photo: Annie Spratt
In honor of January 30th being a milestone birthday for me, I'm going to write an article close to my heart about books.
I believe that because my children didn't have tv growing up, it created a large space for books to become a very important part of their lives. As many families do, we read together and entered these worlds hand in hand. Now in their tween/teen stages, I'm happy to report books are still a vital part of their lives. The following books had a profound impact on not just them, but on me as well.
We are all aware of the favorites; Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Dr. Seuss, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Here are a few you may have missed. My son insisted I include a description of Harry Potter as well...just in case you are on the fence about it.
A Few of My All-Time Favorite Children's Books:
The Boy Who Grew Flowers
This book is about anyone who has ever felt like an outcast. Meet Rink, whose family looks like a set of odd-balls. And he has a secret of his own. This book is incredibly touching and will pull at your heartstrings. The illustrations are breathtaking. What if Rink doesn't just make a special friend, but also finds love? Expect to hear the inevitable "Again, Mommy!"
Prince Peter and the Teddy Bear
Is Prince Peter ever going to receive what his heart needs...a fluffy teddy bear? And so, this story of nobles begins in a castle where there also lives a King and Queen. The moral of the story teaches there is no age limit in learning how to love.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
What a journey it is. I have chills as I think back to this story about a haughty bunny and his odyssey that takes him around the world. There is as much pain and suffering here as there is in Dickens. And yet, there is also much hope and joy, as his journey also leads him to redemption.
The Magician's Elephant
There is much lyrical verse, magic, drama, and humor in this powerhouse of a book. Orphan Peter sets off to find his sister and meets unexpected characters such as a Fortune Teller and an Elephant! Told with humor and suspense, this story will have you guessing until the final pages.
Redwall is a long-running series about woodland animals who populate an abbey. Perhaps for middle graders and older, as the books are fairly complex, with a large line of continuity. The characters in the abbey are constantly involved in battles and wars and the series ran for twenty plus books. The books all serve up a healthy dose of adventure and bonds and are known for their descriptions of food, so make sure to have snacks on hand. Be warned, however, as the books do contain and broach complex subjects like death and mourning.
The Magic Treehouse books are about siblings who find a magical treehouse and go on adventures through history. There are incredible quantities of these books, almost a hundred, and they serve as an excellent introduction to chapter books.
Land of Stories
The Land of Stories series is a series about a brother and sister who get sucked into a magical land of fairy tales. These books place an excellent spin on classic fairytale characters and they emphasize a bond between siblings.
The big one! If your kids haven't read Harry Potter yet, they're missing a huge phenomenon. While the books eventually get more difficult and more adult, they will naturally track with your child's maturity. It's a coming of age story for the ages, and it demonstrates that family, love, and friendship triumph above all.
The Thief Lord
The Thief Lord is a book about a child thief who helps and shelters two orphan kids in Venice. The book is good for kids in that it's written gorgeously. The characters are fully rounded. And since it's a novel there's no need to buy extra parts of a series.
I hope you enjoyed my birthday gift to you!