July 20, 2011

7 Books to Read with Children

 Whether your a mom or a dad, older sibling, babysitter or teacher, these books are great books to read with children. A great benefit of reading along with a child is the ability for discussing the book. You can answer questions, discuss decisions that a character made and whether or not you both think that it was a good idea and what you would have done differently.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Brian's parents are divorced. He goes to spend time with his father but tragedy strikes and Brian gets stuck alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a hatchet. Will he survive? 

 A brother and sister decide that they are taken for granted so they run away from home and take up residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When a mysterious statue, possibly the work of Michelangelo, is sold to the museum for a few hundred dollars, the siblings can't rest until they get to the bottom of the mystery.  

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Okay, the appeal of this book might just be the reenactor's dream that this could come true.)
Jessie is a normal 13 year old girl in 1840: she lives with her family, goes to school and has never been far from town. That is, until children start getting sick and her mother tells her a huge secret: the year is really 1996, they live in a historical museum and the owners are holding them hostage and denying them modern medicine. It's up to Jessie to sneak out and find help in a modern world that she knows nothing about.

Anne is a orphan with flaming red hair and a temper to match. She is mistakenly sent to a brother and sister looking for a boy to help them on their farm. Anne likes to daydream which gets her into trouble at the worst times possible. She doesn't mean to be a bother, but will the family keep her after all the trouble she causes?

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter is an orphan whose parents died in a horrible car accident. He is sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle who hate him until he receives a letter in the mail telling him that his is really a wizard. He finds out that his parents were really killed by an notoriously evil wizard and in the wizarding world, he is famous. He is sent to school where he struggles through schoolwork, makes friends and comes face to face with the wizard who killed his parents.

The Sign of the Beaver

Matt lives with his father on a homestead in the early days of American colonization. His father leaves him to watch over the house while he brings the rest of the family there from the east. Matt is alone and without food when he gets injured, when he is saved by a Native American doctor. A Native American boy, Attean helps Matt learn Native American survival methods in exchange for English lessons. The boys don't like each other but they soon learn to respect each other.

Huck sets out on an adventure, rafting down the Mississippi with an escaped slave named Jim. There is some controversy over the word choice in this book. The book is a period book and clearly a product of its time. 

According to US News in 2007, 1 in 4 American adults had read 0 books in the previous 12 months. We need to raise children who become adults who love to read. Children who are read to, learn to love books. Many students' only experience with books is in the classroom where they can link books with negative experiences. Children should associate books with having fun and exploring worlds with the people they love.   


  1. My daughter is 24 years old now, but we read all these books together when she was in grade school except for "Sign of the Beaver" (maybe it's new?) Her all around favorites were "The Mixed Up Files" and "Running out of Time". Guess what, she now works in a museum! It was always her dream as a kid to live in one, but this is second best. She also did a stint at Plimoth Plantation, to satisfy her re-enactor wishes. She always thought that M. Night Shyamalan stole the idea from this book for "The Village".

  2. I loved Running out of Time and from the Mixed-up Files. I work at the location where The Village was filmed so its fun to think about what it would be like to live there all of the time.

  3. Love the Mixed-up Files!

    You work at where The Village was filmed?!? That's incredible! What fun :)

  4. I strongly agree that kids should read (and that their parents encourage them to do so), though of the books mentioned here, I have only read the entirety of the Harry Potter series. However, I used to love the Bailey School Kids, A-Z Mysteries, and Roald Dahl books when I was younger. The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my favorites too.

  5. Andrew, I forgot Ronald Dahl! :D I used to love his stuff, especially Matilda.

  6. I love "Matilda": that was one I actually bought rather than had given to me! Lovely book.

  7. I LOVE running out of time. I like a lot of Margaret Peterson Haddix books. :) And From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is one of my favorite childhood books. :-)


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