Product DetailsMy daughter and I are just about to finish reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.   I read it when I was in 7th or 8th grade.  I knew it was a classic because we had to read it.  As I got older and tended to read more books of my choosing, I did go back and read other John Steinbeck books and loved them.  The way he writes is beautiful.   There are so many books to read (just take a look at everyone’s TBR lists), how do we define a classic?  I remember everything about Of Mice and Men (and it was a VERY long time ago that I read it).  Was it because of my teachers?  Was it because of the the books they chose to teach?  Was it because of the writing? And, are what books are considered classics today?  (I would certainly put The Book Thief on my new classics list)

While most children are not still read to at the ages of 12 and 15, I know that my kids don’t mind it.  I also know that we read books that they never would have picked on their own.  I usually give them a choice of about 5-7 books.  If we don’t like it after a few chapters, we agree to stop.  My daughter and I have read Jane Eyre and Great Expectations.  My son and I are currently reading The Land of Oz, and next on our list is Tom Sawyer and/or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I know for a fact that he would NEVER read these books on his own.  What classics are you reading to your children.  I would love to make a new TBR list of classics to read.

Yet, another reason to read to your kids as long as possible.  It’s not just about picture books.

Happy Reading!

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My son and I just finished reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  Did you know that there are 13 books in the series of Oz?  My daughter and I had read this a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  My son enjoyed it, too.  So much, that we are now reading Book #2 in the Oz series, The Land of Oz.

The characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are the same as are in the movie, but of course, we get to know them so much better in the book.  It is a delight to see the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and of course, Dorothy and Toto come to life in your imagination.  Everyone in this world takes an adventure like Dorothy does with her friends in order to find that one thing that they think is missing from their life.  Everyone can relate to this story.  It’s a fun read aloud for children of all ages.

Happy Reading!

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So, Harry Potter has been around for a long time (20 years to be exact – why didn’t LEGO resissue the Harry Potter LEGOs to time with the 20th Anniversary?).  I remember a teacher friend reading it way back when I was single.  I read the entire series when the kids were very little.  My daughter was capable of reading it by 3rd grade but admitted that she was afraid.  Many of her friends were reading it, and she was feeling left out.  We decided to read it together.  I read Books 1-5 aloud to her.  By the time we got through #5, she told me she was done and wanted to do #6 and #7 on her own, which she did in about 2 weeks!  And, she has re-read the entire series at least twice.  I read the 1st book aloud with my son.  He was ready to move on to read them on his own immediately after that.  He loved them.  And, now that they have read the books, they watch the movies as well!

If you’re thinking your child is not ready for some books, read  them on your own.  If you think the subject matter is okay, suggest to your child that you read them aloud.  Any questions they have, or comprehension issues can be dealt with as you are reading.  I think it would be a win-win for everyone.

Happy Reading!

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My daughter and I just finished reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  As my daughter has entered HS and is writing a lot for several classes, this seemed to be a good fit for right now.  It was a little slow for a read aloud, as there is no dialogue.  But, we both enjoyed it.  And, it is always good to hear an author’s writing process.  Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors, both fiction and non fiction.  This non fiction book, as it states on the cover, is basically “Some instructions on writing and life”  This is very true of Bird by Bird.  There is some advice for writing and making yourself a better writer.  There is also some advice on life and making your life better.  Its a good read, for older children.  There is some foul language, but . . .that’s part of life.

Happy Reading!

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Ok, so I know this is supposed to be a blog about books to read to your kids, but, I’m sure you read, too.  I pre-ordered this book back in September.  It is written by the very talented Kate Spencer.  I knew her mom (the dead mom of which she writes) and her dad.  I loved her mom, and miss her.  I always say if you read a book and you cant put it down (no matter the subject matter), then it is a success.  This was a tough read for me, but I couldn’t put it down (success!).  While I knew some of the details of Martha’s illness, Kate really gets to the heart of it.  I cried because it was sad, maybe sadder because I knew Martha.  But, there was more laughter than tears.  Laughter, remembering how wonderful and funny Martha was. Laughter, picturing Kate’s dad doing all typical Jim stuff for which we know and love him.  This book is a beautiful love letter to Martha, and also to anyone suffering a loss.

“I like to think of our lives this way; we start with one stone at the bottom and slowly build upwards, experiences and moments balancing precariously on top of each other, making up who we are.  And when elements knock the rocks over, we rebuild, with the same pieces but a new shape.  We are different, misshapen and unsteady, but still whole.”

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Everytime I go on Instagram (readingtoyourkids – follow me!), I get overwhelmed by how little I think I am doing.  There are pictures of books that I want to read.  I think “ooh, let’s put this one on our list.”  And, then I see another one that looks good.  It’s overwhelming.  I need to keep to our already several lists of what we want to read.  We are trying to get through as many as we can from the Gilmore Girls list https://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/all-339-books-referenced-in-gilmore-girls?utm_term=.rrEQYKX5za#.ltmM6Dd8JX).  We also have the books from The Reading Promise.  And, we try to read as many Nutmeg (http://www.nutmegaward.org/) nominees as possible so that we can vote for a winner.

No wonder we feel overwhelmed.  Oh, that reminds me, we all should probably re-read Wonder since the movie will be out a week from today.

I will just keep reminding myself that what I have to read is enough.  The curse of social media; it is making me think that I need to more.  To paraphrase Dory  – “just keep reading”.  I will try to keep up with posting!

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This is the third time I am reading this book.  I read it the first time to make sure it was appropriate to read with my daughter.  It was.  But there is some bad language in it – be warned.  And it is about the Holocaust, which in any situation, is simply horrible.  Make sure your child is old enough to handle the subject matter and any discussions that may come from it.  My daughter and I both loved this book.  It is so beautifully written.  The characters are extraordinary.  I highly recommend reading this book aloud with your child.

My son and I are reading this book now, and he also loves it.  There have been some incidents at his school over the past several weeks concerning swastikas and singling out Jewish people.  This book is perfect for the situation at hand.  And . . . reading it aloud with him has started discussions that probably never would have been brought up if we weren’t reading it.

I am a firm believer in family time and talking with your children.  As they get older, it gets harder to talk to them.  By reading books, I am able to engage with them and discuss matters that come up in books, and inevitably, in their own lives.  Just read with your kids!

Happy Reading!

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We had quite a bit of wind and rain yesterday.  There were some power outages.  What better book to read to your kids than When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins, illustrated by Mike Lester.  We loved this book when the kids were little.  It might help in this technology filled world to realize that the most fun can be had with your brothers or sisters playing with things around the house.  And, surprisingly, the kids will survive without technology.

Happy Reading!

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I can’t say we’re back and better than ever . . . but we are back.  I am going to try to keep up with this again.  My daughter is going to be helping me out.  Hopefully, as I get my feet wet, I will figure things out.  In the meantime, please be patient with me.

We began ” a streak” a few years ago, just like Alice Ozma and her father (The Reading Promise).  Tomorrow we will have read every night for 1600 days!!!!!  We made up our own rules.  We have to read every night or day, no matter what.  I am reading to both of my children, but when we are on vacation, we read one book together.  When we are pressed for time or its Friday night and I just can’t bear to read 2 chapter books we opt for one book, and its usually one of our favorite picture books (we still have them in our bookcase).  And, as there have been times when I have been travelling, we have welcomed guest readers (grandmother, aunt).

Most of our entries going forward will be books that we have read.  There have been some overlaps with reading to both children.  But, they have very different interests, so there is quite a variety of titles.

Feel free to suggest books!  I am looking forward to making this site worthwhile for everyone who stops by.  Tell your friends!

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The Nutmeg nominees continue. . .

Inside Out and Back AgainInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai is the story of Ha.  She is 10 years old when her family has to leave Saigon.  They are headed toward America and perhaps a better life.  But, they have left behind all that they know to go to a strange land, strange people, strange food, strange language.  Ha and her brothers have a long year of change, dreaming, grieving, and discovering.  I tell my children this many times, and the many of the books we read have the same message.  You never know what is going on in someone else’s head.  This is true of Ha’s story.  As children, we would witness a new girl at school who looks different and speaks differently.  What do you think she is thinking?  She is not stupid, she just wants to fit in.  Thanhha Lai writes this novel in verse – which was off putting when we first picked it up.  But, it was a wonderful read, and the verse was written so beautifully, it was not difficult to understand all the meanings and/or feelings of the characters.  Both my daughter and I enjoyed this book.

What I think I liked best about this book was the supplemental information at the end of the book – an interview with the author, an activity for readers and their families, discussion questions, and best of all tips from the author about writing poetry.  While I was an English major in college, I never really took to poetry.  This was very helpful to me.  Perhaps I will start writing love poems to my husband! (Ha! – sarcasm)

Happy Reading!

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