Reading with Kids

Hello! I always find that you wise people out there have such fantastic ideas - and so once more I am going to draw on your wisdom. One of the things our two older kids love, love, love about life is our nightly reading before bedtime - like many families we end most days on a couch or our big bed for a chapter or two of whatever book I'm reading to them. So far this (school) year we've made it through:

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM (such a great book!! who knew rats could be so interesting), My Haunted House (so-so. what can I say, it was October), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (all during which I kept saying: you see why it's such a bad idea to run away, right? :) ), Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Magician's Nephew, and we're just finishing up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I think after we finish the Chronicles of Narnia we're going to read Anastasia Krupnick, which I remember being hilarious - and my husband is anxious to read them Island of the Blue Dolphins, as he somehow managed to do book reports on this excellent book for four consecutive years in elementary school. Nice.

What chapter books do you think are must-reads for kids? It's so great reading them my favorites, but I'd love to find some new ones, too, or new-to-me old ones, to add into the mix.


Jodi said...

My children who are grown now loved all the Miss Piggle-Wiggle books,and my husband and I enjoyed reading them. The humor appealed to all ages. Vintage fun and hi-larious.

Anonymous said...

I found a lovely little list on this blog:


We are working our way through it this year...


lynne said...

Oh!! I totally forgot about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!! Thank you for that GREAT suggestion!!

Catbird said...

Louisa May Alcott's books were a childhood favorite of mine.

Beth Stone said...

I always loved the Boxcar Children Series, Nancy Drew (and the Hardy Boys for boys), The American Girls Books, and of course, a lot of the classics (some of which are abridged for children) - Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Treasure Island, etc. The Chronicles of Narnia are excellent too - hope you enjoy them!

Beth Stone said...

Oh yes, Louisa May Alcott, and also the Little House on the Prairie series... SO many good books!

chelle said...

I just finished reading "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" by Grace Lin, and it was amazing. I'd STRONGLY recommend it for reading aloud.
Add the original Mary Poppins to the vintage favorites. If they're into magic, then E. Nesbit's Five Children and It, and Edward Eager's Half Magic. The recent Richard Peck books, like "A Long Way from Chicago" are fun, too.

brooke said...

Hi Lynne

We've been doing chapter books for about a year now, I think I love reading them as much as the kids do. Here's what we've read:
-Charlotte's Web
-Stuart Little (our favorite so far)
-Pippi Longstocking
-Henry and Ribsy
-Little House in the Big Woods
-a few of the Magic tree House series (but they are over so quickly!)
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
-James and the Giant Peach
-Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (though I edit some of the language as we go along.. like stupid!)
-Mouse and the Motorcycle
I think Fantastic Mr. Fox might be up next. And then Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

Jess said...

My daughter and I are reading Pippi Longstocking right now. She loves,loves it.
We read The Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too.
I had to do a little editing for my 3-year-old with The Witches, it gets slightly gruesome in spots.

lera said...

Your children might be a little young for them, but we love reading "Goosebumps" books. They are always at the thrift store and there are TONS of them.

the Collector said...

My son just turned one, so he's not really into the bedtime reading so much yet. However, his *mama* must have a story read to her every night during his long, just-before-bed nursing, and fortunately, his *daddy* is up to the task.

So, since our son was born, we have read:
The Wind in the Willows (twice)
the entire Winnie the Pooh series (going on twice)
the entire Beatrix Potter series (twice)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Peter Pan
and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

It's been a great opportunity to revisit our favorite books from childhood--and a few adult books-- since I know it will be a few years before our son has the patience to sit down with anything more than a board book.

I love your list here. I see so many from my childhood that I had forgotten about.

KristenMary said...

I really loved the Mouse and the Motorcycle when I was little. I have fun reading the Artemis Fowl series, but maybe that is still too old for them??

growfamilygrow said...

I'm going to second the love of Roald Dahl: The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory etc.

Becca said...

Ramona! Although my boys are still too young for chapter books, as a camp counselor, Ramona was always a big hit with my little campers. Also, we have discovered the Jenny Linsky books that are very sweet--some are picture books, but most are chapter books. So so sweet--Pickles the Fire Cat is my fave. Anne of Green Gables? I also love the old Wizard of Oz books. I devoured these as a kid. I just got a FANTASTIC juvenile literature reading reference book: Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. It has books for children 0-18, and it has so many great ideas. The library must think I'm out of control with all my recent activity.

Happy reading!

Lia said...

These are some of my favorites:
The Penderwicks
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
Roxie and the Hooligans
Goonie Bird Greene
The Willoughbys
The View from Saturday (good for 5th graders)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Maniac Magee (5th or 6th grade)
Savvy (4th or 5th grade)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Most anything by Andrew Clements
And we just got The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate which I haven't read yet, but am very excited about.

Tammy said...

Pippi Longstocking was one of my favorites, although it may give your darling daughter more ideas ;P

melissa said...

Mary Poppins books are excellent. I like the 1960s versions as the illustrations are so beautiful.

P.S. Your three little girls in their jimmies are just lovely. I wish I could see you more often.

Melissa Crowe said...

I'm not sure of your kids' ages, but when Annabelle was between the ages of 5 and 8, we read everything by Eleanor Estes--Ginger Pye was a real favorite. On the older end of that range, we really enjoyed Elizabeth Enright's books Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away. These are good for mixed gender groups, one of the main characters being a boy and one a girl.

Maren said...

I remember reading Boxcar Children and Cheaper By the Dozen with my family when I was little. I enjoyed them, despite the distraction of my little sister roller skating around and around the house the whole time! :)

liz said...

there are so many good ones -- and i haven't read all the comments, so these might be repeats, but...
the little house series
stuart little
charlotte's web
the ramona books

... i can't wait to check out all the comments for more ideas!

Betsy said...

There are already so many great suggestions here, but I'm just going to second the vote for "The Penderwicks"--it's probably my number 1 favorite kid's chapter book that I wish had been written while I was still a kid. Love, love, love it!

Natalie said...

The Anne of Green Gables would be terrific. I am reading Pippi Longstocking to my daughter at the moment.

Chris said...

I've always loved Charlotte's Web as a read aloud. Ramona was another childhood favorite. Chevrolet is a lovely name for a doll!

jenny said...

So many good suggestions! I loved Frances Hodgeson Burnett's The Little Princess & The Secret Garden, and Ann of Green Gables wasn't just a book to me, she was my good, always to be relied upon friend!

For a few books that haven't been mentioned:

Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three (and series) was one of my husband's absolute favorites growing up.

E. Nesbit: The Railway Children comes to mind, but there's a lot of E. Nesbit.

Edgar Eager's Half Magic. Again, there's much Edgar Eager.

Pauline Clarke's The Return of the Twelves.

Ruth said...

I've been reading chapter books for my now 6 year old, for about a year. We've done most of the Roald Dahl books including The Twits; The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me; George's Marvellous Medicine (a childhood favourite of mine). But the one we started off with first was one that I loved as a child: The Cricket in Times Square.

Kyrie said...

My littles aren't old enough yet (can't wait!) but as an elementary schooler some of my faves were the Zilpha Keatley Snyder books, the "Shoes" books (Ballet Shoes was a special favorite), Summer of the Monkeys (same author as Where the Red Fern Grows but funnier), Wrinkle in Time, Five Little Peppers and how they grew...so many great ones out there!

Trish said...

oh gosh. Anything Roald Dahl. The Spiderwick Chronicles (very fast reads). And I'm really loving The Mysterious Benedict Society (it's a series) right now. I remember really loving Mr. Popper's Penguins when I was little, but I haven't revisited it so I don't know if it's as good as I remember. Owls in the Family is a good one for animal-lovers, as is A Room with a Zoo, and Babe the Gallant Pig.

kim said...

Roald Dahl. Tales of Despereux. Kenny & The Dragon. Scholastic's BeastQuest series for my 7yo boy.

kim said...

I have to 2nd the Lloyd Alexandar recommendation. I also loved Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series. Other old favorites are the Anne of Green Gables series, the Betsy-Tacy-Tib books, Ramona, etc from Beverly Cleary, Little Women . . . the list could go on forever.
Thanks for this post - there are books I haven't read, but my daugher & I will have to give them a try.

beth said...

little house books, anything by lois lenski, a cricket in times square, so many good books to read...

mary said...

We loved reading the little house books and we enjoyed Alice in Wonderland. Thanks for posting this question I got so many great ideas...saved them to my visual bookshelf.

The Cupcake Goddess said...

I recommend oh so much Little House in the Big Woods. My mom read that book to us a few times and my sister and I loved it. Oh yes and most definitely Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Don't know if its too early, but Nancy Drew's were some of the best of my childhood. Oh to be young again!

esther (chinny chin chin) said...

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. truly exceptional. just browse the hardcover. take in the illustrations. you will love its tender message.

jenny jones said...

My daughter is not yet old enough, but I read Eleanore Estes' the Moffats books and Ginger Pie. I can't wait to share them with her. We are reading Jenny and the Cat Club-more of a collection of stories with the same characters-but it looks like a chapter book. My 2 year old loves it as does my friend's 6 year old.
I am loving reading through everyone's faves. Makes me remember all the wonderful childhood moments again. Great Idea!

CMN said...

A Childhood favorites I remember loving (and now love to share with my own pint-size minions)...
- Wizard of Oz series. My Dad remembers Grandma reading them to him, and he read them to us...
- Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
- Winnie the Pooh books, including the poetry. My 19-year old niece still quotes the poem 'Forgiven' about Alexander Beetle. Love that!
- Raggedy Ann Stories, by Johnny Gruelle (look for the actual story books, not just the picture book versions). My nephews REQUESTED these stories last time the slept over. Very cool!

Lindsay said...

Two books that recently won our hearts were Red Sails to Capri (Ann Weil), and The Wheel on the School (Meindert deJong). Neither had I read in my childhood, but I am so satisfied that my children have these wonderful stories now catalogued in their imaginations.

Carolyn said...

"The Phantom Toolbooth" by Norman Jester. I learned about this book as an adult....but love it and would love to read it to a child. It was a favorite book of my roommate's when she was a child.

jenny said...

Oh, I loved Betsy-Tacy-Tib, too!

Sarah G said...

I loved so many of the ones you're already reading! I'd second The Phantom Tollbooth, and would also suggest the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engle.

I can't wait until my little man is ready for chapter books!

Anonymous said...

My 8 year old daughter loved Harriet the Spy!

Anonymous said...

Julie of the wolves and Peter Pan are some favorites of ours. My husband is currently reading Stewart Little to our 4 yr old son who is captivated by it! Also don't for get the Little house on the Pararie books!

Liz R. said...

anna and i started (and need to still finish...) the secret garden. it's been fun i think.

Kellie said...

Here's an author that hasn't been mentioned yet. Jessica Day George. Her books include the Dragon Slippers series (I think there are three), Princess of the Midnight Ball, and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. She is a great writer, her stories are fun and she's a hoot to talk to in person!

Lasso the Moon said...

Wow. "Mixed up Files" is one of my all-time favorite books. So so so good. I've read it many times, and there are some really good book-on-tape versions, which my siblings and I have heard on many a car trip. I can't wait to read this and others to my own little ones.

Barbara Brown said...

my daughter just read "all of a kind family" and loved it she is also a big fan of the "betsy, tacy and tib" series which i read a a young girl.. my boys love "hardy boys" and they are all loving the "little house" series. oh yes i must mention "pipi longstocking" which got huge laughs as my daughter read them aloud to her brothers.

Susannah @ Art Nest said...

I remember loving Harriet the Spy and also the Little House on the Prairie books. My kids enjoy the Beatrice Potter series.
There is an excellent resource book called Honey for a Child's Heart. I highly recommend this to any family who reads aloud to their children. Oh, yea, don't forget about the Boxcar Children!

Anna said...

Another series and author is Terry Pratchett. My favorite for children are the Tiffany Aching series. There are three: Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith. Terry Pratchett has a zany sense of humor and adds a bit of mythology into just about everything.

Collins said...

I love reading out loud to my children too! I have loved reading anything by Beverly Cleary to them, because they were my favorite as a child. We all loved Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. My favorite is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, such a beautiful story with the most beautiful pictures. I have read this one many times the past few years.

Beth's Blue Blog said...

I'm sure it's been mentioned, but we're on a Roald Dahl set we got for christmas. I'm excited to read "the twits" because i remember how they messed with each other, how they 'gaslighted' each other.

molly said...

We're deep into The Little Prince, at the mo, and loving it. Also adored are: Little House (of course), The Great Brain series (fab!), Half Magic (brilliant!), and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

A belated, wholehearted congratulations to that spectacular babe. Such treasure.

Refugee Crafter said...

I've loved reading the My Father's Dragon series with my son. The illustrations and stories are just charming.

Kim said...

Anything by Michael Morpurgo - he's an English author and is prolific. Some of his books are most suitable for older children but most will work for younger ones too. My favourite is The Mozart Question - but I haven't found one I didn't love - or that my children haven't read over and over again.

Jennifer said...

I have an 4 1/2-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. The books that have captivated the both of them equally have been:

James & the Giant Peach
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Charlotte's Web
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
My Father's Dragon

Right now we're reading the 1958 "A Bear Called Paddington."

Our "Chapter Book Time" at the end of the day is definitely my favorite time of the day!

kanishk said...

Louisa May Alcott's books were a childhood favorite of mine.
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Amy said...

My daughter (7 years old) loves the Penderwicks and all the Magic Tree House books.

Chris said...

Here's a list of books that we adults have cherished just as much as our kids:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
James and the Giant Peach
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Cricket in Times Square
Stuart Little
Trumpet of the Swan
Charlotte's Web
The Jenny Linsky series by Esther Averill (especially great for our little kitty lovers!)
The Little House series
Sarah, Plain and Tall (I loved this book so much!)
The Magic Pudding
the Uncle Wiggily books
all of Frog and Toad
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Secret Garden
I really could go on and on....

Anonymous said...