The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is a spectacular childrens chapter book. This book is FILLED with so many things that is useful for a child as far as literacy is concerned. It has themes of religion, betrayal, friendship, loyalty, bravery, love, and much much more behind it. Aside from being adventourous, creative, and entertaining, it uses challenging words that children can use to expand their vocabulary. I remember that this book was on my 5th grade summer reading list. I did not want to read it because it looked long and tiresome. However, when I did read it I was instantly hooked and compeltely impressed with the world of Narnia andof how much detail can be in one story. It was one of my first challenging stories that I read. After that, I was onto new ones and I truly fell in love with books and what they had to offer me as a reader.
The American Girls book collection by multiple authors is similar to Ingalls and Lane's On The Way Home in that in addition to being invited to reading about the ups and downs on these little girl's lives, we also understand the history behind it. This is a collection of fiction stories of different young girls lives from colonial America to today. Although it is fiction, I feel that the authors do a marvelous job at portraying the reality of what life must have been like in the time in which the story was set. They are emotional, entertaining, and silly all at once. I truly love the American Girls book collection.
On The Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane is absolutely, hands down, one of my favorite chapter books as a child. They are a series,and I couldn't wait for my mother to buy me the next one and the one after that. I think that they are great for children to read because aside from the actual story line, looking back, I found that it improved my knowledge of history and the early pioneers who settled the American West. It is a non-fiction story of a young girl moving from Nebraska to South Dekota with her parents. The terminology and language in the book is old fashioned and it is such a phenominal account of what life was like for people in their travels back then. We owe it to them for all their hard work in building this country from the earth. It places a lot of emphasis on farming and the hardships of life for farmers in the late 1800's. It was truly a fight against mother nature which people now should deeply respect and appreciate these people for.
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff is a fantastic children's book. I do not feel that it holds any type of profound message for children as most of the books that I have blogged about do, but it doesn't hurt to enjoy a simple and fun book with lovely illustrations and entertainment. Laura Numeroff has written countless books like this such as: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and If You Give a Pig a Party, etc. It is simply about people never being satisfied. If you get one thing, you will always want more and more. This holds true probably for many things in life. They are cute and exciting stories.
The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein is a story about differences among people. Sissy Duckling is not like the other young boy ducks his age. He enjoy art, he loves to cook and clean, and he adores his mother. He tries awfully hard to please his father but his father never makes him feel good enough. His father wishes that his son liked to play sports and run around outside with him and the other male ducks. It isn't until his father gets hurt by a hunter and Sissy Duckling is the only one out of all the male ducks to take care of the father and nurse him back to health that his father understands that it is ok to be different and he appreciates his sons eccentricities. Sissy Duckling no longer feels bad inside about who he is and he accepts and loves himself as all people should.
Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie DePaola is another bittersweet book that teaches a child about the confusion, devestation, and mystery of death. I first read this book in one of my education literacy classes a year ago and I fell in love with it. It is a sweet little story, ages four to eight that talks about a little girl who lives in a house with her grandmother downstairs. Her older grandmother lives upstairs and she loves them both. One day, Nana upstairs passes away and the little girl can't understand. She cried to Nana Downstairs who explains to her that Nana Upstairs was special and will always be remembered and she will be loved forever. Death is a part of life.
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper is a story about generosity and perseverance. Despite the engines size he is determined to get his trunk load of toys to the children at the other side of the mountain. He pushes and he pushes up the steep hill and no matter how hard it becomes he does not give up. In the end, he succeeds. He is successful because of hos hard he worked and also because he refused to give up trying. He also wanted nothing more than to get those toys delivered to the children. It is necessar for children to understand that just because things become hard in life, this does not mean that one should give up altogether and stop trying. In fact, it means quite the opposite. Life is hard, and you must face adversity head on.
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is a classic story that my mother used to read to me as a child. I don't think that any children's book that you read to a child is unimportant because at the end of the day, the child is looking at words and he or she is learning. This book is poetic because it has a lot of repetition in it, it also teaches a phenominal lesson about life and growth to a child. It gives an evolutionary plot about a boy being taken care of from a baby to a man by his mother. Then the book switches that scenario to an old mother now being taken care of by her grown up son. Again, it demonstrates that although people grown up, get older, and eventually pass away, love is unconditional and it lives on and continues forever. In other words, if you give love, you will get love in return-a beautiful message to a child.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is an amazing story to read to children in the classroom and at home because not only is it entertaining but it has gorgeous illustrations and wonderful use of words. English Language Arts does not have to begin in the classroom for children, it can begin immediately at home. Simply by reading a book like this to a child at a young age with poetry and lovely lines can enhance their listening skills, reading, and vocabulary. It teaches rhyming, and repetition, and most of all, it can send the child off into a nice peaceful sleep!
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram is a beautiful book about unconditional love between a child and a parent. I think that books like this are important to present to children at home and in the classroom because since children are so young they are quite impressionable and sensitive. Love, in my opinion should be unconditional, and this book Little Nutbrown Hare shows how much he loves his father and Big Nutbrown hair shows his son how much he loves him back even more.
Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley is a heartwarming story ages four to six that touches on the massively sensitive subject of death. As sad as death is, it is a part of life. Death is something that is even difficult for adults to understand and accept; nevertheless, death is real and inevitable so it is important for children to be aware of it in as delicate a way as possible. This is a story about Badger. He passes away and leaves gifts for all of his friends. It explains how the situation is devastating, yet his friends accept his death and remember the wonderful things about Badger. It is a lovely and bittersweet children's book.
Marley and the Kittens by John Grogan and Richard Cowdrey teaches a child that no one is perfect and that we shouldn't try to be. This story is about a dog named Marley who is in a household full of kittens. He tried to play with them and realizes that it is difficult since they are so small and he is much bigger. He begins to get upset, thinking that there is something wrong with him. Then, when the kittens make a mistake too, he understands that there is nothing wrong with him and that no one in this world is perfect. It is a sweet book that sends a message to children about not being insecure and embracing their mistakes as a learningexperience.
The Sandwich Swap by multiple authors and illustrators is a terrific book, age range three to seven. It is a story that teaches the value of friendship. The plot is about two little girls who are best friends, but they arrive at an issue when one of them enjoys peanut butter and jelly and the other one enjoys hummus. Neither one of them can understand the other one's taste. Nevertheless, in the end, they decide that despite their differences, their friendship was important and everlasting. It teaches children that no one is going to be the same as you or liek the same things that you do, but that does not mean that differences should keep two people apart.
The Berenstain Bears is a wonderful children's book by authors Stan and Jan Berenstain. It is a short and easy read and important because it teaches children important life lessons while entertaining them at the same time. There are several Berenstain Bears books collections. This one in particular, "Junk Food", tells the story of Papa Bear, Brother Bear, and Sister Bear indulging in a junk eating spree. Mama Bear becomes furious with them and sets them straight by teaching them how to eat healthy by eating in moderation. It teaches children that it is ok to have a sweet once in a while but it is also crucial to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and meats and whole grains. Mama Bear also talks about how important it is to drink plenty of juice for vitamins, milk for calcium, and of course, water. This book alone helps children to understand what the food pyramid and healthy eating is all about. The other Berenstain Bears books teach children lessons about various issues in life as well. I loved these books as a child, and I still love them today.
I did not realize how difficult it was going to be for me to create a booklist for children. Out of all the books that exist, how can I possibly choose ten! The books that are listed in my book list are certainly phenomenal children's books in my opinion; but, they are just a few in my vast collection of favorites. I chose to post Aesop's Fables as one that is outstanding for a number of reasons:
For one thing, it is a book that I feel is neutral as far as gender is concerned. It is not a "girl's book", nor is it a "boy's book". It is simply a book for all children to read.
Secondly, this book consists of countless fables. The characters in the story include various types of animals. So, aside from being gender neutral, this book is also an invitation for children of all different races and ethnic backgrounds.
Next, each fable in this book represents and teaches LIFE LESSONS. Lessons about stealing, lying, cheating, being stubborn, greediness, friendship, family, etc. Today, I can still recall stories from Aesop's fables and other people have told me that these fables have left lasting impressions on their own lives as well. I believe that books that teach life lessons are the most important books for children as well as adults to read and remember because life is the purpose and the point of everything. Living an learning are what we do every single day, so what better way for a person to get a better understanding of life than through a book.
Finally, this book and the lessons it teaches can be challenging for a child. It is a book that a child can read at any level. It is important to re read and revisit a book sometimes and this particular book is certainly an invitation to do so.