Reading is a big deal in our family. We read in school. We read for pleasure. We read before bed. We read on the potty. We read in the car. I listen to audio books while cooking and cleaning. My kids listen to audio books while they are playing, cleaning or having fun. My husband and I were both early readers and tend to consume books. After a house fire several years ago, the Fire Marshall even commented on the huge “fire load” in our house (referring to the walls and walls and walls lined with books). So, it was no surprise that our children love to read, too.
As you begin shopping for Christmas, keep in mind that books are a terrific gift. They can be read repeatedly, will not break the first time you use them and can be shared with others. They require no electricity or batteries. Books can help your child learn facts, increase their vocabulary and stretch their imagination. I can’t think of any parent who would object to giving a child a book to read.
Each family is different. Each child has different things that they are attracted to and want to read about, learn about and experience. Our 10 (almost 11) year old daughter loves history, real life stories, mysteries and anything that has to do with the Underground Railroad. She also has a fun sense of humor and loves comical stories. Our 6 year old son loves anything that has to do with farming, construction equipment or trains. He also has a sense of humor and loves to giggle about things. Our 2 (almost 3) year old son also loves construction, farming and trains, but tends to choose books that require lifting flaps, moving something, finding a hidden object or feeling something. It is also true that many of the books we read to the older kids, my younger children enjoy and many of the books we read to the younger kids, my older child enjoys. So, while I have put these books in categories by age, there is much crossover! With that in mind, without further ado, here is our family’s list of favorite books:
Favorite Books of Our 10-11-Year-Old Daughter
- American Girl series Tales of fictional girls set in historical times and places that cover a whole host of history
- Cloud Tea Monkeys Extraordinary events help a small girl get a miracle for her ailing mother
- Gigi series A little girl knows she is a princess of the King and she lives like it!
- Amelia Bedelia series What happens when you misunderstand puns, homophones, metaphors, similes and such? Amelia Bedelia and her crazy antics!
- Tales of Young Americans series Possibly true stories of kids performing a major role in historical events. Titles include:
Riding to Washington
The Scarlet Stocking Spy
The Last Brother
Lily’s Victory Garden
Minnow and Rose
Friend on Freedom River
The Town That Fooled The British
A Book for Black-Eyed Susan
Rudy Rides the Rails
- Pinkalicious series A girl who loves pink…a whole lot! The series continues…
- “Kiss the Cow” by Phyllis Root Can one girl’s stubbornness and disobedience really cause an entire family to starve? Or, is it possible that her mother was right and she should obey?
- “A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon I love it when lima beans are a solution to a big problem!
- The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales I’ll bet you can’t read it all the way through without laughing!
- Anything by Graeme Base, especially “The Eleventh Hour” Incredibly illustrated, imaginative stories filled with details and mystery
- Anything by David Wiesner, especially “Flotsam” Not your average children’s book, you will talk about this one for awhile.
Our 6-year-old son’s Favorites
- Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog What do you call an armadillo who wakes you up in the morning? An alarm-adillo!
- Bill Peet series Fantastic artwork, hilarious stories and imagination galore!
- I Stink and I’m Dirty by Kate & Jim McMullan Books that ALL boys can relate to!
- Henry the Cat series by Mary Calhoun Follow the adventures of this amazing feline and his people!
- Skid & the Too Tiny Tunnel by Jeffrey Stoddard
- Pete & Pillar, the Big Rain by Jeffrey Stoddard
- Uff Da by CLG Martin & Richard Clark The hilarious adventures of a huge, extended Norwegian family
- DK Machines at Work series, such as Fire Truck These books have terrific pictures and great explanations about how different machines work.
- Ralph the Mouse series by Beverly Cleary The amazing adventures of a mouse and his beloved motorcycle!
- “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn What to do when a little one does not want to be away from their Mama…
- Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Fly and Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin Who knew that the life of these three things was so traumatic!
- Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner The hilarious adventures of a cat with ears that are too big for his head and an imagination that is too big for his mother!
Our 2-3-year-old son’s favorites
- Scanimation series Imagine pictures that look like they are moving, but they aren’t!
- I Spy series from Scholastic & Walter Wick Finding things in pictures might seem easy, but…
- Click, Clack Moo series from Doreene Cronin and Betsy Lewin Cows that type? Ducks running for president? Yup.
- Bartholomew Bear series by Virginia Miller The adventures and misadventures of a tiny bear
- Sandra Boynton books It won’t be long before you have these memorized!
- Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Rinker & Lichtenheld Little lovers of construction equipment will love this one!
- Harold and the Purple Crayon series It is amazing where a boy can do when all he has is his imagination and a purple crayon!
- That’s Not My … series from UsBorne Great for early readers and kids who want to read! Plus, touch and feel!
- Working Wheels series by Picture Window Books Facts and stories from the perspective of drivers of big machines and equipment
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees A giraffe who can’t dance and the cricket who helps him find his own style, despite the teasing of others
- “Knuffle Bunny”, “Knuffle Bunny, Too” by Mo Willems For the love of a lovey…and the chaos that ensues when it is lost!
Books make great gifts anytime of the year. Build a personal library. Build up a child’s library. Read to yourself. Read to your children. Read to someone else’s children. Read to your grandchildren. In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than snuggling up with a good book and a kiddo to share it with. Happy reading!