Reading books five times a day

I have a two-year-old who LOVES reading. Our “library” room is constantly layered with books because she’ll pull them one by one off the shelves, flip through them, and grab another one. She’ll grab an armful and dump them on my lap–then say, “I’ll get fwee more, Mom.” “Fwee” (three) usually ends up being four or five or six.

She goes through phases of which books she likes best, but there are a few that she will consistently pick above all others. Here are some of the favorites in our house:

 

paper bag princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustr. Michael Martchenko. She loves the dragon, and I love Princess Elizabeth, who is clever, determined, and confident.

 

 

naamah

Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustr. Holly Meade. We picked this up by happy chance at the library. The illustrations are beautiful, and I love the simple story of Noah’s wife.

 

sheep in a jeep

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustr. Margot Apple. Simple, catchy rhymes, clever illustrations. This one’s just fun.

 

moose a muffin

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustr. Felicia Bond. Honestly, I love all the “If you give a . . .” books, but this moose. It’s adorable.

 

harvey potter

Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen, illustr. Mark Buehner. I remember getting this from a book order back in elementary school, and it was one of my favorites as a kid. Now Scout has latched onto it. She calls it “Harry Potter” (that might be confusing later on), and she is in balloon heaven every time we read it.

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What picture books do you remember from your childhood? Or what books do you read to your kids? We’re always looking for new recommendations!

 

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Top reads of 2015

I shared my complete Goodreads list from this year’s reading in my last post, but I wanted to take a minute to highlight some of my favorites. Because, you know, everyone needs a few more books on their to-read list. 🙂

This was apparently a big year for reading/finishing series, so we’ll start with those.

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (series, graphic novel): I picked this series up when I was exploring the world of graphic novels and loved it. Great story for young readers.

Jinx by Sage Blackwood (series, MG fantasy): The final book in the series, Jinx’s Fire, came out this year, and I loved it every bit as much as the first two.

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (series, classics): I had never ventured beyond the first book before this year, but I devoured the other seven in just a couple of months once I got started. Some are better than others, but all are worth the read.

The Casson Family by Hilary McKay (series, YA contemporary): This is one I’m kind of hesitant to recommend to everyone, because I’m not sure everyone would appreciate the family dynamics. But I picked up Indigo’s Star by chance at the library and had to read the rest after that. I’m a sucker for properly quirky characters, and the Casson family fits the bill.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (series, MG family): Another series that wrapped up this year with the publication of The Penderwicks in Spring. I adore the Penderwicks, and while I struggled at first with the leap forward in time between the third and fourth books, I still loved the final installment.

Okay, a couple of standalone books:

As You Wish by Cary Elwes (memoir): I’ve always loved the movie The Princess Bride and finally read the book last year. So when I saw that dear Westley had written a memoir of the making of the movie, I had to check it out. It was a super fun read, filled with goofy stories and little snippets from other cast and crew members.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (YA historical fiction, WWII): This book is SO good for covering difficult questions that don’t have answers. A beautiful story of a black woman fighting for the chance to prove her worth.

There you have it! What were some of your favorite reads from 2015?

Venturing into Graphic Novels

In the continuing spirit of trying new things, I decided it was time to try that genre I’ve avoided for a long time: graphic novels. The book that convinced me it was time to try was A Wrinkle in Time: the graphic novel, originally by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson.

Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have started out my graphic novel adventure with an adaptation of one of my favorite books of all time. That’s just setting it up for failure. BUT I will say that I enjoyed the illustrations much, much more than I expected. While Larson’s interpretation of the story was vastly different from my own, it was very beautifully drawn and expressed.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much of L’Engle’s incredible writing that you can fit into a graphic novel. While Larson did a good job of fitting in many of the good, powerful lines, there were still so many that were missing, and I was left completely unfulfilled. A graphic novel can’t hold a candle to the power of words.

That being said, I’m willing to try again. Like I said, it wasn’t totally fair to start out with an adaptation of an amazing book. So tell me—have you read any graphic novels? Which would you recommend?

Classic!

It’s amazing how many readers wince at the word “classics.” As Mark Twain so aptly put it, “‘Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” Yes, classics are (usually) long. Yes, classics are (usually) wordy. But there’s a reason they’re classics! I have a few of my favorite classics listed on my Book Recommendations page, but if you’re looking for a good classic to start with, here are a few suggestions and reasons why it’s a good one to start with.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Why? Unlike most of Dickens’s books, it’s short. Also, you probably know the story if you turn on the television at all the month before Christmas. A good way to ease into the classics.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Why? This is one of those great books that has an engaging surface plot and plenty of under-the-surface pondering. You can enjoy the action of the plot, then chew on the meatier details between readings.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Why? Serious bragging rights. If you want read one classic to make yourself look good, make it this one. You tell people you’ve read Les Mis, and jaws will drop, followed by the question, “Isn’t that like twelve hundred pages?” It’s long, and it’s tedious at parts, but it’s also incredibly moving. Also, if you get to the end of this one, you feel like you can read anything in the world. Once-daunting classics will now be mere child’s play.

If you have a younger child that you’d like to get interested in the classics—or if you’re just looking for an easier way to get a few classics under your belt—check out the Great Illustrated Classics. I had several of these as a child and loved them. They’re abridged and simplified, with a picture on every other page.

Also, here’s a list of 100 middle-school classics. I haven’t read all of them, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend all of them (I disliked Tale of Despereaux, and after my experience with Heart of Darkness I don’t think I’d care much for Lord of the Flies), but it’s a good list of some less-daunting classics.

Do you enjoy classic literature? What are some of your favorites?