January 6, 2015

What are you reading?

We just finished Judy Blume's Tale of a Fourth Grade Nothing, SuperFudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge.  I highly recommend these classic chapter books.  They were perfect for my 5 1/2 and 7 1/2 year old boys.  (Note:  Several chapters in SuperFudge need to be skipped over if your child still enjoys Santa Claus.)

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find books that all three of us can agree on.  Liam wants to read about Teenage Ninja Turtles, Henry wants to read Captain Underpants and I still want to read the works of Cynthia Rylant and Doreen Cronin.  Sometimes we open up a Magic Treehouse book (we're on #19) and currently, we are enjoying a Geronimo Stilton tale before bed time.  (For now, the color illustrations and my silly voices keep their interest when the story line is less than riveting.  We're not talking Newberry Award here.)

I continue to search for quality literature that holds all of our interests and yet preserves the innocence of childhood.  As I search our local library, Amazon and Half.com, I sometimes feel like Goldilocks.  This book is too abstract, that one has no illustrations, this one has frightening magical creatures, that one's humor is too crude...

Don't get me wrong, I have no wish to censor what the boys choose to read.  Of course, I want them to read for pleasure--reading for the sake of reading and getting lost in a story.  A big part of that is having free and full choice to pick your own titles.  I let them do that.  Even if it's a cringe-worthy series like Captain Underpants.  But then there's the time we spend together, reading (or listening to) a good story.  What makes a good story?  We have three very different answers to that.

As the boys get older and further along in elementary school, it becomes even more important to me that we share books at bed time as well as during our long, daily commute.  In some ways, books on cd in the car are an easier "sell" because I have a captive audience.  I can get the boys to listen to a thirty year old Beverly Cleary novel that has no pictures.  Within three or four "pages" they are hooked on the story and beg me to turn it on as soon as we get in the car.

Finding the right book to share as a family can be difficult and time-consuming.  Yet when the three of us share an adventure within the chapters of an old classic or newly published story, I know it was well worth my effort to find just the right one.

Which books do you enjoy as a family?


  1. I am really looking forward to this age with my boys, when I can read novels with them. I've had a friend recommend Ivan the Great, which I also heard about on NPR, but Finn isn't quite old enough for it yet.

    Books I remember as a kid that may possibly be the right age for your boys now: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards, Mrs. Piggle-wiggle stories, The Secret Garden (I wonder if boys would enjoy it as much as I did?), Fat Men from Space by Daniel Pinkwater and The Mushroom Planet books.

  2. We've been reading Tashi. I'm not sure how that would do with those ages as J is nearly 4 but we read one story a night from the Really Big Big book (the compilation is called something like that). Magic Tree house series is on our list as well.

  3. We're still on the storybook phase. I am looking forward to reading E novels by C.S.Lewis, Harry Potter etc but I think we're a few years off for that. I have hope tho because her attention span is extending.