What I’m Reading with My Kids
My daughter will be starting kindergarten next week, and though I’m nowhere near ready for this next stage, she is. She has spent the past year creating art, writing her own stories and learning to read. Though we encourage her to practice her reading skills, we have been cautious to push her too much, knowing that she can read and will work on that skill more in her own time.
One side affect of this new maturation, however, has been that Norah feels she is ready to move on from picture books to early chapter books. We read as a family every night before bedtime, and often read several books in a sitting over the weekends, so I’ve been finding books for her in a wide variety of places: the library, my book samples, and my indie bookstores. Oftentimes buyers have directed me to great choices I had never heard of. If the choice is left up to Norah, we spend our evenings with the Rainbow Fairies, but I’ve found a handful of other series or stand-alone titles that entertain her almost as much (and are more fun for the rest of us)!
Here are a few books that have become favorites at our house. These would make great choices for kids five to eight.
Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi is the story of a rabbit named Kenny, who must stop an epic battle between his only friends in the world, a well-read dragon named Graeme and a retired knight named George. Fantasy, humor and a gentle message of doing the right thing, no matter what other people say, all combine for a sweet story that even my very girly little girl loved.
The first Mercy Watson book we read was this one, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, and it was such a hit that I immediately tracked down the rest of the books at the library. In this book, Mercy, the Watson’s exuberant pig, unexpectedly ends up behind the wheel when her elderly neighbor Baby Lincoln, looking for an adventure of her own, hops in the back. These books are clever and satisfying, and are a great bridge between picture books and books for older readers with their short chapters and bright, charming art.
When we visited my parents recently, I discovered a very old copy of Frog and Toad are Friends, wrinkled and well-loved by my sister and I many, many years ago. Re-reading the book with my kids, I was delighted to see that these books are just as slyly humorous and enjoyable as I remembered. My kids loved the friendship between Frog and Toad, while I enjoyed the darker references that might not find their way into newer early readers. I can’t wait to revisit the rest of the series.
Lastly, Judy Blume’s Friend or Fiend? with Pain & the Great One, with its short, illustrated stories about two sassy siblings, has become a bedtime go-to. Celebrating childhood’s happy, sad and embarrassing moments is something Blume has excelled at, and this is the perfect introduction to her canon. My kids loved reading about mishaps in the classroom, family pets and the joys and irritations of dealing with a sibling.
What books for early readers have you loved? I’d love your recommendations in the comment section!