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Back-to-School Reading for Everyone

This week, as per several of your requests, I am writing about age-appropriate literature as decided by my four children who happen to be big fans of reading and books. I interviewed each one of my kids (ages 10, almost 7, almost 4 and almost 4), asking each to name three books they love right now (Fable chose five) and why they love them. This is what I got.

Boheme (age almost 4)

1. "The Paperbag Princess"

In Bo's words:

"This is my favorite book because I really love it so much. I like Elizabeth. Ronald is a bum, though."

This is Bo's favorite book. I read it three times a night. Bo knows every. single. word. and now calls everyone a "bum" when she's mad at them. "YOUR CLOTHES ARE VERY NICE, MOM, BUT YOU ARE A BUM."

2. "Marcel the Shell: Things About Me"

In Bo's words:

"I love when Marcel the Shell goes to his Breadroom. He's so funny. I love this book. I like to bring it to school and put it in my cubbie. Once it got lost but we found it."

P.S. I don't want to toot my own horn, but my Marcel voice is pretty solid. If you and your kids aren't already familiar with the videos, they are here and here and here. There is also a second Marcel book that came out last year.

3. "A Sister More Like Me"

In Bo's words:

"I like this book because they build a snowman and I love Elsa and want her to come to my birthday party."

I've written about this book before. It's really kind of great. The most well written/illustrated Disney Princess book I've seen in all my days.

Reverie (age almost 4)

1. "The Little Mermaid" book and the Tinkerbell book and the "Cinderella" book

(Revi is on a princess book kick at the moment and it is VERY HARD for me to be like, "OH, YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK THAT I LITERALLY HATE WITH MY ENTIRE BEING? YES PLEASE." But then I remember that it isn't about what I want to read and I'm not here to project onto her wonderful little self. And so. I read the princess story. And then I read the other princess story. And one last princess story.)

In Revi's words:

"I'm going to bring 'The Little Mermaid' book to my birthday party and I'm going to give it to Ariel to show her. I like the decorations in the pictures. Tinkerbell is so beautiful when she flies. Cinderella has a gown."

2. "Marcel the Shell: Things About Me"

In Revi's words:

"I like your voice when you read it to us. It makes me laugh and I love to have a funny face."

3. "Hug Machine"

In Revi's words:

"I love 'Hug Machine' because it's great and beautiful and it says 'To Revi Love from Nana' in the front because Nana got it for me. I can make a song about 'Hug Machine' and it will be a nighttime song."

Fable (1st Grade)

1. The (entire) "Whatever Ever After" series

Fable purchased her firs- ever paperback book at last year's school book fair and it was one of the "Whatever After" series books. She has now read the entire series thus far. She DEVOURS these books like it's her job.

In Fable's words:

"I love fairytales and these are adventure fairytales that make me laugh. Also, there's a magic mirror that I LOVE. That's how the characters travel in the book. They jump into the mirror when their parents aren't watching."

2. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

In Fable's words:

"This is my favorite book in the whole world. I love Charlie. He's kind. Also? THIS BOOK IS SO FUNNY, YOU GUYS. It is so so so funny."

3. "The BFG" (and, really, anything by Roald Dahl. Nana got Fable the box set for Christmas and she has been making her way through this set as well. SETS SETS SETS!)

In Fable's words:

"HILARIOUS. 'The BFG' is so funny. All of Roald Dahl's books are so funny. I have read four so far and they're all really good."

4. "Little Women"

In Fable's words:

"I love this book because it's about four sisters and I have two sisters and a brother. They work as a team in the book. And I LOVE Jo. She's the oldest and she's like a mother and helps all the little sisters."

5. "The Rainbow Fairy" by Fable Isaacson

Fable wrote and illustrated this book last year and we had it printed through Blurb soon after. (You can totally buy a copy, by the way. The three dollars in proceeds go to Fable's bank account.)

In Fable's words:

"I made this book so of course I love it, Mom."

Archer (age 10/5th grade)

1. "The Hobbit" (Archer, pictured, is reading the same copy that my mother and I read when we were kids.)

In Archer's words:

"I love how adventurous it is. I love adventure books."

I read "The Hobbit" when I was Archer's age, too. From there I read the Brian Jaques' entire "Redwall" series and "The Chronicles of Narnia."

2. The "Harry Potter" series

Hal has been reading the "Harry Potter" series simultaneously with Archer for the past two years. (They're on book six. They took a break about a year ago and are just getting back into it.) I told Fable that I would wait and read the books with her when she starts reading them. (And then, we'll all read them together when the twins are older? That's the plan, anyway. Family book club!)

In Archer's words:

"Again, it's adventurous. And a little scary. And the characters are the coolest."

3. "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane"

The Booklist Review:

"Edward Tulane is a china rabbit with an extensive wardrobe. He belongs to 10-year-old Abilene, who thinks almost as highly of Edward as Edward does of himself. Even young children will soon realize that Edward is riding for a fall. And fall he does, into the sea, after mean boys rip him from Abilene's hands during an ocean voyage. Thus begins Edward's journey from watery grave to the gentle embrace of a fisherman's wife, to the care of a hobo and his dog, and into the hands of a dying girl. Then, pure meanness breaks Edward apart, and love and sacrifice put him back together—until just the right child finds him. With every person who touches him, Edward's heart grows a little bit softer and a little bit bigger ..."

In Archer's words:

IT'S ADVENTUROUS! (If it isn't obvious, I really like adventure stories.)

What about you guys? What are your kids currently reading/loving/recommending?

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