What We’ve Read

I thought I’d follow up my read aloud post with a list of some of the many books we’ve shared as a family, and a few more words on the approach we’ve taken to choosing what we read.

Some parents who are passionate about reading to their kids have strong feelings about choosing only the best of literature to read aloud. I get this. Reading aloud is a great investment of time and energy, and a compelling argument can be made for only expending those resources on what will teach and edify. However, I have discovered that I treat our read-aloud choices a lot like I treat our diet. The backbone of our home library are books with solid “nutritional” value–  powerful language, meaningful themes and strong characters. And then there are the occasional treats, the Junie B Jones that makes us laugh so hard we can’t see the page, or the Bad Kitty book brought home from the library and read dramatically, with a wary eye toward our own sleeping feline.

These are the bit of chocolate now and then, and they are fun.

These kinds of decisions, about what to read and how to regulate the tone of the overall “book diet” are as individual as so many other family choices. My boys are fine with the suspense in the 39 Clues books and the danger of the Wingfeather saga, but they do not want me to read them a book where a beloved dog (or other animal) dies at the end.

We have begun books only to abandon them, unfinished, when we were not engaged with story or characters. We’ve found wonderful surprises in books we did not expect to like, and discovered that a book can be great devoured alone but a lackluster read aloud. And in times of stress or sadness, there are a few books we return to and read aloud again for the comforting atmosphere they create.

I wish I’d kept a list of every read aloud we’ve enjoyed, with the boys’ reviews, but all I have are our own bookshelves and some jotted titles of the many library books we’ve enjoyed. Below is my list, but I’m always looking for our next great shared story.

This list is clearly incomplete, (picture me slapping my forehead repeatedly over the rest of the day, remembering titles I’ve not included), and in no particular order. When a book is the first of several, we have usually read the whole series, with the exception of Harry Potter and the 39 Clues, which the boys have gone on to complete on their own. Other books the boys have loved (I’m looking at your blue spines, Hardy Boys) do not make stellar read-alouds.

But these are the ones that have stayed with me, that rise with their talking mice and mysterious doors and wooded paths and windswept prairies in my mind’s eye like old friends. But better even than these transporting images are the ones I’ve peered over their pages toward–  my boys; faces, alive to story.

Happy reading!


7 thoughts on “What We’ve Read

  1. kristinblankenship

    Little House books were amongst my favorite read alouds as a teacher. In fact, read aloud time was one of my favorite times of the school day! At home, we do most of our reading aloud before bed…We love the Henry Huggins and Ramona books here, as my Emma embodies Ramona’s feisty spirit! Ben’s favorites, so far, have been Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and Ralph Mouse…He also gets quite a kick out of the Bad Kitty series:)

    1. adailyportion Post author

      What would we have done without Beverly Cleary?

      The Little House books are our comfort books. We’ve read Farmer Boy aloud about three times, and I’m not sure we won’t do it again!

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Thanks Aimee! It is hard, in a way, do do a list, because each family’s boundaries and loves and sensitivities are so different, but these are the books we’ve had fun with, in the case of 39 Clues and Junie B, or really lived in, like the Wingfeather Saga. (What, you mean the lost isle of Anniera isn’t real?? 🙂

      Sending love to you– hope today has more smiles and less laundry!

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Love YOU– as always, your mileage may vary. 🙂 I really think since Justin was good with HP, it is time for the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Mercy– I truly envy you– to experience those for the first time.

  2. beth lehman

    Great list – those are all on our list of bests, too! My husband is currently reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy to our three – that’s their time. I am reading some E. Nesbit to them right now – wordy, but good. The Enchated Castle. I’ve also loved reading anything by Richard Peck (Down Yonder series) and Elizabeth Enright.


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