My very favorite pastime as a child was reading. My mom had to come in my room and night and take away my flashlight, ask me about a hundred times to put down my novel and set the table, yet still she made sure I had ample money for our school book fair. My dad spent a lot of his precious free time with me at the library. I had a lovely elementary school librarian, Sister Marie de Lis, who encouraged and allowed me to "read ahead". Ah, I can still remember the smell of the book trailer and those paint stirrers we used to mark the shelves when we removed a book.
I am really tickled the that Nugget has a similar appetite for books, and so far, the little sibs do too. I have been meaning to kick off a book list, because some of the stuff marketed towards the elementary set (I'm looking at you, Junie B. with your horrid grammar and your awful attitude)...well, we can find better!
One thing I would challenge you, dear reader, is not to refrain from reading books with strong female leads to your sons. They can and will relate to heroines as well as heroes and will be better for it! It's a double standard as Harry Potter is given to boys and girls alike while boys get deprived of Ramona, Eloise, and Madeline. Not cool.
To Read Aloud:
A Cricket in Times Square and Tucker's Countryside by George Selden. Any animal-loving kid will be just beside himself!
Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder: a caveat - there is a lot of negative imagery about Native Americans in Little House on the Prairie. While I skipped over some of the scalping/massacre stories, we used the chapters as a platform to continue talking about prejudice, ignorance, tolerance, racism, and social justice.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The BFG, George's Marvellous Medicine (yes, that's how Dahl spelled it), and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Dahl mixes a dark side with playfulness, which is kind of irresistible! My favorites are Matilda and The Witches, but they are a mite scarier because they have slightly more feasible plot lines, so they will wait awhile.
Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little by E.B. White. The Nugget is very, "circle of life" oriented, but if you have a more sensitive child who's likely to become traumatized/vegetarian, you might want to save CW for a couple more years.
Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. Kids will relate to Ramona so easily, and though the series was published in the 50's, it feels timeless. As a side note, I found myself relating to Ramona's very realistically exhausted yet caring parents this time around!
Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This series is awesome if you have some sibling rivalry going on in your house, because the children model such wonderful self-reliance and teamwork.
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald. So much fun, mischief, and delicious descriptions of food!
The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks. Again, with the PC stuff, but when used as a jumping off point for discussion, go for it! The Nugget listened breathlessly to every word.
To Read on His Own:
Penny series by Kevin Henkes
Arthur series by Marc Brown
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish
On Our To-Read List:
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
***Add your favorites in the comments, please! Summer is coming, and I want a long list for the library!***