Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Reading List

Several weeks ago my mother in law, "Nana" as she is affectionately called, asked me for recommendations of books to fill her shelves so that when her grand kids come over, they have a good supply of books to read.  I mentioned a couple titles then and suggested looking at Half Price Books where we find great deals on classic chapter books.

Well, I thought about it some more and finally compiled a more complete list.  These are the books and series my kids enjoyed the first time through and ones they keep going back to for fun.  These titles have inspired their imaginative play, furthered their interest in history and contributed to their pure enjoyment of reading.  As a family, we have also borrowed some of these titles on CD from the library and listened together in the car.

I would recommend these titles for kids, some more suited for girls, ages five and older. And, our general rule of thumb is to read the book before watching the movie based on the book. The books are always more satisfying anyway.

Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.  We also have enjoyed listening to an adaptation of the entire series presented by Focus on the Family's Radio Theater.  It's a rare chance to hear narrator Paul Scofield and other talented actors.  Find it here.

Betsy Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace (currently being devoured by my six year old, lots to teach about friendship and family life). Find out more about the author and series here.

Little House On the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My girls and I spent a Fall weekend away this year taking a break from city life. We had a wonderful time touring the gorgeous hills and valleys of Southern Minnesota. We were blessed with the adventure to climb a steep bluff (in about 20 minutes flat) and overlook Lake Pepin, one of Laura's homes.  Our favorite chapter to read aloud from the entire series is the Christmas one from Farmer Boy.

Sarah Plain and Tall and Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan. These are two of my all time favorite read alouds - it can be done in one sitting and I think is just so beautifully written.  There are three more books in the series.

Charlotte's Web and Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. We visited Boston years ago and saw two swans at Boston gardens and about wept with joy - the book coming to life before our eyes.

All Of A Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor. This is one I stumbled upon as a kid. I introduced it to my girls who just love it. It chronicles the daily life of a large Jewish family in New York who learn how to work, get along, become more independent, bless each other, share good values, etc. - all good things.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Enter his website here if you dare.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Mysteries and adventures abound.

The Miracle Worker by William Gibson and The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. My eldest loves to discover more about this amazing woman and she loves any book that expounds upon her life. She has been inspired to act out with her good friend Bella one of the most touching scenes in the book at the well, when Helen shows Annie her teacher that she "knows" what language is. 

Adapted Illustrated Classics such as Little Women and Heidi  ( I always tell my kids, "Some day you should read the original."). These though have a picture on each page and help to keep the interest of my youngest.  I purchased a few of these at $2/each several years ago.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (currently being devoured by my 10 and 11 year olds).

American Girl books. These have inspired a love of history, especially the 1940's and creative writing, at least in my house. Molly and Kit are the favorites.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson- Another favorite read aloud and can be read cover to cover in one long sitting. We laugh out loud every time we read about the six dysfunctional Herdman children and their takeover of the annual church pageant.  It is truly one of the highlights of our season to read this one and it actually does bring to light the real meaning of Christmas - the little babe born that day can bring about the most amazing transformations in one's life.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Other titles on our "To Read Someday" list, or ones that have been recently recommended by friends.

Ranger's Apprentice - Find out more about the series here.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - A feisty redhead and Prince Edward Island, Canada, a good combination!
Paddington Bear series by Michael Bond
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. His site is here.

No comments: