so we’ll always remember

Lu with James and the Giant Peach_

For the past couple of weeks, Lucy and I  have been reading James and the Giant Peach, one of my very favorite books. Danny and I lie down with her in the evening, on either side of her on her big bed, and read her books, back and forth, until her eyes start to flutter close. We kiss her on the cheeks and tip toe out the door toward our evening.

She has a great many favorite books these days. There was no guarantee that she would love James and the Giant Peach, especially when the big book of princess stories always sits next to the bed. To my great delight, Lucy has been loving the book.

I know that she also loves how much I love reading the book to her. This past weekend, we spent a couple of days at the ocean. Last-minute decision, cheap clean hotel with a kitchen, pack your bags, let’s go. Lu packed her own suitcase for the weekend, with her daddy’s help. At the hotel, as we were settling in, she ran up to me and said, “When I was packing, I thought, ‘My mama loves reading James and the Giant Peach to me. I’m going to surprise her and bring it!'” And with that, she showed me the book. Oh, this little one.

And as I read it to her, there is the memory of those magic words, the ache of James’ loneliness in that house on top of the hill, the squelch of the peach as it rolls over Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, and the bravery James gathers from being with the first and best friends of his life. I remember certain images from that book as though they were from my own childhood. And then there is the present moment, reading those words to Lucy, hearing as an adult how dark and hard this book is, and not flinching from reading her the hard parts, since they will elicit a stream of questions I can try to answer for her, questions about mean people and loneliness and karma and resilience. And there is also the imagining of what her memories will be of these words and how we shared them.

This morning, she came bounding into our room, singing as usual. Quickly, she realized we had not read James and the Giant Peach last night, since we were out so late. (Danny and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last night with a magnificent meal at The Walrus and the Carpenter, which I’ll tell you about soon. Our dear friend Laurie and her daughter Iris watched Lucy, treating her to ice cream and a walk around Capitol Hill in the evening.) And we were just about to finish the book! So she snuggled into the pillows with me, as Danny went downstairs to make coffee and create breakfast with us in the space of a kitchen to himself. I read the last few pages to her. When we reached the part where James introduces his friends to the people of New York with little poems about each, Lucy made up little songs about each character.

And there were tears streaming down my face as I read the part about James’ loneliness now dissipated with the visits of hundreds of children every day. Lu smiled and studied the drawing of the peach pit as home in the middle of Central Park.

Afterwards, we talked and talked about the book. And then she said, “Mama, you have to take a picture of me with the book, so we’ll always remember.”

And so we will.

Chapter books exploded into our lives the year she turned 4. I’m so excited about many, many more this year that she is 5. Lucy and Danny and I have loved Charlotte’s Web, Little House on the Prairie, Winnie the Pooh, and the Ivy and Bean books together.  I’d love to know the books you remember best from childhood, the ones you have been reading to your own children, or other’s people children, or the ones you hope to read to your children someday.

141 comments on “so we’ll always remember

  1. Megan

    At age 5-7 my kids loved the Littles, A Cricket in Times Square, Mouse and the Motorcycle… As a kid I remember my parents reading Shell Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends) to me- it definitely shaped my life and gave me a love for that sort of poetry! I also loved the entire Beezus and Ramona series! (child of the 70’s!)

    1. shauna

      Oh, I read Shel Silverstein to Lu almost every day! And oh, the Beezus and Ramona books. She might be ready for those.

      1. Kerrie N

        The Giving Tree by Shel SIlverstein holds such a special place in my heart. My Grandmother read it to me so often as a child and we had our own ‘giving tree’ on my walk home from school. This past winter I bought a new copy and had Grandma write an inscription in it for our 1 year old daughter. Now being so much older I read the book and connect my feelings for Grandma and the inevitable and tears stream down my face as well.

      2. Angela

        Ramona the Pest starts with Ramona starting kindergarten… so Lucy might be at the perfect age :)

  2. Kate N.

    “Sam Bangs and Moonshine” by Evaline Ness. It was a Caldecott winner back in the ’70’s. It’s not a chapter book, but it’s beautifully illustrated and has a good lesson about the differences between truth and fantasy. I still have my childhood copy and read it occasionally.

      1. Kate N.

        Hope you like it – your post made me go home and pull it off the shelf again! I love SO many of the books people have written about – there’s so many great books for kids but I still love many of them as an adult… something about re-reading something like “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” by Maurice Sendak brings back such great memories of being read to as a child.

        Teri Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air has interviewed a number of great children’s book authors – they are often fascinating storytellers live too.

      1. Christine

        I’ll second that! My daughter loves the Catwings books so much. I hope that Lucy does too!

  3. Noel

    My mom and I read together for a long time. Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden are two I remember most vividly.

  4. Katie

    I am a librarian (and teacher) and hope to be a mama someday. A few that I loved as read alouds as a 2nd grade teacher: You Read to Me, I’ll read to You. Goonie Bird Green. Encyclopedia Brown. Because of Winn Dixie.
    Ones that I remember from my childhood: Freckle Juice, Charlotte’s Web, Frog and Toad, Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing.

    1. Tammi

      Katie, I still remember my 2nd grade teacher reading Charlotte’s Web to me. Keep up the tradition!

  5. JackieD

    Oh books. My first love. Especially the Little House books!
    The ones I read over and over again:
    Matilda – Roald Dahl
    The Little Princess & The Secret Garden
    Abridged classics (with pictures):
    Little women
    Around the world in 80 days
    Black beauty

    1. Susie

      I second a Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Oh, Mistress Mary Quite Contrary! I still try to read them once every few years. The main characters in each book are deeply flawed yet open to change. The Secret Garden is especially wonderful if you and Lu garden together (all Mary desires in her big lonely life is ‘a bit of earth’).
      With Love

  6. Lizzy Hanley

    My goodness, this is beautiful! Lucy is going to have such sweet memories of her childhood. If I ever have children I would love to read “A Wrinkle in Time” with them, since Madeleine L’Engle’s writing has always been such a light for me. Oh, and “The Little Prince.” I’ve always loved that little book.

  7. crystalB

    Once I learned to read, no one read with me. But I loved lots of books. Still have my original copies if when pigs fly, phantom tollbooth, jeremy thatcher, boxcar kids. My 3yo loves the splat the cat books.

  8. Jess

    The Chronicles of Narnia-my parents read the whole series out loud to us on a road trip to California one summer. Might be for when she’s a little older. Also, the Boxcar Children, for a good introduction to the mystery genre. For when she’s 5, I second the LIttles, and also the Borrowers.

  9. Erin

    My 7-year-old and I have loved reading: The Mouse and His Child, all of the Frog and Toad books, all of the David Wiesner books, especially Sector Seven, and The Magician’s Elephant.

  10. sarahkeith

    I have very fond memories of my mama reading me The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe! I loved to read and devoured The Boxcar Children and the Anne of Green Gables series. Ahhhhh. Two other favorites that I think just about everyone should read are Juniper and Wise Child, both by Monica Furlong. LOVE.

  11. dänika

    Oh, this speaks right to my heart. Henry is nearly three, and settling down enough now that we can read long picture books together. I am so excited to share my favorite books with him, soon.

    The Boxcar Children series {I loved, loved, loved them when I was Lucy’s age}
    A Cricket in Times Square
    Mr. Popper’s Penguines
    Pippi Longstocking
    The Enormous Egg {Oliver Butterworth}
    The Castle in the Attic {Elizabeth Winthrop}
    Roller Skates {Ruth Sawyer}
    Thimble Summer {Elizabeth Enright}
    The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, & A Spiderweb for Two {Elizabeth Enright}

    Oh, you have so much fun in front of you!!

  12. Chelsea

    Oh, Shauna, James and the Giant Peach is still one of my very, very favorites, even at 30 years old. And it’s partly the book and the story itself, but partly (perhaps more) the memory of how it came into my life. I know this will make this a long comment, but I just have to share it with you, because the happiness that surrounds it is, for me, so strong, and I hope Lucy’s is as strong when she looks back on that photo and remembers.
    When I was 4 or 5, I spent the summer with my parents in a tent in Wyoming. My dad is a geologist and was doing field work for his PhD. As we left the campground on the last day, ready to make the 3 day drive back to New Jersey where we lived then, we passed an outcrop my dad had been working at a day or two earlier and spotted a small book with a yellow spine on the ground. It looked like one of my dad’s notebooks, so we pulled over. It wasn’t. It was a battered, library copy of James and the Giant Peach from somewhere in Illinois. We had never heard of it or of Roald Dahl, but in the days before car CD players (what wonderful days!), entertainment was entertainment. My dad read it to us while my mom drove, straight through, no previewing to see if it was “appropriate” or “G-rated” for young ears. He used the Centipede’s awful language, he chanted the songs, and for me, a small person in the back of a dirty Nissan, it was transporting. I was James inside the peach, on my way to a new adventure, waiting for friends and love and togetherness.
    Even today, when I fly, I look only half-facetiously for Cloud Men in the billows we jet through, and the first time I was in Central Park, as a recent college graduate, I hoped in the deepest corners of my hear t that we would round a corner and see the peach pit looming out at us, with James inside…

    1. shauna

      Oh Chelsea, this story made me cry! The power of stories and the people who share them with us. So lovely. Thank you.

  13. Sophia

    No kiddos of my own yet, but my great joy has been reading beloved books to the just-turned-five twin girls I take care of. They love books and stories the way I did (do!) and the way Lucy does.
    Here’s what we’ve loved together this year:
    All the Ramona books!
    My Father’s Dragon
    Finn Family Moomin and the other Moomin books
    The Phantom Tollbooth
    Some of these, especially the last two on the list, are a little “old” for the girls, but the stories and language are so compelling and the imagery so fanciful that it hasn’t kept them from loving them anyway.

    I think I started the Narnia books when the year I was five, too…

  14. Letty Camire

    The Borrowers, Water Babies, William (a series about a very naughty little boy), Narnia books, The Box Car Children, Walk Two Moons (will make you cry, read it on your own first). I love books and cannot wait to start on chapter books with my little one when she gets older.

  15. Debbie Lefkowitz

    The Edward Eager Books – Half Magic, Knights Castle were favorites of mine, less well known author than some of those already mentioned. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Twenty One Balloons, Flat Stanley, (read immediately if you have not already) and then make a Flat Stanley and send to friends. Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, Pippi Longstocking!!!, Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Okay, probably enough for now.

  16. VanC

    Awesome post! I loved listening to my parents read to us as a kid. I think that’s why I love borrowing audio books for long road trips. My favourites to share with my nieces and nephews are still the Mother West Wind’s Why, When, How, and Where stories. I’m lucky enough to have gotten the books after my grandmother died. Now of course most of them are free for e-readers. But they were the first stories without pictures I remember reading on my own as a child.

  17. DamselflyDiary

    Sometimes when I read your posts about parenting I get jealous. I didn’t have parents like you. Don’t get me wrong, my parents weren’t abusive or neglectful they just weren’t engaged as parents. I don’t remember being read to sleep at night. I don’t remember watching movies with them. I don’t remember spending time in the kitchen cooking or baking. I don’t remember having soulful conversations with them about life. I don’t remember being encouraged to be myself and flourish within my interests (in fact it was often the opposite).

    Your daughter is so fortunate to have engaged parents that work from home and can dedicate themselves to her soul development. I didn’t get it when I was young and so now I am trying to figure it all out as an adult. It isn’t easy.

    A few years back I bought a book about all of the fairy tales that children should read because I never read fairy tales as a child. In conversations I often feel ignorant because I don’t know what is being discussed – as witnessed in this post about James and the Giant Peach. I don’t remember ever reading this book and so your post largely went over my head. I may be seeking it out now based on your post.

    P.S. I should also mention how lucky Lu is to be around people that love to cook and use all kinds of healthful ingredients. I grew up with boxed dinners, canned vegetables and redundant meals. I am sure that’s why my interest in food as an adult is lackluster. Eating for me often feels more like a chore. It is rare that I relish a meal. Oh how I envy your passion for food and cooking.

    1. Elizabeth

      I’m with Damselfly…I did not have a wonderful childhood or great, loving parents like you and Danny — nor can I remember ever being read to as a child. No matter, I learned to read to myself. To this day, I remember the thrill of getting volumes of The Borrowers from my local library and reading under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep. Magical!

  18. Heather

    Definitely the Tales of Narnia. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-read those after our teacher read us “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” in school. I read them to my children.

    Non-chapter books my children loved are the “If You Give…” series by Laura Joffe Numeroff. especially the first one “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” (very simple books but, of the fun of them – good for learning to read as well.) Are you familiar with Canadian children’s author, Robert Munsch? “Paper Bag Princess” and “Muddle Puddle” were definite favourites. You cannot bestow a greater gift on a child than the gift of reading.

  19. Kate @ Savour Fare

    Reading chapter books is one of my favorite parts of parenting so far – we’re in the middle of To Catch a Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors, which I didn’t read as a child but the Nuni is loving. I don’t want to be annoyingly linky, but I wrote a blog post about some of my favorites and it’s easier to link than rewrite:

    I’m planning to write up more soon as we discover more. Children’s books are one of my passions!

  20. Barrie

    I think that is my favorite photo of Lucy so far! I read and loved The Great Brain series; The Secret Garden; Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Newbury Medal winner); all of the “Oz” books (particularly Ozma of Oz); the Narnia series; Strawberry Girl (also a Newbury winner)… I could go on, but I’m sure you have plenty of recommendations to keep you busy!!!

  21. Brenda

    What a lovely post! Sometimes we forget how much we loved being read to as children, no matter how old. As a teacher I have seen students aged 11, 12, 13 wait anxiously for the moment when they could hear another chapter.
    My favourite children’s books are many of those listed above but I would also include Dove Isabeau by Jane Yolen, beautiful and engaging picture books by Helen Ward, Shaun Tan, Peter Sis and Anthony Browne. When Lucy is older the Inkspell series by Cornelia Funke and of course, who can go wrong with Nancy Drew?

  22. Hollis

    My children are 15 and 17 and your post today brings back such fond memories of their earlier days. A couple of monts ago my 15 year old son asked me to help find one of his favorite poems from When We Were Very Young by Milne, The King’s Breakfast. We had so much fun reading the poems and why we liked them and reading the note my Mother wrote in the book explaining which poems I had liked as a child. They had been discussing poetry in school that day and he was remembering his childhood.

  23. Matilda

    I LOVED Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (you never love a book as an adult like you loved a book when you were a kid) and I LOVED reading it to my precocious son (the other kids aren’t ready for chapter books). I noticed that there was an explanation of a term as soon as my son asked (eg: “What’s a lee?”) and I loved that the ending was beautifully open (instead of maddeningly or seemingly lazily unfinished). Many subtle philosophical ideas to talk about (“Do you think it’s right for humans to experiment on animals?” “Do you think the rats were better off with their enhancements or worse off?”) My husband tried to read The Secret Garden to my son, but was so put off by the racism (in an offhand comment made by a character about another who had been in colonial India) he read no further. I loved the book as a kid but don’t remember that part (like I couldn’t remember the racism in Doctor Dolittle).

  24. Martha. Russell

    I know this isnt a chapter book but our kids loved Rain Makes Applesauce. This is silly nonsense rhyming book with beautiful illustrations-a Caldecott winner. When we first moved away my husband made the comment I am done reading Rain Makes APplesauce! Our first trip to the library in our new home resulted in this favorite book being found! Many years later I ordered a copy for husband and our first granddaughter. Then last year I ordered it again for our youngest granddaughter and her Dad-our youngest son! such joy!

  25. jill

    My vision is still blurry from tears falling from reading your previous post…but we’re loving a series about a pig named Freddy, by Walter Brooks. There’s something like 25 of these books, written in the early 20th century. I stumbled upon them at our library. They’re great fun for me to read too! Beverly Cleary has been a favorite around here too–we’re on a talking animal kick, I guess.

  26. Jessica

    We introduced the Magic Tree House series to our 6 year old last year and he loves them, and we love reading them to him.

  27. Sara

    I can’t remember how old I was when my dad read it to me, but I adored Redwall by Brian Jacques and went on to read several others in the series on my own. My dad also read the entire Little House series to my sister and I as well as the classic Winnie the Pooh.

  28. Mike Loux

    Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White), The 21 Balloons (William Pene du Bois), The Hobbit, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Glass Elevator.
    Oh, and if you want something slightly more mature, but no less goofy, check out The Gates and its sequel, The Infernals, from one of my favorite authors, John Connolly. The rest of his books are a lot darker, however.

  29. Tiffany

    Oh, I loved The Littlest Angel when I was younger. But my absolute favorite book of all time, still to this day, is a children’s book: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The illustrations are precious, the book is so wise and so encouraging of children to keep their free-thinking, free-wheeling, creative minds. And the love between the little prince and his flower. It makes me cry every time.

  30. lauren

    I reread Anne of Green Gables last summer for the first time since I was 8. I completely fell in love with the book again and was astonished to realize I still Say and Do things Anne does in the books. These books shaped me to be the person I am today. I sure hope any little ones I might someday have would have a book that shapes them :)

  31. Tiffany

    Oh, and The Series of Unfortunate Events books are clever and intelligent. I’d recommend them for kids who are just starting with chapter books, and they’ll be entertaining for the parents reading them, too!

  32. Kay

    My favorite book in grade school was A Wrinkle in Time. It was actually the first in a series. I bought the remaining books last summer but I still haven’t found time to read them!

  33. Lisa

    Just to say how much I loved this post, for a number of reasons.

    I was a devoured of books, as a kid, and once I started doing that, my parents stopped reading to me. So, I remember Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, and Ferdinand, but the chapter books I loved (Dahl, Narnia, etc.) were ones I discovered on my own. In elementary school, I won a prize at my local library for creating a piece of art around a favourite book, “James and the Giant Peach”. I had used fabric scraps to illustrate that joyous scene where the peach takes the aunts out, and I have a clear memory of the hideous floral fabric I had used for Aunt Sponge’s dress.

    I am a mom to two voracious readers, boys aged 10 and 12. We still read things aloud at the end of the day, currently “the Golden Compass”, which I read in university and is incredibly complex. The Hobbit is regularly revisited (I fell in love with it when my 3rd grade teacher read it to our class), and we’ve recently returned from London, England, where one of the trip’s highlights was finding statues from Charlie Fletcher’s amazing young adult series ” Stoneheart”. It was so powerful to see something concrete and real that we had discovered together in a novel we’d shared.

    Keep reading. You are creating a life-long learner!

  34. jenn

    a little older (the protagonist is 10 and ages into mid-teens) but i loved the anastasia krupnik series by lois lowry. also the picture of lu is ridiculously adorable. the mussed hair, the light, the movement of her hands, the little yellow dress—you can feel her warmth and vibrancy in this photo!

  35. Shanna

    My daughter is 3 turning 4 this September. We first read James and the Giant Peach last fall and read it a second time this summer. The time reading stories with my daughter is by far some of the best moments of the day.

  36. Anna

    My son is only 6 weeks old, but I’ve been reading to him a bit and I love the way that revisiting books from childhood brings back to many vivid memories. I had forgotten about Peter Rabbit and reading it to him reminded me of my grandmother reading Beatrix Potter books to me. Books are truly such treasures I can’t wait to share more with him.I hope this little boy enjoys them as much as I did when I was young and as much as you and your daughter do.

  37. Clare

    Dr. Seuss books! Not just his rhyming books (e.g. Green Eggs and Ham), but his longer books: To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Happy Birthday to You, The King’s Stilts, etc. These were all favorites when I was a child, and they were my kids’ favorites too.
    As the bumper sticker of a teacher friend said, “Children who read were (are) read to.
    Thanks for reading to Lu!

  38. marcella

    So beautiful! I love reading about your family and the great things you share together. My son and I loved reading many of those books too and also Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the Redwall series, The Golden Compass and Harry Potter series’ when he was a bit older. It was so fun to snuggle up and read together. Thanks for bringing back some great memories!

  39. Michelle

    The Arabel and Mortimer books by Joan Aiken, ‘Half Magic’ by Edward Eager (my childhood library only had that one, but as an adult I’ve discovered all his other wonderful books about kids and magic), any of Patricia McLachlan’s books, though especially ‘The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt’, and ‘Baby’.

  40. helen

    My dad read me The Secret Garden aloud when I was three years old, and I credit him with my love of reading. I’ve re-read it many many times since.

  41. Netty

    I’m a school librarian… :) I LOVE reading kids: The Knights of the Kitchen Table, The Giggler Treatment and when she’s older (4th/5th grade) The Mysterious Benedict Society, and Flipped. They are all awesome and crowd pleasers!

  42. paisleyapron

    My kids are all older now, but reading aloud to them at night remains one of my favorite memories of them being littler. They now read more and faster than I ever did. We enjoyed:
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the book is outstanding)
    All the Little House books
    The Tale of Despereux
    All the EB White books
    Homer Price
    Just So Stories
    The Moffats series
    The Borrowers series
    Twenty One Balloons
    The Whipping Boy
    Mrs. Piggle-wiggle series
    Winnie-the-Pooh books
    Elizabeth George Speare books
    The Incredible Journey
    The Chronicles of Narnia (at least 4 times)
    Misty of Chincoteague

    Happy reading!

    1. Nancy Buzzard

      I “second” the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books! My first grade teacher read them to us (in the late ’50s) and it was my sole reason to learn to read. All parents should be able to solve problems like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle did! Love your website, too!

  43. Mallory

    Your daughter is such a little gem. I love reading stories about her singing and dancing and reading and how you nurture this in her. You three are such a lovely family. You are an example for those of us that have yet to start a family of our own. Thanks!

  44. sharon

    My son is 5 and we started chapter books this summer. Loved Wizard of Oz (he had never seen the movie, but had seen the play) and House at Pooh Corner. Such great ideas in the comments, pinning this one! Thanks for sharing your love of reading with Lucy.

  45. sally

    I love to read and I love to read to my children. It’s this quiet moment at the end of the day, and right before going to bed that we all clamber on to the family bed, it puts a period to the end of a busy day.
    My favorite books were Stewart Little, Little Women Series, by Louisa May Alcott, Tom Sawyer, The Borrowers, The Trumpet of the Swan. My youngest loves the Mercy Watson Series, by Kate DiCamillo, your daughter will love these!

  46. Connie

    My mother read The Secret Garden to me more than once. I loved it. I now have grandchildren. The first five are boys all under ten. The last two are girls, one and 3 months. I have my own copy and can’t wait to read it to them. Truthfully though, I don’t think it’s the book as much as the voice and closeness of my mother.

  47. Luann

    My grade 2 teacher read aloud “The Secret World of Og” by Pierre Burton to us and I loved it. My kids have enjoyed it too. I also loved the Littles books and was into The Black Stallion series for awhile though they might seem pretty dated now. There are so many choices!

  48. Connie

    I wanted to add that the Lois Lenski series of books, were my absolute favorite first read on my own books. Houseboat Girl. I must have checked that out at the library sixteen times!

  49. Rebecca

    So many of those mentioned already, plus Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of the Mountain, Caddie Woodlawn, Fudge&Superfudge, Betsy Tacy and Tib series, No Flying in the House, the Shoe series by Noel Streatfield, Trixie Belden mysteries, Hatchet, Dogsong- such rich memories!

  50. Miss B

    Is it completely weird that I…really kind of hated being read to when I was a child? I learned to read when I was around 4, and I just couldn’t tolerate anyone reading to me after that. Story time in the school library or classroom was the worst. Nobody read as fast as I could by myself, and my internal imaginings of voice and inflection and everything else far surpassed anything that any of the adults in my life were capable of. It was something to be tolerated…barely. I also read waaaaaay beyond my age/grade-level all throughout my childhood, and maybe that had something to do with it. But, as for books that normal children who enjoy being read to (which would be most children, I would imagine) — any of the Edith Nesbit books (“The Railway Children” is a good, stand-alone one, though there are others that are more interconnected, almost series-like); anything by Edward Eager (“Five Children And It” is my favorite, probably); all of the color series of fairytale books put together by Andrew Lang (I read those all the time, as a solidly-in-my-30s-grown-up person); “The View From Saturday” by E.L. Konigsburg; “Mail-Order Wings” by Beatrice Gormley (I re-read this last year, because I had vague weird memories about it, and it is just as bizarre as I thought); anything by Daniel Pinkwater (though that’s maybe better for when she’s a little older); a book with a title that escapes me, but it was about a large Orthodox Jewish family in the early 20th century and I mostly loved it for the food descriptions — I think there were others, it might have been a series of some kind…? There was also a book (another one with a title I don’t recall) that I read _many_ times, about a Hispanic immigrant boy and his agoraphobic sister, and their father disappears so he has to scrounge for food and stuff for them, and they are living illegally in an abandoned building, and eventually he befriends an artist lady who lives nearby…is this ringing any bells for anyone…?

    1. shauna

      I learned to read so young that I don’t remember being read to either! I know my mother, in particular, must have read to me all the time, because I have such a love of books. But by the time I was Lucy’s age, I was reading whole books by myself. And I had the same annoyance you did! They’re reading it wrong! So, although Lu is reading words and clearly doing more, I love that she doesn’t want me to know she is reading yet. It gives me the chance to read to her. I want to know what that last book is that you are talking about!

      1. Wendy Bussell

        The All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor!!!! This was the seris I was going to tell you about! About 5-6 books, Jewish, in !910-1920s, New York, 5 daughters. Talk about a fun first book about a different culture within American living. I first read this in the 4th grade. It became a staple to read at least once a year until I graduated. So the rest of my list includes….Dr.Dolittle(there are several), Mary Poppins(several), Any thing that has Paul Bunyan& John Henry &Rip Van Winkle. Tall tales, I guess.
        Also Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm-the toned down ones, Fairy tales of any kind, really. As a parent You should read to yourselves The Uses of Enchantment, The meaning and importance of fairy tales by Bruno Bettelheim. All the reasons why fariy tales are good.
        As Miss Lucy get older, PeterPan is wonderful, it made ME cry, along with Narnia and Tolkien. Little Women and the rest of Alcotts. I still have my favorites that I love to read to myself when at the library. Patricia Polacco picture books-so, so good! As well as The Nightengale and Beauty and The Beast. All my other favorites have been listed by other commenters. You are doing such a great job with yoursevles and Lucy. Congrats on you anniversary!

        1. Wendy Bussell

          Also Wind in the Willows!!! and anything written by Kate DiCamillo-Desperaux, Journy of Edward Toulaine, The Magicans Elephant. All pretty great stories that will have you laughing and crying and having to explaine things.

        2. marisa miller

          YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was looking to see if anyone said it. My favorite books in 1st. grade.

      2. Miss B

        All Of A Kind Family! What the commenter right below said! That is the Orthodox Jewish family book I was thinking of! I still can’t remember that title of the other one I’d forgotten, though…

        The weird thing is, I highly doubt that I was read to much and/or at all when I was little — not by my parents, anyway, because I don’t think I ever saw them read a book for pleasure ever the whole time I was growing up. (They weren’t illiterate, and they read the paper and, like, magazines and stuff, but they could not have cared less about books.) I know I taught myself to read before I was in kindergarten, and that I was reading “real” books once in kindergarten, but I have no idea how that happened. My grandfather read to me some when I was little, but we only saw my grandparents a couple of times a year, so it couldn’t have been that — though he did love books. And I certainly owned hundreds of books, because that is all I ever wanted to buy or receive as gifts. But I’m not sure _why_ I ended up a book fiend. Maybe my biological parents were book-lovers…?

  51. Miss B

    Ooops, I meant to put “Five Children and It” with my Edith Nesbit recommendation — my favorite Edward Eager books are “Half Magic” and “Magic By The Lake”.

  52. jacquie

    oh how I loved that book when I was younger – thanks for the memories. this is actually the second reference to James and the Giant Peach that I have run across in the last couple of weeks. unfortunately, I don’t have any little ones to pass my love for this great book along to. I wonder if I should pick up a copy to read for myself or if that sounds rather like a silly thing for a 52 year who just fled a long term abusive relationship a year ago and is now is utterly alone. I suspect it is so I will just hold the thought of you and your lovely little family enjoying it.

    1. Melissa

      2nded! Read WHATEVER YOU WANT TO! Who cares what anyone else thinks. You enjoying it is enough.

  53. Anne-Louise Vernon

    It’s such great fun being able to read a book to a child, and to be able to enjoy it just as much as an adult, as your child does . That’s certainly not true with a lot of children’s books, so the ones that delight on both levels are real gems.
    Some of these would be for a child a bit older, but just for the record- The Children of the Green Knowe series by Lucy Boston, the George and Martha stories by James Marshall (Speedboat is also terribly funny, and I plan to name two of my future dogs Raisin Toast and Tweedy-Jones after the main characters), Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad. And Mud Pies and Other Recipes, a Cookbook for Dolls (boiled buttons, mud puddle soup, dandelion soufflé, crabgrass gumbo, rainspout tea, all inedible, obviously).
    The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink is a hoot. All time favorites are Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and Little Plum, both written by Rumer Godden (and she’s written many more), hard to find, but worth the effort.
    For an even older child, Monica Furlong’s Juniper and Wise Child are wonderful, and the many series by Tamora Pierce. So is Miracle at WillowCreek by Annette Lebox.
    Harry Potter, forever and ever and multiple times, Chronicles of Narnia, you bet. There are probably loads more I’m not remembering offhand (my kids are both in college now), but these are definitely among the cream of the crop.
    I had few books as a child, and my parents never read to me, so it was an absolutely gorgeous experience to be able to reenter childhood and discover so many fantastic books, and to share that adventure with my children every night before bed (not to mention the daytime as well ). It’s one of the things I remember most fondly about their childhood.

  54. Jo

    Once my kids learned to read on their own, they didn’t want to read with me, so much, until we started reading chapter books as a family. I think it may have started on a road trip when I found out my husband had never read the Hobbit. I brought it along, and as I drove he read aloud to our 3 kids ( maybe 5, 6, and 9 years old). After that we went on to Harry Potter, the Narnia series, and How to Train Your Dragon. (Junie B Jones can be a hit if you use a goofy voice)

  55. KA Plymouth

    So many great books! From my childhood, I need to add Harriet the Spy, The Princess Bride, all of the Pippi Longstocking books, Whalesong, Bridge to Terebithia and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler. With my kids, our recent favorites include The Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant, the Clementine series, The Magic Half by Annie Barrows and The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell.

    1. Wendy Bussell

      Yes! the Princess Bride is a must read before watching the movie!
      (my 2 cents worth)

  56. amy

    I was enamored of Pippi Longstocking and Robert McClosekey’s “Homer Price” at her age. Oher commenters have mentioned them already, but Ramona Quimby and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle definitely squeezed into the rotation of favorites as well.

  57. jess

    My favorite books that were read to me – The Hobbit, Wizard of Oz, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (dad read the whole series!) and Charlotte’s Web.

    My favorite chapter books that I read were: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matlida, Harry Potter series, The Giver (probably better for when Lucy is older), Little House series, Caddie Woodlawn, Noel Streatfield “shoe” books (ballet shoes, theatre shoes, great for your budding dance aficionado), Pippi Longstocking, The Little Princess & The Secret Garden. Oh and Ramona books!

  58. Maureen

    My boys are all grown up now but we loved reading chapter books. Many here already mentioned but we adored “Rascal” by Sterling North, a true story about a pet raccoon.

    1. Amy

      I read this too as a child. My dad read it to me when I was Lucy’s age. It is the book that unlocked the key to reading for me! I remember helping him read it before I went to bed at night. I recalled it as I read this post and was hesitant to suggest it since I didn’t really recall its content, only that I loved it. This just goes to show you that reading what you love will feed your love of reading!

  59. meg- grow and resist

    James and the Giant Peach is next up in our Roald Dahl reading. My Lucy is about the same age I think (12-07). She has loved listening to the Ramona books for a few years now. Her latest loves are The Penderwicks, Matilda, and BFG. Before that was The Wizard of Oz and Ozma of Oz.
    We just took a big road trip and checked out a bunch of chapter books on CD for the road and it was really fun to listen to them all together.

  60. Gail

    I loved B is for Betsy, the original Boxcar Children, Ramona, so many others and when I was a little older Where the Red Fern Grows.

  61. Annie

    We are loving reading the Oz series. Who knew there were so many books?! I love them as much as my daughter. I also love Anne of Green Gables.

  62. eve

    “There’s no age limit on Roald Dahl”
    Isn’t that the truth (and not just as a writer, but as a man & husband & what he did with/for Patricia Neal — despite cheating on her throughout their marriage — when she had a stroke. The brutal, bickering, loving guts of them both in that relationship — getting her up and on her feet and away from the heartbreak of him — such a perplexing story; rooted in love, but forever hurting so much).

    In a few years, I think your daughter (the set of her head on her neck is beautiful, btw) might enjoy “Ballet Shoes” (Noel Streatfeild) given how easily her feet move her to dance & form patterns; it’s a wonderful book about three adopted sisters (connected by circumstance more deeply than blood) and their pursuit of science and theatre and dance, in a rackety old house in London, in the 1930s. Between lessons, elevenses, ginger beer and panto performances, Petrova, Posy and Pauline — bound to each other by a mutual vow (“We three Fossils vow to try and put our name in the history books, because it’s our very own, and nobody can say it’s because of our grandfathers.” ) follow where their ambition & minds lead them. And they’re all smart girls, for a change.

  63. Cindi L.

    What a fun post to read, as well as all the comments! We read all kinds of things but the Dr. Suess books, Madeline books, The Borrowers, The Stupids and the Berenstain Bears books all come to mind. As the children got older, we sometimes read the same books and talked about them later–ones like Wild Child, Bridge to Terebithia and the Red Wall series (highly recommended!!). A story that became part of family lore is the reading of a terrible book club book over and over and over (it was just kind of dumb and boring—at least to me!). It was called “Little Black, A Pony”. My son especially wanted to hear it repeatedly, and sometimes two or three times in a sitting. To keep my sanity I started making up new parts of the story, which always sent the kids into fits of laughter and protestations. We still giggle about it to this day, though both of my kids are now adults!

  64. Kate Lam Sam

    I remember my most favourite stories were the Enid Blyton books in a series called The Far Away Tree.
    It had the extra naughtiness that all of her books had been banned in NZ (because England had), and my parents in their absolute disgust made sure they read all of her beautiful stories to us.
    I have an almost 5yr old boy, a 3yr old boy, and a baby on the way, and I adore reading to my boys at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s a little hard as we are all tired/sick and on those days we choose the short books about diggers, but when the timing is right and the boys don’t have ‘ants in their pants’ we read Roald Dahl stories and other books about how things (usually car engines) work.

  65. Sally Chippendale

    Oh how beautiful it sounds as though you all had a wonderful break. Hands down my favourite books were The Famous Five and to a lesser extent The Secret Seven, I read those books over and over.

  66. Kristin

    There’ll probably be repeats here, but…
    The Wizard of Oz series…you HAVE to get past the first one, because the rest are so much better.
    The Borrowers series
    The Mary Poppins series
    Anything by Madeleine L’Engle (when she’s older)
    Just about anything by Roald Dahl
    E.L. Konigsburg…especially A View From Saturday (in a few years) and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler…I SO wanted to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art after reading this book, and was crushed that the fountain Jamie & Claudia bathed in was gone when I finally got there.
    Gah…I’m in a hotel, so I can’t scan my bookcases to remind myself which books I’m hanging onto even though my kids are 16 & 18, but the ones above are the ones I buy second copies of if I see them at used bookstores, because I know that one or both of my kids will want to take them along when they move out.

  67. Sara L.

    Redwall by Brian Jacques. It was a rather long book that my mother committed to reading, but I vividly remember my brother, sister, and I curled up on my parents’ bed each night as my mom read (with all the voices!) a chapter or two… or three! … before bed.

  68. Ally

    The Box Car Children were a favorite of mine, if you can still find them. I see them at thrift stores fairly often around here. I still remember the librarian that introduced me to that series when I was seven.

  69. Adrienne

    “Where the Red Fern Grows”
    Read it over and over again as a child and cried and cried. My very favorite book as a kid.

  70. Heather

    I don’t have children, nor any to read to, but my parents passed on their love of books. My mother started reading aloud to me while I was still in the womb! I believe that one of the best gifts you can give a child is a love of reading. I don’t have any books to add to the lists, previous posters have done a great job. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that crazy-adorable photo of Lucy. That hair! The little smile! Oh my, she’s so cute. :)

  71. Kim G.

    I loved the Little House books and so did my daughters. However, Junie B. Jones will forever be a favorite … mostly because my sister read the best Junie B. in the world. Everyone in the house was captivated by Patty. Precious memories.

  72. Denise

    I most loved anything by Bill Peet, especially Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent, The Wump World, and Farewell to Shady Glade. I also remember my Mom reading me The BFG by Roald Dahl and it was awesome! The Wrinkle In Time series by Madeleine L’Engle might be a little too old for 5, but soon Lu might like them also.

  73. Katie

    We have a used book stall near our house and one day our two year old picked up a book called Sophie’s Snail. It had a few photos but it was a simple chapter book. At first we skipped to the photos but soon we were reading it straight through and now over a year later we’ve completed the series. The ‘Sophie books’ are wonderful stories about a little girl who is four in the first book and 8 by the last and who has a firm ambition in life to be a lady farmer. Lovely stories and great to have a girl protagonist that isn’t all about pink and fluffiness if you get me. (Oh and they are set in the UK – where we live).

  74. Danika

    This is hands down one of my favorite things about parenting (seeing my daughter fall in love with some of my cherished books from childhood). My Lucy is 6 1/2 and in the past year or two, we’ve been on a tear with a few book series that she has loved: several “Little House on the Prairie” books, “Mouse and the Motorcycle” (plus sequels), “Mrs Piggle Wiggle”, just finishing #7 of the Narnia books, “Tom’s midnight Garden” (one of my all times faves), “James & the Giant Peach”, “Charlie & the chocolate factory” (plus sequel), “The Wizard of Oz”, “Charlotte’s Web”. The books that she can now read and enjoys include “Magic Treehouse” series, “Frog and Toad”, “Tashi” series (highly recommend!!), various American Girl books (better than they sound. Historical fiction), “Pixie Tricks” series, “Boxcar children” series, “Catwings”, “Mercy Watson” series. And finally, books that are on my list for the next year or so: and “Anne of Green Gables” books, “The Secret Garden”, “The little princess”, “The Trumpet of the Swan”/anything else by EB White, “The Hobbit”, other “Roald Dahl”…

  75. marisa miller

    I am Jewish by osmosis and probably a chef b/c of the All Of A Kind Family series. The stories of their family have stayed with me for 40 years. More so than Little House.

  76. Rachel Flachman

    Too many books to list my favorites, but I remember reading the 1st chapter of Charlotte’s Web over and over and over and over to my son. He loved the story, but the first chapter captivated him. He could quote long passages (as could I) of it from the time he was 3 or 4. I asked him why he liked it so much and he said, “I like it when she saves the pig. I want to be that kind of hero some day.”

    Now he’s 9, but he’s the kid who steps in when another kid gets picked on and he’s the kid who can’t stand to see anyone mistreated. ..but in his mind, he had already saved Wilbur over and over again a thousand times…

  77. Meghan B

    You’ve got to do the All of a Kind Family series. I’m 25, and those books were so formative to my childhood. I still reread them on quiet weekends.

  78. Ali

    My mom read out loud to the whole family every night until the youngest was 10 (by which point the eldest was 15) – but she was the only one ever allowed to look at the book. I can recommend anything by Dick King-Smith (best known for writing Babe, but there are nearly a hundred others, almost all worth reading); and my father read me the 1001 Tales of the Arabian Nights, which were a hit. In a few years, Susan Cooper’s series The Dark is Rising (which, confusingly, starts with ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’, NOT the eponymous book) is worth a shot (along with Madeleine L’Engle). The Swallows and Amazons books make great vacation reading, since they all take place on holiday; Mary Stewart’s Merlin series captivated me as a child as well. We also read a bunch of Shakespeare plays in funny voices as a family around the campfire on camping trips. . .admittedly odd, but none of us has ever had trouble understanding the language (my sisters, who are not very big readers, often joke that our mother tongue was english and our second language was Shakespeare. . .).

  79. Ginny

    Frances H Burnett wrote The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, but also The Lost Prince. I read it to boys and girls in 4th and 5th grade, and all loved it.
    The Betsy-Tacy-Tib books are great.

  80. Sue

    I loved “The Borrowers” books as a kid – Lucy might like them too. I loved the “Little House” books, and “Pippi Longstocking”, and “Harriet the Spy”. My favorite book though was “The Phantom Tollbooth”, which she’s probably a few years from being old enough to enjoy. I read that book so many times – reread it a few as an adult – and loved it every time. Isn’t it wonderful that she’s a reader?! She’s sure to have an interesting life!

  81. Sarah G.

    I would love to recommend The Night Fairy for you and Lucy (and Danny). Given the list of books she’s enjoying, I think it would be developmentally appropriate for her. I just read it with my 6 year old niece, and it was such a lovely story with stunning illustrations. It’s magical!

  82. Melissa

    Here are the ones I loved so much, that I still re-read them: the Narnia books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, I have worn out 2 copies of The Phantom Tollbooth, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series, Slake’s Limbo.
    I wish I could find copies of the Dorrie the Witch series by Patricia Coombs. Those were wonderful. (I did just find them on Amazon. One of them is selling for $480! I won’t be getting that any time soon!)

    I’m nearly 40, but I still love to listen to my Mama read. Harry Potter was family camping trip reading for quite a while. I have since moved away from my family, but I am hoping that when I do go back, we will still make some time for reading together.

  83. Mary

    Gaia Girls Series by Lee Welles. I don’t know what age they are appropriate for, but I know they are for kids in general — they are chapter books. One is Earth, and another is Water. And in the future, the author is writing Air and Fire books. I especially liked the Water one.

  84. Liorah

    One of my first memories is my mum reading me “The Faraway Tree” y Enid Blyton. I need to start looking in second hand bookshops for my own copy – Pugsley is only 2, but I have a feeling she’ll be ready for it soon. Other favorites I remember reading/being read – Narnia, Five Children and It, Gerald Durrell’s ‘ the Talking Parcel’, Milly Molly Mandy, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Waterbabies, the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie stories by May Gibbs,

  85. JD Knight

    The first book (other than a comic book) that I recall discovering on my own was MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean George. I was 10, I think. I bought it from the Scholastic Book Club at school. My mother was always good about giving me money to buy books, even when money was tight. I’ve given copies of this book to both of my kids when they turned 10 and we read it aloud together. And I read it myself almost every year.

  86. Sharon

    My friend introduced me to the “Tumtum and Nutmeg” books. Absolutely wonderful chapter books about 2 mice that live in the home of a poor family and try to help them, perfect for a 5 year old. They are recent books (written this century) and beautifully written. Adventure! Humor! Intrigue! It’s all there! They don’t get much publicity in the US (it’s a British author) but just so sweet and loving.

  87. Arlynn MacDermott

    When I was six, my younger brother and I would spend any chance we could at the town library to avoid going home. We read to each other as nobody else would. I remember devouring The Chronicles of Narnina, the Asterix and Obelix series, anything by Roald Dahl. My oldest daughter is 7 1/2 and is loving pretty much any book from the “Dear Canada” series. This one really hooked her on historical fiction: Probably a bit mature for Lucy yet though. Love your thoughts on love, life and food. Keep writing, and reading it’s good for the soul.

  88. Pat Morgan

    “Bembelman’s Bakery” by Melinda Green. It may be out of print but it is worth searching for. Saul Bembelman decides to bake bread for his siblings and the results are hilarious. Judith Viorst wrote a series of books with her son Alexander as the main character. “Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day”, “Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich on Sunday” are two titles that come to mind. The books are fun for both kids and adults and each one has a message about life that we can all learn from. When she gets a little older I recommend the Little House books and Harry Potter will be a joy to discover at some point when she is ready.

  89. Sabe

    James and the Giant Peach was a favorite of ours too.I also loved the Anne of Green Gables series. My mom read that out loud to me when I was little.

  90. patricia swingle

    Just volunteered and taught a watercolor class to a group of 4H children at camp with the theme of water. I found a great picture/story book on James Audubon at the library. The title was “The Boy Who Drew Birds” by Jacqueline Davies. There is also a good series about Looking at Paintings by Peggy Roalf. I was looking at “Looking at Paintings: Flowers”, but there are many different themes like dogs, cats ,the circus, children.
    One of my sons loved the Redwall series by Jacques. My personal favorites growing up were Madeline books by Bemelmans and “The Color Kittens” and all the fairy tale books with colors like the lilac book of fairy tales. Also my grandchildren love a book called Library at the Zoo or something like that, illustrated by Marc Brown all about zoo animals who start to read books off the book mobile when it visits the zoo. There are a couple of books in the series -one about zoo animals putting on a musical . I think called zoosical ??? The actual titles are escaping my brain at the moment .

    Thank you again for making gluten free eating easier and more fun.

  91. Margy

    We loved reading aloud, and finding books to keep three children engaged was an adventure. We enjoyed many of the books already listed, but I would add the Fablehaven series, Charlie Bones series, and Percy Jackson series. I miss those snuggly nights, as one child is in college and the other two are in high school.

  92. kim gordon

    Anne of Green Gables. It is a whole series , continues with Anne of Avonlea, Ann of the Island, Anne of Ingleside, etc. as Anne grows older.
    ***The Secret Garden (by the way, the Kitsap Mountaineers Players are performing The Secret Garden at a magical, outdoor at the old growth forrest theater near Bremerton on the Seabeck Highway for 4 weekends beginning this week. it is truly a magical experience no to be missed)
    Sarah Plain and Tall and 2 sequals by Patricia MacLachlan.
    The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt by Patricia MacLachlan is one of our favs. Maybe when she is a little older since main character is in middle school. But I read this to my daughter when she was 5.
    The Brambly Hedge books. An English series with darling illustrations of the mice families and their intricate, underground homes. My high school aged daughter requested the series as a Christmas gift last year because she loves them so much and remembered checking them out of the library again, and again, and again.
    The frog and Toad series. About 2 best friends. Please read her these.
    Mary Poppins – again a whole series
    We still read aloud. My husband and daughter, now is college, always have a book they read together (right now it is the Arabian nights) and we have a family book we read aloud. Reading happens in the car, when one of is doing the dishes or exercises or waiting
    There is a book called “The Mother Daughter Book group” about a mom who started a book group to get her daughter excited about reading. It lists some great book for older kids.

  93. Amy

    My five year old and I loved Where the Mountain Meets the Moon equally. Plucky little heroine, characters with depth, lots of imaginative borrowing from Chinese tales to meet Lucy’s fairy tale needs.
    The Betsy Tacy books are a gem. Plus another vote for Brambly Hedge and oh, The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt is a delight. And a yearly reading of Winnie the Pooh, mostly for Mama.
    I’ve loved these comments, all like a love letter to the books that fed us!

  94. Amber

    I always go overboard when someone asks me this question. But in addition to the many (many) great suggestions above, here are some of my favorites:
    – The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
    – anything by Sharon Creech (“Walk Two Moons”, et al)
    – “Mandy” by Julie Andrews Edwards
    – “Ida B…and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World” by Katherine Hannigan
    – anything and everything by Diana Wynne Jones (My brother gave me the first in the Chrestomanci series when I was 7…I think its the oldest book still on my bookshelf and re-read regularly.)
    – All of Tamora Pierce’s series. These are fantasy books and she is hands-down one of the best authors writing strong, smart, amazing girl and women characters. I’m the youngest in my family (at 30), but two of my older siblings and I all still buy every single one of her books as soon as they are published.
    – my nieces and nephews adore the “Bad Kitty” series by Nick Bruel

    And while she is still young enough to appreciate shorter picture books, here are a few of those too:
    – “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” by Mo Willems (the entire Pigeon series is outstanding)
    – “Cherries and Cherry Pits” by Vera B Williams
    – “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett (My mom babysat a little boy that made me read this to him every single day when I got home from Kindergarten)
    – “Diary of a Wombat” by Jackie French
    – “Humphrey’s Corner” by Sally Hunter (there are other Humphrey books too)
    – “My Penguin Osbert” by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
    – “A Porcupine Named Fluffy” by Helen Lester

  95. Linda

    My son and his family of 5 (!) boys live in Switzerland. They don’t watch TV although my son downloads old TV shows and movies. The boys love to read and discovered The Famous Five series (English author who has written many, many books) which they loved. My son also found that the books had been made into a British TV series and downloaded those. It’s so much fun to watch them enjoy books and reading. I don’t remember ever being read to but I grew up loving to read and, as a friend of mine said, “some of my best friends are books”.

  96. Elisabeth

    I adored “Heidi”, by Joanna Spyri, as a child. I wanted Heidi’s life…to live up in the Alps, playing with goats and eating toasted goat’s cheese every day.

  97. juliag

    My teacher read this to our class in third grade. I totally heard it as “ant” instead of “aunt” and had such a strong visual of James with two big ants ;). It was years later that I realized the mistake!

  98. Kimberly

    With my 9 year old we have been reading: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Trumpet of the Swan, Harry Potter, The Secret Garden, Blubber (she has been horribly bullied this year), City of Ember, Winnie-the-Pooh, All of a Kind Family series and Because of Winn Dixie. With my 5 year old we have read the Kaya books from American Girl, My Father’s Dragon, all of the Amelia Bedelia and Ramona books, The Cat in the Doll Shop, Princess Ugly (which I think Lu would love!) and The Paper Bag Princess

  99. Rabbi Wendy

    I’ve read through all the comments to make sure I didn’t repeat the others. I love Roald Dahl books myself, as did my children, as well as many of the other titles and authors.

    A series that hasn’t been mentioned is the Poppy series by Avi, about a brave mouse who leads the charge against the owl who is eating her family members and the allies she makes along the way. There are currently 6 books in the series: Ragweed (1999, but worth reading first as it’s a prequel), Poppy (1995), Poppy and Rye (1998), Ereth’s Birthday (2000), Poppy’s Return (2005), and Poppy and Ereth (2007).

    Another series, with 10 books, is The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. The first volume is Beyond the Deepwoods. The protagonists start out quite young and age over the course of the series. There are pirates, and scholars, and beasts, teamwork, kindness, frights ,and uncertainty.

    For picture books, you can’t go wrong with Rosemary Wells and her series about the rabbits Max and Ruby; the first title is Bunny Cakes, in which Ruby and Max make cakes for Grandma’s birthday. I think you’ll all particularly enjoy her book Yoko, about a Japanese immigrant cat who brings her sushi lunch to school.

  100. Margaret

    Oh, so many good books! I saw that you already mentioned Beezus and Ramona; the Henry Huggins books were also favorites of mine. I really enjoyed Marguerite Henry’s horse stories (Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, etc.), although those might be down-the-road-a-bit books. The Chronicles of Narnia is also a wonderful down-the-road series; the girls that I nanny really started understanding and enjoying them when they were about 7 years old.