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Fifteen Favorite Children’s Read-Alouds – Part 1

Summer is here and you might be looking for some fun and frugal ways to occupy your children without just sitting them in front of the computer or television.

Reading is a wonderful way to stimulate your children’s minds, teach them great lessons, open up new worlds to them and give them a life-long interest in learning. If your children are young, reading aloud also provides a great opportunity to spend quality time with your children. Plus, if you get most of your books free, reading is an incredibly frugal pastime.

We love books at our house. We don’t have a lot of children’s toys, but oh do we enjoy books! Our children never tire of being read to.

And since I’m often asked for children’s book recommendations, I’m going to be sharing fifteen of our very favorite children’s read-alouds over the next four weeks. These are books which — in most cases — we’ve read over and over and over again. Many of them might already be on your own shelves, but I hope you’ll discover a few new ones, too.

1. Goodnight Moon— Hands down, this is Kaitlynn’s (almost 3) favorite book. In fact, I’m pretty sure every single one of us have this entire book memorized by heart. We also can pretty much tell you every little detail on every square inch of every page. But that’s perfectly okay, because it’s such a great classic book.

2. The Seven Silly Eaters — This book was sent to our family by a blog reader and it’s become one of the most-requested read-alouds by our girls. It’s a fun — and sometimes a bit over-the-top — book about life in a bustling household. We don’t quite have every word memorized yet, but we’re quickly getting there! 🙂

3. Because I Love You— If I had to pick a favorite book from all the children’s books we own, I’m pretty sure this book would be it. It’s a beautiful story of God’s love for us — even when we were yet sinners. It touches me every time I read it to the girls and opens up lots of opportunities for me to explain truths about God.

4. The Bear That Heard Crying (Picture Puffins) — This is a true and fascinating story which happened in 1783. A 3-year-old girl gets lost in the woods and is saved by a bear — yes, I said a bear. The girls are always in awe and ask dozens of questions when we read this one.

Part 2 of Fifteen Favorite Read-Alouds is coming next Monday.

This post is brought to you in part by HarperCollins and the Borders Double Dog Dare You Reading program. Kids 12 and under can join the Borders Double Dog Dare You Reading program and earn a free book when they read 10 books. Just fill out this form and bring it in to any Borders, Waldenbooks, or Borders express store by August 26, 2010 to participate in this program. Find more Summer Reading Programs here.

photo credit: Washington State Library

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  • Cate says:

    I’m SO looking forward to this series! I loved The Seven Silly Eaters as a kid, and Goodnight Moon was always a favorite, too. I’ll have to check out The Bear That Heard Crying as well. My daughter’s finally at the point where she enjoys being read to (instead of just chewing on the books), so I’m having a lot of fun finding books for her.

  • Anybody have any recommendations about which of the free books would be a good choices after my kids earn them? Sounds like a fun program.

  • Carol says:

    My daughters are 13 and 8 now, and I can still recite Goodnight Moon from memory…

  • Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    My all time favorite books to read aloud have been the ones by Karma Wilson. Bear Snores On and Mortimer’s Christmas Manger are my two favorites.

  • Cindy says:

    Good Night Moon, hands down, was each of my kids favorite book. It’s been 15 years since I’ve read it to one of them and I still remember then entire book by heart.
    In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon…. 🙂

  • Laurie says:

    I don’t know if The Quiltmaker’s Gift is going to make your list, but if you haven’t read it, you should. I know you and your children would love it!

  • Christy says:

    Our local libary (Dorchester County, SC) has a program called “Bright Beginnings.” It is sponsored through United Way. We get to go check out bags of books and activities. This is for children birth through age 5. All of the bags have several books in them. There are usually a few activities in each bag and they vary from bag to bag: puzzles, lacing with string, games, music CDs, DVDs, etc. Each bag has a theme. Some themes we have checked out are: Bible stories, Thomas the train, numbers, colors, Easter, Spot (the dog), Clifford (the dog). There is even one about getting a new sibling that we will be checking out soon! My son loves the bags and they expose him to a variety of books and activities without expense or clutter–I did have to attend a one-time training session in order to check out the bags. We didn’t get involved until my son was 2, but it appears there are infant bags with books and things like rattles. It might be worth checking with your local libraries to see if they have anything like this; I don’t think a lot of people know our library has it–people are always surprised when my son talks about his “library bag.”

    On another note, someone gave my son Max Lucado’s book “You are Special” as a birthday gift. I thought it looked good but over his head (3 years old); I thought he would enjoy it more down the road. I was wrong; it is one of his favorite books and he has it almost completely memorized. Maybe “Because I Love You” can be one of his Christmas books!

  • Carrie says:

    I will have to check out “Because I Love You”–that sounds like a great one to own! “Seven Silly Eaters” sounds like a really fun book, too.

    “The Bear that Heard Crying” is such a great book, and especially neat for our family because it took place not too far from where we live! For older children, there is another book called “Sarah Whitcher’s Story” by Elizabeth Yates, which goes into a little more detail about the same story.

    And you know what’s crazy? I’m 33 and I’ve never even read “Goodnight Moon!!” Sad, isn’t it?! I know what I need to look for at the library tomorrow . . . 🙂

    Thanks for this series; I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of your list!

  • Tracy Y says:

    My 3 yr old LOVES being read to and we go to the library for new books weekly. Sometimes I walk in there and feel so overwhelemed – a couple of these are new to me so I just went online and reserved at my library. Will pick up this weekend and cant wait to read them with my little one!! 🙂 Thanks!

  • Sarah A. says:

    Is the Borders program only for readers? The “12 and under” makes me wonder if they can be listeners. The books are all for older kids from what I can tell, but I would start reading them to my kids before they could probably read them to themselves.

    • @Sarah A., I just went to Borders today, with my children. The book choices are a lot older than the Barnes and Noble ones. They only have 2 younger choices, and my 5-year-old was bummed because they are above his reading level (and we already own one of them). I will have to read the other one to him.

      Barnes and Noble was right across the street; I only had my two older children do that one (since it said grades 1 and up); they had more book choices, and many choices for the younger readers, which was nice. They also didn’t limit us to choosing by grade level, so the children chose the books they wanted to pick.

  • Frugalista says:

    How funny — I just saw Seven Silly Eaters for the very first time today when Nutmeg brought it home from a friend’s house. She wanted to borrow it so we could bake the cake described inside. Fortunately, she accepted my explanation that I couldn’t make it since there was no recipe in the book!

  • Crystal,

    Thank you; I think my six small children will like the Seven Silly Eaters! I reserved that and The Bear That Heard Crying from our library.

    I have a favorite homeschooling blog that I like to read. She recommends lots and lots of books there and I LOVE her choices, for both herself and her children. If you aren’t already reading her blog, I highly recommend it!

    Mt. Hope Chronicles

  • Amy says:

    We *Love* Seven Silly Eaters. Mary Ann hoberman has other great books and poetry.

    A longer book that is probably the same story as the bear who heard crying is the Sarah Whitcher Story.

  • Dory says:

    Even if the book choices are for older children, does anyone know if they can be listeners and do it? I just figured we could add to our collection.

  • Rhonda says:

    We loved many of those books when my kids were little. One of their all time favorites was “Caps For Sale”. I can’t tell you how many times we read that one!

  • Bodestrade says:

    Please don’t forget that BARNES & NOBLE has a SUMMER READING PROGRAM as well. Read 8 books, get one book free. Kids get to put their own special sticker to put on a world map and talk to a bookseller about their favorite books.

  • Noah says:

    I love getting new ideas for read alouds! My oldest is old enough now that he really enjoys chapter books too, which are fun to read! Thanks, looking forward to the rest!

  • Julia says:

    What a great list! Most of them I have read already and enjoyed. But The Bear that Heard Crying is new to me; I am certain my kids will love it!

  • Stephanie says:

    Have you read the book Fool Moon Rising? A Good friend just recommended that to me and it looks really good!
    Wondering if you’ve read it? 🙂

  • Julie says:

    “Goodnight Moon” is the absolute best. My daughter is now 16, and STILL remembers that book. Not too many books can you say that about! We were just talking about it the other day. It was a book we read over and over and over!!!

  • Mary says:

    My gang absolutely loves Seven Silly Eaters, the pictures are fantastic!

  • Wow, your timing is perfect! I’ve been looking for some more books to read to my son. 🙂 He LOVES books.

    Goodnight Moon is a definite classic. My son and I both know the book by heart!

  • jan says:

    Library Summer Reading program starts today we are so excited!

  • Carol says:

    That picture you’ve used of a kid’s library is from our town! It’s a wonderful place.

  • Kelly says:

    My kids love The Bear that heard Crying. Many years ago I heard the author speak at a library conference and just fell in love with her and her books. It was a pleasant surprise to see it on your list.

  • Tina says:

    Great post–always looking for good books. Two are favorites of ours–the other 2 we will be checking out of the library!

  • Fiery says:

    I am so excited to see this series of posts. My 2.5yr old is book crazy. She would give up all her toys for a good book. Often she spends hours sitting in a box with her animals and a stack of books reading them. I’ve been reading her books since the day she was born ( well she herd them daily when I was pregnant since I was teaching then if you want to get technical). I was amazed that even at 3-4 mos she was in love with stories and even had favorites she could pick out from a stack of other books/toys.

    I will definitely be looking for some of these books at the library, though we rarely go there. We usually purchase books/videos instead at a steep discount via the 3x weekly book sale run by the friends of the library. Nothing like getting $10 hardcover books in like new condition for $1.

  • Jen Hasseld says:

    “Big Plans” by Bob Shea!! It’s a HILARIOUS read. The Pigeon books by Mo Willems were a hit. And I personally love “God Gave Us You” by Lisa Tawn Bergen (probably not at the local library, but a wonderful story none the less). I think if you put enough energy and funny voices into a book, any of them can be a good read aloud.

  • Emily says:

    I’m a Children’s Literature doctoral student (code for unemployed and broke and this website has stretched my budget way far)! Back to the topic, I really liked all the suggestions and have just one more. If you have an 8-11 year old and they haven’t read The Invention of Hugo Cabret (it’s a 500 page half picture have writing) book, they must! It’s a great read and the page numbers would give them the satisfaction of reading a 500 page book. Even though it’s really only about 40 combined pages of actual words. A nice transition from picture books to novels.

  • Emily says:

    And now the list of favorite picture books…

    Black and White by David Macaulay
    The Man who Walked Between the Towers (about the world trade center) by Modicai Gerstein
    Four Feet Two Sandals (about two young girls living in refugee camps in Pakistan) by Karen Lynn Williams
    Smoky Night (about LA riots) by Eve Bunting

    and of course…You are Special by Max Lucado….

  • Candace says:

    The Tale of Three Trees is a wonderful book too!

  • Michelle says:

    I hope that you have all read “A Chair for My Mother”. Besides being a wonderful story with beautiful illustrations, the story of saving money and waiting until you can afford an item of importance is portrayed in a lovely way.

  • Patti says:

    Thanks you so much for the recommendation on The Bear that heard Crying. I just got it at the library and it is great. Both my 6yo and 3yo boys loved it.

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