What We’ve Been Reading

I thought it would be fun to showcase the books that have gotten the most “air time” at our house this week in a post. Leave a comment and tell us what you have been reading! UPDATE – do not miss the comments for book ideas and a discussion about when to introduce chapter books and why pushing them is not a good idea.


Doggies by Sandra Boynton has been one of my daughter’s favorite books for ages. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a simple counting book about dogs, their different barks and one pesky cat. Toddlers love barking along with it so it’s a great book for places where they don’t have to be shushed, it’s not a great one for quiet only places like a church service.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee

This  book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling . My husband has just started reading book 2 in this series to my son at bedtime and they are hooked!  They finished the first book a few months ago and we took a break before book 2.  I love the whole Harry Potter series and it hasn’t been without much discussion between my husband and I on how we are going to space out the books. If you have read them you know that the subjects age and mature as the characters do by a school year with each book. I encourage parents to read any book that they are going to share with their young kids first to make sure it won’t scare or upset your child as well as to make sure it fits with your family. What I love so much about these books is that JK Rowling has created such a thick and detailed world and it grips even kids that don’t normally get into books as much as it does little bookworms!

LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia was the most loved 5th birthday gift my son received.  I can not tell you how much my son loves this book and as someone who adores reference materials herself I can’t say I blame him. I love this book too, it’s helping me speak his language and know who and what he’s talking about all the time. So like the cover says  it’s a character encyclopedia, there is no story, instead every page is dedicated to one Star Wars character turned mini figure. Now most of the text tells you about the Lego sets the mini figure comes in , variations on the mini figure and when it first appeared in the toy. However there is still a great description of the characters and huge illustrations of each. The small amount of text is perfect for my son and since he is into the characters not the collector like details he simply skips that without missing out on anything. I should say that this unlike the previous books is not a leveled reader. If I was making a guess I would say that it’s geared towards the average 8-10 year old. I definitely have to help and or read the majority of this book, especially the more obscure Star Wars names. I love that we can read a little or read a lot and that the book is not such a heavy volume because I have a feeling it will be the book of choice at night for months to come!

Locked On by Tom Clancy. This book is the newest Kindle download keeping my husband entertained as he commutes to and from work. An avid Tom Clancy fan he says it’s a typical installment in Clancy’s suspenseful spy novel genre. All I know is the Kindle is open more and when I am writing posts for the next day he is engrossed in this.

I can’t lie I haven’t read a book in months, although I do think I pinned a few to read later. I love Pinterest but I need a good novel to get me to stop working into the wee hours.  So I ask you what have you read? Leave a comment telling us what you have been reading at your house  ( kids and adults) and maybe someone else will get inspired to dive into a great novel.

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  1. Jay says

    thanks for the wonderful posts you have being doing. I have being following them for sometime now and tried out several with my 3 year old daughter as well.
    As an avid HP fan, I am itching to read HP books with my daughter but I think she is still too young at this age. Also, I am not sure how she will handle the fact it doesn’t have images to look at. At which age did you start reading chapter books? So far I am only reading books that we can finish at one bed time reading. What are the books you used for introducing chapter reading? Are you using hard copies to read to your son or is he okay to read from the kindle?

    • admin says

      We were busting at the seams to read it to him too.

      My best advice for when to introduce chapter books is when they are interested. We waited until he was asking consistently, showed him there were no pictures and even then we did a few test reads to see how well he was paying attention and if he was ready. If they are bored/ distracted it’s a good sign to wait.

      If they aren’t ready for full on chapter books but asking to read books with chapters check out the early reader section of your library . It will have books that have short chapters but lots of pictures and are a great step not to be missed in learning to read. We read a lot of these.

      There is zero rush to read chapter books and skipping ahead too soon can be really detrimental to their learning as well, so when you do introduce them please do not forget about picture books and readers. Pushing them too soon can make kids think reading is unattainable, that it’s boring and have the opposite effect we were hoping to have.

      We don’t read them often ( this is our 3rd chapter book ever) and we read one chapter ( sometimes less) at a time. We stop and talk about what we have read and encourage him to help us read some words as well.

      Reading on the kindle is fine but I wouldn’t read only on it. Part of learning to read is knowing how to navigate books, so knowing how to navigate all kids of books is important.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Kara C. says

    Over the past couple months, I started reading children’s chapter books to my 3 (now 4) year old daughter after the usual bedtime picture books. I do it mostly for the sound of the language and because it helps her fall asleep — with little expectation that she is actually following the story line. We started with the entire Chronicles of Narnia (I’d recommend to anyone!), then read The Hobbit, and now we’re on The Neverending Story. Reading adventurous, light-hearted books like these is a nice break for me from reading textbooks all day…and the heavier non-fiction books filling my bookshelves can wait, because Harry Potter comes next! A couple days ago as we were going for a walk, my daughter started describing how it would have felt when the spider (“Ygramul,” a character in The Neverending Story) bit the boy (Atreyu) and the poison was spreading throughout his body. When she first mentioned a spider, I assumed she was talking about Charlotte because it was hard for me to imagine that she was actually listening and understanding the book in her late-night, half-asleep state. The only adult book I’ve read lately is “Hold On To Your Kids” by Neufield and Mate…which is EXCELLENT and I also highly recommend. It proposes a theory that many school-age children attach to and orient toward their peers in place of their parents, and suggests that doing so is the cause of what we perceive as teenage rebellion, and that it is not healthy and avoidable.

  3. says

    The last book I read for myself was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I would recommend it. I have also been reading Love Life and See Good Days by Emily Freeman. I need some new book ideas for an upcoming trip, so I’m excited to read the suggestions on here.

    Our favorite kid book this week is Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Fire Station.

  4. Sherrie Evans says

    I don’t agree that starting chapter books too early can be detrimental. Stopping picture books too soon might be. But there is no reason that you can’t do both. When you have mixed ages of children, it is inevitable that this will happen. Unless you completely segregate your children for reading time, younger children will be exposed to advanced reading. I think this is advantageous. Reading chapter books with no pictures causes the child to learn valuable listening and comprehension skills; as well as practice in visualization. Nothing captures the imagination more than the necessity of using it. I do think we can focus on fluff for too long with our children, not realizing that they are ready for more meat!

    • admin says

      I am not suggesting that early chapter books WILL harm all kids but pushing a child beyond their abilities is what I am talking about. I absolutely think that it can be harmful for some children to start young , not all. I think many parents fail to see the quality and importance of picture books and stop them too soon . Many are much more complex and valuable literature than some chapter books. I agree with you that you can and should do both but only when / if your child is ready. It sounds like you find that balance.

      Another great way to get kids to use their imaginations and to visualize is to tell stories , that was a great bridge for us and still one of my son’s favorite things to do at bedtime or in the car.

  5. Tawnya says

    The last book I read was sooo interesting. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert – it’s about the leper colony on Molokai at the turn of the century. My 3 yo mostly prefers Thomas books but one he always is excited about is Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina.

  6. Josephine says

    My son likes to read different things (5 + new to him books a day!) So our book basket is changed out quite often at the library! His favorites are still Arthur & Franklin books, The Magic Schoolbus & anything by Gail Gibbons!! My daughter is loving Go Dog Go, & any word based book (a photo and one labeling word per page)! And the littlest girl in my house will listen to ANY reading going on!! I have not read a book in months either, eventually I will get back to reading!

    Thanks for the info on chapter books, we actually started one which he could understand with great retention but was bored easily-I stopped and went with easy reader chapter books (with a few pictures) it works for us!

  7. Angela says

    My kids and I loved the Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo. They are these wonderful hyrid of chapter and picture books. There are only four or five in the series, so we’re sad to be done with them! We’ve talked about writing one of our own (about DisneyWorld of course–they’re 5).

    My little guy, 2, loves the Pookie books by Sandra Boynton.

    And I just finished The Book Thief, which I loved. I’m currently reading Silver Girl by Elin Hildenbrand, which kep tme up till 12:30 last night!

  8. Amanda says

    My husband and I read aloud together pretty often. Our kids (now 4 & 2) have listened to us reading aloud from chapter books all of their lives. From before they could understand them, they’ve heard the Anne of Green Gables series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Little House on the Prarie, & quite a bit of Jane Austen. Listening to us read has seemed to spark interest in books for them too. They will often come sit on our laps while we are reading. Of course, we don’t expect them to sit – they come and go as they please. Now that they are getting older and starting to understand more of what we’re reading, it’s getting trickier. Our current series is Eragon, which is often a little too intense for young ears.

    Our favorite children’s book right now is “Pete the Cat” – GREAT book about a cat that keeps a good attitude even when things don’t go his way. Blueberries for Sal has been a recent favorite as well – they wanted to read it over and over when we checked it out from the library a few weeks ago.

  9. says

    I am a huge HP fan, and I am really itching to read them to my daughter who is pretty much the same age as your son. She is getting better lately with more scary content, but I still don’t think that anything beyond book 1 would be appropriate for her. But we read a lot of chapter books with her – from Ramona series to Jungle Books, and we also love books on tape. What are we reading lately? http://learningwithmouse.blogspot.com/search/label/weekly%20reading

  10. says

    I wrote a post this week about what we’re reading, too. 🙂 Grace and I started the Little House series a month or two ago, and she LOVES it.

    I see your point on not starting too soon since the books don’t have pictures. Our first chapter book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It has very short chapters with lots of bright imagery. Grace loved that, and she asked to read it often. We finished the whole book in a week or so.

    Allie right now is reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Do Kangaroos Have Mothers, Too?, and Where’s My Cat?. She’s an Eric Carle fan. 🙂

    Grace continues to read anything and everything, but Mary & Laura are her special favorite. We also read Julius, Baby of the World, and Bear’s Loose Tooth (a new one from Karma Wilson!) today. I’m trying to think what else… We read so much.

  11. says

    I can’t believe I forgot this in my lengthy comment above. That Doggies book was Grace’s absolute favorite when she was about a year old. I hated it! I always did all of the barking and growling, and it made my throat sore because we’d read it twenty times a day. I think I buried it deep in a drawer so that Allie wouldn’t find it. 🙂

  12. Valarie says

    Thank you for sharing this post and your above reply. I have been meaning to email you for suggestions/thoughts on chapter books for preschoolers. My son, turned 4 at the end of November, has been interested in them for quite some time now but my husband and I wanted to be sure we introduced them in a way that kept his interest. He had begun reading phonetically several months ago and we wanted to continue to encourage this as much as we could. Then one day at the library a few months back, my son picked out 2 books, chapter books, and said these are the only books I want to check out today. I guess this was our final sign to show us he was ready. 🙂 They ended up being great books for him from the early reader section, The Adventures of Sam X. We have moved on to a few others, including the Magic Tree House series which he adores. Just recently he and my husband have also begun the Harry Potter series. Like you, we want to introduce the HP books slowly, but so far he is loving it! We are still reading many picture books but I was wondering if you have suggestions of any other chapter books for this age group? I have a horrible fear of him losing interest in reading so I want to be sure we progress in a way that continues to harbor his love of books as well as build his confidence as a reader. Again, thank you for all that you share on your site. It is one of my top resources for go to ideas for my little ones.

  13. says

    i just finished reading, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It is way outside of my usual genre but i loved it. my husband read it first and enjoyed it and recommended it to me. i’ve been recommending it to everyone i know.
    my 6 yr old is enjoying all the Hardy Boys Secret Files and Nancy Drew Clue Crew books.
    my 4 yr old loves for me to read him Come Along, Daisy. i have lost count how many times we’ve read it.
    my 2 yr old loves The Gingerbread Man

  14. says

    we don’t like harry potter I know we are the only ones in the world right? 🙂

    we did read the Narnia series and Alice in Wonderland when my youngest was 4 she loved them and loves chapter books.

    I think we know when our kids are ready for chapter books and what ones they can handle and would like.

    Follow the lead of your child

  15. Michelle says

    I have a fear of my boys losing their love or reading too. My husband and his family are not big readers, but since meeting him I’ve developed him into an avid reader. My husband and I just finished the hunger games, I was blown away. I was also in love with the fact I could talk to my husband about it as I was reading it!!! I’ve been reading many parentig books. Nothing that stuck enough for me to recall. I finished kite runner a few months ago and a thousand splendid sunrises? Or something like that. My boys are reading, corduroys Halloween, goodnight moon, toot and pop. And Sam and the firefly which was one of my favorites. We’ve always read non picture books to him and also audiobooks. Alice in wonderland and the jungle book. We
    Drew or own pictures or played blocks and animals after we’d read a chapter to reinact it. I also read poetry And we loooove looking through non fiction books. Science books and art books and we talk about the authors and artists and how things work or how an animal lives. If the love of
    Reading is lost I’m hoping the need and love of learning is never forgotten! I never want my child bored, I want them to always want to find out more.

    Loooooooove your posts…..thanks!


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