I’ve been reorganizing our bookshelves and reminiscing about some of the books we’ve read and enjoyed together over the years and I thought I’d create a quick list of some of our most loved books. According to my calculations, we’ve read between ninety to one-hundred books together, but the ones I list here stand out to us as the most memorable.
1. Abel’s Island by William Steig
I absolutely love this author’s writing style. We’ve read several of his others but this one is definitely the most charming and loved by us.
2. Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
We remember giggling through these three years ago and now my youngest, who’s in third grade, is reading Winnie the Pooh again and enjoying it very much. These are the ultimate classics of children’s literature.
3. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
While Charlotte’s Web might be White’s most popular book, I’d have to choose The Trumpet of the Swan over it. We loved this story.
4. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
5. In Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson
These reminded me of The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but with a little more humor and a moral lesson you discover in every chapter. Each chapter stands alone as its own story so you can take longer breaks between readings, which is nice.
6. Betsy Tacy and series by Maud Hart Lovelace
Such a cute series, but probably best suited for girls.
7. Little Pear and Little Pear and His Friends by Eleanor Lattimore
These are super cute and reminded me a bit of Betsy Tacy, but with a boy as the main character.
8.The Twenty One Balloons William Pene Du Bois
This is mine and Elliot’s favorite read aloud yet. It’s just all around great.
9. The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon
10.Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
11. Boy of the Pyramids by Ruth Fosdick Jones
12. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
13. A Little Princess by Francis Hodgeson Burnett
14. Wolf Story by William McCleery
This one is especially great for a Dad to read aloud because it’s about a Dad telling a bedtime story!
15. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
16. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
This is a great book that provoked a lot of interesting discussion around the idea of living eternally.
17. The Great Wheel by Robert Lawson
18. Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston
This book written in poetry verse was chosen for our summer book club. It’s fabulously clever and so much fun to read out loud. I’d recommend reading this to kids ages eight up because some of the vocabulary is pretty sophisticated.
19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Elliot read the entire Narnia series several years ago, but I had never read any of them until recently when I decided we’d start reading them together. It’s a beautifully written story with Christian symbolism that jumps out at you throughout the story. There’s lots of great discussion to be had with this one.
20. Ramona the Pest and series by Beverly Cleary
Unfortunately, Ramona sometimes gets a bad rap. I think a lot of parents are worried she’s a naughty kid who will be a bad example to their kids. Personally, I think Beverly Cleary captures the heart and mind of a child so extremely well and kids enjoy Ramona because they can relate to what she’s thinking and feeling. Any “bad attitudes” displayed serve as a great opportunity for discussion. These books were the very first chapter books I read to our kids when they were just five and two-years-old, and they got us hooked on reading books together. I can still see in my mind’s eye my fidgety little two-year-old quieting down and becoming still to listen to these being read. For that reason, they will always hold a special place in my heart.
And because professional narrators often read a book better than I ever could, our top favorite audiobooks are worth mentioning too.
1. Bud, Not Buddy narrated by James Avery
2. Nooks and Crannies narrated Susie Riddell
3. The BFG narrated by David Walliams
4. The Great Brain narrated by Ron McClarty
5. Tuesdays at the Castle narrated by Suzy Jackson
6. Just So Stories narrated by Jim Weiss
7. The Penderwicks narrated by Susan Denaker
8. Twenty and Ten narrated by Eve Bianco
9. The One and Only Ivan narrated by Adam Grupper
10. Fortunately, the Milk written and narrated by Neil Gaiman
11. Mary Poppins narrated by Sophie Thompson
12. Hank the Cowdog and series written and Narrated by John Erickson
(Not my personal fave, but the kids find them to be pretty funny and with sixty-eight books in the series, there’s always more where that came from!)
13. All of the books written by Beverly Clearly, including by not limited to The Mouse and the Motorcycle and series, Henry Huggins and series, Ribsy and series, Ramona the Pest and series, Ellen Tebbits, and Otis Spofford.