Books, books and more books!
Welcome back to what has become an on-going series sharing the children’s books my kids and I are reading.
Before I get to the list of books we’ve enjoyed recently, I want to show you a neat booklet our local Irish library system publishes. It is a reading guide for different age groups from toddlers up to young adults. It includes both fiction and non-fiction recommendations.
The library must have a fairly robust budget to produce this booklet and I have no complaints about that!
The reading guide is compiled by a group of ‘book doctors’ who are all children’s book specialists. They have backgrounds in writing, editing, library science, bookselling or literature. Some of the book doctors have masters or doctorate degrees.
One of the book doctors is the reader-in-residence for Dublin City Libraries. How do I get that job?!?!
The book doctors don’t operate in a vacuum. They hold clinics throughout the year to meet with young people to get their feedback on what they enjoy reading.
As far as literacy and community engagement goes, I think this is a very worthwhile endeavor.
Now on with the show!
Here are the recently read books my kids, ages 7 and 10, would give two thumbs up!
Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans
This book was such an unexpected surprise.
It started out with a pretty horrific scene. You know how you tell your kids NEVER to chase a ball into the street? Yeah. Well, something like that happened. I was thinking, “Oh no! This book is going to be so dark and terrible. What have I done?”
Yet, it wasn’t. It was such a strange, creative tale. It was filled with creatures who only spoke in verse, so it made reading it a lot of fun. My kids kept guessing what would happen next. It was a great adventure story with a strong bit of moral and emotional closure in the last chapter.
Thankfully, the book had a completely happy ending, which is how I like books to end!
The Curse of Herobrine: The Ultimate Minecraft Comic Book Volume 1 by Zack Zombie Comics
If you order this book and know nothing about Minecraft, this book will make no sense to you. You’ll be a hero, but you’ll have no idea why. You’ll be asking yourself, “What in the world is going on with this crazy Minecraft thing? These creatures look evil and why are there so many blocks?”
Just go with it. I know a little about Minecraft because my kids play and I still ask myself these things.
We’ve had The Curse of Herobrine for awhile (It was my daughter’s book. Minecraft is equally loved by girls and boys.), but just recently my son picked it up and this happened one morning…
I seriously had to check and see if the sky was falling.
He still reads out loud, so I heard the entire book for the umpteenth time. Then he asked me for the next two books in the series and he never asks me for books.
You can bet I jumped on that opportunity! A few days later these arrived:
Even though I don’t “get” the story line of these books, I have found something to enjoy! These particular graphic novels have a lot of characters, so we each picked a different character to read out loud. I encourage my kids to read in the character’s voice. So if the character is an old man, use an old man voice. If the character is a big tough guy, use that kind of voice.
It takes a different level of reading comprehension to not only read the words, but to read them in character and to know when it is your turn to read. While my kids think it’s just a fun thing we do (and it is), there’s also some skill building going on too.
The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer
The kids’ grandma introduced me to this story and it is the most darling Christmas book.
Fair warning – it may make you want to cry, it is so sweet.
It is about a puppy who wants a boy for Christmas. He tries so hard to find one, but it does not go well. It seems all the boys are taken by other dogs. The puppy is exhausted and ready to give up and then an amazing thing happens!
I don’t want to spoil the ending…that’s the tearjerker part!
This book doesn’t appear to be in print any longer, but you can buy used copies online. Ours was used, but in great shape. If you do buy it, it will be one you’ll want to keep. The story is as good now as the day it was written in 1958! If you see it at the library, definitely check it out!
Incredible Incas (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary
This is the second Horrible Histories book we’ve read. I’m STILL surprised the kids enjoy them so much because they are fairly wordy and full of hard names and dates.
Perhaps I’m underestimating my kids!
The author does a really good job of writing in a way that grabs their attention though. The Incas did some pretty terrible, disgusting things with urine and, of course, my kids thought that was fascinating.
This book also introduced them to how diabolical the Spaniards were in taking over the Incan empire. This is important because history is often presented in a very one-sided way and in this case, both the Incas and the Spaniards did terrible things to each other.
I don’t know that a kid would be super excited to get this book for Christmas, but if you want to introduce them to a version of history that isn’t dry and boring, this series fits that bill. We are currently reading our third Horrible Histories book about the Greeks.
Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Return of the Padawan (Book 2) by Jeffrey Brown
If you have a kid who is interested in Star Wars, this book will be right up their alley.
It follows Roan, a kid who starts middle school at a Jedi Academy. The book is told from his perspective and is an interesting mix of part diary, part comic book, part newspaper, part letters from home.
Some of the pages are pretty text heavy for my 7-year-old, but this wouldn’t bother older kids at all. As far as the middle school setting goes – there are a few references to liking a girl, but nothing that, so far, has seemed inappropriate for either of my kids.
While it’s not completely mandatory to start with book one in this series, it will make a lot more sense to read Star Wars: Jedi Academy first. I think there are at least 4 books, so far, in the series.
If your kiddo loves Star Wars, but is still a beginning or reluctant reader, this set of Star Wars Phonics Books was INCREDIBLE and would be a good alternative to the Jedi Academy books.
Tassie and the Black Baron by Katie Roy
I’ve always wanted to describe a book as a ‘wild romp’ and I think I’ve finally found a book where I can bust out that phrase!
Time travel. A historical setting. A clever heroine. All of these things can be found in this book.
If you’ve ever gone on a boring tour of a castle or a historic home, you’ve probably looked at those old portraits on the wall and wondered what life might have been like hundreds of years ago. Well, now imagine that you got sucked back into that time period and were needed to save the day! That’s this book!
My kids were always surprised by the main character’s creative problem solving skills and I love a book that keeps them (and me) guessing and laughing.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
I’m a wee bit embarrassed to admit that this Matilda book came from a McDonald’s Happy Meal. However, this is one Happy Meal “toy” I am glad to keep.
Any Roald Dahl book is good and this one should be on your reading list. Don’t just let your kids watch the movie!
The Invisible Man’s Socks by Alex Shearer
The premise for this book is wild. A class goes on a field trip to a museum of horrors. Think of things like the poison pen, the hair from Bigfoot, vampire teeth, etc. All the things we like to pretend are real, but aren’t. Or are they?
The kids are told NOT TO TOUCH, but of course, everyone, including the teachers touch the museum relics.
That’s when the weird things start happening. Figuring out what is happening, why and how to reverse the damage is the journey the characters will embark on.
We had great fun trying to guess what was happening to each character and who they might be turning into. I could have done without the character who put on the strangler’s gloves though.
The one drag I found about this book is that there were a lot of characters, so the author kept repeating some basic information about each one. This made the book a bit more tedious to read out loud. My kids didn’t seem to notice though.
That’s it for this round!
As always, I’m happy to learn about other books my kids might enjoy! Do share!
Here are past posts on children’s books we LOVE
- Books My Kids Are Reading Part 5
- Books My Kids Are Reading Part 4
- Books My Kids Are Reading Part 3
- Books My Kids Are Reading Part 2
- Books My Kids Are Reading Now (Part 1)
- Two Children’s Books That Made My Eyes Leak – Cried my eyes out. Still my favorite books.
- Star Wars Phonics Books – These worked miracles at encouraging my son to read.
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