14 Books You’ll Love Reading to Your Kids

You know why I read aloud to my kids? Because it makes me happy.

Sure, it builds their vocabulary, exposes them to great literature, creates wonderful bedtime routines, and gives us anchors in our day. But the reason reading aloud has endured for so many years in our family is that it simply makes me happy.

reading aloud

We usually have two books going with our kids. I read one in the morning and Russ reads one at bedtime. With everyone growing up, these days we’re reading to Ebenezer and Wogauyu.

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Russ and the boys began a new series last night, The Wingfeather Saga.

When we homeschooled (for 23 years) it was easy to fit my reading time in the day, now it’s a stretch to find a few minutes before the boys race down the driveway to the bus. Thankfully, Wogauyu, in particular, loves our reading time so sometimes we find extra pockets of time for a chapter.

Being book lovers, we were determined our children would be too. Adding audiobooks to our family library has been a helpful solution for our reluctant readers who find reading to be more challenging.

I’m slowly building our library through our Audible membership and watch the daily Audible deals, sharing the best ones on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page. We love it.

Having been parents for so many years, there are books we’ve read aloud two, or even three, times because we love them so much and don’t want any of our kids to miss them.

When I mentioned this on FB, a reader asked which books were loved enough to make our “read again” list.

I surveyed Russ and the kids to refresh my memory and created this incomplete and in no-particular-order list.

I must add a disclaimer. It’s been a long time since I’ve read some of these books. Please read the reviews and select books based on your preferences, beliefs, children’s maturity, and needs. I’m adept at editing as I read and have no problem leaving out inappropriate scenes, words, and concepts, on the fly. I’ve been known to cut full pages if I don’t like what I see, but I’ll still read a book if the rest of it is fabulous.


(Some of) Our Favorite Read Alouds

Little House Books – Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was homeschooling Eby and Wogauyu, we read through this series; I loved sharing it with my children one last time. We read all but the last two which focus on Laura and Almanzo after they’re married and have children of their own. The boys favorite, and most loved by many of my grown children is Farmer Boy.

The Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

It would be difficult for me to express how much I love these books. We’ve read through this series several times. It was very important to me to read these to my youngest boys and I’m happy to say that we’re currently reading The Last Battle. The Horse and His Boy and so many of the other books have helped me through many times in my life. The bracelet I wear every day is a quote from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “Courage, Dear Heart.”

Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers – Ralph Moody


This is the first book in another excellent series. Russ has read through this series at least twice and loves these books.

Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink

Just a little trivia, Carol Ryrie Brink was born in Moscow, Idaho and her pink, victorian house is on a street where I often walk our dog.

Henry Huggins – Beverly Cleary


A childhood classic, published in 1950. We laughed a lot when I read this to the boys.

Shadow Spinner –  Susan Fletcher


We have a fond family memory of being so drawn in by this book that we read late into the night, unable to stop until the conclusion of the book. There are some mature themes (harems, etc), but well worth dealing with, in my opinion.

The Sign of the Beaver – Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth George Speare


Samuel’s favorite read-aloud.

Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes

Where the  Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls


This book is such a tear-jerker that the kids teasingly say the title in a mock crying voice just to give Russ a hard time. It’s a favorite.

Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell

Number the Stars – Lois Lowry

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman – Dorothy Sterling

Mara Daughter of the Nile – Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Edited 12/13/17: Two additions to my list!

Holes – Louis Sachar

 

We just finished Holes and Wogayu loved it.

I ordered this book to wrap up 2017 and start us off on 2018. The Audible edition is also available at a great price.

On Our List to Read Aloud

A Wrinkle in Time (series) – Madeline L’Engle
I went through a Madeline L’Engle reading blitz many years ago and have read many (maybe most?) of her books. For some unexplained reason, we have never read this aloud to our kids. I would love to read it again and share it with the boys.

Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry – Mildred Taylor
We have this on Audible and we might like to experience the book with the kids rather than read it to them. I need to choose a time when we can discuss and process it together.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
Believe it or not, I have not yet read the Harry Potter books. I’ve been waiting for the boys to grow old enough to read them aloud. Last summer I read a review of the Audible editions of the series and was convinced that hearing them read by Jim Dale would be a great experience. I decided to begin purchasing them, one book a month, with our Audible membership credits. This June we’re driving to Minnesota and I plan to have a Harry Potter Audible marathon with the kids!


Do you enjoy reading aloud? What are your family favorite read alouds? There are so many amazing books, I had a hard time narrowing down my list.

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Have a great day,

Lisa



This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

26 Comments

  1. Elizabeth
    February 16, 2017

    You have some of my favorites on there. Have you ever read the Swallows and Amazons series? They are terrific. The stories are mostly set in the Lake District in England in the 1930’s. Two sets of siblings, with prodigious imaginations join forces to have adventures. It’s actually a lot more fun than I make it sound.

    And for those with boys who are difficult to please, I would recommend The Black Stallion, which is a great adventure story even if you aren’t horse crazy, and Ali and the Golden Eagle. Both of these were books my non-book loving boy adored.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      Great suggestions, Elizabeth! Russ has read the first in the Swallows and Amazons to the boys – I know Hannah read all of them and loved them. He hasn’t read either of the other two to the boys. I’ll add them to our list!

      Reply
  2. Regina
    February 16, 2017

    Our 9 year old son LOVED the Little Britches series on tape. We listened to them over and over again until the tape player in our car broke (last year 😉 ).

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      We’ve never listened to them, but I hear the recordings are very good. Thanks for recommending them, Regina.

      Reply
  3. AmyE
    February 16, 2017

    I loved reading aloud to my oldest 3. And tried to for awhile with my youngest but his attention span is very short and he is bored easily. I thought the other day that maybe I should try to find a funny book with more farts and burps. 😬 Sadly it is probably the only thing that would make him enjoy a book. But at 5th grade level even those are few and far between. And yeah for delving into Harry Potter. My husband and I finally read them last year. Has opened up lots of great discussions with older kids and I actually loved them more than I thought I would.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      I hear you about the farts and burps, Amy. Any chance he might like Henry Huggins who dyes his dog pink? Or high adventure like Percy Jackson? Maybe some day…. I hear I’m going to love Harry Potter; listening to them together will probably make them even more delightful.

      Reply
    2. Blanca
      February 16, 2017

      Have you read Captain Nobody, by Dean Pitchford? My kids love this book (9 to 14 years old). I first read it to them about three years ago, and we just re-read it last week. It is still a favorite. I edit the part that deals with possible suicide (or the idea of it) because I’m very sensible about putting bad ideas in my kids’ heads since they all come from hard places. I’m pretty sure your reluctant reader would enjoy this book, specially if you read it with lots of excitement to him. Also Pippi Longstocking is very funny with all her crazy ideas. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a good one to try as well. I could go on forever, but these three in this order are some ideas for your son. (We also LOVE Henry Huggins and all the other books by Beverly Clearly).

      Reply
      1. Lisa Qualls
        February 16, 2017

        So many great books! We’ve never read Captain Nobody; it sounds like we need to put it on our list!

        Reply
  4. Ann
    February 16, 2017

    Summer of the Monkeys; Carry On, Mr. Bowditch; Freckles; Girl of the Limberlost; Shepherd of the Hills. So many wonderful books!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      So many books, so little time! I cut Carry on, Mr Bowditch from my list just because I needed to shorten it. We’ve read some of the others, but not all. Thank you for more great suggestions, Ann!

      Reply
  5. jen
    February 16, 2017

    oh! I hope you love the Wingfeather Saga as much as we do; we read the books as they came out and have re-read! Right now, my husband is reading book two to our eleven year old.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      Jen! I haven’t heard from you in a long time and I’ve wondered how you are doing. So nice to see you here. If you have a moment, will you email me and let me know? [email protected]

      Reply
  6. Charlene Heil
    February 16, 2017

    Are any of these good ones to read to 4, 5, and 6 year olds?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      Little House and Henry Huggins. I would add some of the Ramona books (maybe Ramona and her Father), B is for Betsy and the Eddie books by Carolyn Haywood (published in the 1940’s,a different era, very sweet), the original Boxcar Children books, Betsy and Tacy, My Father’s Dragon, Charlotte’s Web, Homer Price, Mr. Popper’s Penguins (so many people love, I didn’t love so much, but my kids thought it was pretty good), A Little Princess. There are just so many wonderful books!

      Reply
  7. Michelle
    February 16, 2017

    A few to add to your great list: hundred dresses by Eleanor Estes and wheel on the school and the house of sixty fathers by Meindert deJong and the princess and the goblin by George MacDonald

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 16, 2017

      We loved The House of Sixty Fathers; I had forgotten about that book. Thank you for the reminder.

      Reply
  8. Joy
    February 17, 2017

    My seven siblings and I were asked what books we liked so often when we were growing up that we put together a website listing our top few hundred favorites. You can find it at bookwormsabode (dot) com.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 17, 2017

      That’s great!

      Reply
  9. Amanda
    February 17, 2017

    I feel like a “bad mom” that I don’t do much reading aloud with our kids. The age span of our kids is 8 years and the big kids want to finish a book on their own, not wait for mom to read a chapter per night! I also get very tired reading aloud and have been known to fall asleep! Audio books/Audio Dramas are great for this tired momma!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 18, 2017

      Amanda, audiobooks count! Don’t ever call yourself a “bad mom”. I happen to love reading to my kids, but ask me to play a game and I feel like it is the ultimate sacrifice. I’m just not playful even though I want to be. I played a short game with Wogauyu tonight and I actually texted Russ at work to tell him because I was so proud of myself. We all have things that come easily to us and things that don’t. Find the things that do and capitalize on them!

      Reply
  10. Kerri
    February 18, 2017

    My oldest has really enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society. And The Hobbit makes for good read aloud experience as well.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 18, 2017

      Kerri, I’m going to have to take your recommendation seriously because I keep hearing about these books. They’re going to have to move the top of our list. Can you believe I’ve never read The Hobbit?

      Reply
  11. Elisha Hicks
    December 13, 2017

    I love this! Thanks! We, too, love to read to our kids. Now that they’re Bigs–we’re still doing it and they’re complaining at first but I can tell they secretly love it! Our favorite Christmas time read alouds are “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!” and “The Christmas Jar”. Others we’ve read lately to our teens, “Blue Like Jazz”, “Victory Over the Darkness”, and the guys have enjoyed “Killing Lions”. Also, one of our family fave’s when they were younger was “Where the Red Fern Grows”.

    Reply
    1. Elisha Hicks
      December 13, 2017

      Oh, and one more I forgot! “You are Special” by Max Lucado! It’s a GREAT picture book for everyone–reminding Whose we are and Who determines our identify!

      Reply
    2. Lisa Qualls
      December 13, 2017

      Great suggestions! I need to share (or write?) a post about favorite picture books. Christmas books are a great idea too!

      Reply
  12. Alli
    December 13, 2017

    My favorites… other than the previously suggested.
    Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, Poppy by Avi (and many in that series).

    Reply

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