Reading With Children

I often blog about what's on my nightstand, but not my son's.

Gavin is 9 1/2 years old, and while he reads more than enough books on his own, we still enjoy sharing a bedtime story.  We finished The Invention of Hugo Cabret recently, and I loved his reaction to it.  He was thrilled by the questions that came up in the story, and even happier with the answers.  The ending was so beautiful, he just smiled, happy for all the characters.

Last night we began reading the classic Henry Huggins together.

You see, I'm one of those evil mommies who goes to the thrift store specifically for books.  Perhaps I will pick up the occasional DVD for $3, and I have been slowly purchasing the little baby things that catch my eye (toys, puzzles, books with beautiful artwork).

However, my main focus at the local thrift shop is always the children's book section.  I pick up Nancy Drews to add to my collection (mostly I find paperbacks there), but I also purchase books I think my son will enjoy.

When I read the first chapter in Henry Huggins last night, Gavin really got a kick out of Henry's ingenuity in trying to bring the stray dog, Ribsy, home.  Of course he thought the bus ride was pretty funny.  Beverly Cleary had such a way with writing.  She really captured the essence of what it was to be a child.  I loved her books when I was my son's age, so it's exciting to share them with him now.

I also have the first Hardy Boys mystery sitting on his bureau.  ;)

My son is often uncertain about the books I recommend, but always ends up enjoying them.  I think that's because we have very similar tastes.  When I was a 9-year-old, I wanted to read about mystery, action and adventure.  The books I enjoyed most were Nancy Drew, The Black Stallion series, and anything by Marguerite Henry.  I also loved The Babysitter's Club books, Sweet Valley High, The Secret Garden, and anything by Louisa May Alcott. 

When it comes to books, my son definitely has that same craving for mystery, action and adventure.  He also enjoys potty humor (what pre-teen boy doesn't?), and I certainly don't object to the Captain Underpants series, or Sir Fartsalot.  In fact, I think they're pretty funny myself.

I think my son is learning to trust my judgment about books.  He still cringes when I come home with an armload of Choose Your Own Adventure books, books from the 50's through the 80's, and more, but I can't resist all those 50 cent possibilities that he just might enter a new literary world, and fall completely in love with it.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan


  1. My 9 yo loved HUGO (the book and the movie). I still have trouble finding him books since he's a reluctant reader. And there seems to be a rule between him and his 12 yo brother. They are not to read the same books. Ever. Actually, it's the 12 yo who has that rule. Very frustrating. :(

    1. That is actually quite funny. Ah well, the 12-year-old will live if his little brother reads the same books as he does, right? ;)

  2. What a lovely post, and I wanted to stop by and wish you well on your pregnancy. Hang in there! I had a very difficult last pregnancy. You can do it. Lots of rest, good thoughts, and reading with your son. Bless you.

    1. Thank you. I had a very rough second month, but now I suddenly feel much, much better! My energy is back and so is my focus. :)

  3. I've enjoyed reading about the books you and your son enjoy. I read to my 6 year old son every night for bedtime and have done so since he was born. He loves it very much and looks forward to it every night. I guess this was a major contributor for him starting to read on his own by age 4. I love books and always have plenty of books everywhere around our house. Now, I am trying to discover how to inspire him to read more on his own ... hmmmm. Any ideas? I'm going to try the books you list here in your post since your son loves them so much. Any others you can recommend that will spark a young child's interest? ;-)

    And congratulations on your pregnancy. Wishing you much health and happiness with it!

    1. Thank you Patricia!

      Hm, for a 6-year-old? Good question. I really think anything by Beverly Cleary has timeless appeal to young children. Right now we are reading "Emily's Runaway Imagination", and it's very cute.

      However, if something with longer chapters might not hold your 6-year-old's attention just yet, perhaps he would enjoy the Franny K. Stein series (she's a mad scientist who doesn't fit in with other children, but learns at the end of every story that she is loved just thew ay she is).

      The Berenstain Bears books are also a big favorite in this house. I keep thinking my son should have "outgrown" them by now, but he still loves them, and they set a great example!