By contributing writer Tabitha
Reading is a big deal at our house. We celebrate when someone learns to read. The library is one of our best field trips. Getting a book as a gift (or a box of hand me down books) is worth a “woo hoo!”
We are a large family. We are a reading family. We share books. We pass down our favorites. We give recommendations and opinions. We encourage each other to read what we love ourselves.
I asked every reader in the family to tell me their favorite book. Some of them surprised me, but the biggest surprise was that they all chose different books! (For the most part.)
So, given that, here are the top picks of the 10 readers in my home.
Liberty, age 5 and a half, is our youngest reader who surprised us by starting to read alone at age 4. Well, it’s happened before so it shouldn’t have surprised us, but it never gets old. Her favorite book is Ruby’s Rainbow. She loves to read to the little sisters who can’t read yet. Books about favorite characters are great for young readers!
Christopher, age 7, loves Smile, Pout Pout Fish, a board book that is just silly but has a great message and Discovery Kids 3D T-Rex and Other Prehistoric Creatures. They aren’t the only books he likes, but they are what he chose as his favorites. I’ve found that my boys, as beginning and emerging readers, love non-fiction more than stories.
Timothy, age 8 and a half, loves the Dragonbreath series of books by Ursula Vernon. They are about a little dragon. The humor is goofy, and the stories are silly. However, nothing got his attention better than receiving the first book as a prize at the library summer reading program last year and finding the rest in the series ever since. I highly recommend both extreme silliness and library summer reading programs.
Samuel, age 10, loves Fablehaven books by Brandon Mull. He was another early reader and always seems to dig into books older than his years. While this might not be a good thing with some reading material, he always gets good advice from his older brothers. He can always reread great books later. I love that he looks up to his brothers and respects their opinions.
Nathanael, age 12, also gets great advice from older brothers and has loved reading the “big” stories and series. He loves the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. It seems that every time he reads something good, he goes to his brothers to talk about it. I love watching the interaction. While the movies coming to theatres may have been a motivation for my sons to read these books, I am glad they had other reasons.
Emilie, age 15, likes to find her own books. The oft-told story of how she resisted reading Harry Potter books because her brothers read them first (and recommended them) is always brought up when she says she doesn’t want to read something they like. I love that she loves one of my childhood favorites, A Little Princess, and one I’ve talked about before.
Benjamin, age 16, refused to find ONE book. He is a fast reader and goes a little crazy without something to read. (He reminds me of his parents.) He introduced our family to the Percy Jackson series, and there are many books I love that he also considers favorites. The search for good books to recommend to him is a never-ending one, so it’s good that there are so many out there!
Michael, age 18, loves classics. I love that he will find books that are hidden gems or that my husband and I have on our shelves because we loved them as children, and will rediscover them for our entire family. He still has many favorites that are in the main genre of our home, but I like that The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander is what he chose. He is building his own collection of books he loves.
Our youngest two children (ages 3 years and 16 months) love to be read to, and their favorites change from day to day so I did not include them in this list. However, they are very much involved in our family love of reading.
My husband and I also love to read, and we share our favorites as well. I personally have loved The Belgariad by David Eddings for many years.
Tom’s favorite is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The other book The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers, we all recommend. It is one that an extended family member recommended, so definitely look beyond immediate family for sharing interests and getting reading inspiration!
Overall, to get your family involved in reading, read to them, read around them, read with them. A large budget is not required when you have a library nearby, but you can also use books as gifts.
Talk about what you read and what your favorites are, and your children will know that reading is a lifelong pursuit that will serve them well, now and with their own families. Reading is a legacy that I am happy to say is alive and well in this home.