Book List for Kids

Quick Picks: What I've Been Reading

You know that feeling when you finish a good book and you just want to tell someone about it?  I've got that feeling! They are books that don't quite fit any of the upcoming book lists that will be appearing on the blog. But, I can't wait to share them... so I won't. 

Below are four books I read over the past month and had to share now.

Superb Series for Early Chapter Book Readers (geared towards girls, but gratifying for all)

The Rainbow Fairies and The Rescue Princesses were some of the first series my girls grabbed and read with gusto. I can’t say I was sad when she finally moved on from the Rainbow Fairy books (how many slight variations can you make from the same exact plot!), but I am thankful for the part they played in her love of reading. 

The more books in a series the better when your child has just begun to work up their reading mojo. It makes the question of what to read next a lot easier to answer. So, if you are on the lookout for a series of books for your new and improving reader, fear not, there are numerous options outside the obvious and forevers like Boxcar ChildrenMagic Tree House, and Junie B. Jones. And while these series are great, having stood the test of time, if they don’t capture your kid, or they’ve already been read, here are six more options to pursue. 

Quick Picks AKA What My Kids Are Reading

As I have been blessed with a large passel of kids with a variety of ages, interests, and reading levels, I thought I’d do a “quick pick” list inspired by them. Below are the books my kids are currently reading. If you are looking for ideas for your young reader, maybe one these books will interest them.

3 Fun Series for Puzzle-Loving Kids

As books go, there are your run-of-the mill mysteries in which a crime or problem of some nature needs solving and the reader follows along as the hero or heroine goes about solving it. And then, there are those books that engage the reader in a more personal way, offering up the puzzles for them to solve alongside the characters within the story in which they are engaged. 

The Mysterious Benedict Society does this (which is one of the reasons my daughter loves it), so I went on a search to find more.

After a bit of sleuthing, I found some! The following book series will engage your child's detective skills and are just plain fun to try to figure out while you read along. The writing is not amazing in a few of these series (that is the literary snob coming out in me), but the puzzles are abundant and the books are, simply put, fun to read. (That is, if you like that sort of thing My dear Watson.)

If you have a puzzle-loving kid, you might want to give the following series a try:

Two Books to Peruse for President's Day

It’s Presidents day, which stands out to me mostly as a day of no school. But, as it was set up as a day to celebrate George Washington’s birthday (which is offically on February 22) and Lincoln’s too (February 12), I will support the decision to take off school, close down banks and give our postal workers a much deserved day of rest. 

In honor of our first president and the many that followed, I have two fun books you might want to check out.

10 Books to Celebrate and Learn from Black History

February is Black History month, and in my mind there is no better way to learn about and from history than through the power of story. From slavery to the civil rights movement, African Americans in our country have walked a road marked with hate and injustice. That said, I am reminded of a quote by Fred Rogers:  When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

It's true. In the midst of tough and scary things, there are always helpers; and in the darkest times of African American history in our country, there were bold and brave, multi-colored helpers. 

Obviously, racial issues are still a struggle today. Reading stories of others who stood up to hate or were the target of it builds compassion in our kids. It opens the door to conversations that need to happen in our homes and in the larger world abroad. I hope this list of books is one that will help all of us seek to understand, help us to remember the past, and inspire us to continue to work towards healing and compassion in the future.  

Guest Post: 10 Books Every Child Should Read Before Leaving Elementary School

My sister recently asked me if I had to pick 10 books every child should read before they leave elementary school, what would they be. While I have a few ideas, I immediately thought the ideal person to answer this question would be a school librarian. So I asked ours. The list he gave me is fantastic and I am excited to share it with you.

Inspiring Biographies for Black History Month

Black History Month began this week. In an effort to celebrate the contributions and beautiful color so many African Americans have added to our country I thought I’d highlight a few inspiring biographies I’ve discovered over the years. I hope these are titles that will connect with your kids, engage their hearts, and inspire them to learn more about these amazing people who have impacted our country in big ways. 

8 World War II Book Recommendations for Kids

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to accompany my daughter on a field trip to a Holocaust museum. As to be expected, it was a sobering experience. I remember our guide telling us there were three kinds of people participating in the events of that time; corroborators, bystanders, and up-standers. The corroborators aligned themselves with Hitler and helped him carry out his work. Bystanders, didn’t necessarily align themselves with Hitler, but they did nothing to stop him and nothing to help. Up-standers, on the other hand took a stand for what was right and worked in small or big ways to make a difference. 

Over the past few months I have been reading a variety of books set against the backdrop of World War 2. The following list of book recommendations follow characters that experienced this historical period from many different perspectives and locations. These stories are filled with tales of up-standers. Some are more subtle than others, but all offer us lessons to learn from. In my opinion, lessons wrapped up in a good story oftentimes make the biggest impact, help us to remember, and maybe spur us on to make a difference in our own time and place.

If you are looking for Historical Fiction (plus one nonfiction) set against the backdrop of World War 2, below are eight-ish suggestions, separated by setting.

Engaging Stories for Early Chapter Book Readers (geared towards boys; enjoyable for all)

My Weird School, Roscoe Riley, and Stink will always have a special place in my heart. They were the series that started my boy readers on the path to reading for fun. 

The more books in a series the better when your child is in the early stages of building up their reading mojo. It makes the question of what to read next a lot easier to answer. If you are on the lookout for a series of books for a new and improving reader, fear not, there are numerous options outside the obvious and forevers like Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House, and Junie B. Jones. These series are classics, having stood the test of time (relatively speaking). But, if they don’t capture your kid, or they’ve already been read, below are six more options to explore. 

Inspiring Biographies for Kids

There are people in this world who have lived amazing lives and done amazing things, literally changing the world for the better. Some accomplished this in big and famous ways; others made their impact flying under the radar of public awareness. Regardless of how they did it, a life well-lived is an inspiring thing. We all want our kids to grow up to be productive members of society and make an impact for good. What better way to inspire them, than sharing stories about real people who did just that? 

Below is a list of three biographies (including one series of biographies, so really a whole lot more) that have made an impact on our family.

Boxed Sets (aka Series) of Books your Kids Should Read (and own)

I love it when a book captures my kids’ imagination and they don’t want to put it down. I love it even more, when that book is part of a series. It makes the answer to the inevitable question “What should I read next?” so much easier to answer. A great series of books is a wonderful thing. And, since it's the holiday season and I have gift-giving on the brain, if there is a set of books your child already loves, or one you want to introduce them to, a boxed set might be the perfect gift. 

Books are my love language and I will freely admit I purchase them too freely. In my defense, favorite books are like old friends; I want to keep them around. If, however, you need a better reason for investing in a boxed set of good stories, here are a few: 

My favorite Christmas Picture Books

Every year around Thanksgiving, I pull a basket filled with books out of my closet. The books are our collection of Christmas stories and picture books that are only made available to read once a year. Most of the books are classics; their titles wouldn’t surprise you, but each one is special and hints at its own kind of Christmas magic. It brings me joy to see my kids sit next to this box throughout the Christmas season reading one of it’s treasures. 

Out of our current Christmas picture book collection, below is a list of my five favorites (most classic, one new) along with the kind of magic they inspire. 

A Book List for Dog Lovers who want the Dog to Live On.

There is nothing quite like a good dog story. Dogs are loyal and love unconditionally. They help their owners through tough times. They follow their kids everywhere and love them well. The problem is, so many of these books end with a dead dog. I will freely admit that I love a good cry at the end of a well-told story, but sometimes you just want to read about a dog who survives to love on. You want to close the book with warm fuzzies instead of cold, wet tears.  If you or your child can identify with this sentiment, the following list of dog stories is for you. 

A Book List for the Newest of New Readers

One of the most exciting milestones is listening to your child read a book out loud to you for the first time. Finding the right books at this age (books that make them feel like they can do this reading thing) can be an important way to encourage a love of reading in your child. 

To put together such a list, I contacted a few experts...

A Wonder-like Book List (AKA Books that Inspire Kindness and Looking Beyond the Outward Appearance)

Have you read Wonder? In my world, the book is showing up everywhere. My book club read it over the summer. Teachers have been reading it to my kids in school. I often see it displayed prominently in book stores and libraries. And while the extra attention might have something to do with the movie (starring Julie Roberts and Owen Wilson) that is set to release into theaters on November 17th, this book is making an impact for a much better reason:  It's a well told story that inspires kindness in it's readers. If you or your kids haven’t read it, grab yourselves a copy and dig in!