Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten: Books I Cannot WAIT to Read with Lizzie

I was a reader out of the womb. I love reading (and not just books, but articles, blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc.) with a passion that I think is largely due to the fact that both my parents read to me every night from an early age. They instilled in me a quiet passion for the written word that I could not have gotten anywhere else. This is something I want to give to Lizzie. In my opinion, it is the greatest thing I could give her.

We read every night (one or two books) and we frequent the library to constantly restock our reading materials, all of which are things I enjoy, but I'm going to admit to looking forward to a few years from now when I can break out some of my fave books from my childhood (or from right now). So, here are my top ten books I can't wait to read with the Liz.

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - I know this is a childhood given, but it is one of my all time favorite books and I think every parent should read it with his child. (Ages: 4/5-8)

2. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field - This, in my mind, is one of the ultimate little girl books out there. It follows the life of a little doll made for a little girl who lived in the wilderness of Maine (woot, Maine shout out), and the doll, Hitty, has many adventures there after, including, but not limited to, being swallowed by a whale and has her portrait painted. (Ages: 7-12)

3. The Witches, The BFG, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach all by Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl made my childhood. I slurped up his quirky books with sheer delight and they were my first introduction to fantasy novels. These books, and others by Dahl, are just more examples of literature every kid should have exposure to. (Ages: 8-10)

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - These books are the gateway drugs to wonderfully good fantasy. They are enchanting, well-meaning, solid books that read like fairy tales, but present such challenging subjects. They are also so much fun to read aloud! (And you MUST read them in the original order as seen in the picture.) (Ages: 7-12/13)

5. The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Every little girl needs to read these books. While the message can seem a little overly wholesome and outdated to a jaded reader (like I can be sometimes), they are really the perfect message for a young child. And the stories are so well written and cute. I remember being fascinated by the Christmas stories the most--somehow getting a pair of homemade mittens, a piece of candy, and a your own tin cup seemed just as great as getting those five new Barbies, Easy Bake Oven, and stocking full of treats. (Ages: 6-12)
6. The Princess Bride by William Goldman - If you've only seen the film (which is quite good), you're doing yourself an injustice, never mind not reading it to your kiddo. While I would wait to read this with Liz, I hope that we'll be reading together for quite a while. It's such a fun story with so many strange twists and turns it's the perfect book to share with someone. (Ages: 10-Teen)

7. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter (as seen in this post) shaped my childhood in many ways. I plan on reading a Harry Potter book to Lizzie once a year (maybe twice, depending on her level of enthusiasm) and I simply cannot wait. These stories are absolutely timeless, filled with magic, real and figurative, and I truly believe that Harry will become a key figure in the children's literature cannon, right along side Charlotte and Wilbur, James (and the Giant Peach), and Laura Ingalls. (Ages: 8-Teen)

8. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle - Another childhood classic that insites imagination and thinking about the world (and universe) in a wider way. I can imagine the sorts of conversations a parent can have with her kids after reading this book. It offers a safe way to approach different issues in philosophy and brings both your child's and your own thinking to such a high level, which gets your kiddo's brain cranking, making it stronger and prepping it for future endeavors in and out of the classroom. I know it sounds ridiculous to claim that reading a simple book and then talking about it could do much for your kid's cognitive skills, but it's so true. (Ages: 10-Teen)

9. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - I don't know if I'll be able to get Lizzie to read with me long enough to get to these, or at least to get to LOTR, but I'd love to read these with her. All of the fantasy books I mentioned previously on this list are just introductions to these books, priming Lizzie's brain to take on the awesomeness that is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, elves, dwarves, wizards, and powerful men. These books are truly epic (in every sense of the word), and I want so badly for Lizzie to enjoy them as much as I did. However, I do get (as I do with all these books) that she might not be as into them as I was. I can dream, right? (Ages: 12 and up)

10. There isn't a specific book to list here. The top thing I am looking forward to reading with Lizzie as she gets older is whatever it is she is excited about reading. As I mentioned with #9, I know she may not be as excited about these books as I was/am. We may never get to any of these books. But I know we'll read, and read lots, and I can't wait to see what she picks, what new books and authors she introduces me to, who her Harry Potter is. I am so excited for the adventures we'll go on together with each new book Lizzie finds. (Ages: Timeless)

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