Reading With Kids

Today the boys are off school.  They had bookstore gift cards from Christmas that were burning holes in their pockets, so I decided to take them to the bookstore while Sister was at nursery.

In my life as a mother, this constitutes a Big Outing (sad, but true).  I hardly ever shop in stores for anything I can get online.  In fact, I pretty much hate shopping in stores more than any other activity I can think of (Edited to say: unless I'm shopping in my favorite bookstores, but today's bookstore was not one of them).  Add to that the realities of chronic pain, and you get a serious online shopper.  But since the gift cards were for a particular store, and because I wanted the boys to have fun picking out their books (not to mention to learn, or continue to learn, how to interact politely in a retail setting), we went for the real-live shopping experience.

The Bean knew exactly what he wanted.  He's cruising through the Harry Potter series, and Number 5 was next.  It was there on the shelf.  He was happy.  He has been nose-in-book since.  AJ was looking for a "magic book"; he could find nothing that fit his definition of "magic book."  But he did find a book that seemed, to him, magical:  a tale of Lightning McQueen (or, as AJ says, "Lightnin' DaQueen" -- I just don't have the heart to correct him).  I am not crazy about books that are products of a movie empire rather than literary creations in their own right, but one of my survival mechanisms as a mother has been to lower my standards (sad, but true), so I relented.  He has been nose-in-book since.

I thought it would be nice to find something Sister might enjoy, too, and decided on Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  Ramona is a Kindergartner and Sister is a soon-to-be Kindergartner, so I thought they might have a few things in common.  I imagined quiet, cozy moments on the couch, Sister nuzzled in close, reading a chapter of Ramona each day before her rest time.  When I picked Sister up from nursery and told her about the book she threw herself down and started screaming and crying, "I don't want that book!  I don't want that book!  I don't want that book!  I don't want that book!"

Needless to say, she is napping now.

Oh, the joys of Motherhood.

But, indeed, reading with my kids is one of my greatest joys as a mother.  I will drop almost anything if they come and ask me to read to them.  These requests are getting fewer and farther between as the boys prefer to read independently more often than not.  But I always try to keep a good chapter book going, one that we can read and enjoy together.  And that's really the purpose of my post today: to share with you a short list of our very favorite read-together books.  In no particular order (and I am not going to link them since they are very Google-able):

D'aulaire's Greek Myths retold by Edgar and Ingrid D'aulaire
D'aulaire's Norse Myths retold by Edgar and Ingrid D'aulaire
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood retold by Howard Pyle
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights retold by Howard Pyle
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
the book of Genesis -- especially the stories of Jacob and his sons  by J, E, P, D and R
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien
the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
almost any book of Fairy Tales (the real ones, not the Disney ones)

And some of my favorites from my childhood (ones that I haven't been able to hook the kids on so far) are:

The All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor
The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and others in the series by Helen Wells

We are between books right now, so soon I'll make a trip to the library and see what I can find next to delight us all.

What are your very favorite read-together books -- those you read with your own children, or children in your life, or those books someone read to you back in the day?  I would love to know.


drew said...

I loved Beverly Cleary! What a nice flashback.

I often think my one regret in not having children is that I don't get to read to, or with, my own kids. Always thought that would be nice.

Sounds like you are a great literary example for your children. Someday they may be writing about THEIR reading-with-mom memories.

Molly said...

Drew, Sister relented and let me read Chapter 1 of Ramona the Pest to her last night. But she insisted we just call it "Ramona" because "pest isn't nice." Thanks for reading!