1. The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake by Nancy Willard
This is a charming story about a daughter trying to make her mother a birthday cake. It's a special cake from her mother's childhood, but has a secret ingredient no one knows. The illustrations are great.
2. Adventures in the Big Thicket by Ken Gire
Adventures in the Big Thicket is a fun story that takes place in the Big Thicket area of East Texas. I read this one making up voices for all the different animals, which of course have distinctive accents.
3. Alexander and the Magic Mouse by Martha Sanders
This is a favorite book from my childhood that I love sharing with my children. It's the story of The Old Lady, her Magical Mouse, a Brindle London Squatting Cat, a Yak, and Alexander, the smiling alligator who live together in the house on the hill
4. Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
This is the story of Kipat, a young boy charged with watching the herds. It's a time of drought, but Kipat figures out a way to change the weather. I've read this one so many times, I can recite most of it from memory. It has an easy sing-song rhythm to it that makes it a pleasure to read and to hear.
5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Long before the goofy movie of the same title, there was this book, the story of the town of Chewandswallow and their unusual weather that brings food instead of rain and snow.
6. A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno
We first encountered this one years ago when we were doing Five in a Row. We stopped using the curriculum, but the books stuck with us. A couple of my kids mentioned this one as a favorite. A little Japanese girls gets a shiny new pair of red clogs and soon gets herself into trouble. I think kids identify with Mako, the little girl, because delight in a new pair of shoes is pretty universal. I know I still get excited!
7. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
Another FIAR book. This one tells the story of making an apple pie, which necessitates traveling all over the world to gather the ingredients. It's a neat way to show where things come from. Be sure to catch the sequel, How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA.
8. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is the classic story of Max, who gets sent to bed without supper and the adventures that ensue once he gets to his room. It's a Caldecott Medal winner, so you know the illustrations are wonderful.
9. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Miss Rumphius, an American Book Award winner, tells the story of Alice Rumphius as she goes from a little girl to an elderly lady. When she was young, her grandfather advised her that in order to live a good life, she had to "do something to make the world more beautiful." She spends her life trying to figure out how to do that until she hits upon a plan that transforms her surroundings.
10. In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
Okay, this one is a bit unusual in that it's not a kids' book, but we did this as a family read-aloud over the course of a couple of weeks several years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed the book and it fueled many great discussions. In fact, I'm thinking it's about time to repeat it with the younger crowd.
The book traces the story of a group of volunteers who pledged for a year to do nothing without first asking themselves "What Would Jesus Do?" and trying to follow that lead. If you ever wondered where "WWJD" originated, this is it.
That brings me to the end of my list. The hardest part was limiting it to only ten. We are a book-loving family and the list could have gone on for far too long. What books do you like to read to your kids or like having read to you when you were a kid?
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