Good reads

March 2, 2009

by Jenni Sebora

February was “I love to read” month. We all know that reading to our children is important for developing their reading skills, as well as their interest in reading.

Besides needing the skill of reading to function in our world, reading also opens up our lives and minds to other worlds.

Reading is such a valuable hobby, and inexpensive, as well. You can purchase books at garage sales, and relative to other purchases, it is still cheaper to buy a book than a video game or other hobby item. And, of course, a trip to the library for the search of a good book is certainly the cheapest option.

A book is also a very easy and convenient hobby to engage in. You can bring a book almost anywhere. It does not require an electrical outlet or a signal or a charge-up. My son brings a book in the car, restaurant, or store – anywhere that may require a longer waiting period (even to church). He certainly knows how to socialize, but he enjoys reading, and if there is some down time, it is his top hobby choice.

Here are some fabulous, terrific, and extraordinary “reads” that the Hennepin County Library system, as well as many others, offer as suggestions to enhance your and your children’s reading indulgement.

Some suggested books for babies and toddlers:

• “I Can Sign! Playtime,” by Linda Acredelo

• “What’s Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites,” by Tad Hills

• “The Baby Goes Beep,” by Rebecca O’Connell

• “Up Down and Around,” by Katherine Ayres”

• “Wiggle,” by Doreen Cronin

• “Where is the Green Sheep?,” by Mem Fox

• “Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme,” by Marianne Berkes


• “Gladys Goes Out to Lunch,” Derek Anderson

• “The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark,” Ken Geist

• “A Second is a Hiccup: A Child’s Book of Time,” Hazel Hutchins

• “Grumpy Bird,” Jeremy Tankard

• “Animal Poems,” Valerie Worth

Elementary schoolers, nonfiction:

• “Dolores and the Big Fire: A True Story,” by Andrew Clements

• “Marley: A Dog Like No Other,” by John Grogan

• “Team Moon,” by Catherine Thimmesh (story behind the launching of Apollo 11)


• “Home of the Brave,” by Katherine Applegate

• “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal,” by Jeff Kinney

• “Jackie’s Wild Seattle,” by Will Hobbs

Beginning readers:

• “The Just for You!,” series by various authors

• “The Henry and Mudge,” series by Cynthia Rylant

• “The Young Can Jansen,” series by David A. Adler

Family Read alouds:

• “The Penderwicks,” by Jeanne Birdsall

• “The Wind in the Willows,” by Kenneth Grahame

• “Starring Grace,” by Mary Hoffman

• “Clementine,” by Sara Pennypacker

Middle school suggestions, fiction:

• “Firegirl,” by Tony Abbot

• “Heat,” by Mike Lupica

• “Emako Blue,” by Brenda Woods


• “Blue Lipstick,” by John Grandits (poems)

• “A Wreath for Emmet Till,” by Marilyn Nelson (civil rights movement)

• “The Last Apprentice,” by Joseph Delaney (fantasy/science fiction. The series begins with “Revenge of the Witch.”)

High schoolers, fiction:

• “The First Part Last, ” by Angela Johnson


• “The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation”

• “Kimani TRU,” series (friendship, love, school…figuring life out – with characters and stories high schoolers can relate to.)

Tip: if you are trying to get your child to read a little more (or practice the piano, etc.), and he is reluctant, light a taper candle for each activity, and let him know when the candle is burned down to the end, he will get a small prize (tattoo, sucker, fruit snacks, lip balm, etc.).

Have fun reading. I know I am going to check out a few of these books myself. I always get excited when I see a book list.