Monday, December 23, 2013
Raina's Faves: Top 10 Books for Elementary School Aged Book Lovers
Maybe I obsessed a bit much over bringing books into my daughter Raina's life. Before I even bought a onesie or diaper, shopped for cribs, figured out how to install a baby car seat, read What to Expect When You are Expecting, or did any other nesting activity, I scoured yard sales and the internet for great deals on books to start a library for Raina. When we designed her nursery, building a floor to ceiling bookshelf topped my list for "must haves" in her room. So, you could say that the fact that Raina loves to read really doesn't shock me. What does sometimes throw me a bit is the voracity that she tears through books. She will stay up all night to finish a series. In the summer when we go to the library, I need to limit the amount of books she checks out just to insure that she will get into the pool at my mom's house. Many nights we need to give her the "It's 10pm, and you need to get up for school tomorrow so even though we made you this way with books, you must put that great book down and get some sleep" talk.
Today, my book-loving, baby girl turns 9 years old, and in honor of her birthday, I asked Raina which books out of all the books she has read stand out as her favorites. We looked at her bookshelf, and we talked about each of these books. As we chatted, she tuned me out and started rereading a book (she's still reading it now), but I did manage to get her top 10 list of her favorite books of all time (so far) with a little quote about why she chose the books that she loved best:
*These are in no particular order
1) Captain Underpants (the entire series) by Dav Pilkey-
Parent side note: I was reluctant at first with these books because of the potty humor, but seeing Raina laugh out loud when she read these in 1st grade made them okay for me. She was even okay with getting car sick just to finish one of these books. They are great for girls or boys - advanced or reluctant readers.
From Raina: "These books are so funny! They're about a superhero that flies around in his underpants saving people from crime. The names make me laugh and so do the pictures."
2) Diary of a Wimpy Kid (the entire series) by Jeff Kinney-
Parent side note: I LOVE these books just as much as Raina does. We watched the movie together as a family and loved it, too. They may better for 3rd graders and up, but Raina read most of the series when she was in 1st and 2nd grade. Boys or girls would love this series - advanced or reluctant readers.
From Raina: "These books follow Greg Heffley's life in a diary format. Funny things happen to him, and I love stories based on diaries."
3) Little House on the Prairie (the entire series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder-
Parent side note: These books bring back so many memories for me. When Raina received the first 5 books in a box set from her grandparents for Christmas, we bought the t.v. series on DVD. I remember watching all the episodes with my sisters when I was a little girl, but I did NOT remember how hot Pa was. Michael Landon makes me drool a bit when I watch these, but I also cry at the touching story lines like when Pa had to leave his family to make money because his crops died. He walked barefoot for days just to get home! Men today don't know how easy they have it. This book series is probably better for girls (and women of any age will really like looking at Pa - especially the episodes where he takes his shirt off. For real.) - advanced readers will most likely enjoy these books more since they move a bit slower.
From Raina: "I love the details and how these books tell about what life was really like in the olden days."
4) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl-
Parent side note: My third grade teacher basically destroyed my self esteem and flipped out on our class every other day, BUT he read this book out loud to us and it became my favorite book ever. I checked it out of the library and reread my favorite parts as often as I could. Raina's 2nd grade teacher read the book aloud to her class, and Raina recently played the role of Oompa Loompa in York Little Theater's production of Willy Wonka. She was a bit obsessed with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for a bit. We watched and compared the two movies, sang the songs, read the book, listened to the musical soundtrack in the car, and then watched her do cute little Oompa Loompa dances on stage. This book is good for boys or girls - advanced readers or a great read aloud for any level of reader.
From Raina: "This book is my favorite! It's full of chocolate and details, and you can just melt into this book. All the characters are very naughty except for Charlie."
5) Goosebumps (any of these books) by R. L. Stine-
Parent side note: I need to admit that after Raina read a few of these books that she suffered nightmares. She freaked about playing her piano because one of the books had a storyline about phantom hands that played a piano. I probably won't win parent of the year for allowing her to continue reading these books (I did actually ban them at one point when she refused to walk upstairs by herself if any of the lights were out), but these books are addictive and foster a love of reading and an understanding of mood. I still don't allow her to watch the television series even if each story turns out not so scary at the end (that counts for something, right?) These books are good for boys or girls - advanced or reluctant readers.
From Raina: "I always liked scary books and Goosebumps books are SCARY! This is the best series of scary books."
6) Bad Kitty (any of these books) by Nick Bruel-
Parent side note: Raina reads these books in less than an hour, so it might be more economical to check them out of the library. She does like to reread them. They make her laugh out loud, so in the hour that she reads or rereads any Bad Kitty book, I can hear her laughter emanating through the house. Because these are graphic novels, they are great for boys or girls - advanced or reluctant readers.
From Raina: "Bad Kitty is about a crazy, bad cat. It's fun reading about the life of a cat. But she is BAD."
7) Dear Dumb Diary (the entire series) by Jim Benton
Parent side note: Because these books are a "sneak peak inside the diary of Jamie Kelly" who is a student at Mackerel Middle School, these books are more appropriate for older girls who are middle school age, but Raina received these as a gift from my best friend's daughter and she couldn't resist the hot pink covers, the funny illustrations, and the snarky personality of Jamie Kelly. These books are for girls - advanced elementary school readers or any middle school reading level.
From Raina: "I love that these are in diary format. Jamie Kelly writes really funny things."
8) The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Parent side note: When I was Raina's age, this series was my favorite. I checked every single book out of the library and stayed up and read one a night. I loved the magical world of Oz which is way more complex than the famous movie shows. We started this one as a read aloud before bed, but Raina decided she wanted to read it herself instead. This book is good for boys or girls - more of an advanced level.
From Raina: "This is a great fantasy book full of interesting characters. The whole idea of the book is mind blowing with munchkins, witches and a big adventure. What's not to love?"
9) Katie Kazoo (entire series) by Nancy Krulik
Parent side note: My pediatrician said her daughter loved these books, so I tried them with Raina when she was in first grade. She LOVED them and got hooked on the series. If your daughter likes Judy Moody or Junie B. Jones, she will love this series, too. This series is best for girls - advanced or reluctant readers.
From Raina: "The cool part of Katie Kazoo is that she switcheroos from a normal girl into a whole different person when the magic winds blow. I like the perspective switch."
10) Judy Moody (entire series) by Megan McDonald
Parent side note: Judy Moody is a very sassy girl, but she is lovable, too. It seems like every elementary school girl knows about Judy Moody books, so this is a good series to get your daughter hooked on reading. This series is best for girls - advanced or reluctant readers.
From Raina: "I love that these books are realistic fiction. Judy's personality makes the books really good because she is daring and mischievous."