1. A vision of Paradise by John Dyer
John Dyer is one of my favourite artists because his pictures are so vibrant and full of colour, and they have a terrific energy to them. His artwork always inspires me to travel - in fact, I actually booked a trip to the isles of Scilly on the strength of one of his pictures. If you like daydreaming about seascapes then this book is for you, as it showcases some of Dyer's best prints.
2. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Sometimes I wish I could disappear from society and live on an island [although I would probably get lonely after a week.] In this lovely book, Tove Jansson examines what it's like to do just that, as the backdrop for her tale is a remote Finnish island with only two inhabitants - Sophia and her grandmother. Whilst most people would probably get bored with only one other person for company, both characters are good at creating their own entertainment - in fact they are enraptured with the minutiae of the natural world around them. This book is great for teaching you to stop and smell the roses, and what better time to do that than summer?
3. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares
I love the premise for these books. Four completely different teenage girls magically all fit into the same pair of jeans [even though they are different shapes and sizes] and they all take turns in wearing them. If something exciting or interesting happens to them whilst they're wearing the jeans, they they write about it on the jeans themselves. They actually use the jeans as a means of keeping in touch through posting them, as they are away having different summer escapades. Each book focuses around a different summer, and when I was a teenager, it was a ritual of mine to read one of the series each year [although I think I did read two in one year once]. I shall definitely be reading the last installment this summer, which catches up with the girl's lives ten years later.
4. The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
This book is all about adventuring and exploring, and therefore it is perfect for a summer read, as I do strongly believe that summer should be all about discovering new horizons and stepping outside of the norm. It tells the tale of teenager Sophie embarking on an epic voyage across the ocean from Connenticut to England with her cousins in tow. I love how Creech imagines life at sea [her book seems very well researched] and I love how the sea becomes a character in its own right, always moving the story forward. This book makes me want to set sail for distant shores [though I do always get seasick..] and go on an adventure of my own - luckily this summer, I will be!