Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
-On CD for the car, there is a wonderful series with titles like Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, and Vivaldi’s Ring of Fire. They bring composers and their music to kids in a series of fun stories.
The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes, also Ginger Pye by the same author
Edward Eager: Half-Magic series
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
EB White: Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan, etc. (grown-ups should read One Man’s Meat)
Anything Jan Brett, but most especially her rendering of The Owl and the Pussycat.
Mrs. Coverlet series
Henry Reed series by Keith Robertson!!!
Henry Huggins, Ramona the Pest, and that whole series by Beverly Cleary
Also by Beverly Cleary: The Mouse and the Motorcycle series
Poetry by Shel Silverstein
Anything Robert McCloskey, especially Burt Dow, Homer Price, and Time of Wonder (look for The Robert McCloskey Video Library, too)
Anything Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline for kids, but did you know he wrote some great adult books too? Try Hotel Splendide or Bonne Table to start)
Brave Irene by William Steig still chokes me up it’s so wonderful
Miss Rumphius and Island Boy by Barbara Cooney
Dahlov Ipcar: Lobsterman and Hardscrabble Harvest
Ben and Me: An astonishing life of Benjamin Franklin
Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner
The Indian in the Cupboard series
The Phantom Tollbooth!!!
Anything Roald Dahl - On tape don’t get any read by the author because he’s a terribly monotonous reader.
The Great Quillow by James Thurber
All the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There is so much to learn from them, and the kids have been fascinated since about age 7.
The Swallows & Amazons series by Arthur Ransome, good for read-alouds beginning age 4 depending on your kids. The books are definitely 1930s British so you’ll have to take on a bit of girls’ roles vs. boys’ and some references to alcohol, smoking, and racism as if acceptable, but all in all a great, harmless adventure series (13 350-page books!) that will keep you occupied for a year of read-alouds, a chapter or two a night. You need to read these before your kids are old enough to be bothered that one of the characters’ names is Titty (she’s based on a real person named Letitia or something).
Also by Ransome: Old Peter’s Russian Tales
My Side of the Mountain and its sequels
Dragonrider and The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. Your kids will want to go on to anything else by her, but a warning that the Inkheart series, while fascinating, is dark and violent. Some kids are okay with that, others not, but definitely wait until they’re older and rediscover it on their own.
The Old Man Mad About Drawing
Three Samurai Cats
The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck
The Great Brain series
Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lindgren
The Incredible Journey - the book is way better than the movies
D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
The Pushcart Wars by Jean Merrill - a neat (and hilarious) tale about how life's little injustices can turn big, how citizen unrest can lead to all-out revolution, and how cohesive action, non-violent protest, and negotiation can lead to a better kind of peace.
Misty of Chincoteague series by Marguerite Henry (if your kid is horsey, anything Marguerite Henry will do)
Frances Hodgson Burnett classics: A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, etc.
Love, Ruby Lavender
Each Little Bird that Sings
Any Eyewitness book (non-fiction, on various subjects)
David Macauley: The Way Things Work, Castle, Underground, Unbuilding, etc.
For older kids, 4th grade and up, in no particular order (pace yourselves, and read reviews):
The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. These should be heard on tape first because the unwieldy Welsh-styled names will turn you off to reading them.
Also by Lloyd Alexander, The Arcadians
The Westing Game
Harriet the Spy
A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, experiences from the Dust Bowl written in verse
A Wrinkle in Time and Many Waters by Madeleine l’Engle - beautifully read on tape/CD by the author
Five Children and It and The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and sequels
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Saturday by EL Konigsburg
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
The Alchemyst trilogy by Michael Scott
City of Ember series
Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
A Cricket in Times Square
The People of Pineapple Place
Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Lost on a Mountain in Maine (4th grade is good for this) by Donn Fendler
Stowaway by Karen Hesse - do as a read-aloud for as young as 3rd grade, with parental guidance on the alcohol and abuse aboard 18th century British ships - a young boy stows away on a ship that turns out to be the Endeavour, with Captain Cook heading out on his first Pacific journey
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three, and The Calder Game by Blue Balliet (mystery/adventure involving pieces of art and the lives of artists)
Newfound Land by Allan Wolf: a chronicle of Lewis and Clark’s expedition from the points of view of various participants, including Sacajawea and the Newfoundland dog
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Black Book of Secrets - very Dickensian, but more accessible to younger readers than Dickens himself
Speaking of Dickens: David Copperfield (the made-for-TV movie stars a very young Daniel Radcliffe in the title role)
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - there is a lot of Christian allegory which you can address or ignore
Comic series for older kids: Asterix and Obelix, Calvin & Hobbes, TinTin- warnings about drunkenness and brawling
Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery
Greene Knowe series (best on tape)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
The Sword in the Stone and The Once and Future King by TH White
Hoot, Flush, and Scat by Carl Hiaasen
The Mysterious Benedict Society series
Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
Jules Verne: Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days, etc.
JRR Tolkein if you’re into it, you either love it or you hate it
Bert and I and Other Stories
Horatio Hornblower series by CS Forrester for advanced readers 5th grade and up who are into adventure on the high seas. They’ll probably stop after the first one, but they’ll have enjoyed it thoroughly and will pick it up again when they’re older. Tris read it and says, “It was really good. They swear a LOT.”
Biographies of explorers, adventurers, activists, scientists, and inventors, for example Alexander Graham Bell, Shackleton, Nansen, Joan of Arc, Edison, Amundsen, Amelia Earhart, suffragettes, Gandhi, Darwin, Cook, etc.
Mad Science: Experiments you can try at home, but probably shouldn’t, by Theo Gray, Popular Science columnist
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Hi everyone. I'm hoping for your input. Together with my kids, I've pulled together a list of books we've thoroughly enjoyed over the elementary and middle school years. I'm wondering how best to present this list to you parents for you to use as a resource and add to. It's too long to take up space on the blog. What do you think? Please, please use the comments section to respond to our posts! We're getting pretty lonely out here in the blogosphere.
For those of you who just don't know what will happen to you if you push that comments button, here's a rundown: There will be a little box for you to type in your comments. When you're done, click on Publish Comment. You will be asked how you want to comment. You can either enter your gmail login or click on Anonymous. You may then be asked to retype a warped set of numbers and/or letters. I really don't know what purpose that serves, but if you just do it, your comment will appear on the blog. We will not have any of your personal information, your personal information will not appear in any form, just your comment. Really. Even I do it and everyone knows I'm a big technochicken. Be brave! We want to hear from you.