I’m always looking for good books to read to my 6 and 8 year old boys. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my father reading to me at night. He always read in funny voices and chose books that sparked imagination. I remember describing what we thought Willie Wonka looked like, long before Johnny Depp and Tim Burton put their modern spin on it.
Maybe that’s why reading to my boys (ages 12, 8 and 6) is important to me. Ever since they were babies, I have been building a library and trying to steer them towards the classics like Big Red Barn, Make Way for Ducklings, and Charlotte’s Web. But sometimes your vision of your relationship with your kids does not mesh with reality. They are their own people with strong opinions, and one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is how to let them be who they are, even if it means I have to read books about Dora, Star Wars, and Captain Underpants 7,000 times.
My oldest son, Jacob, is 12 and has not wanted to read with me since he was about 8, and able to take on chapter books without help. I mourned that shared time together when he told me he preferred to read on his own, and figured my younger boys would feel the same when they hit that age. So I was practically giddy when I realized my almost 9-year old, Aden, still loves to cuddle up to hear a story.
Six-year-old Eli likes to listen as well but his attention wanes more, especially since most of the books we read now have few pictures. He will wander in and out of the story but I’m always surprised by how much he retains.
I should tell you all my boys are little jocks and prefer to play, watch, and talk about sports ad nauseum, so they are much more likely to handle a ball than a book. But I require them to read at least three or four times a week and get great satisfaction when my kids read fiction. We have compiled a terrific reading list this year that will appeal to both girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 9.
Consider this the beginning of my Carpool Candy Reading List. I hope to add to it whenever we take on a book that makes my kids ask to stay up late to read “just one more chapter.”
Because of Winn Dixie/Kate DiCamilo
One of my all-time fav stories about a lonely girl new to a small southern town who’s looking to make connections with people and is helped by a stray dog. After you read the book, rent the movie, which we loved too.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane/Kate DiCamilo
I know it’s the same author but she’s so nice you must read her twice. Actually, more than twice because most of her books are excellent. This one is about a stuffed rabbit who gets lost and passed on from one kid owner to another, learning what it is to love. (Caution: keep a hanky handy!)
The Invention of Hugo Chabret/Brian Selznick
A suspenseful story illustrated with beautiful drawings. Hugo is a young orphan living on his own in a Paris train station in the 1930’s. As all his secrets unfold– despite his lies and petty theft– you can’t help but root for him and his will to survive and follow his dreams.
Sometimes I don’t have the energy for a long chapter and just want to get to the couch, the DVR and the cookies waiting for me downstairs. These very short stories are great for kids who love animals, and they’re usually a little twisted, which makes them fun. They have also sparked interesting discussions about morals.
Please comment on the kids reading list and add your favorite books and the ages of your kids. I’d love to get some new recommendations. Happy reading!