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What Our Kids are Reading

January 30, 2013

Many of us have kids of our own at home. While we do our best to read only Random House books with them and to use them as test subjects before we sell to our bookstore accounts, sometimes they have a mind of their own and choose their own stories! Here is what they have been loving these days…


On a conference call recently a colleague was raving about a book on our forthcoming summer list, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, so I decided to give it a try. I was drawn to it immediately – not only did it live up to The Westing Game/ “Night at the Museum” comparison, it also reminded me of E.L. Konigsburg in that it felt both modern and classic at the same time. I decided to make it the inaugural book in my new “Make Levi Read” program. My 10-year-old is a technically a good reader but doesn’t have the passion for it like some kids do (unless it’s a game guide, then we have to tear him away from it for mealtimes). But when he gets excited about a novel, he’ll finish it in a few days.

My new program rules are:

· 20 minutes of reading each night earns you your screen time for the next day

· If you read an upcoming book from the Random House Kids list and tell me about it (oral report, nothing formal) I will actually pay you

Levi seems to feel this is pretty fair, though it took a little getting used to. When he first heard, he pouted and fumed. I handed him Mr. Lemoncello and he came back to me in about 5 minutes to angrily tell me how good it was.

I will admit that neither of us has finished it yet, but it has the makings of a classic.

If you are interested, the last book he raced through is a recently published title called  Joshua Dread. This is a great boy/reluctant read about a kid with super villain parents.   I’ve already got the manuscript of the sequel queued up on my e-reader for him!

– Deanna


The boys have been begging for the last year, we finally gave in & have been reading Harry Potter aloud. I knew it would be fun to go back to Hogwarts but had no idea how much fun! Watching the excitement in their eyes as we meet these characters has been a real joy. They keep asking to go to bed earlier & earlier so we can start our reading. Any free minute is filled with, “Can you read to us, mom?” It really does warm the heart. I know we won’t be able to read all of them now as the content gets more mature, but we are all having a great time!

– Dandy


I tend to pick a few favorites and read them over and over to my 7 month old. While I know the repetition is good for her, I try to switch it up every week or two for my own sake!

A book that I have been reading to her since she was born and have not gotten tired of yet is A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na. This sweet bedtime board book explores a variety of animals’ sleep habits and the illustrations are just gorgeous. It is also available in hardcover picture book format if your child has moved past the phase of trying to eat the book rather than read the book, which mine has not! Snow Rabbit Spring Rabbit is another favorite by this author and it’s just out this month in board book format. Since we don’t get much snow in Mississippi, this book is a great way to introduce your little one to the winter season.

Sandra Boynton is a no brainer when it comes to baby shower gifts and we have a stack of her board books lining our shelves. What’s Wrong, Little Pookie is our new favorite – it makes me laugh every time I read it which sends Mia into fits of giggles. Little Pookie’s mom is trying to figure out what’s bothering him but she just can’t seem to guess right, and by the end Pookie has forgotten!

Dandy sent me a copy of one of her family favorites before Mia was born and it has quickly become one of ours. I am a Bunny by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry is a classic about nature and the seasons and its tall skinny size stands out fascinates Mia. She has just started turning the pages which makes her momma proud!

– Sarah N.


I asked my six-year-old daughter what her favorite books are these days and she promptly responded with two picture book titles, Interrupting Chicken and Dragons Love Tacos. This was a relief to me, as it seems we have finally left the very long Rainbow Fairy phase we were in. My husband and I have grown quite weary of the escapades of the crazy goblins in that long line of books!

I don’t know if it’s because we live in San Diego and eat a lot of Mexican food, but my kids find Dragons Love Tacos hilarious. It’s silly and irreverent, full of lines like “If you want to make friends with dragons, tacos are key,” and “If you want to make tacos for dragons, keep the toppings mild.” Why, you may ask? Because if dragons get even a tiny bite of spicy salsa, watch out! This is a picture book that parents will enjoy just as much as their children.

Another book that makes us all giggle is Interrupting Chicken. The story of Papa reading a bedtime story to little chicken and being constantly interrupted is so much fun to read aloud! Every time Papa begins a well-known fairy tale, little chicken, who just can’t help but get very invested in the story, cries out a warning to the characters. Having read all of the books, Papa gives up. Little chicken decides to read his dad a story of his own creation, only to be interrupted himself, this time by his father’s snores. I love this book and so do my kids, who can’t help but excitedly interrupt themselves.

– Erin

What are your kids reading and loving these days? We’d love to hear!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2013 8:41 am

    Oh, I can just imagine how much fun it is to read Harry Potter with your kids!

  2. January 30, 2013 11:51 am

    For some of us who might either want to buy the exact title you review here or who are writing books that might need just a little kick in the script to make their books into your (and my) ten-year-old’s next fave, might it be good to link to a synopsis of the story? I would like to know WHY your son loves Mr. Lemoncello’s ibrary – or escaping from it!

    • January 30, 2013 12:46 pm

      The cover is a link to the Indiebound website and has a complete description. I think Levi loves it because the boy in the story loves games, particularly video games, which makes him particularly relatable. And in Levi’s words (I asked him specifcally why he likes it), he says “because it’s adventure that comes from a game.”

  3. Nadine mims permalink
    January 30, 2013 11:59 am

    Deanna, my son is 11 and loves the Cheesie Mack series…check this out for Levi.

  4. February 26, 2013 12:37 am

    Here’s a great half step towards getting kids interested in reading more. Audiobooks. Not quite as good as actual reading, but it’s a step in the right direction. There’s lots of sites where you can download them for free. Here’s one that we use a lot.

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