I think that reading is cool again. That's a huge relief to me because I like to be a little cool and I like to read; and I really wanted my kids to love reading it the way that I do. But it is hard to be a reader when the messages all around you are that reading is for dweebs.
I don't think that I could have gotten through my elementary years without Anne of Green Gables who taught me it was okay to love words and be a little different -- and introduced me to my first pretend boyfriend: Gilbert (sigh). The Phantom Tollbooth put images and words to emotions and predicaments in such a real way that I still use the examples.
There is a plethora of choice out there when it comes to books. This list is a great start (we have read almost everything on it) but a knowledgeable bookseller or librarian who will work with your kid to find the right book is indispensable. The magic that happens when a kid finds "the book" cannot be duplicated by any screen.
So what holds a special place on our bookshelves? (Note: the list changes weekly)
I will always be indebted to Harry Potter for teaching my boys that being good is difficult and a flawed hero who chooses to fight for good is the best kind of hero. Harry also made reading cool for boys worldwide so he will get top spot forever more.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface hold a special place because it was the first book that my then 8-year-old son picked up himself and read to himself because he couldn't wait for the next day. This was after us fretting about his inexplicable inability to read. After that came the Warriors series by Erin Hunter, which I made fun of because they didn't meet my snobbish standards. But by the time my son read his 30th in the series, I had come to love them as I realized that for young readers series give them a sense of security. And once he had tackled the entire series he felt ready to take on more challenging works.
My almost 5-year-old demands sweet Chrysanthemum almost every night.I try and instill a love of rhyme and nonsense into her by reading Mother Goose and the Big Book of Poetry compiled by Bill Martin jr. Most 5-year-olds are full of nonsense so that isn't too much of a stretch.
What are your favourite children's books? Which books do you remember most?