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What I’m Reading with My Kids

August 27, 2012

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!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2012 8:44 am

    Frog and Toad books were favorites in our house when our son was that age.

  2. August 27, 2012 10:05 am

    Three of these four were regulars in our house when my boys were younger. We still quote Frog and Toad around here. Currently, we’re reading Fortune Wookie and always have a Hank the Cowdog waiting in the wings.

  3. Dandy permalink
    August 27, 2012 10:43 am

    Thanks For the suggestions Erin-Kenny and the Dragon sounds right up our alley! Have you read her My Father’s Dragon? The boys loved all of those & we re-read them often. I just finished reading Wizz Pop Chocolate Shop to Emerson last night-he gave it a thumbs up.

  4. August 27, 2012 11:53 am

    Thanks for these titles 🙂 Granddaugher is 4 going on 10 and, though her mother reads to her all the time, this grandma loves to, too. We’ve exhausted Curious George stories. Always looking for something new…

  5. August 27, 2012 12:30 pm

    I loved Frog & Toad! I have to introduce that one. It’s harder to find common ground with the age differences of my kids, but lucklily Levi still likes to sit with us when we read. I just read most of A Wrinkle in Time out loud to him. That was a bit much!

  6. August 27, 2012 4:17 pm

    Wow, your daughter can read and writer BEFORE starting kindergarten??? Wow, that is amazing. My boys are excellent students, one starting college this week and one starting high school, but neither of them learned to read until middle of first grade – each in his own time!

    We loved Frog and Toad when they were little. Another early reader favorite was Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant.

    Enjoy your books this week and your daughter’s start at school – exciting times!


    Great Books for Kids and Teens

    Book By Book

  7. August 27, 2012 9:35 pm

    Thanks so much, everyone! I love hearing your recommendations. Yes, she can read, though she is still working on it, of course, and she much prefers us to read to her at this point 🙂

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