Saturday, December 29, 2012

More Recommended Books To Read Aloud

Yesterday I pulled together a list of books I've read over the years with my child. You can read it here: A Beginning List of Books to Read Aloud

Since that time, other titles have sprung into my mind.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

I love this story. It has a moment where Despereaux is banished to the basement (where the rats live) by his family, my son wept. It is that moving.

(Note: good thing he doesn't read my blog because he wouldn't approve of me putting that in here. But it is truth)

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien

What is better than some Tolkien? The Hobbit is a great start for younger kids as well. I've always thought of the Hobbit as more of a child's story, whereas the trilogy is for older readers.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

I will admit that this one wasn't as much of a hit. I think it will be good to revisit it as the boy gets older. We read when he was a 7th grader and he stumbled on sorting all the characters out. Everyone has several names. My late elementary aged nieces have both read and really enjoyed the trilogy however.  The high point is trying to read aloud the poems in elvish. I have an audio recording of Tolkien reading some poems, he does a much better job of it all then I did. Another high point is meeting Tom Bombadil, one of my favorite characters in literature.

Here is a nice clip of Tolkien reading Namárië


Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry

Mafatu is a young Pacific Islander who runs away because he is afraid of the sea and feels that he is a shame to his father. He is shipwrecked on another island where he deals with a shark, a wild boar, an octopus and cannibals, he develops courage from these encounters and returns home to his father.

Holes by Louis Sachar

This book is great! Read it.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The neat part of this book is that within the 500 some pages are about 250 pages of drawings. The story is told through the written words and drawings. The drawings are awesome. They are the best part of the book.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle, #2)

Do you know about the great glass sea snail? This book is adventure, adventure, adventure and fun. It is one of the first Newbery Award winners as well (1922).

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
I loved this book when I was young, and enjoyed sharing it with my child. If you were going to run away, wouldn't a great place to run to be the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City? Claudia wants to run away because she wants her life to feel differently. It has many interesting things to ponder while reading it.

I will note that this book was written in 1967. Security measures etc. have improved since then. My middle elementary aged child (age when we read this) had a hard time suspending some of his questions on how the children wouldn't be discovered with alarms and lasers etc.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

This was one of the boys favorites. We had a good run of the survivalist, outdoorsy books such as this one and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

Some other picture books that were on heavy rotation in our house were:

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

This was such a hit that the corner was chewed on. We had the board book version. My son loved it. You can look for the mouse and the balloon in each picture. There is a picture of two eyes in the dark that he hated and would flip past very quickly. Spooky.

Verdi by Janell Cannon

We both love this one. We love the pictures as well as the story. We are also fans of her other book:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

My son loved this book when he was very young. Parts of it creeped me out.

Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel

When I was growing up I loved this story, and this is one that drove my mother nuts!

What do you Say Dear? by Sesyle Joslin and illustrations by Maurice Sendak
What Do You Say, Dear?
I love this book. A fun book on manners.

Ferdinand the Bull by Robert Lawson

I love this one so much I wrote about it here: Pacifist Bulls and Wee Gillis

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

I love this book!

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren

Another book I previously blogged about: "Winters come and winters go, Summers come and summers go"...Soothing words of the Tomten

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Tuesday by David Wiesner

A wordless story with amazing illustrations.

The Napping House by Audrey Wood
The Napping House
This has some beautiful illustrations. The thing I don't like is that at one point a mouse crawls on them when they are in bed. That hits too close to home for me, however I still like the book.

Some of my favorite fairy tales:

Rapunzel illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Rumpelstiltskin illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Hansel and Gretel illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Jack and the Beanstalk retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg

I prefer this version by E. Nesbit (but the child liked the one above better)
Jack and the Beanstalk by E. Nesbit

Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault

There were several books that my child loved that I quickly tired of, or didn't want to read often. Sometimes I may have even hid them. Today I asked him what were some books he remembers that we used to read together, of course some of these titles were the ones he mentioned.

(I need to note that the following are GREAT book, I just would tire of reading them aloud.)

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

This book, really...I just can't...

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Another one I just can't do.

Any and all Curious George books by Margret and H.A. Rey

My brother-in-law says that the man in the yellow hat is one of the most irresponsible characters in all of literature. True.

The Story of Ping by Marjorie Flack

Lastly, Henny Penny by Paul Galdone

I love Paul Galdone's books and blogged about them here: Celebration of Paul Galdone - Folk Tales & Fairy Tales
He has some highly recommended folk and fairy tales that are great to read. I just dislike Henny Penny and rooted for Foxy Loxy in this story.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Beginning List of Books to Read Aloud

 Many many blog posts ago I was asked for a list of books I have read aloud with my child. I will compile a rough list here and add to it as I remember. My child is now 15 and doesn't "enjoy" read aloud time with mom, but I still shoot for chances with him whenever I can get them.

When he was young we read everything. I have always had my favorites though and these are some of them:

the Frances Books by Russell & Lilian Hoban

I am crazy for A Birthday for Frances. It is in my all time top 10. I love Bedtime for Frances, Bread & Jam for Frances, and A Baby Sister for Frances.

Tomie de Paola Books
The Clown of God is also in my all time top 10. I wrote about it here: A Joyful Display -- The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola

Robert McCloskey Books
Make Way for Ducklings is fun to read aloud, and Blueberries for Sal is another in my all time top 10. I wrote about that books here: Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk

My son also loved some Dr. Seuss.
We were big fans of the Sneetches, Thidwick, and Horton. Horton Hatches the Egg is my all time favorite book to read aloud.

My son could recite from memory Mama Do You Love Me?  by Barbara M. Joose (we read it so often - at his request)

He could also "read" to me Where the Wild Things Are.

as well as Freight Train by Donald Crews.

We both enjoyed the stories in the Thomas the Tank Engine: The Complete Collection by Rev. W. Awdry

As we began chapter books, we enjoyed reading some of Beverly Cleary's books such as those of Ramona Quimby, Ribsy and Henry Huggins.

Some titles that I remember us reading in middle elementary were:

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Rascal by Sterling North - a DELIGHT to read aloud.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This is another book that is a joy to read aloud. Roald Dahl writes so well, and the story has so many depths for young and old alike.

Peter Pan and Wendy by J. M.Barrie

We read this edition with illustrations by Robert Ingpen. His illustrations are divine and really take the story reading aloud to a wonderful new level. I am a huge fan and collector of his works.

For me, good art that enhances a story and adds to the joy of reading a book is a must. Robert Ingpen is an artist such as this, his books truly delight me. We read many classics together that were editions with illustrations by him.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (illustrated by Robert Ingpen)


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated by Robert Ingpen). Ahh pirates, they are very cool! We really loved the pirate phase. Treasure Island really captured this for us and made us big pirate fans for quite awhile.

We read Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (illustrated by Robert Ingpen)

One of the best parts of the book, unlike the Disney movie is that as soon as Jiminy Cricket is introduced, Pinocchio kills him with a hammer. None of that annoying Disney cricket, yet his ghost makes an appearance.

Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten

Another truly wonderful nature story. Don't let the fact that Disney eventually had their hands on this keep you from reading this book. The book is not the movie. It is wonderful!

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (illustrated by Robert Ingpen)

We read the Ingpen version. The classic illustrations by E. H. Shepard (the illustrator of the Winnie the Pooh books) are also wonderful in their beauty and simplicity. I love them as well!

Either way, this book is in my all time top 10. It is a gentle, beautiful story complete with some lovely moments, crazy characters, and Mr. Toad and his insanity. The boy loved this book. It is still one of his favorites.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens  (illustrated by P.J. Lynch)


The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Reading this book with my child was one of the great moments of parenting him. He had loved deer since he was a toddler, and this story of a boy and his love for his pet fawn and the difficulties of life and growing up was a real moment for the two of us. We read it when he was a 5th grader and it hit him so on target. He very much related to this coming of age story.

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (illustrated by Robert Ingpen)

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Reading historical fiction with your child is such a great experience. They are constantly learning things throughout the story. This series may be one of the best ways to learn while being entertained. From the moments of sugaring to Pa riding a blizzard out amidst a snow drift, to Indian raids and winters with hardly any food, all this and so much more awaits in this wonderful series.

Betsy Tacy series by Maude Hart Lovelace

These books were my absolute favorites as a young girl. I decided to begin reading them with my son (a 6th grader). I wasn't sure it would be a hit, they are primarily stories of young girls, however a good story stands not only the test of time but can appeal to a wide audience. We followed Betsy and Tacy from becoming friends at the age of five, through elementary school, into high school and times of friends and boyfriends, through college and Betsy's year abroad in Europe. These are wonderful stories from the early 1900's in rural Minnesota.

A side note is that the first four books have recently been released in one volume. The following six books have been released as 2 books per copy as all pictured above.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Oh how we adore the Harry Potter books. We had a few days where we did nothing but read aloud together because we were SO captivated by these books. They are remarkable.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (we read this "The Whole Story" version as it has added pictures and notes to aid in understanding the time and story - it is the full unabridged text).

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Such a great book, so filled with things to discuss and have deep conversations with your older middle school child. (Note we read in 8th grade)

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (with original illustrations by E. W. Kemble)
This is one of my favorite books. It has moments of true "laughing out loud" coupled with moments of sheer annoyance (really the King and the Duke are some of the most annoying scum in literature), and moments of tears and joy. Mark Twain is a master. I recommend the illustrated edition by Kemble!

Currently we are reading (slowly but surely)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Charles Green illustrated the story in 1861 which can be found in the 2 volume Annotated Dickens set (if you want to really geek out on books like me).

Orlick . . . very soon among the coal-dust

Well, that's it for now. There are others which I will add as they spring to mind.