I have four kids, ages 12, 10, 8, and 5, and keeping them in books is harder than you might think. It’s definitely harder than I would have expected.
The challenge isn’t just matching the right kid with the right reading level and age-appropriate content, although that’s not always easy. The hard part is putting the right book in their hands when they’re in the mood to read it.
(I would be tempted to whine about this, but “the right mood” is an important factor in my own reading selections, so I shouldn’t complain.)
And the older they get, the less inclined they are to open a book just because their mom recommended it. Sigh. (Our regular babysitter brings books every time she comes, so luckily it’s not just me making suggestions.)
But they do all love to read. (My 5-year-old isn’t reading independently yet, but he loves to read with his parents or siblings.) And we do manage to keep them in good books, even if it’s hard sometimes.
I know I’m not the only parent who wants her kids to love to read, and read great books. Today I’m sharing what we’re reading together as a family right now, and what my kids are reading independently, in the hopes of making your search for great books for your own kids easier. (I can’t wait to hear your suggestions and recommendations.)
After a year or two of strongly hinting that my oldest would enjoy this, I finally decided we'd just do it as a family read-aloud, since Silas is old enough to listen in now. I love Rebecca Stead: I can't wait to read her new release Goodbye Stranger, just out August 4. More info →
Our book-loving regular babysitter got the kids hooked on this magical series. Now I need to read this first book to catch up so we can all read book two together. My highly sensitive child is a tiny bit squeamish but my exuberant 5-year-old loves it. More info →
Harry Potter has been in the air at my house all summer—my kids have been listening to the audiobooks for books 2 and 3 on repeat. Silas has caught bits and pieces. But now he wants to "read" it for himself, so Will (who's never read the series, horrors!) are reading the first book together, straight through. Everyone else can't help but listen in. More info →
This series is gold for sports fans. I stumbled upon the first book in the Little League series at my local indie bookstore two years ago, and my son has read every book at least twice. (My girls also enjoy this series.) If baseball isn't your kid's thing, no worries: Matt Christopher writes books for every sport. More info →
We let the kids pick out whatever they wanted when we finally visited Parnassus Books last weekend. This was Jack's pick. Davis made headlines last year when she became the first female to pitch in the Little League World Series, and Jack loves all things Little League. He finished it on the drive home from Nashville and gave it two thumbs up. More info →
This is Star Wars, Shakespeare-style, and it is genius. We stumbled upon this at our local indie bookstore and snatched it up. My rising 7th grader is learning all about iambic pentameter, how to read a script, stage directions, and a whole bunch of tricky vocabulary, because Star Wars. Fun for its own sake, but an easy introduction to the Bard for young students: my kids haven't encountered actual, factual Shakespeare in school yet, but now they'll be better prepared when they do.
This middle grade novel about a 6th grader who becomes a New York restaurant critic is smart and silly. Sarah loves to cook, so it's no surprise she enjoyed this. (She read the sequel The Stars of Summer and said it wasn't nearly as good.) Jack and Lucy also enjoyed this one. More info →
I'm singling out this Harry Potter title because it's been several years since Sarah read the first three in the series, but she was hesitant to read on: she'd heard this one was got pretty scary. (She's right.) But this month she decided it was time. She's plowing through books 4-7 and is determined to finish the whole series before school starts on August 31. More info →
All four of us keep coming back to Cleary's Ramona books, but Lucy does more than the rest of us—probably because the 10-book box set she got for Christmas sits on her nightstand. When she's not sure what to read, she pops open Ramona. (The audio versions narrated by Stockard Channing and Neil Patrick Harris are fantastic.) More info →
This the series that got Lucy hooked on reading, and she keeps coming back to them. There are six books in the series: we started with book 5, because that's the book that caught our eye on the library endcap, but I recommend starting at the beginning. My girls are anxiously awaiting the seventh and final book in the series, coming in 2016. More info →
My older three kids read this for school, but not Silas. When he plucked it off the shelf earlier this summer and asked us to read it to him, we said YES. A classic for a reason. (The audio is great.) More info →
Imagine what Star Wars would be like if the heroes and villains were in middle school: that's what this series is. Silas is not the target audience, but he's obsessed with all things Star Wars, so he loves it. The story is told through one boy's comics, journal entries, doodles, and newspaper clippings, which makes it hard to read aloud, but gives my 5-year-old lots to look at. More info →
This is the brand-new sequel to The Day the Crayons Quit, which we loved. While adults won't find it quite as unique or charming as the original, Lucy and Silas have been reading it over and over again. I don't think they just love it for the potty humor, but it doesn't hurt. More info →
If you have kids in your life, tell us their current and favorite reads in comments.