It's 8:30 pm and right on schedule, I hear the sound of feet running down the long hallway to the master bedroom. My youngest runs into the room, a big smile stretched across his face, and jumps on the bed. "Can you read?" he asks.
From the time my kids were born, I've read out loud to them. I can probably still recite the words to Goodnight Moon and Pajama Time! My boys are almost ten and thirteen now, and I still continue the practice—though we've moved beyond Goodnight Moon.
Reading and listening to books being read are normal rhythms to our life, like eating and breathing. You'll find books in every room of the house. We take books with us wherever we go and sometimes one of the kids will read aloud in the car to the rest of us. We read books of every genre and on multiple topics. Some have such an impact on us, we still refer back to them. Some had such an impact on me, I love them more than books written for adults.
Truly, there are too many favorites to list but I wanted to share a few because I know I am always looking for good book ideas—perhaps you are too.
The Hobbit: I started reading this to my son because I thought it would be a great read aloud book. And it was. The only problem was, after I finished the first chapter, my son said, "Can I bring it with me to bed?" He did, and stayed up late reading it. It's a classic for those who love fantasy. Mine read it over and over.
The Chronicles of Narnia Boxed Set: C.S. Lewis once said, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." The Chronicles of Narnia is a favorite. I've read it aloud many times to my kids. We've also listened to it on cd. It's one that speaks to me even as an adult, making me think about issues of faith and the Christian life.
The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy: There's a reason why there's a children's version of Homer's epic: it's not appropriate for children. But this book is and it's filled with adventure. When we read it, we cheered out loud for Odysseus when he finally made it home.
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Puffin Classics): Who doesn't love knights, gallantry, adventure, and folklore?
Because of Winn-Dixie: I love this story. If it had been around when I was a child, it certainly would have rivaled Ramona Quimby, Age 8 for top spot on my list of favorites. It's not just about a dog but also about family, friendship, mentors, and community.
Twice Freed (Freestyle Fiction 12+): This story is a fictionalized tale of Onesimus and Philemon. It's a story of faith and redemption. We've read a few of this author's books—this one is our favorite. This book just so happens to be published by my publisher.
Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den (Christian Heroes: Then & Now): We have read at least a dozen books in this series. I can't recommend it enough. These biographies are written like a story which makes it very engaging for children. Inevitably, I cry with each and every one.
The Bronze Bow: This book is about a young boy at the time of Jesus. It's about faith, purpose, redemption, and forgiveness.
Farmer Boy (Little House): The Little House series holds a special place in my heart because I read them as a young girl. However, I have boys so they don't appreciate it as much as I. Yet, they did enjoy Farmer Boy, the story of Almanzo's childhood.
Treasure Island (Wisehouse Classics Edition - With Original Illustrations by Louis Rhead): Pirates, treasure, murder, and adventure—just what boys love!
Pilgrim's Progress: John Bunyan's Classic Story Adapted for Children: There are many adaptations of Bunyan's classic allegory of the Christian life. I've read this one to my kids multiple times. It even has a curriculum that goes with it.
The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith: This is a new favorite we are currently reading. It contains brief chapters about the Christian life which cover everything from who God is to why we use good manners, from prayer to how to clean a bedroom, from the gospel to famous Reformers. It is filled with humor and engaging graphics. I can't recommend it enough!
Do you have favorite read alouds?