Kimberly Fehrs works on our Operations Team here at Read To Them, making sure that schools have just what they need for a successful school-wide reading event. At home, she has two elementary school-aged boys of her own and their family loves to read aloud together. We asked Kimberly to suggest some books from the Read To Them catalog that she and her family have enjoyed. Put these on your list for cozy holiday reading– just add a blanket and some hot chocolate!
The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett
Well, what can beat a book full of cows, pranks, and oblivious principals? This book has it all! My boys and I loved reading this book together, voicing all of the different characters and throwing in a few moos here and there.
Not only is The Terrible Two filled with humor, but it also has a lot of heart. You will quickly discover that the two main characters are not “terrible” at all. Instead, they are children trying to find their place and looking for a friend. As an added bonus, there are audio recordings of the whole series, and they are just delightful. This one gets re-read, so you know it’s a hit!
The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz
My kids love animals, so this book was an easy choice for us. All of the animals have distinct personalities, so they are wonderful to imagine and explore. This tale of adventure takes some unexpected twists and turns – a pig who wants to be a sled dog? – and it moves briskly along, with the kids wanting to know what happens next. It also puts forth the idea that we can be what we imagine ourselves to be, and I think we can all identify with not wanting to be pigeon-holed in life. It’s important for the kids to hear that if it’s something you want or believe in, then it’s worth fighting for. Just a great read!
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
This was an exquisite book, and one of my personal favorites. The story itself is captivating for children with enough adventure to keep them engaged, and it all unfolds quite beautifully. There are tales told by different characters. We enjoyed figuring out how these stories intertwined and what they all meant. My boys and I would pause and talk about the decisions the main character makes and whether they would do the same. It is an enchanting story, and the drawings and the actual weight of the paper add to the magnificent story-telling and the ethereal nature of the book.
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
Warning! This book is the first in an eight-book series, and once we started, we couldn’t stop. We became involved with all of the characters and their myriad of unique magical powers. You can’t help but empathize with each kid as they strive to understand their magic and the benefit of being just a little bit different than the rest. I found this series to be entertaining, while dealing with everyday issues of children who feel like outsiders or who struggle for acceptance. Despite it being fantastical, the characters have authentic reactions to events. They learn that by working together and supporting each other, they can make a real community for themselves. My boys enjoyed picking out what their magic would be and which character they felt they identified most with.
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
If you’re a fan of books by Beverly Cleary, this first-in-a-series book is a great find. It is another slice of life book from the vantage point of a precocious 6 year old. What is amazing is the author writes Clementine so that you immediately identify with her, no matter what type of kid you were growing up. There is such an earnestness to this character, and my kids loved her antics – clearly some of her predicaments at school resonated with them. It is a cute book but also has some depth to it. We loved that she calls her little brother by a different vegetable name throughout the book because she feels it is unjust to be named after a fruit.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
You can never go wrong with Roald Dahl, and this book is a real peach. (Wink, wink!) My kids loved this book because they found it so satisfying that the bad guys get what’s coming to them. Roald Dahl writes fantastic insect characters that have their own distinct and often humorous personalities. There are also a number of hair-raising escapades as the peach “flies” from England to New York that make the book exciting. A little off the wall and perfectly wonderful!