Tag Archives: books kids love to read

Books My Kids Are Reading Part 3

I was snuggling with my son at bedtime recently and thought he’d fallen asleep. I was enjoying the quiet and psyching myself up to do that slow slither out of bed to avoid waking him. Just as I started to stretch one leg off the bed, my son suddenly says to me, “Mom, I had a good day at school.”

Sometimes I second-guess our life choices and then one of my kids will say something like this and I think “Phew. We’re okay. It’s all working out.”

I was certain he’d had a good day because it was Active Week at school and they had done tennis and gymnastics that particular day. Or maybe because of lunch. He likes lunch and outside play time. But no. He told me he had a good day because he read a book about robots making cars and how robots can make cars 24 hours a day.

He had all of these other really specific facts about robots too. So I asked him if he read this book or if his teacher read it. “I read it, mom.” Then I asked him if he just looked at the pictures or if he read the words too? I know, awesome parenting moment. But he’s 6, so I was trying to understand how the learning and reading were progressing. He said, “I looked at the pictures and read the words. Ms. Dempsey said I did a good job reading. I read a lot of books today.”

The last thing on his mind at the end of the day was a compliment from his teacher and a book about robots. Consider my heart melted.

Reading will open the world to him and I can see glimpses of that happening already.

Here’s the best of what my kids (boy, age 6 and girl, age 9) and I have read recently. There have been other books that were okay, but these were the books that stood out and are worth sharing.


The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce

We recently read The Astounding Broccoli Boy and it was about a boy who is bullied who turns green. The doctors didn’t understand what had caused his skin to change color, but the boy figured it was because he had become a superhero. A series of fantastic adventures unfold from there.

This was a long book and I wouldn’t have minded if it was a wee bit shorter. However, my kids loved it because the story was highly engaging and just real enough to make them imagine being in the characters’ shoes. There were twists and turns and in the end, all the plot points came together. Sprinkled throughout the book were messages about being bullied, the bullies themselves and self-worth.

This is the very last paragraph of the book and I wish every kid out there who feels like they don’t fit in would be able to take this message to heart.

“And I thought, the best thing about people is how different they are. When we went green, people wanted us to stop being green, to be the same as everyone else again. But it was only because we were different that we could be astounding. The thing that makes you different is the thing that makes you astounding. The thing that makes you different from everyone else – that’s your superpower.”the character Rory in Frank Cottrell Boyce’s book, The Astounding Broccoli Boy


Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I picked Wonder up at the bookstore and was ready to bring it home, but then my daughter looked at it and said, “we’re reading that at school.”

My daughter’s teacher reads to the class everyday at lunchtime. I can’t tell you how much I love this practice. My daughter seems to like it too!

Anyway, my daughter told me this book was really, really good. In fact, it’s going to be made into a movie soon.

To quote the book jacket: “August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face… In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”


Brilliant by Roddy Doyle

I have never heard the word “brilliant” uttered more than in my time living in Dublin. Or “brill” as some of the moms like to text. I still can’t do that. If you’d like to learn some Irish lingo and take a pretty accurate tour of Dublin, this book, Brilliant, nails it.

But that’s just the surface level and this book addresses a much deeper issue – depression. It was interesting to read about an adult topic in a children’s book. As depression’s reach is far and wide, it made me wonder how kids process this reality.

Roddy Doyle’s approach to tackling this topic definitely brought it down to my kids’ level. They didn’t ask me a lot of questions about depression. They were more interested in the characters’ adventure through the city. But one night they did ask me about people being sad. It was a gentle way of letting them know that being sick isn’t always just about the sniffles.

Despite this book sounding like it was a downer, it wasn’t. The kids and I enjoyed it. It made them think a little and me too. Always a good thing.

I liked what this reviewer on GoodReads had to say: “What adults will like: The book’s accessible treatment of depression, the fantastic writing (especially the dialogue – which Doyle is really a master of), the positive and hopeful themes, and the romp through Dublin (an expert tour if there ever was one). What kids will like: The sibling hijinks, the talking animals, forbidden nighttime adventures, the quest to do the right thing, jokes, and victory at the end. The book might not work for every reader, but there’s something in it for readers of all ages.”


The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason

The kids and I devoured this book about a planet where only children live. No one knows how old the kids are or how they got there, but each day is filled with danger, excitement and simple pleasures. What’s not to love, right?

Things are happy and perfect on the planet until a stranger crash lands. An adult.

There were SO MANY real life lessons hidden in The Story of the Blue Planet. For instance, how what we do might make our lives better, but it might come at a cost to someone else.

Or, what happens if the sun really does go away? Can plants grow in darkness? Can animals survive?

Or, how the truth can be manipulated.

Or, how the majority is not always right – because the truth is manipulated or they get caught up in the moment – and how doing the right thing can be very difficult.

Or, how the most generous people are sometimes those who have the least to give.

I could go on and on.


The Story of the Blue Planet was written back in 1999 by an Icelandic author and it wasn’t translated into english until a few years ago.

If there is one book you read this year, this should be it. It was SO engrossing. My kids begged me to read this book when it wasn’t “story time.” They begged me for just one more chapter each night and I was glad because I wanted to read more too!


Here are past posts on books we LOVE
1. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 2
2. Books My Kids Are Reading Now (Part 1)
3. Two Children’s Books That Made My Eyes Leak – Cried my eyes out. Still my favorite books.
4. Star Wars Phonics Books – These worked miracles at encouraging my son to read


If you know of some books my kids might enjoy, please let me know. We are continually on a quest for new stories to devour. Starting a new book makes us so happy. Finishing a good book always makes us a little wistful…until we start the next one!

Books My Kids Are Reading Part 2

The other day my 6-year-old son was standing in front of his bookshelf and I hear him holler out, “Mom! You need to get me some history books!” I was so shocked to hear this come out of his mouth since he spends most of his time talking about farts, Legos and Minecraft that I didn’t even mind that he forgot to use the word please. I have no idea what prompted this declaration, but the next time we go to the library we’ll be sure to head straight for the history section.

In the meantime, here are some books my kids and I have read together recently that they loved – even if they weren’t about history.

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS

We are currently working our way through The Wind in the Willows. I’m not going to kid you, it’s going to take awhile. A book written over 100 years ago uses more flowery language than my feeble brain is used to reading. My kids are constantly interrupting me to ask what certain words mean, which is awesome. Vocabulary building for the win! But it does slow down the actual story reading. A few times, so far, the animals have called each other an ass and so I change it to “naughty boy” or something clever like that! Despite all that, I think it’s worth it to continue making our way through this story.


THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES

This book starts with the premise of what happens when kids do “The Deed.” The Deed is when a child picks their nose and eats the booger. If this happens, the child can be taken by a band of animal pirates (pirate animals?) to another dimension where an entire series of wild adventures occur.

My kids loved this book. If the main characters weren’t animals, some of the plot points would be oh, no way! Being kidnapped by pirates, for instance. I think the over-the-top ridiculousness of the situation made the scenarios and the pirate battles fun, entertaining and too far-fetched  to be taken seriously. Plus, the hero of the story is actually a heroine who demonstrates how to be brave, smart and a good friend. But if your kids take things literally, you might wait on this one…unless they eat their boogers.

KIDS’ PAPER AIRPLANE BOOK

My son has had this book for about a year. It was packed away when we moved and he recently rediscovered it. The book is written by a world record holder for paper airplane throwing. Who would have thought there was such a thing?!

While my son can now read the directions, what I like most about this book is how good it is for building manual dexterity. To be able to cut and fold in an exact manner is a good skill to work toward. The more he performs these tasks, the better he gets and the better his airplane flies.

GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS 2017

I like that the Guinness Book of World Records inspires kids to believe that anything is possible. If you love paper airplanes, then you can set a world record for flying paper airplanes. Why not?

DanTDM: TRAYAURUS AND THE ENCHANTED CRYSTAL

The popularity of this book will only make sense if you have kids who like to watch other people play Minecraft on YouTube. Yes, instead of playing Minecraft themselves, they are watching other people play Minecraft. It makes no sense to me either, but now I wish I would have thought of the idea because I think being a YouTube star pays quite well.

DanTDM (Dan Middleton) is a popular YouTuber and he wrote a graphic novel. My kids were over-the-moon to get this book for Christmas. This is not The Wind in the Willows type literature, by any means, but any time a child willingly picks up a book is a win in my mind.

THE BOLDS

My kids found this book WILDLY entertaining – beg me to keep reading one more chapter entertaining. It’s all about the idea of what if animals could pretend to be humans? In this story, a family of hyenas does just that. How do they pull it off? Does anyone discover their secret? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

That’s the sampling of some of the books we’ve enjoyed lately! It always makes me happy to see my kids engaged in a good story.


P.S. If you want to read my last post about books my kids have read, click here.

P.P.S If you want to see which children’s books made me bawl my eyes out, click here.