Monday, November 13, 2017

Top Ten Books I Want My Children to Read

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

For this week's topic, I conveniently have a shelf on Goodreads called "Books I Want My Kids to Read." I've taken books off the list that our son Gregory has now read, but there are still plenty on the list for when he's older. Here are the ten I most hope he (and our future children) will someday read — books that I already have ready on our bookshelf!

1. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
I like this as a book for kids for a lot of reasons: The characters are Jewish, but it's not a Learning About Judaism kind of book; there are lots of opportunities for kids to talk about their feelings about different situations, like having a new baby in the family; and it shows the parents' thought processes as well, which would be interesting to discuss with a child. Plus it's just a sweet and enjoyable read.

2. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
This is a solid middle-grade novel that introduces some tough topics (the main character has to dress as a boy to get a job after the Taliban take her father) but it's not a scary, action-driven story; it focuses more on the main character's internal growth as she makes difficult decisions and learns to be more independent.

3. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
It's no secret around here that I like this book more than the similar Little House on the Prairie. This would be a book I'd want to read and discuss with my kids, as there are lots of opportunities to ask, "Why do you think so-and-so did that?" or "How do you think so-and-so was feeling?" and I'd want to point out the old-fashioned views on women and American Indians.

4. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I love this twist on the classic Cinderella story, where Ella is a strong, confident character even when she's cursed to do the bidding of others. There's a strong message about consent as well — Ella actually gets to choose whether she wants to marry the prince!

5. George by Alex Gino
This book does a great job of introducing what it means to be transgender. George is introduced from the beginning with female pronouns, so kids are likely to understand why George is so frustrated when people keep calling her a boy and making her use the boys' bathroom!

6. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
This is a book that I love so much that I'm almost afraid for the day my kids will read it in case they don't love it as well. It's so quirky and fun and introduces mind-bending concepts around language and numbers in the form of an adventure story.

7. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
This book set in the American South in the 1930s not only provides clear illustrations of how people in America were (and are) treated differently because of their race but it also provides opportunities for discussion about how the black family at the center of this novel chooses to navigate those challenges. For the centering of the black experience I like it better than To Kill a Mockingbird.

8. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
This series was another favorite of mine as a kid that I hope my kids will like. It's a perfect blend of absurd humor and apt observations about education that any schoolchild can appreciate.

9. Totto-Chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
This is one that I like to compare to the Ramona Quimby books for the writing style and the main character's personality. She isn't fictional, though; the book is based on the true stories of the author's experience at an experimental school in Japan in the 1940s.

10. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
What childhood is complete without the classic poems of Shel Silverstein?

What books do you most want the kids in your life to read?

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