Your Favorite Children's Books

What other authors do Tolkien fans enjoy? Come on in and enter into a broadened conversation on the great literature of this and other times.

Postby Ivriniel » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:37 pm

Elflover wrote:Ivriniel, are these all books you would consider appropriate for first graders, or are you speaking in general?

My daughter is entering first grade, though her kindergarten teacher says she is reading on a 2nd-3rd grade level (as of the end of last school year). She can pick up and read just about any picture book, but she no longer lilkes being read to. I had always looked forward to a time where I could read chapter books to her (basically sharing some of my favorite childhood stories :)) but I can't get her interested.

I read most of Stuart Little to her, but it is an older book and the language can get archaic. Her teacher suggested The Magic Treehouse series, but she hasn't been interested in the storylines. Should I let it drop until she is able to read chapter books on her own?


There are very few picture books that I wouldn't read at least some Grade 1 kids. It depends on the individual child. I would say have a look at the books on my list, and use your knowledge of your child to decide what might be appropriate.

This past year is the first year that I have ever read novels to a Grade 1 class, but my kids were really interested in Narnia because of the movies.
I would probably not read any of the other novels I mentioned to Grade 1's. (This being said, I did have one Grade 1 student who was reading Harry Potter books with his parents.)

I would say, give it 6 months and try reading a chapter book to her again. (The research indicates that listening to someone read is an important part of learning to read.) But before you do, try and see what kind of picture books she gravitates to, and use this as a guide as to what kind of chapter book she might like. It could be that developmentally, she's just not ready to listen to a chapter book.

I find the Magic Treehouse books rather hit and miss. I've had kids absolutely love them, and other kids that just were not interested.

Try some of these series :

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Olivia Sharp by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Cam Jansen by David A. Adler
Junie B: First Grader by Barbara Park
Ready Freddy by Abby Klein and John Mckinley

Don't be in a hurry to rush her on to chapter books though. There are plenty of picture books that are more challenging reads, and appropriate for older children. It's one of my pet peeves when people assume that somehow having illustrations in a book means the book is less challlenging, or less worth of being read.

Also don't neglect non-fiction. If she has a particular interest in birds, insects, horses, space, or whatever, find books on that topic. She may consent to having you help her read something, if she is interested in the subject matter, but not able to read it herself.

It's good to include poetry as well. Poetry, is especially important in the early years as it promotes phonemic awareness. For example, I would recommend anything by Dennis Lee, like Alligator Pie.


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Postby Elflover » Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:22 pm

Thanks for the tips, Ivriniel. I have always been big on reading, yet I tend to have a rather narrow view of what I consider "good" or "necessary" for children. We read relatively little non-fiction, and I hadn't even considered poetry!

When I was a kid, I used to have a book of poems called "Garbage Delight". I will have to see if I can drum that back up. Shel Silverstein also has good poems and stories. We need to start regular visits to the library for some non-fiction, too.

I get so caught up in the chapter books issue, since it seems a common way to "measure" your child's reading level and attention span. It seems like parents often sit around and discuss what our kids are reading as a subtle form of "my child is smarter than your child...". I'm sure it isn't consciously intended that way, but everyone has their forms of competition. Maybe I need to start focussing elsewhere. :)

Edit:
Ooh, I now have post count 1234. How often does that happen? :)
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Postby Ivriniel » Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:41 pm

Elflover wrote:Thanks for the tips, Ivriniel. I have always been big on reading, yet I tend to have a rather narrow view of what I consider "good" or "necessary" for children. We read relatively little non-fiction, and I hadn't even considered poetry!

When I was a kid, I used to have a book of poems called "Garbage Delight". I will have to see if I can drum that back up. Shel Silverstein also has good poems and stories. We need to start regular visits to the library for some non-fiction, too.

I get so caught up in the chapter books issue, since it seems a common way to "measure" your child's reading level and attention span. It seems like parents often sit around and discuss what our kids are reading as a subtle form of "my child is smarter than your child...". I'm sure it isn't consciously intended that way, but everyone has their forms of competition. Maybe I need to start focussing elsewhere. :)

Edit:
Ooh, I now have post count 1234. How often does that happen? :)



Garbage Delight! More Dennis Lee. :) There's also Bubblegum Delicious. He was the first Poet Laureate of Toronto. :)

Reading is in some ways like eating. You want a balanced diet. :)

In some ways the school system really overemphasizes fiction, both in reading and writing. There at lots of adults who never read or write fiction, but read and write non fiction as part of their daily lives.

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Postby K.Evenstar » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:24 am

My mum and dad read me the Swallows and Amazons and Narnia books when I was a child, so they are the ones with most significance to me, and the ones I most enjoy today.
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Postby portia » Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:59 pm

I read Milne's poetry books to my son when he was about 5. We also talked about rhyme schemes (ABAB and so on). He was interested and it wasn't as "babyish" as being read to.

When I was that age, I do not remember tolerating being read to. I could read almost anything I wanted and I WANTED TO DO IT MYSELF!

In my opinion, this will be good for reading. If there is a theater in your area to which you can take your child, do so. I took my son to see Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) when he was 5 1/2. We explained the plot, and discussed it with him, beforehand. He seemed fascinated to see the story acted out, live, and he behaved well. It was not a big fancy theater, tho', and taking a child there was less stressful than it would have been to take him to a big theater.
Last edited by portia on Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ivriniel » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:04 pm

portia wrote:I read Milne's poetry books to my son when he was about 5. We also talked about rhyme scemes (ABAB and so on). He was interested and it wasn't as "babyish" as being read to.

When I was that age, I do not remeber tolerating being read to. I could read almost anything I wanted and I WANTED TO DO IT MYSELF!

In my opinion, this will be good for reading. If there is a theater in your area to which you can take your child, do so. I took my son to see Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) when he was 5 1/2. We explained the plot, and discussed it with him, beforehand. He seemed fascinated to see the story acted out, live, and he behaved well. It was not a big fancy theater, tho', and taking a child there was less stressful than it would have been to take him to a big theater.


It definately would have benefits for comprehension. :)

Reading to children, even after they can read themselves is still important. The research shows that kids who are read to several times a day are better readers than kids who aren't read to. It doesn't have to be "Sit down, let's read a story together." kind of reading. It could be "Let's read the directions on how to make play dough together" or something like that. Boys especially tend to be more motivated to read, and more tolerant of being read to, if the reading has a concrete goal.

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Postby IamMoose » Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:52 am

I remember as a fairly young child watching several Shakespeare films, which I enjoyed. I was surprised when I got to secondary school to read Shakespeare and find it really boring. I think that if things are presented to children without a lot of 'you must study every word' fuss then there's a good chance they will enjoy and understand them far better than if they're being force fed them.
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Postby Rinon » Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:40 pm

I have tons of favorite Kid's books.

> The Dark is Rising series is one of them.
>Harry Potter, but that ones kinda predictable, huh.
>Narnia
>Garth Nix's Old Kingdom and the 7th tower series.
>The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White.
>I went through a Hardy Boy period, haven't read those in a loooong time though
>The Wrinkle in Time books
>Anything Roald Dahl.
>And I loved abridged classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Time Machine and the Tale of Two Cities.
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Postby crezzie » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:19 pm

umm mine was probably god i dunno what they're called now well it was about a grandma and the pictures wernt cartoons..they were like done in modelling stuff i think...but aside from that it was probably fantastic mr fox, the magic finger, flour babies!! or possibly the hungry caterpillar sayin as they are the most used round my room :lol:
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Postby Celebria » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:35 pm

I read this mystery series when I was a teen called Hart & Soul by Jahnna N. Malcolm, a husband and wife team. There were only ever eight books written, but they were really good - laugh out loud funny, scary, and had a sweet romance. I kinda miss 'em. :lol:
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Postby IamMoose » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:10 pm

I liked some Roald Dahl, not others. Things like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Danny the Champion of the World were big favourites with me when i was a kid. I didn't like the later stuff so much but that perhaps could be because I was older then.
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Postby K.Evenstar » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:23 pm

I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, but I found Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator terrifying. Especially the illustrations. I was afraid to leave my room at night in case I found a Vermicious Knid in the bathroom. :shock:

Quite liked Jaqueline Wilson, but whenever her books have been dramatised the characters have been portrayed as complete brats. Maybe I just didn't pick up on it so much when reading.

Keve xx
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Postby Ivriniel » Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:01 pm

I can't believe that when I was posting earlier, I neglected to mention John Lithgow's books.

He's written a number of children's books including:

Marsupial Sue
Marsupial Sue presents the Runaway Pancake
The Remarkable Farkle McBride
The Carnival of the Animals
(He wrote the story for a ballet that uses the music of the same name)
Micawber
I'm a Manatee


Neil Gaiman has written a great kid's book called The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish. The idea came to him when his son was angry at him and blurted out. "I wish I didn't have a Dad! I wish I had a goldfish." :)

Molly Kratzen, best known as the author of The Moosewood Cookbook has delightful a pair of delightful children's cookbooks called Pretend Soup and Salad People and More Real Recipes. What makes these particularly nice is that the recipes are given in standard format for adults, and then given again in a simplified illustrated format for beginning readers.

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Postby IamMoose » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:48 am

I read a book by a woman called Ruth Park called 'Playing Beatie Bow'. I've never heard of her before or since but the book was wonderful for kids between about 10 and 16... about an Australian girl who goes back in time and lives in the 19th century for a while.
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Postby MintyMee » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:54 am

Mine are The Hobbit (of course!) and the Harry Potter series. When I was a kid my favorite book was The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. I still like reading it.
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Postby pippintk » Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:30 pm

Babysitter's Club! And Anne of Green Gables! Man, that brings back some memories. I used to spout out crazy poetic stuff like Anne all the time.


The Chronicles of Narnia--probably the first fantasy series I read, even before The Hobbit

Redwall--okay, so these were more of a middle school thing. Maybe I shouldn't include?

A Wrinkle in Time and others by Madeleine L'Engle--I wanted to hang out with Charles William all the time. :)


--Pippintk
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Postby Elflover » Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:44 pm

The Babysitters Club! Well, I haven't thought about that series for years. :)

I remember reading the first 5 in order as they came out, and now there are over a hundred. Some friends of mine wanted to form our own Babysitters Club based on the books, but our parents didn't let us because we weren't old enough. :P
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Postby Ivriniel » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:39 pm

pippintk wrote:A Wrinkle in Time and others by Madeleine L'Engle--I wanted to hang out with Charles William all the time. :)


--Pippintk


Pst! Charles Wallace. :) Charles Williams was one of the Inklings. :)

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Postby pippintk » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:57 pm

Geez! Where is my brain today? I did something like this earlier too...

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Postby Elflover » Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:42 pm

I just finished re-reading the Tropod Trilogy, by John Christopher. This includes The White Mountains, The City of Gold And Lead, and The Pool of Fire.

I read them for the first time in 6th grade. While they are a bit dated in some ways, they are still excellent books. :) I want my kids to read them when they are older.
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Postby Ivriniel » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:53 pm

A couple of new recommedations for picture books:

The Skin I'm In by bell hooks. It's a picture book to a bell hooks poem:

The skin I'm in
is just a covering.
It cannot tell my story.

The skin I'm in
is just a covering.
If you want to know who I am
you have got to come inside
and open your heart way wide.

The skin I'm in looks good to me.
It will let you know one small way to trace my identity.
But then again,
the skin I'm in will always be just a covering.
it cannot tell my story.

If you want to know who I am
you have got to come inside.

Be with me inside the me of me,
all made up of stories present, past, future
some true to life
and others all fun and fantasy,
all the way I imagine me.

You can find all about me - coming close and letting go
of who you might think I am
before you come inside and let me be real
and you become real to me.
All real then.

In that place where
skin again is one small way to see me
but not real enough to be all
the me of me or the you of you.

For we are all inside
made up of real history, real dreams,
and the stuff of all we hope for
when we can be all real
together on the inside.


Turn, Turn, Turn by Pete Seeger.

It's the lyrics to the classic song, with some wonderful illustrations. The book also comes with a CD that has the original Pete Seeger version of the song, as well as the more well know Byrds version. I played it for my class today (I have grade 4 this year) and they loved it.
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Postby dna » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:51 pm

Ah, Pete Seeger,

The two people he cites as influences on his sound come from two towns, with a recent NHL connection, sort-of... what is it?

Oh, sorry, this isn't a trivia thread. Ignore it! :wink:

Long live the Seegers! Even Bob!
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Postby K.Evenstar » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:47 pm

pippintk wrote:Babysitter's Club! And Anne of Green Gables! Man, that brings back some memories. I used to spout out crazy poetic stuff like Anne all the time.


Me too. I still do! :P

HOW could I have forgotten Anne? She was my absolute favourite, a "kindred spirit." I didn't really read after Anne of the Island back then, but I have to say, older Keve is still believes older Anne to be a "kindred spirit."
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Postby portia » Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:53 am

I recently decided to make a tape for my grandchildren of my favorite children's book, "Half Magic" By Edward Eager. I enjoyed doing it and sent it off. My daughter-in-law requested that I do one or more of the "Great Brain" series. I had not read any of that, so I did. They are pretty funny, about a boy in Utah who is a young schemer, figuring out ways to talk or trick his brother and others out of money or help with chores, etc. Nothing really criminal.
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Postby Dunthule » Sun Sep 16, 2007 8:50 pm

I remember reading all of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum.

The "Wheelies" freaked me out. More than any other characters in his books.
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Postby Sammy_W » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:38 pm

"Who's in the shed?" - my Dad used to put a voice on and I would be terrified (in a good way), I would make him read it over and over again!
I also loved the 'Goosebump' series as a kid.
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Postby Martin the Warrior » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:24 pm

Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess (I took it out at least once a year from the library for like 8 years in a row I think it was), the Arthur books, abridged classics,... and many, many others.
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Postby WithyWindle » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:29 pm

Little Bear :o
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Postby portia » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:56 pm

I have a request that relates to children's books. I have been asked to decorate a piece of children's furniture, with scenes and other things that relate to a children's book. I have looked through part of the list, above, and gotten what may be good ideas.

But, what I need is a well-received book or series, that lends itself to illustrations, but does not have famous illustrations (Sendak would be out). I MIGHT copy original illustrations, but only if they are out of copyright. But I'd prefer not to.

Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:27 pm

portia wrote:I have a request that relates to children's books. I have been asked to decorate a piece of children's furniture, with scenes and other things that relate to a children's book. I have looked through part of the list, above, and gotten what may be good ideas.

But, what I need is a well-received book or series, that lends itself to illustrations, but does not have famous illustrations (Sendak would be out). I MIGHT copy original illustrations, but only if they are out of copyright. But I'd prefer not to.

Any suggestions? Thanks.
What age are we looking at portia? Something for the very young like 'Are you my mother? by Dr. Suess.. or 'Love You Forever' by Robert Munsch.. could be cute.
or a bit older... 'The Kissing hand' by Audry Penn, 'Rainbow Fish' by Marcus Pfister or something a bit more sophisticated like 'The Rainbabies' by Laura Knauss Melmed (one of my personal favorites) .. or.. even older? The 'Wizard of Oz' could be a good one.. with a twister.. red shiny shoes.. big flowers.. a house.. Toto.
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