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.
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.
here if you dare.
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).
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.