With Valentine’s Day having just passed and the air so full of love, I thought I would have a special treat here. I asked each of my children – ages 8, 7 and 4 – to list their favorite books for me. The only rule was that they had to have read the book and loved it. There was no other criteria.
Here are their personal recommendations.
Sierra’s (age 8) Best Loved Books
Graphic novels – This child loves every graphic novel everywhere. No exaggeration. Every time we go to the library, she heads straight to the area where the comic books are. I don’t mind. The recent explosion in graphic novels means she can read Shakespeare and other classics and also enjoy Asterix and Tintin.
Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter (anything about cats, really!) Because my daughter simply loves cats, I use them as a jumping off point for almost everything, but she picked this book series. It’s about a bunch of – get this – super hero cats. Ah, well. It’s fun, though. She started with the graphic novels and recently read a much larger book in the series.
Audiobooks by Jim Weiss – Jim Weiss has recorded so many audio books, it’s hard to listen to them all, but my daughter has almost set out to do so. Her favorites are Animal Tales, Greek Myths and Spooky Classics.
D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths – Knowing how much she likes fantasy and fairy tales, I should have known she would take to Greek myths. This book is amazing. I can’t say enough nice things about it. It has illustrations and all the Greek myths in one place. And also a family tree listing all the Greek gods. Indispensable when reading later Greek epics.
Hucksley’s (age 7) Best Loved Books
Minecraft Secrets – My middle son takes a very practical approach to life, as you will see. He likes to find things out if they profit him in some way. So these Minecraft secrets books that teach him how to maneuver and build things in the game were an immediate hit. Not only has he learned to read with these, these books have brought my kids closer together in collaboration. One reads instructions aloud, the other follows by following the directions. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
DK Eyewitness Books – We do love these books fondly and by “we” I mean the entire family. If you have read my blog post on how to use strewing as a technique even in unschooling these books come in very handy for that purpose. Even as an adult, I find myself skimming through these books and picking up a lot of information. They’re colorful, they’re informative and just plain inexpensive. Our favorites.
Atlases – Hucksley loves maps of any kind. Period. My husband found it funny when I bought a globe for the kids but they loved it. And my middle child absolutely loves maps. So I highly recommend these map books and also the app Stack the States, which he plays daily.
Tales from the Odyssey audiobook – While my kids never cared much for the Magic Tree House series, Mary Pope Osborne’s Tales From the Odyssey (the audiobook) read by James Simmons always gets loud cheers. We first listened to it in the car and since then my son will listen to it by himself before going to bed. It’s excellent.
Carver’s (age 4) Best Loved Books
The Early Bird by Richard Scarry – We’ve been reading this book to him since he was – what, 1? Not sure. Anyway, for a looooong time. It’s a fun story about early bird with lovely pictures so characteristic of Richard Scarry. I would recommend anything by him, really, and this book in particular has stood the test of time for us.
How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room? by Jane Yolen – Another one of those inexplicable ones. Oh, but how he loves it! And I bet you $5 I can recite it from memory. It’s a delightful book. One we’ve read over and over and haven’t tired of. Check out the entire series. It’s just fun.
The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash – You must, must, must read this book! It’s just delightful. It’s possible I enjoy this a tad more than my son. The entire story is written in rhyme and it’s like a party for your mouth to read this aloud. Take my word for it.
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle – I don’t know what it is about this kid, but he loves seeds. Sometimes, when he likes a fruit he is eating, he will take the seed and “plant” it in the backyard. Of course we have no idea where he planted it, so it never gets watered or tended, but he claims he has planted avocado, orange and apple trees in the yard. This book is one he picked out as a prize in the library program for reading. It is wonderfully illustrated and talks about the life cycle of a seed.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson – Another enduring classic. I never tire of reading this one aloud to him. Also, check out other books by Julia Donaldson that are also great read alouds for preschoolers. Not as good as this one, but pretty close.