Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Books to Read with your Kids

Well, I started feeling a teeny tiny bit guilty.  Okay, not really.  Lemme start over.

I started feeling a teeny tiny bit guilty that I DON'T feel guilty that all of a sudden a zillion (only a slight exaggeration) new people (Hello, new people!  Hope you love parentheses!) are visiting my blog and the first post they see is of my husband cross-dressing as a pregnant woman.

Hah!  That may be my most favorite sentence I've ever written in the history of me knowing how to write.

So let's pretend to be fancy and have a chat about high-brow things, shall we?  High-brow things like books and...well, pretty much just books.  That way I can stop feeling guilty about not feeling guilty.

Ten Books We've Read This School Year
All of us have read all sorts of things this year, so I'm going to keep this to books one or the other of us super mature adult folk has read out loud with at least one of the small folk.

1) Anne of Green Gables

A childhood favorite of mine.  I couldn't wait to share it with my big girls.  And *SIGH* it was even better reading it as an adult than it was when I was a child.  I wrote an entire (short) post about it when we were finished because I was just that excited.

And then we made raspberry cordial and pound cake.


A natural progression, yes?

3) Heidi
This one was at hubby's request.  And then he read it out loud to us.  Such a beautiful, truly uplifting story and it made us really want to get goats.

4) Tom Sawyer
If this is not the most entertaining story of boyhood hijinks ever, then I don't know what is.  If you have a suggestion, lay it on me!  Plus, it was exciting to discover that Mark Twain loved Anne of Green Gables, too.  It's like we're twins or something.

5) Huckleberry Finn
If you think that this is going to be like a Tom Sawyer Part 2 (which is totally what I thought), think again.  This book is an emotional, existential roller-coaster filled with all sorts of quandaries and messages that can so easily be applied to the current pro-life movement that it was sometimes almost too much for me to handle.  It was a fantastic, challenging book to share with my older kids, but I wouldn't recommend kids under the age of....I don't know...14?  read it alone.  Yes, it's like that.

7) The Horse and His Boy
Lizzy was sick one weekend and I was all 1st trimester pukey, so we shared the sofa in the living room and I read this out loud to her between bouts of us falling asleep randomly.  In retrospect it was sweet and lovely, but of course while it was going on....

Anyway, this is one of my favorite C.S. Lewis books.  The scenery and the plot, the growth of the characters in their character, the piles and piles of metaphor, the silliness.  It's just lovely.  Truly

6) The Hobbit
This is our current read-aloud, another husband pick.  Seeing my girls' eyes light up when they hear little phrases that we say all the time ("my precious" and "second breakfast" to name the two most obvious) is just priceless.


And for the littles...

8) Goodnight Moon
I don't even need the book to read this book.  It's been such a favorite for our entire 11 years of parenting that we are currently keeping an eye out for our third copy, because even in board book form, things wear out when they're used as much as this book is.

Goodnight nobody...
Goodnight mush....

9) Sammy the Seal
Alright, this is just a silly I Can Read book.  BUT it was one I had as a child and the very first book my very first baby ever held when she was mere months old.  It has sentimental value, okay?  And really, any seal that can learn to read, write perfect cursive AND play volleyball all in one day is okay in my book.

10) Katie Morag Island Stories
You've probably never heard of this but you should scrounge it up immediately anyway (and note that the only non 5 star review is someone who never even received it and is trying to, um, I don't know...punish Amazon by being sassy?  Whatevs).  A collection of short stories about an adventurous little girl with red hair...

Wait a second.

It does appear I have a type, doesn't it?
But still, this book is so fun.  The pictures are like a whimsical Where's Waldo of country living.  The stories are entertaining and innocent without being saccharine or dull.  And I love her tractor-driving granny.

So, what books have you read this year that you love?  Any you loathed so much that you could barely finish?
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50 comments :

  1. love both the Anne Green and Tom/Huck series. course, Hobbit and LOTR are big in this house. Kids often ask for "elevensies".

    now I have to go back out and check out that post of your hubbby ;)

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  2. Also The Secret Garden. And Swiss Family Robinson! And... shoot, I should just write my own post. :P

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    1. Yes, do! I meant to add at the bottom that people should leave their books in the comments :) These are just favorites we've read out loud together this year....otherwise the list would be a mile long!

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  3. Books we've read this year and loved are: A Wrinkle in Time (and we saw a play at the Children's Theater), Johnny Tremain, The Treasure Seekers, Whatever Happened to Justice....very informative. I'm drawing a blank so I'll just leave it at that. I'm being reminded that we need to do a few more read-alouds.:(

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  4. great list! anne of green gables (well, the whole series, actually) was one of my favorites growing up too. i still read it every couple of years! that and little women.

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  5. There are just so many amazing children's books out there. I love this list, although I have to admit, never been a huge Mark Twain fan. I know, I know. I'm sure there are plenty of books I could add to this list, but for the moment, all I can think about is how much I love those Anne of Green Gables books. :)

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  6. What a great list! I'm coming up with a list of read-alouds for the summer...thinking of starting with Charlotte's Web. Can't wait until they're all a little older to start Tom Sawyer and Narnia!

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  7. "Goodnight Moon" is a work of literary genius. I'm sure dissertations have been written about it. Another little kids' classic is "Harold and the Purple Crayon"!

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  8. I am one of the parenthetic crowd, I believe. Here's how our books went this year. Went on a five week driving trip in the fall and listened to the ENTIRE SERIES of Narnia, unedited BBC series while we drove, then Kidnapped by RL Stevenson. Since we got home we have been reading LOTR every lunch and breakfast time, and we are almost done.

    Typically over the last 25 years, I read historical fiction all through the school year and then non-categorized things during our super long summer break. Because super long and me get along really well.

    ANYWAY. What I was trying to say was that I break out of my routine of historical fiction during what we fondly call "baby years" at our house, namely years in which I am pregnant. During baby years we read anything we want. But babies don't seem to be happening anymore, so we just took a break and our reading whatever we want.

    A few other books we have hit this year-The Trumpet of the Swan, Great Expectations, Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea, Sherlock Holmes and King Arthur. Only ones we couldn't finish were those horrific series of fairy stories from the local library. PM

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  9. I have read everything on your list except the last one. Not a fan of Huckleberry Finn though. Maybe I had to read it one too many times in school. But Anne of Green Gables is a huge favorite. Have you read L.M. Montgomery's other books? Because the Emily series is even better, in some ways. I have read some of the Chronicles of Narnia aloud to the kids, but I read the entire Lord of the Rings aloud to my husband!

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  10. You feel about Sammy the Seal the way I feel about The Fire Cat! And No Fighting, No Biting! My husband loved reading Dave Barry's Peter and the Starcatchers out loud to the children a few years ago but mostly because it allowed him to conveniently skip some innuendo that he felt wasn't appropriate for them, so that's a little heads up for you. But it was a really fun story! Also, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is such a fun book to read aloud. If you want to listen to it read to you, get the Eric Idle audiobook version. Yes, that would be Monty Python's Eric Idle! Totally child friendly!

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  11. OK, since my kids are all grown up, I'm going to recommend two book series I read to them when they were wee: The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.

    Love both series. I grew up near Walnut Grove, Minnesota, so, obviously I'm very much connected to The Little House books.

    The second series, by Lovelace, is about three little girls who are friends and get into all sorts of adventures and mischief. Love, love, love The Betsy-Tacy series.

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  12. I randomly stumbled upon your blog and I love it. A book I would suggest for you and your girls is Mandy by Julie Andrews. I read it when I was little with my mom and it is the best!

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  13. Sigh... Anne, she is own own true kindred spirit. I have even entertained naming one of my children "Cordelia", just because I know she would love that. Not that she's real, or at least, in real life. But you know, we're kindred spirits, and kindred spirits often love the same names, right?

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  14. I just finished reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to Alice. Her explosive delight when Charlie is awarded the Chocolate Factory for making good choices was something to behold. She did mention that some of the book was scary, even though I took precautions to spoil all the sticky plot points.

    She made a game for a week out of "talking" to each kid on the tour and explaining in detail where they went wrong and how they could avoid becoming talking blueberries in future.


    I would like to revisit Ronald Dahl, but most of his protagonists suffer from neglectful or cruel caretakers and Alice is a bit young to find that device liberating rather than terrifying.

    I second the Betsy-Tacy-TIb series, only because I remember it very fondly.

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  15. Sharing my favorite childhood books with my kids is one of the very best joys of parenting for me. We are reading The Hobbit now and it was a long awaited day when my son pulled it from the shelf and said, "Can you read this one to me, Mom?" I literally squealed. It has taken us quite a while to read through the whole thing, but we're nearing the end and my love of all things Middle Earth has only grown. I forsee it as one of many readings to come as my kids grow.

    We've also highly enjoyed the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books this year, although re-reading them as an adult, the original is definitely my favorite. We all particularly loved the "Radish Cure".

    Charlotte's Web was another we read aloud this year and let's see... My 7 year old enjoyed reading a few Amelia Bedelia stories (more favorites from my childhood) and lots of Frog and Toad and Little Bear books.

    I'm excited to read Half Magic - one of my favorites as a kid. I also LOVED Anne of Green Gables. I really look forward to sharing that one with my kids.

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  16. I'm compiling my list of must-have books for my boys, so am loving all these lists, yay!!!

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  17. You guys should try A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. Love, love, love!

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  18. My boys LOVE Anne of Green Gables! I never would have though it from my little warriors, but they begged me to read the second and then the third. I personally didn't like the Hobbit, but my youngest son practically devoured that book in three days.
    And for us,I'd add "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch" by Latham and "The Roman Mysteries" by Lawrence.

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  19. It's definitely my favorite sentence I've ever read in the history of me reading your blog :)

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  20. I homeschooled my six and my youngest is 21 preparing to got to medical school. We never had TV so books were the thing with my husband reading every night - after the children got old enough only one book but they had to alternate selecting it.

    Several all time repeat stories (all unabridged, of course) A Little Princess (I actually "edited" this while reading it aloud to read "providence" instead of "magic" - I'm pretty silly but it gives the kids a good laugh now). Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Just David (by Eleanor Porter, the author of Pollyanna also good).

    Sorry this is long, we have a lot of favorites and I've barely scratched the surface :)

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  21. Caddie Woodlawn, of course! And the entire Little House series. And my Sammy the Seal is Harry the Dirty Dog. Read it with my grandma. Found a copy in a used bookstore in Seattle when Andrea was a wee baby. Sniffle.

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    1. (And Caddie, of course, is a redhead.)

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  22. Still love Death Comes for the Archbishop and My Antonia. A bit serious but Willa Cather is great. Madeleine L'Engle's books too. Jane Eyre, so brilliant. Last fiction was Cather's short stories but left it on a plane! Great list, Dwija. I think my son could be ready for some Twain...

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  23. #3, #4 and #5 reading those as a child always made me want to go on an adventure. Smashing list, very high brow :) And your husband is a very pretty lady :)

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  24. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes was a favorite this year. We are currently reading Redwall and Call of the Wild. Redwall at bedtime because the brilliant author wrote SHORT chapters which leave my kids screaming for me to read more cuz it's so exciting...and Call of the Wild we are reading at lunchtime so it's slow going but we got a german shepherd puppy this winter so a book about dogs was called for and I had that one languishing on a shelf.
    I need to try more Mark Twain--I've only ever read his Joan of Arc which I really enjoyed... I think a book about boyish hijinks would go over well here...

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  25. Um, if my first visit to a blog there were pictures of someone's husband cross dressing as a pregnant woman, I'd be all, I'M NEVER LEAVING!!
    Especially if they only liked awesome books!

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  26. I'd like to recommend this book below for your younger children. It's written by an old chemistry professor of mine from the Catholic women's college I went to. He's retired now, but he told me all about his book when I went to my college reunion and I thought the book had a really cute message!

    http://www.picklebumppress.com/

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  27. We are planning to read the Hobbit to our kids soon - we tried a couple years ago, but they weren't ready yet. I think it would be so much fun for us. Love your list!

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  28. We loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Little House and Anne of GG series

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  29. Liam has been readng and loving the Gregor the Overlander series. It's about a little boy who goes down a grate in his laundry room to save his toddler sister and goes into a below ground world with giant rats and translucent people. It's great! I have been reading them too, and totally enjoying them.

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  30. Good list! Visiting from HHH.

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  31. THAHB was my second fave of the Narnia chronicles. I love it for the same reason you do.

    I love your picks-good reminders to revisit some old goodies and check out some new ones too.

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  32. The first I ever read out loud to my daughter, when she was four, was The Wizard of Oz. My S-I-L had given me jim Trelese's book "The Read-Aloud Handbook" and I was dubious. Novels at age four? She LOVED it. We read so many books I can't remember, but both my kids loved "The Treasure Seekers" and "The Would-be-Goods," which you don't often see recommended but which are fabulous. And of course, "The Wind in the Willows." "The Phantom Tollbooth" is great out loud and, when they are are 10 or so, "She" (a tiny bit risque at parts, but just skip them). A fabulous adventure story. I think we read one of the kids "King Solomon's Mines" as well. W

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  33. All great books, and it's awesome you read with your kids so much. I was home schooled and I have great memories of reading with my family and my mom reading out loud to us...:)

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  34. I love all of those books! We're big Goodnight Moon fans in this house too.

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  35. Good list. Some of my favorites too. Here from the Hop. www.theunlikelyhomeschool.com

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  37. Such a great list, and most of them I'd forgotten about! My daughter is at the perfect age for most of these, so I need to carry the list with me and hit some used book stores!

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  38. Loved all of the first 7 of your list, even if I didn't get cordial or pound cake. I did have a goat for a while though!
    I agree with Stasha, your husband is one pretty lady. What a laugh.

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  39. I hear about all these women that loved Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie books and I've never read ANY of them. I feel like I missed a big part of being a young girl!

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  40. I loooooooooooooove the Hobbit! One of my all-time favorite books! My mom read it to me when I was in the womb, so of course, I did that for Cupcakes. <3 Hopefully she will love reading fiction as much as I do!!

    Jamie
    For Love of Cupcakes

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  41. Marie Siobhan GallagherMay 14, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Lil' Britches by Ron Moody is a great book and there is a set of these books worth reading. Also, the Little House on the Prairie set is worthwhile.
    Marie Siobhan

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  42. i like number nine, Sammy the Seal :)

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  43. Now I know we're kindred spirits fer sure -- we love all the same kids books! So many great books here and in the comments, too! I second the other reader who recommended the Emily books by L.M. Montgomery -- would it be heresy to say I like Emily better than Anne? (Although I was in the middle of reading "Anne's House of Dreams" while I suffered my first miscarriage, so I've always had a tender spot for Anne as a mother.) I also really liked "Jane of Lantern Hill" and "The Blue Castle" -- the first your girls might like, the second is a little more mature. Wait till they're romantic-minded teenagers. :)
    Also, not to make you drool, but we own BOTH "Danny and the Dinosaur" and "Chester" by Syd Hoff. Fun, silly books that for some reason my kids LOVE.
    Right now hubby is reading "Treasure Island" to my girls (ages 11 and 8) after the little boys are in bed -- nothing like a sweet little pirate story right before bed! :)
    I love having kids -- I'm finally getting to read all the great stuff I was too lazy to read when I was younger. You've inspired me to spend more time reading aloud to them during the day.

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  44. I guess I wasn't blog-stalking you last April because I don't remember this post, and Oh my gosh I love it. Thanks for linking up because this list is super duper awesome! :)

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  45. So ashamed I am that I have never read any of the Anne series, either to myself or to my progeny. So I guess now I have to!

    Thanks for the Island Stories recommendation, never even heard of it!

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    1. Both are so good- Anne and Katie. You will love them!

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  46. I see Madeleine L'Engle books and Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series have been mentioned already, so huzzah and a second vote here. I also recommend Ursula LeGuin's "Earthsea" books, and if you ever get some wiggle room in the budget, this version of St. George and the Dragon: http://www.amazon.com/Saint-George-Dragon-Trina-Schart/dp/0780703138/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369967489&sr=1-1&keywords=st+george+and+the+dragon I got it when I was a little girl, and my husband and I sent it to our nephew for his 4th birthday or the following Christmas and were told by his mom (our SIL) that he liked it so much that he was sleeping with it. :-)

    -Dorothy (not sure why, but my google account is showing up as Anonymous)

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