality and so much more!

They’re not necessarily the newest or hottest book releases, but if you and I were chatting over coffee, these are the books I’d wholeheartedly recommend.


NOTE: I’m recommending these as books for an adult to read, and wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for kids (unless otherwise noted). Although they are all high quality reads, many of them contain intense subject matter and I would highly caution parents to preview.



Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Brought Them Together 

by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

I read Same Kind of Different earlier this year and couldn’t put it down, especially at the end.

Oh my gosh–if you’re looking for an inspirational story of what it’s like to step outside your comfort zone, this has to be the book you read this summer!

In a nutshell, it’s the story of how the lives of two men from completely different socio-economic classes collide, and most of all what happens when we choose bravery over fear, and right over wrong–regardless of the consequences.

major motion picture of the book (starring Renee Zellweger and Greg Kinnear) is scheduled to release in 2017.



How Far Can You Go? My 25-Year Quest to Walk Again

by John Maclean

Our family was introduced to this book in an unusual way: My husband met the author.

One day while attending a meeting, my husband sat next to John Maclain, a paralympic wheelchair athlete who was paralyzed 25 years ago in a cycling accident.

John’s remarkable story–and his triumphant spirit–is captured in his memoir as he shares what has happened to him over and over the past 25 years as he’s asked himself , “How far can you go?” (a question originally posed to him by his dad right after the accident).

And if it gives you any indication as to what happens in the book, yes, that’s him standing next to my husband. Talk about an inspiring and miraculous story!

While it’s great for reading on your own, I’d highly recommend this as a family read aloud as well (we’ve been reading it aloud to our kids)!

Unbroken--WEB Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

My grandpa (a World War II veteran) handed me this story a few summers ago and insisted that I read it.

Honestly, I wasn’t really up for a “war book” or another book on history (even though it took place in the 1940s, one of my favorite eras), so it sat on my shelf a while.

But when I finally opened the pages and quickly became engrossed in the story, I kicked myself for not reading it sooner.

This book taught me so much about the human condition, what we can endure, and how God uses every life circumstance to create a remarkable tapestry of story that connects us all. It gave me a fresh new appreciation for the trials and horrors of war that this generation endured, and reminded me that hope lives even in the darkest places.

If you haven’t read it, you’ve got to. The movie is good, but not as good as the book. And when my boys are a little older (mid-late teens), we will be giving them a copy to read too.

Note: There is a young adult adaptation of the book that we’re going to preview this summer for our 11-and 13-year-old boys. Again, I haven’t read it, but it might be a great way to young adult adaptation of the book


Christian Fiction:


Redeeming Love

by Francine Rivers

This book. (If you were sitting next to me, I would be holding it close to my chest and shaking my head in disbelief). This book will rip your heart open and sew it back together at the same time.

I’ve probably read it three or four times (more than any other fiction book) and know the story inside and out and it still gets me every time! That’s because the story itself is an overarching allegory of the boundless, unmatched, relentless love of God.

Every time I read this novel, it hits me in fresh new way and ministers deeply to my soul. Read this book with a prayer journal (and tissues) nearby because you will be touched and moved (and won’t be able to put it down)!

Note: While the author does a fantastic job of keeping the story clean, I will warn you that there are some incredibly intense (and possibly disturbing) scenes in this book, especially in the beginning. I do think that young women especially need to read this book, but I would definitely wait until my daughter’s late teen years to share this with her.



all-the-light-we-cannot-see--WEBAll the Light We Cannot See 

by Anthony Doerr

Non-Christian fiction is always tricky for me. I want to keep up on the latest fiction book releases, but I have been burned too many times by books with inappropriate content, so I often don’t consider them.

However, I heard over and over about All the Light We Cannot See (from multiple people) that it was an absolute “must read.” I mean, it won the Pulitzer Prize, for goodness sake!

So (last summer!) I put my name on this list to reserve a library copy. And literally, just a few weeks ago, a copy became available.

I am only into the first few pages of the book, but I have to say that so far I appreciate the books’ imagery and poetic retelling of life in Europe during World War II. The novel offers a fresh perspective on this fascinating time in history by telling the story of two everyday people caught up in the midst of this dramatic historical moment.

So, I’m recommending it with reservations since I haven’t officially finished it (it’s 531 pages!), and I know that there are some scenes in the book (which I have yet to read) that you may or may not be OK with.

I’d highly recommend the Plugged In book review to decide if it’s a good fit for you.




How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture

by Francis Schaeffer

This is an epic classic that I try to read every few years because of it’s sheer brilliance to seamlessly tie the pieces of history together into one narrative.

How Should We Then Live?  takes the reader on a heady journey from the fall of the Roman Empire to modern times, explaining how major cultural events (art, music, books) shifted the politics, economics and belief systems throughout the centuries. It demonstrates over and over–through the telling of history–that God’s truth must be the foundational truth for a society if it is to flourish.

When I first read it, I couldn’t believe how history made so much more sense to me. I wish I’d had this book when I was sloughing through my high school history courses!

The book answers the very important question: “How did our western culture shift to its current state, and what should our response be?”

And with the highly volatile state of our current culture, this book is more relevant than ever.

I have begun reading parts of it to my kids to supplement our homeschool history (TK) studies, and when they are in high school, it will be required history reading for them.

It’s not easy reading (Schaeffer can be a little wordy) but there’s so much richness here! Truly a must read.




The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes

by Robert McGee

I read this book several years ago and I still think about the great power contained in its pages.

We all wrestle with questions like, “Why am I here?” “Why have the events in my life happened to me?” and “Am I really worthy of love and acceptance by others?”

McGee describes how performance, approval, blame and shame have so many of us trapped and unable to experience the fullest life God wants to give us.

It is one of those books that you start thinking, “I’m not sure if this is for me…” and you finish with half a box of used tissue and a journal full of tear-stained pages.

One person in the reviews describes it as the perfect book for someone who has a head knowledge of God, but has somehow disconnected their heart from the depths of God’s love for them.

I would agree, and I included it here because I know so many moms in this place (even if they don’t realize it). I still find myself here sometimes too.

If you find yourself wrestling with some deep spiritual issues right now, this is a wonderful reminder that your true worth is in Christ. This could be the life transformation you need this summer!



EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

by Dave Ramsey

Many of us moms have small businesses we manage (like, hello, running a website?!), and Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership is a compact book full of rich wisdom on starting and running a successful business.

I love how these principles are applicable to any business–whether a multi-million dollar corporation or a home-based entrepreneur.

And I trust Dave’s advice because my husband and I not only paid off $100K in debt through his savvy money-management lifestyle strategies, but Dave is someone who has both succeeded and failed in business so he understands what works and what doesn’t.

This book is never far from my nightstand, and I would highly recommend it to any fellow entrepreneur mom!


 six-ways--WEBSix Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter from Her Teens to Her Tweens  

by Dannah Gresh

I have an eight-year-old, and she is the only girl in a house full of boys.

It’s been evident since the day she was born that this fiery, passionate little girl (with a tender, compassionate heart) was made very differently from her brothers.

Since the beginning, I have loved her femininity. And, truth be told, I have also been terrified of it, mainly because I remember that transition to womanhood in the teen years (and the sometimes-bumpy road).

From the first chapter, the book is honest and candid about what our girls are facing and will go through in this transition (which, at one point, made me put the book down because I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle it yet!).

What will keep you reading is the hope, encouragement and practical tips found in the pages. It shares how we as moms can confidently lead our girls through this transition, and that we don’t have to succumb to the fears we may have for them as they progress through the teen years. Great stuff, indeed.

There you have it! These are my top 9 recommended summer reading books!

Here they are in one place:

Which one will you read?

Happy summer reading, and enjoy!

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health.Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com.Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply 23 comments

Rachel Denning - June 19, 2016 Reply

Awesome, thanks! I already have a big list, but several of these look intriguing. I’ll have to see if they’re on Amazon.de (we’re living in Germany).

Georgie Lee - June 19, 2016 Reply

I want to read All the Light We Cannot See. Hoping to make it a part of my summer!

    Alicia Michelle - June 23, 2016 Reply

    Yes, I’m really loving it so far. It’s very rich and the writing is so eloquent. Hope you get a chance to check it out!

Brandi Raae - June 20, 2016 Reply

Thanks for the list. In the summer I usually indulge in lots of Christian historical fiction and other fiction. 🙂 The only book I’ve read on your list is Redeeming Love. I need to be better about including non-fiction in my book diet!

    Alicia Michelle - June 23, 2016 Reply

    Yes, Redeeming Love is for sure one of my favorites. I hope you can check out some of the non-fiction ones I’ve listed here too!

swapna - June 21, 2016 Reply

All the night we cannot see – is in my list too!


Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories - June 22, 2016 Reply

I get so excited to see new bookish posts linked up at Small Victories Sunday Linkup. I loved Unbroken, an incredible story and certainly puts our difficulties into perspective. I’d love to read All the Light and Dave Ramsey’s book as well. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup last week. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you joined us again this weekend.

    Alicia Michelle - June 23, 2016 Reply

    Yes, I love those books as well! Unbroken should be required reading for every high school history student!

Mary Hill - June 24, 2016 Reply

Thanks for sharing with us on Literacy Musing Mondays this week. I selected your post as my favorite of the week. I find reading non-Christian fiction tricky too. I just read Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. It is really a page-turner, but toward the end the author started using inappropriate language which really caused me to want to put the book down. I was hooked though and wanted to find out what happens in the story. I am reluctant to review the book on my blog because of this.

    Alicia Michelle - June 27, 2016 Reply

    Thank you so much for choosing me as your favorite! Yes, I’ve had that experience many times too with a book. It makes me want to be extra cautious with non-Christian fiction too.

Gayl - June 24, 2016 Reply

I read Same Kind of Different As Me several years ago and thought it was great. Did you know there is a sequel to it? It’s called What Difference Do It Make? It is also excellent. I am happy to hear there is a movie coming out about the first one. I’ve read other books by Francis Schaeffer and seen the videos of “How Should We Then Live.” They are excellent. The other books you mention also sound interesting. Thanks so much for sharing at #LMMLinkup!

Amy - June 25, 2016 Reply

What an awesome list!! I have added a few from here that I haven’t yet read (especially the Laura Hildenbrand one) to add to my summer reading. Thank you so much for the wonderful suggestions and for sharing to the Monday Mish Mash Link Party!

Leslie - June 26, 2016 Reply

Love how you broke down your list by categories. I also ADORE the book Unbroken. It is one of my all-time favorites, and I hope my son reads the younger version soon. I am going to have to check out that parenting book. My daughter is only six, and I love her innocence. I want to preserve it as long as possible under God’s care. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

    Alicia Michelle - June 27, 2016 Reply

    Wonderful! Yes, Unbroken is fabulous. Such a powerful message, especially for young boys. The young adult version is on the list for my boys to read too! Thanks for sharing!

#LMMLinkup: Importance of Reading Aloud To Children | maryanderingcreatively - June 26, 2016 Reply


Jae - June 29, 2016 Reply

I featured your post in this week’s Learn & Play Link Up. Thank you for sharing! – Jae of The Pinay Homeschooler

Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) - June 30, 2016 Reply

I’ve added a few of these to my ‘to read’ list for the summer – thanks for the reccs! 🙂 #FridayFrivolity

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