Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Great Read-Aloud Books to Fire the Imagination


Though our children are now school age (save one), we still believe in reading to them.  My husband has a knack for picking great books to read.  On our honeymoon, he read The Chronicles of Narnia to me.  And he finally read the Narnia series to our children this past year.  But we did not stop there.  We've developed an evening ritual of Daddy reading to the family, and more often than not, we can be found entering the imagined worlds found in the pages of a book.  It is delightful for all of us.


Books We've Read Together: 


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

The story of Edward proved captivating, as the main character was gradually transformed by his experiences and hard knocks. This book was actually one of the choices in the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program, though that is not where my husband got his copy.  Sadly, my daughter chose a graphic novel over this, but I think she might choose differently after hearing it read.



The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

We read this tale on a long road trip to Canada.  When he drove, I read, and vice versa.  Hearing it together was a thrilling way to travel.



A Kingdom Far and Clear: The Complete Swan Lake Trilogy 


My husband just started reading this trilogy by Mark Helprin to the children. While it is a bit above my five-year-old's comprehension, he still enjoys the reading ritual that has been established. So far we're getting the background to the main story, and I look forward to discovering how the plot unfolds.


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 

While having our garage sale this summer, we discovered that a 12-year-old friend from our church had never read these classic fantasy books, though she had read The Hunger Games. What a travesty! We immediately thrust our well-loved set into her arms. And then my husband ordered a new set (Book One Through Book Seven) for us to devour again. 

 
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  by Roald Dahl   

My 5-year-old son absolutely loved this book, as did the rest of us. Prior to reading the book aloud together,  I had only seen the movie version, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which is also a classic. We watched the movie after finishing the book. And then we read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

 

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl 

I thought this book might be a little scary for my son, but he mostly enjoyed it along with his older bug-loving sisters. The movie was a bit too intense for him at points, but diverged from the book considerably, and was therefore more palatable to young viewers than the original story would have been.

  

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber  

The theme of heroism rings through the absurdity of the language and the ordeals that the protagonist encounters. This book was an unexpected treat, and demonstrated to me again why it is wonderful to have a husband who excels at selecting great children's literature.

Their Imaginations Will Thank You 


Perhaps this list will inspire you to search the shelves of your library or bookstore and slake your family's thirst for stories.  These books would also make great holiday gifts for other families with school-age children.  But the key is to invest time as a family reading together, entering other worlds and gaining new perspectives as we strengthen our imaginations via the written word.
 

1 comment:

Jhona O. said...

Wonderful book selections. My children really loved "The Tale of Despereaux".

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