The books my kids are loving right now

We’re hosting a special series on the podcast this week, and by extension, the blog. It’s called What Should I Read Next for Kids (and Kids at Heart), and it’s all about the pleasures of reading for a lifetime.


In that spirit, today I’m sharing my childrens’ favorite current reads for Quick Lit. My four kids are 13, 11, 9, and 6, and we are doing our best to raise them to be readers. (For the strategies we’re using, check out these 7 tips I shared yesterday.)

I feel very, very lucky that two of the four books I’m sharing here were required reading for school. I’m thankful for teachers everywhere whose contagious enthusiasm helps kids catch reading fever, instead of turning it into a chore.

(For more extensive book recommendations, check out my old Kid Lit guide here.)

And for even more book recommendations, today’s new episode of What Should I Read Next is about growing up with the help of a good book. I’m talking to Leigh Collazo, a middle grade librarian who helps kids find books they love because it’s her job. Pop on over to listen for tips on how to connect the kids in your life with the right books for them, plus encouragement to use books to bond with your kids. She’s so inspiring, whether you have kids yourself, or you remember what it was like to be a kid on the hunt for a good book.

Quick Lit November 2016
We Are in a Book!

We Are in a Book!

Elephant and Piggie is a go-to series these days for Silas, age 6 (6 1/2, he would tell you). This is one of his favorites. As a rule, Elephant and Piggie books stand up to repeated re-readings; this one is all kinds of meta fun for grown-ups. More info →
Counting By 7s

Counting By 7s

This is the favorite of my 9-year-old, Lucy. She picked it out at the bookstore because a friend had told her it was good, plus she loved the cover (that's a real thing, so we work with it). I was a little concerned it might be heavy for her (read the summary and you'll see what I mean), but she loved this story about a lonely girl who overcomes adversity in the way that fitting for her. Adults, you won't be sorry if you pick this up for yourself, regardless of whether or not you have kids of your own. More info →
A Time to Dance

A Time to Dance

More assigned reading! My daughter Sarah, age 11, has an amazing English teacher this year, and the assigned reading is fantastic. She'll read anything he recommends. (Oh but that all kids could have such an adult in their lives!) This is another story with a sad premise: a teenage dancer in India loses her leg in a horrible accident, and can no longer do the one thing she felt she was made for. A moving story, told in free verse: my daughter couldn't read it fast enough. More info →
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

This was required reading for Jack, my 13-year-old, and from what I heard, he wasn't the only one who struggled with the dialogue at first. But once he got the hang of it he was off and running, reading ahead of the school schedule because he wanted to find out what happens next. Packed with adventure, plus material for lots of good discussions in the classroom or at the kitchen table. More info →

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  1. I love Counting by 7s! It was one of our Virginia Reader’s Choice books last year for middle schoolers. (I’m a middle school reading teacher.) My students who liked Counting by 7s also enjoyed Wonder, Wonderstruck, One for the Murphys, and Echo.

  2. Jessica says:

    Not quite as profound as the books Anne mentions, but my 11 year old daughter just loves The Popularity Papers series as well as Dork Diary’s. Number 11 comes out today; she’s read them all. These series are great for strengthening her reading “muscles” because they are a series and she eats them up! She’s a great reader but she definitely reads for pure pleasure — “dessert only” books for her! I’m okay with that for now. My 9th grader just finished A House on Mango Street — which I think is amazing…it was required reading.

  3. Kate says:

    I’m sure you know, from homeschooling, about Charlotte Mason’s site and the fabulous book lists there. BEST THING we did as parents was to read those books aloud to our children until about the age of 12.

  4. I’m a librarian in the childrens departement at the local library and kids reading is just so interesting! I love discovering new books to stock our shelves with, and finding out what the children actually want, I love this focus week Anne!

    What I love most about my job is when a kid loved what I recommended them and come back for more, especially when it’s someone who’s told me they don’t like books. There is something amazing about helping someone unlocking the world of reading 🙂

  5. Lori says:

    I’m excited to pin this and save it for when my daughter is a little older! I have no idea how kids’ literature works once we move past picture books…Thanks for sharing and hosting the link up each month as well!

  6. Theresa says:

    Recently read Tom Sawyer and then visited Hannibal Missouri to visit Mark Twain’s childhood home and museum. This really brought the author and time period to life.

  7. ellen says:

    ANYONE would love, The Grand Escape, The Healing of Texas Jake, Carlotta’s Kittens, Polo’s Mother (read books in order) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. In my opinion, best as read-alouds as the reader won’t want to miss a moment of the antics and adventures of cats Marco and Polo, the main characters in the series.
    These books were staples in my 2nd/3rd grade classrooms. (I read them every year. They never got old!) My students would pretend to be characters in the books during recess time and would recreate scenes and events from the series… A sure sign that these books are winners in every way. Try them out. Guaranteed not to disappoint.

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