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We are very enthusiastic about books and reading in our home, and we don’t read just any book that comes along.
I’ve always read aloud to my children from infancy, never assuming they don’t know what I’m saying just because there are words they don’t say or that we don’t use commonly or that I haven’t specifically defined for them. Children (and all people) pretty easily pick up the general meaning of new words just by the context surrounding them. In fact, it’s the best way to introduce new words, because it becomes familiar and normal rather than isolated.
Children also pick up the story you are reading, and this is why I choose books with historical, moral, or innocence value. Some books are just innocently fun, like just about any book by Arnold Lobel. Others are historically fascinating, like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And of course all books are written with some worldview or another in mind, and I need to choose those which fit into our worldview to pass on to my future generations.
There are some great books to be found, as well as not so great books. There is a lot of, well, “twaddle”, as Charlotte Mason would call it. I think the way the word sounds pretty much sums up what it means. Useless, amusing filler. Therefore, I really appreciate when others put together lists of books they have personally enjoyed. I really want to give you a list (in no particular order) of just a few books on our shelves that have been favorites at story-time.
I advocate staying within your budget! Many of these books may be found at your local library, used bookstore, or thrift stores. Just look around. Your library may have an online database you can search from home.
My children are currently ages 5, 3 and 9 months. These are the books they enjoy:
I spotted this book at a garage sale–in with the dozens of other books destined for the trash heap. I’ve always heard Charlotte’s Web referred to as a classic but had never turned the pages myself or even known what the story was about–until now. Last fall I read this book aloud to my children (then 4 and 2), and we all thoroughly enjoyed it! My children have no problem sitting quietly through the reading of this book and are actually the ones who will set it in my lap, eager to listen. This is a fairly long chapter book with few, albeit delightful, illustrations.
I got this book from the library and was planning on it lasting a while as it is another chapter book. However, my son (3) really, really wanted to get to the part where it talks about the bears (he looked ahead at the pictures), which isn’t until the end. So, we all sat down and went through the book… it took half an hour. Yes, they sat through it, and they loved it, and they wanted to do it again…
This book is one of my all-time favorites. Just read it, and you’ll know why. It is a fun, lighthearted story we all enjoy. Our children get a kick out of it, and my husband and I laugh to ourselves every time. Read about how these pigs turn hearts of stone soft again with Stone Soup.
My parents read this book to me when I was a little girl, and I loved it then! Though this book comes in a paperback, I highly recommend investing in the library binding. The paperback I purchased for our family has been loved to pieces. When my daughter was a little over one year old, my husband and I had read this to her so many times that when she requested it while laying her in the crib at night, we could recite it to her from memory. Owl At Home is my children’s number one story-time favorite (four years running).
Two years ago, we first borrowed from the library and read The Little House (not to be confused with the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder). The book was so delightful, I was eager to see if the author had written any other stories and found this collection on Amazon. My son brings this book to me almost every story time. His requests go back and forth between Katy and Mike Mulligan, and when it’s not one of those, it is…
If you and your children ever visit the Sacramento Train Museum (or any other cool train museums), then I recommend having this cute book about a “naughty runaway engine” waiting at home for your little ones.
We received this hand-me-down from some new friends at our church, and it is so cool! I’m not a fan of Mother Goose, I’ll tell you that right now; but a Christian version? This is very well done. Done well enough to turn a book (Mother Goose) I won’t let into my house into a family favorite.
Last for this list, a bedtime favorite board book with beautiful illustrations..
I have the board book because that is what I found at the thrift store, and I really like how well it holds up, but it also comes in paperback and hardcover.