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Best Books for Reading to Children

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My favorite book for my parents to read to me when I was in 1st grade was Dangerous Journey. It's an abridged version of Pilgrim's Progress with amazing illustrations. It remains one of my favorite books of all time.

My favorite picture book was St. George and the Dragon. Again, the illustrations were a huge draw.

Edited by solishu

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I'm currently reading a variety of picture books to Alex, incluidng Good Night, Gorilla (and its glorious sequel 10 Minutes 'Til Bedtime)

Wow, there's a sequel? We'll have to hunt that one down.

Sebastian has loved Music over Manhattan, by Mark Karlins, since he was 5 months old ... even though it has many more words than your average baby book. Other favorites are Little Bear and Little Bear's Visit (ignore the other sequels, they're not remotely as good), the Frog and Toad series, and Dr. Seuss, particularly The Sneetches and Other Stories. He used to recite "The Zax" and "Too Many Daves," but now that he's all of two and a half I can't get him to recite nearly as much. Oh, and he digs Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

Edited by mrmando

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I heard about Cajun Night Before Christmas just a day or two before Christmas, but didn't lay hands on a copy until after the holiday. I've read it a few times to the girls anyway. They don't mind, and neither do I. It's a blast! I don't put on the best Cajun accent, but my wife informs me that her efforts to read the book one night when I was out were met with cries for Daddy to read the book from now on.

So I must be doing something right.

Edited by Christian

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I'm currently reading a variety of picture books to Alex, incluidng Good Night, Gorilla (and its glorious sequel 10 Minutes 'Til Bedtime), Guess How Much I Love You, The Runaway Bunny, The Napping House, and a lot more.

What are some of your favorite books to read to your kids? At what ages?

Rory is 18 months and in addition to the one you mentioned, books I/we enjoy are Olivia, Good Night Moon, and books by Tara Gomi: My Friends, Spring is Here, and Bus Stops. We also enjoy a picture book that helps Rory identify everday items like at everyday locations as well as various body parts.

I have to admit I get a bit teary-eyed any time I read Guess How Much I Love You or The Runaway Bunny. Although I do admit I laugh a little when the Runaway Bunny ends with "Here, have a carrot." If I am ever a senior pastor at a church some day I'll probably work both of those books into the sermon at some time.

Rory does not like it when I'm doing homework and she wants me to read to her and I try to strike a compromise by reading to her Rolf Rendtorff's Canon and Theology - Ovetures to an Old Testament Theology. She just doesn't appreciate OT methodologies the way that I do.

Edited by Kyle

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I loved reading picture books to my daughter. Some of my favorites: Everything by Eric Carle. His illustrations are fabulous. I wish I had a quarter for every time I read The Very Hungary Caterpillar. But I never got tired of it. I also loved books by J. Otto Seibold. He has a quirky style of illustration that I really enjoy and the stories are offbeat but good natured. One of my favorites is The Moon Jumpers by Maurice Sendack. This picture book perfectly captures the memories of my childhood playing outside on a summer evening. Another of my favorite illustrators and writers is William Joyce. I particularly like The Leaf Men.

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(and its glorious sequel 10 Minutes 'Til Bedtime)

We've inherited that book from my niece and nephew. My wife read this to Dominic, who's 2, a week or so ago. She thought it was mice, not hamsters, so with each page, she asked him if the mice were coming to visit him. He said yes, the mice are coming, Mommy.

Shortly after finishing the book, there came a knock at the front door.

Dominic jumped up and shouted, "The mice are here, Mommy, the mice are here!"

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I think the Frances books have to be at the top of the list... My kids, Josiah and Violet, are 7 and 5--we've read them over and over and they never get old to them or me. There's also an excellent audio recording of Glynis Johns reading some of them, though it's out of print now.

FWIW, there's a really great recording of the Winnie the Pooh books with Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, Stephen Fry, Jane Horrocks, etc... It caused my kids to talk with British accents for months.

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Rory does not like it when I'm doing homework and she wants me to read to her and I try to strike a compromise by reading to her Rolf Rendtorff's Canon and Theology - Ovetures to an Old Testament Theology. She just doesn't appreciate OT methodologies the way that I do.

This reminds me of Atticus Finch reading the paper to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird until she learned to read far beyond her years, leading to a first-grade confrontation with an idiot teacher. Be careful! ;)

Sandra Boynton's Philadelphia Chickens is fun for everyone to read and sing along with.

Classics--Make Way for Ducklings, Mr Popper's Penguins, A Little Princess, The Secret Garden

Edited by BethR

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For younger kids, Robert Munsch is great, and you could do a lot worse than Winnie the Pooh. I heartily second every Roald Dahl suggestion.

I have also love this delightful, simple story every time I've read it to my kids:

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It would be great as a story without pictures, and I would buy this book if it were illustrations only -- story and plasticine illustrations are each that good on their own: together, they are perfect.

Oh, and You Are Special (Max Lucado) is quite touching and meaningful.

Edited by Tim Willson

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This book is perfect for 4-6 year olds. It is also my favorite (and I've read quite a few).

The Skin You Live In

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Edited by stef

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Anything by Kate DiCamillo, and she has books for young children and older children.

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Children's books are probably one of my favorite things on the face of the planet. I have six younger siblings, and I'm four years older than the next oldest. We've also all been homeschooled, and all but me are still at least a year from graduation, so I've gotten lots and lots of reading out-loud time in. :) I'll add a few I haven't seen, and definitely enjoyed reading a lot of the ones already mentioned. (Little Bear! Frog and Toad! The Hobbit!)

Non-chapter favorites:

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a delightful book for anyone, but may be especially enjoyed by little girls. It's delightfully illustrated, to boot. For those who haven't read, it's the story of a young girl who makes a simple list of things she will do in her life, and then chronicles the fulfillment of those things in a way that even the small will probably appreciate.

A Million Chameleons by James Young is a great rhyming story involving color, and it dares to pull in non-traditional colors (vermilion, anyone?). I have fond, fond memories of this book.

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom and Bruce Degen is a fun cardboard book. Also, in this same for-babies/toddlers group, and also by Bruce Degen, Jamberry is a joy to read and a blast to look at.

Chapter favorites:

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Ruth Chrisman Gannett. This was written by a daughter-in-law/mother-in-law team. I've never read any of the sequels, but the chapters are on the shorter side, the story is on the light side of grand adventures, and both the story and illustrations have stood up to multiple re-readings (to the same kids) in my house. A good "starter" chapter book, as a read-aloud. Also, despite the existence of follow-up books, it can stand alone just as well.

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson is a wonderful Paris story, and a simple chapter book. It might be a good story to introduce younger listeners to the concept of "homelessness" because it handles it so well, without romanticizing it. Having a home and a safe place are very important to the characters, but the younger characters make the subject not-too-traumatic for smaller ears.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. I'm not sure I need to say much else about this. :-D

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. Every single time I read this book, I want donuts. Every. Single. Time. It doesn't even have to be the chapter in which they appear.

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. Quite possibly one of my favorite books ever. Perhaps not for the littlest, though, because they might not be able to handle, aside from length, the treatment of the horse and the boy alike in some spots.

Man. There are so many others that fit into these two groups, and for older kids who can read on their own and still enjoy listening anyway. So many. :-D I'll stop myself, though.

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Anything by Kate DiCamillo, and she has books for young children and older children.

DiCamillo has just won the Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, which I haven't read.

 

I have read the Caldecott award winner, Locomotive, by Brian Floca. If you have kids who like trains, that one's a keeper.

Edited by Christian

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