Children's Books discussion

Books for Specific Age-Groups > Reading Out Loud

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message 1: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Clare I've been noticing lately how my opinion of children's books has changed since I actually have kids. I used to really dislike Dr. Suess but now that my three year old wants to hear one every day I've grown to appreciate how fun they are to read out loud. Conversely, a series of books I adored as a child has been relegated to the back of the shelf because reading them aloud makes me want to stuff my head in the oven. The books are still good, but they don't work as a storytime option. What is it, besides rhyme, that makes some books fun to read out loud and others, pure torture?

message 2: by Marsha (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Marsha Hi Clare,

A good read aloud book picture book has to be somewhat subversive -- ie -- it speaks on a number of levels and each time it's read, a different facet is revealed.

When kids are learning the concept of story/language/reading, repetition is important to them, but for a parent, too much repetition is vomit-inducing. Books that can only be read on one level get tiresome very quickly for the person doing the reading, so those quirky gems that have inside jokes or faceted meanings entertain the reader in one way, yet give the desired repetition for the child.

One of my favourite read-aloud books is Malcolm's Runaway Soap, written by Jo Ellen Bogart. The marriage of illustration and story is perfect, and with each subsequent reading, the parent can find a hidden gem. Jo Ellen Bogart is one of my all-time favourite read-aloud authors. Her book, Daniel's Dog, is breathtaking in its seeming simplicity.

I have had three picture books published and each took longer to write than my novels. It is a tight format and every word must prove its worth. I admire writers like Jo Ellen Bogart who can write so many picture books so well.

message 3: by Linda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Linda Books with subtle wordplay are fun to read out loud. I'm thinking of Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. They use rich, evocative language that I never tire of. I get really bored with Magic Treehouse books because of the rather flat language, but kids love them because they can read them on their own. And though I love In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord, it's tough going as a read-aloud. Somehow the words just don't trip off the tongue, though it's perfectly lovely silent reading.

message 4: by (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new) My problem with books like Magic Treehouse (I do appreciate many aspects of this series) is that children who have been read lots and lots and lots of wonderful books, like Chrysanthemum, full of meaty, beautiful, powerful, evocative language CAN read the meaty, beautiful, powerful, evocative language and yet they are too often encouraged to read the flat "age-appropriate" and often (though not in the case of the treehouse) whiny, isn't-life-boring books (or sometimes the way-to-sugary life-is-about-pretty-fairies-and-magic) that have been aimed at those who can't.

This is one good reason for keeping picture books alive for as long as possible.

I'd love a list of great "chapter" books that can be read by the 7-9 year old who doesn't need flat language but is not ready for the 12+ books (and without the extremely bored or blissful attitude)...

message 5: by BookOfLife (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

BookOfLife When thinking of easy chapter books that work as Real Literature, the first thing that springs to my mind is old fashioned stuff like Beverly Cleary. Those were written from the heart, not written just to be age appropriate. Also, if you look at older books that are still around it means they've stood the test of time, which doesn't take long any more, the way things go out of print so quickly. Classic easy chapter books like Ramona, or Charlotte's Web, or even newer classics like Sideways Stories from Wayside School - these are Real Literature. And they also happen to be great read-alouds, to refer back to the topic of this thread!

message 6: by Marsha (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Marsha Re good chapter books that can be read by the 7 to 9 age group --

My all-time favourite for this age group is Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio novels. They're hilarious, short, engaging, and they don't talk down. Boys especially love these books.

Hope you don't mind if I plug one of my own -- Aram's Choice, written by me, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, and illustrated by Muriel Wood. This is a short chapter book geared towards boys and it has lush full colour illustrations throughout. Here in Ontario, it was nominated for the Silver Birch Express award, and nationally, was shortlisted for the CLA Children's Book of the Year 2007.

It is historical fiction, based on a true incident when 50 Armenian boys were rescued after the Armenian genocide in Turkey and brought to Canada in 1923. The sequel, Call Me Aram, is coming out in the spring of 2008.

message 7: by Deborah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Deborah (deborahfreedman) | 0 comments More chapter books, but for girls -

When mine were that age they loved the books mentioned (Beverly Cleary, EB White, etc.), and also the (old fashioned, I know) Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood, the Betsy Tacey books by by Maud Hart Lovelace, and All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. They really liked finding an author with LOTS of books to keep them going for a while.

message 8: by Gina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Gina (grrb) I have become a HUGE fan of Jim Trelease, the author of The Read Aloud Handbook; Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud; and Read All About It!: Great Read-Aloud Stories, Poems, and Newspaper Pieces for Preteens and Teens. If you haven't read Trelease, do it now!

message 9: by Gretchen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Gretchen Schomer Hi, I am new to message boards/blogs. It is interesting reading about everyone's opinion of children's books. I have two children (ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2) and I am an author of an award winning series of children's books. I will keep reading for future ideas on how to make our books even better for everyone out there. Thanks!
Gretchen Schomer Wendel

message 10: by (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new) Thanks to all for the chapter book ideas. We've read Charotte's web a few times but our Beverly Cleary books have been sitting gathering dust so we started into the first one this morning and both girls are enjoying it. I'll keep an eye out for the others you kindly mentioned.
Thanks again,

message 11: by Sharon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Sharon I just joined this group and I wanted to say that I'm so glad I did. There are some great discussions going on around here. My daughter's 2nd grade class read "Frindle" by Andrew Clements last year and every single student that I read with (I'm a parent volunteer that helps with reading groups) was engaged and excited about that book. They frequently begged me to let them do just one more chapter.

message 12: by Suzanne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Suzanne Andrew Clements books are great! Even the most reluctant readers love his books. I used Frindle and School Story for the juvenile book clubs I hosted at my former library, but Sharon is right--they would make excellent read-alouds.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

All I can say is....PINKWATER, PINKWATER, PINKWATER! And he writes for EVERY AGE GROUP. Which for most writers is utterly unthinkable.

message 14: by Malbadeen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:46PM) (new)

Malbadeen Helllooooooooo - Pippi Longstocking and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Both have funny tights, both are eccentric, both are good times galore!
I was also introduced to Bruce Coville's Jennifer Murdley's Toad. So great!

message 15: by Alexandra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:46PM) (new)

Alexandra I think the Moomin books would be great to read aloud. The first one is Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson. I'll second Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

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