book series

10 Book-Based Movies Worth Watching

“The book was better” is a common mantra proudly proclaimed by bookworms everywhere. While this may be true, the movie version often has its merits. Not only that, a good story told is a good story told whether it comes to us via printed words or on a DVD.

If your young reader is a purist and the movie does not follow the book exactly, watching the movie version will probably end in disappointment. However, if you have a hard time convincing your young reader to pick up a book, watching the movie might be the motivator they need to get reading.

While I usually try to read the book first, most of the movies on this list I watched, loved, discovered they were based on a book and then read the book. When I watch a movie after I’ve read the book I try to keep an open mind. I don’t mind if the movie departs from the book or adds new plot twists, as long as it keeps the feel of the book. Every once in a while the book has been the disappointment. (Mary Poppins is one example that comes to mind. I love the movie so much, and the book just didn’t come close.)

11-year-old Girl Seeking Books with a Hook

Ava is an eleven-year-old girl who loves to read. She loves reading because it takes her into new worlds and occupies her mind. There are so many different stories to read and learn from; she loves to discover them. When she’s not reading, Ava likes to play games and play soccer.

When looking for a good book, Ava especially likes fantasy and realistic fiction. The Harry Potter series is one of her very favorites; she has read them more than once. She stays away from graphic novels because they don’t interest her and feel harder to read.

Ava has no problem abandoning a book if it doesn’t keep her interest or is hard to understand. If you are a kid looking for a good book, Ava recommends that you ask your siblings, parents, grandparents and friends for recommendations.

I am excited to give Ava a few personalized picks. To help me help her, I asked Ava to share three of her favorite books and one she was not so crazy about. Here are her favorites:

A Book List of Mysteries for All Ages

Mysteries are the perfect type of book to read on a cold and blustery fall or winter night. If your child loves the thrill of following clues along with the danger and suspense that literary detectives always encounter. I’ve got a list for you.

So get a fire going in the fireplace, grab a cozy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate, and dive into one of the following books.

Chapter Books for New Readers - a book list

When our kids learn to read, it is a big deal. Easy readers are a great and obvious place to start. Once our kids master the easy reader, it’s time to dip their toes into the wonderful world of chapter books.

There are a lot of series that help kids make this transition. Magic Tree House and June B. Jones come to mind. Short, entertaining and abundant these are the books that move our kids into the world of chapter books and independent reading.

Today’s list includes some of my recent discoveries in the beginner chapter book genre. These books are geared towards early readers, but they are all so good readers of any age can enjoy them. A few are stand alone books, a few are series. If you have a new reader, check them out and be sure to read along with your child. I know you will enjoy them too.

Mysterious, Classic, Scary and Sweet - a Fall booklist perfect for cold nights and cozy blankets

Fall is the perfect time for reading. The shorter days and colder nights drive us inside and create the ideal opportunity to snuggle up with a cozy blanket and a good book.

Yep, Autumn and reading go together like peanut butter and jelly, a classic combination.

There are certain genres of books that feel especially appropriate this time of year. Cold and gray outsides, make the insides extra cozy and the thought of diving into a thick book or classic work more inviting. Shorter days and longer evenings can be motivating to start a longer series of books. A spooky story or compelling mystery can be just the thing to set the mood for a late night read in bed while the wind howls outside the window.

Today’s list contains ideas and recommendations from all of these categories, making it a fairly diverse list. If you have a sensitive reader, some of these books might not be a good match. But, if your young reader enjoys the thrill of a scary story every once in awhile, I am excited to share some new discoveries.

Wherever your child falls on the spooky spectrum, I think today’s list has a little bit for everyone. Hopefully you will find the perfect book for your kids to dive into this Fall, to read on their own or to share together.

Epic Adventures and Where to Find Them

One of my favorite types of book to fall into include book series of epic proportions. I love stories that pull you into the long-standing battle of good verses evil along with tales of sacrifice, courage and doing hard things. 

There are a few obvious books that come to mind in this category. The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my all-time favorite series. The Lord the Rings is another. Hidden within the pages of these books are moments of profound insight and wisdom that have shaped my life. They hold scenes that I think of when I need a dose of courage in my real-life decisions. 

Of course, Harry Potter also falls into this category. This series is fully entertaining and so hard to put down. If your child gets lost in the first one, chances are he or she will want to keep reading to see how the saga ends. 

One thing I love even more than getting lost in an epic saga is watching a story pull my kids in hard. It is even better when that story leads to a request for the next book from the library ASAP.

If your kids love to get lost inside of an epic adventure or have never tried, this list is for you. Below are five series my kids and I have loved that might be good fits for your kids too. Some of them have profound insight and wisdom sprinkled inside (if you look for it), all of them are epic in nature with excellent stories at their heart. 

Quick Pick Books for When Your Kids Don't Know What to Read Next

Have you ever walked into your local public library with your kids determined to emerge well-stocked with armloads of books only to find yourselves overwhelmed and unsure what books to pluck from their overstuffed shelves?

Me too! 

With so many options, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what book to read next. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are 10 books (covering a variety of genres and ages) to give you some direction. The next time your kids feel library overload, see if they'd like to give one of these stories a try: 

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Smart, mysterious, witty and oh-so-fun, beware; if you pick up the first book of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, you won’t be able to stop until you’ve read them all. And, if you pick up The Mysterious Howling (and the subsequent 4 books of the series) fast enough you may finish just in time to join my anxious anticipation of the 6th and final book of the series, The Long-Lost Home.

With a Lemony Snicket meets Jane Austen kind of vibe that works in the best kind of way, this series is pretty great. There is no one quite like Miss Penelope Lumley and her incorrigible children of Ashton Place. She is ever so proper and quick to indulge in a grammatical lesson or two when the necessity arises. And as you can imagine, it does quite often. My girls loved reading these books and I did to. 

A Book is NEVER too Young, When You are Reading for Fun!

“I used to read these all the time when I was little,” she said as she handed me a “Who Was” book to check out. She said it as if she was a little embarrassed to be checking out a book she'd read as a 3rd grader now that she was coming to the end of her 5th grade year. 

“I thought it would be fun to read it again," she added with a shrug.

“Absolutely!” I said as I handed back the book, and I meant it from the bottom of my book-loving heart.

Nine-year-old girl seeks Classic Heroines

Alea is a smart, responsible and creative nine-year-old who is currently in 3rd grade. She is a reader. She loves getting lost in a story. She especially likes funny stories and books that help her learn what life was like “back then.” She does not appreciate it when characters use words like “OMG” and “What the heck?” When she’s not reading, Alea loves ballet, playing outside and snuggling with her mom. When asked if there was anything else she would like to say about books and reading, she gave the encouragement to “Read on!” She is my kind of girl. 

I am excited to give Alea a few personalized picks. To help me help her, I asked Alea to share three of her favorite books and one she was not so crazy about. Here are her favorites:

Author Focus: Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors. She is a storyteller extrodinaire. Her characters are rich. Her word choice is perfect. She captures emotion in a way that very few can. I haven’t read all of her books yet, but I have read most and each one is special.

My kids have also connected with her work. In fact, my most reluctant reader would say that two of her books are among his favorites. Her books are some of my favorites to recommend. If you or your young reader are looking for something to read, you can’t go wrong with a Kate DiCamillo book.

Below are some of my favorites. 

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:

Eleven-year-old Boy Seeking Page-Turning, True-to-Life Stories

Drew is a eleven-year-old boy who loves to be outdoors. Some of his favorite things include:  nerf wars, exploring, rip-sticking and jumping on the trampoline. Drew doesn’t love reading, but he doesn’t hate it either. As his mom says, “he is growing in his like of it.” A slower reader by nature, Drew’s favorite books draw him in right away with a strong hook. He leans towards nonfiction and historical fiction and if a book looks too big or has too small of print he has a hard time starting it. 

Drew’s mom asked me for a few personalized picks. To help me help him, I asked Drew to share three of his favorite books and one he was not so crazy about. Here are his favorites:

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.