Perfect! I’m approaching the time of life when this consideration is important, so here are the books that will be important for me to share with my children (should they ever appear). From picture books, to chapter books, to read-alouds, here are fun and timeless reads for kids of all ages!
Books for Small Children
1. This title was featured in a previous Top Ten Tuesday: The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown. It’s a short, mostly-pictures board book, but no less beautiful and moving for that. I expect many repeat readings of this classic.
2. In the same category is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Famous for good reason, the simple wording, interactive pictures, and enthralling plot progression make this a board book for the ages!
Older Children Books
3. When I was young, I loved both the Boxcar Children and the original Nancy Drew series, and the few Bobbsey Twins books I’ve read were fun, too. Great for voracious young readers who can’t get enough of the books they love!
My mom recalls enjoying Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion and its sequels — if our future kid is an animal lover, that might be the perfect choice!
4. If the little ones’ reading level isn’t quite up to those yet, Russell Hoban’s Frances books formed a dear part of my childhood. My dad recorded himself reading them onto cassette, so that I could have story-time even if he was busy.
5. I’m also fond of Dr. Seuss – specifically the two Bartholomew Cubbins books. Cute fantasy, coupled with timeless moral lessons and a spunky, friendly hero, these books will still be perfect, even when my children come along!
6. You might notice in the picture above that my brother is reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by . This is another book where the pictures interact perfectly with the text.
7. One more great picture book: Max, the Bad-Talking Parrot, by
8. My mom and grandma love dearly love A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books, and also his books of poetry. Go experience their charm for yourself – grab a copy and revel in the lilt of the words and the soft simplicity of the illustrations!
9. I grew up on a steady diet of G.A. Henty books. One of my favorites is When London Burned, which spins an exciting adventure tale around the events of the Great Fire of London, the Black Plague, and the Interregnum (plus, it’s free!). Another good one is The Cat of Bubastes, an exciting story in Ancient Egypt starring the son of a priest and a foreign slave (with a cameo from a young Moses). What happens when the sacred cat is killed – by the priest’s son?
10. Then there are the other classics, like The Story of the Treasure Seekers (and its sequel) by E. Nesbit, or her portal fantasy Five Children and It (and sequels). Our dad read all these to us when we were young, and they’re great stories about siblings having adventures together near and far, and (trying) to be good.
Better yet, enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia — portal fantasy, Christian allegory, and some of the most influential literature of the 20th century.
Last one: Tove Jansson’s funny fantasy tales are translated from Swedish, and feature the fun-loving, adventurous Moonins (Moominpapa, Moominmama, Moomintroll, and their friends). I hope to get the whole series for my own little reading-buddies.
I could go on all day!
There are so many good books out there, and frankly few things are better than sharing a good read with your family (and friends). One of my best childhood memories is Dad reading to us every night before bed. We had to give that up once enough of us had jobs, etc., to attend to, but it was a character-building experience I definitely hope to share with my children.
The family who reads together stays together!
What are your childhood favorites? Do you hope to have a family reading time with your own future children?