On Twitter I learned that today is #ReadABookDay—but as Lisa Lucas, the unbelievably lucky person to be executive director of the National Book Foundation, tweeted, “Every day is #ReadABookDay, but I’ll play!”
I mean, every day is #ReadABookDay, but I’ll play!
— Lisa Lucas (@likaluca) September 6, 2017
I couldn’t agree with Lucas more. I was an avid reader as a kid who read Anne of Green Gables when my aunt in West Palm Beach, Florida, gave it to me to keep me busy during a visit. Soon I was in love with red-headed, rambunctious Anne.
But how did I miss out on the Little House on the Prairie series? I loved stories about the “olden days,” yet no one had bothered to tell me about the pioneering Ingalls family who homesteaded out on the plains when Indians still ruled much of what is now the Midwest.
For #ReadABookDay, here are some books you’ll want to make sure are part of your youngster’s childhood.
- Goodnight Moon — A poetic favorite whose simple, somnolent rhymes will put your kids—or at least you—to sleep.
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish — Great nonsense and fun from Dr. Seuss!
- Ferdinand the Bull — A charming picture book. Ferdinand just wants to smell the flowers.
- Landmark series— Boys as well as girls will love this acclaimed history series. There’s a World Landmark series as well. Look for them in the library.
- Childhood of Famous Americans series – These simply written books are early chapter biographies. They’re fun to read and convey a bit of wisdom too.
- D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths— but don’t stop there. Read everything by the D’Aulaires—the illustrations alone are captivating.
- Chronicles of Narnia— My daughter’s second-grade teacher read this series to the class and my daughter has been enchanted with it ever since.
- The Giver— My son exclaimed after reading this as a high schooler, “This is the best book I’ve ever read.”
- The Power of Un— Another favorite of my son’s when he was about 12.
- The Dark Is Rising sequence— Both of my kids devoured this series when they were in their early teens.
And to sneak in one of my son’s all-time favorites—The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which he devoured around the age of 11. And my daughter loved anything by Madeline L’Engle.
For excellent references, check with your local librarian or the New York Times Book Review, which features children’s books every week. Also, check out story time at your library or local book store.
Not sure your child is ready for a book’s subject matter? Read it first—or stay a chapter ahead. If the book is beyond your child’s reading level, read it to him or use audio books. I read Dickens and George Bernard Shaw to my children until they were in their late teens. Reading aloud to anyone at any age is a tremendous gift.