Last week, Ali and I had amazingly fantastical adventures every single day.

We found a golden ticket, sailed down a chocolate river in a pink candy boat, saw squirrels opening walnuts without breaking said walnuts, rode in a glass elevator with millions of buttons, and sat on the edge of our seats as a bad little girl got blown up into a giant blueberry and carried off by tiny people.

Obviously, we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

This was a first for us, and a completely perspective-changing moment for me as a parent.

I’ve been reading books aloud to Ali since she was a baby, and started reading chapter books aloud last fall.  But because I thought I needed to “hook” her into the idea of letting me read a long book, I bought inane “Tales from Pixie Hollow” books and borrowed ridiculously over-formulaic “Rainbow Magic Fairy” library books.

The plots were absurd, the stories all sounded the same, and I was slugging through it.

(And she was mildly interested, but certainly not hooked.)

Then a couple of weeks ago, my friends Ashley and Nikki mentioned that they had read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud to their kids.

Literature!! Real literature!! Well-written literature!! WHY haven’t I thought of this???

I felt like a complete nincompoop, to use a literary term.

The next day, I headed to the library, checked out a few Roald Dahl books, went straight home home and started reading aloud.  And from the first chapter, we were both enthralled.  We were excited, we were living it, we were completely sucked into the story – as should rightfully happen when one reads good literature.

So, in my excitement over this eureka moment, I began compiling a list of all of my favorite childhood books (that weren’t too intense for Ali – she scares easily), and other books that I wanted to read.

And I ended up with a to-do list 101 books long.

Clearly, this is going to take a while to accomplish.  And perhaps, before I finish reading all of these aloud, Ali will take over and read them herself.

Here’s my list so far.  I plan on printing it out and keeping it in my library bag – feel free to do the same.  I would also really love to know what great books I’ve left off – let me know in the comments and I’ll add them!

* – books that I haven’t read at all yet.

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl / Nothing can beat this book’s entertainment value when read aloud.  Fabulous story with great moral lessons, and what kid doesn’t like hearing about fantastical candy??
2. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator – Roald Dahl
3-9. The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis / Some of my most treasured childhood memories are of my Mom reading this series aloud to us.  Engaging and beautiful.
10. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
11. Stuart Little – E.B. White
12. Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren / I loved Pippi Longstocking as a kid!
13*. The BFG – Roald Dahl
14-21. The Ramona Series – Beverly Cleary / These were some of the first books that I read by myself, but I also remember my Mom reading them aloud.  They are great bridge books for both reading aloud and reading alone.
22-26. The Fudge Series – Judy Blume / I loved these books as a kid! Great sibling interactions, and lots to discuss as well.
27*. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Richard Atwater
28. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Konigsburg / This was one of the most magical, original stories that I read as a young child.  I can’t wait to read it again!
29. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle / I fell in love with Madeleine L’Engle’s writing from this book, and proceeded to read nearly everything she wrote.  Not all of her books, however, are appropriate for children. 
30. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson / Fabulous story to read around the holidays – cute and heartwarming.
31*. Bartholomew’s Passage – Arnold Ytreeide / An Advent Adventure Book my Mom recommended
32*. Jotham’s Journey – Arnold Ytreeide / An Advent Adventure Book my Mom recommended
33-40. Anne of Green Gables Series – L.M. Montgomery / These are probably too old for Ali right now, but would be great family read-aloud books when she is slightly older.  Or, if Ali beats me to it, she can read them herself in a few years.
41-44*. Magic Tree House Series – Mary Pope Osborne
45-49. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Set – Jeff Kinney / I read a couple of these aloud to Ali over a year ago (with occasional language changes), and she loved them! The pictures are engaging, and the stories are short enough to keep the attention of young children, even if they don’t understand everything.  The movie, however, is painful to watch – I hate train-wrecks.
50. The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
51. A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett
52*. The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 – Christopher Paul Curtis / I found this book while researching for this list.  I’ve not yet read it, but I am eager to read it myself first and see if it is a good book to introduce the subject of Civil Rights and the sadder parts of the history of our city.
53*. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg – Rodman Philbrick
54*. How to Train Your Dragon – Cressida Cowell
55. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett / This book always made me want to live in a giant manor in England with a large, mysterious garden.
56. Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh
57. The Ralph Mouse Collection – Beverly Cleary
58. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective – Donald J. Sobol / I ADORED these as a kid.  I never could figure out the mysteries, though.  I was always so disappointed in myself!
59. Socks – Beverly Cleary
60. The Cricket in Times Square – George Selden
61*. The Hundred Dresses – Eleanor Estes
62. The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
63-66*. Junie B. Jones’s Series – Barbara Park
67-75. Little House on the Prairie Series – Laura Ingalls Wilder / I have to admit that I mentally relate these as being boring.  But I know they weren’t!  I remember enjoying them – they just seem boring.
76. Star of Light – Patricia St John
77*. Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink
78. The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh – A.A. Milne / Winnie-The-Pooh stories always surprise me at how creative and refreshing their storylines are.  So much better than I expect – every time!
79. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
80*. My Side of the Mountain – Jean Craighead George
81*. Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl
82. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
83*. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl
84*. The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets – Roald Dahl
85. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – James Herriot / My Dad used to read these Veterinarian stories to us.  They were simply amazing!
86*. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick
87*. Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett
88.The Five Chinese Brothers – Claire Huchet Bishop
89. Homer Price – Robert McCloskey / This is a rare book to find, but I LOVED it as a kid! Homer had some really fantastic adventures.
90. Andrew Henry’s Meadow – Doris Burn
91*. The Candymakers – Wendy Mass
92*. The Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White
93*. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle – Betty McDonald
94. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh – Robert O’Brien
95. The Princess Bride – William Goldman / This book was written for adults, and if you haven’t read the book and are a Princess Bride fan like myself, then you’re missing out.  With some skipping here and there, it’d make a great children’s read-aloud book as well.  I wish they would come out with a children’s version…because, as always, the book is even better than the movie.
96*. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy – Jeanne Birdsall
97. Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan (Adapted for little readers)
98*. Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
99*. Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters – Lesley M. M. Blume
100. The Indian in the Cupboard – Lynne Reid Banks
101. Freckle Juice – Judy Blume

Please let me know what I need to add to the list!


Books Suggested By Y’all:

102. Strawberry Girl – Lois Lenski / Suggested by Mama Hen and Roxaline
103. Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo / Suggested by Jennifer Wendorf, Roxaline, and Becca Kennedy
104. The Tale of Despereaux – Kate Dicamillo / Suggested by Jennifer Wendorf and Gina
105. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Louis Sachar / Suggested by Sam
106. Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli / Suggested by Sam
107. Sarah, Plain and Tall – Patricia McLachlan / Suggested by Roxaline
108. American Girl Books – Various Authors / Suggested by Roxaline and Gina
109. The Courage of Sarah Noble – Alice Dalgleish / Suggested by Roxaline
110. Betsy Series – Carolyn Haywood / Suggested by Roxaline
111. Clementine Series – Sara Pennypacker / Suggested by Jessica
112. Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Bobbit / Suggested by Laura Wilder
113. Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan / Suggested by Laura Wilder
114. Shel Silverstein Poetry Books / Suggested by Laura Wilder
115. Gregor the Overlander Series – Suzanne Collins / Suggested by Cara
116. Little Pilgrim’s Progress – Helen Taylor / Suggested by Kristi
117. Misty of Chincoteague – Marguerite Henry / Suggested by Kristi
118. Matilda – Roald Dahl / Suggested by Marty
119. Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie / Suggested by Marty
120. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum / Suggested by Marty and Robin
121. The Borrowers – Mary Norton / Suggested by Marty, Annie Gallitz, Becca Kennedy and Shiree
122. Owls in the Family – Farley Mowat / Suggested by Marty
123. Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket / Suggested by Marty
124. Shiloh – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor / Suggested by Kitty
125. The Littles – John Peterson / Suggested by Heidi
126. Bunnicula Series – Deborah Howe / Suggested by Heidi
127. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Judy Blume / Suggested by Heidi
128. The Boxcar Children Series – Gertrude Chandler Warner / Suggested by Shiree and Jaisey
129. Summer of the Monkeys – Wilson Rawls / Suggested by Robin
130. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls / Suggested by Robin and JC and Rachel
131. Nancy Drew Series – Carolyn Keene / Suggested by Gina and Anita Wright and Jaisey
132. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson / Suggested by Becca Kennedy
133. Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine / Suggested by Becca Kennedy
134. Alvin Fernald Series – Clifford Hicks / Suggested by JC
135. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions – Edwin Abbott / Suggested by JC
136. The Hardy Boys Series – Franklin W. Dixon / Suggested by JC
137. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew – Margaret Sidney / Suggested by Katie and MBD
138. Eight Cousins – Louisa May Alcott / Suggested by Katie
139. Rose in Bloom – Louisa May Alcott / Suggested by Katie
140. Betsy-Tacy Books – Maud Hart Lovelace / Suggested by Forrest
141. Christy – Catherine Marshall / Suggested by Leanna and Jenna
142.Sugar Creek Gang Series – Paul Hutchens / Suggested by Stacey
143. Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves – Carol Hughes / Suggested by MBD
144. Redwall Series – Brian Jacques / Suggested by MBD
145. Little Britches – Ralph Moody / Suggested by MBD
146. Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank B. Gilbreth Jr / Suggested by MBD and Carol
147. The Great Turkey Walk – Kathleen Karr / Suggested by MBD
148. Talking Turkey – Lila Hopkins / Suggested by Laura
149. A Girl of the Limberlost – Gene Stratton-Porter / Suggested by Carol
150. Wishing-Chair Collection – Enid Blyton / Suggested by Mary @ Parenthood
151. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton / Suggested by Mary @ Parenthood
152. Mrs Pepperpot – Alf Proyson / Suggested by Mary @ Parenthood
153. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles – Julie Andrews Edwards / Suggested by Jenna
154. Martin’s Big Words – Bryan Collier / Suggested by Cindy McGurl
155. Pink and Say – Patricia Polacco / Suggested by Cindy McGurl
156. Skippyjon Jones Series – Judy Schnachner / Suggested by Cindy McGurl
157. The Wall – Eve Bunting / Suggested by Cindy McGurl
158. Gooney Bird Greene – Lois Lowry / Suggested by Pam Dennison
159. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien / Suggested by Hannah
160. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien / Suggested by Hannah
161. Alpha Centauri – Robert Siegal / Suggested by Hannah
162. Whalesong – Robert Siegal / Suggested by Hannah
163. The Princess and the Goblin – George MacDonald / Suggested by Hannah
164. The Princess and Curdie – George MacDonald / Suggested by Hannah
165. Poppy – Avi / Suggested by Carissa
166. Henry Huggins – Beverly Cleary / Suggested by Carissa
167. The Tower of Geburah (Archives of Anthropos) – John White / Suggested by Carissa
168. Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson / Suggested by Carissa and Shannon
169. Geronimo Stilton – Geronimo Stilton / Suggested by Carissa
170. There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom – Louis Sachar / Suggested by Stephanie
171. Lois Lowry Books* Can be intense emotionally – Lois Lowry / Suggested by Laura
172. The War with Grandpa – Robert Kimmel Smith / Suggested by Lisa
173. Out of My Mind – Sharon M. Draper / Suggested by Claire
174. The Castle in the Attic – Elizabeth Winthrop / Suggested by Debbie and Lisa
175. Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis / Suggested by Carrie
176. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare / Suggested by Carrie
177. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin / Suggested by Krista Howland
178. Trixie Belden Series – Julie Campbell / Suggested by Anita Wright
179. The Railway Children – Edith Nesbit / Suggested by Anita Wright
180. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell / Suggested by Anita Wright
181. What Katy Did – Susan Coolidge / Suggested by Anita Wright
182. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll / Suggested by Anita Wright and Irma
183. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – T.S. Eliot / Suggested by Anita Wright
184. Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling / Suggested by Meg
185. Hatchet – Gary Paulson / Suggested by Lisa
186. Leo the Late Bloomer – Robert Kraus / Suggested by Amber Thomas
187. Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson / Suggested by Amber Thomas
188. The Duel: The Gingham Dog and The Calico Cat – Eugene Field / Suggested by Amber Thomas
189. The Mysterious Benedict Society Series – Trenton Lee Stewart / Suggested by Shannon
190. Percy Jackson Series – Attila Futaki and Jose Villarrubia / Suggested by Shannon
191. The All-of-a-Kind Family series – Sydney Taylor / Suggested by Shannon
192. Fablehaven – Brandon Mull / Suggested by Suzanne Brazzell
193. Summer of the Monkeys – Wilson Rawls / Suggested by Suzanne Brazzell
194. Thunder Cake – Patricia Polacco / Suggested by Cynthia
195. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo / Suggested by Nicole
196. A Single Shard – Linda Sue Park / Suggested by Renee
197. A Long Way From Chicago – Richard Peck / Suggested by Renee
198. A Year Down Yonder – Richard Peck / Suggested by Renee
199. Princess Academy – Shannon Hale / Suggested by Renee
200. Kira-Kira – Cynthia Kadohata / Suggested by Renee
201. Crunch – Leslie Connor / Suggested by Jessica
202. Waiting for the Magic – Patricia MacLachlan / Suggested by Jessica
203. Masterpiece – Elise Broach / Suggested by Jessica
204. Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat – Lynne Jonell / Suggested by Jessica
205. The Giver – Lois Lowry / Suggested by Kayla Essary
206. Number the Stars – Lois Lowry / Suggested by Kayla Essary
207. Paint The Wind – Pam Munoz Ryan
208. Gathering Blue – Lois Lowry / Suggested by Kristy Howells
209. The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale / Suggested by Eryn
210. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Grace Lin / Suggested by Amber
211. Holes – Louis Sachar / Suggested by Amber
212. The Name of this Book Is Secret – Pseudonymous Bosch / Suggested by Amber
213. The Lion’s Paw – Robb White / Suggested by Melissa
214. Big Red – Jim Kjelgaard / Suggested by Rachel
215. Marguerite Henry Books – Marguerite Henry / Suggested by Rachel


Check out my homeschooling category for more possibly helpful posts!

You might also like Stepping Stones of Early Readers:

Early Readers - Good Books in order of difficulty

or this Geography Project:







219 thoughts on “The Read-Aloud Challenge.

  1. Okay, I had no idea that The Princess Bride was a book first! I will be checking that one out soon.

    You have a great list. I of course, love the Little House books, the Ramona books, and the Fudge books. Our kids laughed and laughed at them. Now I get to start all over with James. I will be printing out this list and taking it with me to the library.

    One book that we haven’t read, but lots of people in my homeschooling circles love, is Strawberry Girl. I need to get on that with Abbie.

    You can also go to Sonlight’s website and they have great books lists.

    1. The Princess Bride is a FABULOUS book – for adults. (Especially the 30 page forward.. it’s very humorous, but not really written for kids.) Definitely check it out and read it, though – it is well worth it!

      I added Strawberry Girl to the list – thanks!

  2. We are reading “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo. As soon as I can find a copy available, we plan on reading “The Tale of Despereaux,” also by Kate DiCamillo. You’ve got a great list! I may borrow some ideas from it. We’ve already read several that you’ve listed and have loved the experience!

    1. Thanks! I had “Because of Winn-Dixie” on my list, then took it off for a reason I can’t quite remember. Glad to add it back!

  3. I really like your list. It brought me back to some of the oldies that I enjoyed when I was young. In my school we had what was called “Battle of the Books” an extracurricular where each grade was challenged to read 5 books that were selected specifically for the grade level (above the books that were to be read for class) . After a few months there was a Jeopardy-like competition where kids from each classroom competed against each other. The classroom that won the most games got a pizza party at the end of the year. I was a bookworm and this was one of my favorite things about elementary school.

    A few books that you don’t have on your list that I would highly recommend are the Sideways Stories from Wayside School series by Louis Sacar. If I remember correctly, and forgive me if I’m wrong because it’s been a few years, the chapters in the books are generally pretty short. I believe I read (and re-read) these books between second and fourth grades. Another book that is a must read is Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. It’s about a troubled boy who has some pretty interesting adventures. I believe I read this book in fifth grade so you may want to put that on your list for a little later.

    1. Thank you! I’ve added Sideways Stories and Maniac Magee to the list!

      I would have loved that competition, too. I LOVED reading as a child! I can’t wait until Ali finally falls in love with it.

  4. Love this post! I just finished a book-“The Reading Promise” by Alice Ozma. She writes about how her librarian father read to her EVERY DAY for something like 9 years-until she left for college! She includes a list of some of the books they read! Such an inspiration!

  5. Oh Rachel, you have opened Pandora’s Box on this one! I could give you tons of ideas! I would say Sarah Plain and Tall. Strawberry Girl, Because of Winn-Dixie, American Girl books, The Courage of Sarah Noble, and the Betsy series by Carolyn Hayward. Those are just a start!!! I loved when Bri could REALLY read by herself because as you can tell there isn’t enough time in the day to read everything! But you are instilling a love of books and she will take it and run! Before Victoria was born we would read aloud together as a family at night, you have inspired me to start back up again!!

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I added them to the list.

      Good luck with picking back up reading – Noah isn’t very fond of read-aloud time – it’s a struggle with a busy baby!

  6. Great list! As I was reading it, I was reminded of so many great books I had completely forgotten about from growing up! It makes me want to revisit some of them!

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This list is brilliant! I, too, had fallen under a horrible spell of Pixie Hollow/Princess/Rainbow Unicorns books. Thank you for rescuing us from our literary dungeon!

    1. YES!! When you begin reading real literature, you will be able to taste the difference.

      …and then you will want to burn all fairy books.

  8. I hate to add to a list that’s already so long, but I’m going to make a suggestion: The Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker. I have a problem with some of the books out there intended for kids (The rainbow magic ones are just so boring once you’ve read a few, and the name calling in some books is not what I want my kids to learn is okay behaviour) so I was thrilled to find these books. Clementine is an engaging, intelligent girl who actually cares about her friends and family. There are five of them so far, and we’ve enjoyed every single one. And they’ve also got lovely illustrations.

  9. I LOVE this!!! Rachel, children’s literature is my very favorite genre of all time! I like “Talking Turkey”, “Tuck Everlasting” & “Esperanza Rising”! I do remember parts of Esperanza Rising being sad so just read it first to see how Ali might take it. But it’s a very sweet & wonderful book. & I LOVE the Little House on the Prarie series, they’re so educational & every time I read them it makes me want to bake! Also, have you thought about reading her poetry (Shel Silverstein) & she could write her own poetry..just a thought that came to me. Oh geeze, now you’ve got this English major all excited!

  10. Giann has a personal list as well…she is media-free this week at their convention but I bet she could add some good ones for you. Many that you have and some that have been mentioned we have read. We have several on our shelves if you would like to borrow them as well…. And a stack of beginning reading books plus those reading chapter books …the kind that are hard to find when they are ready to transition from small readers to short chapters. Just let me know.

  11. This series is for when Allie’s a bit older, but look into Gregor the Overlander. It’s about a boy who falls down his laundry chute into a world full of giant (but friendly) bats, beetles, and the mean rats. Everyone thinks Gregor is the chosen one to save them. His toddler sister is there too for comic relief. :) It’s probably still a bit scary for Allie now, but is definitely geared toward elementary kids.

    1. Thanks! I added it to the list. It sounds like something I’d enjoy now, and she’d enjoy when she gets over her overly-fearfulness.

  12. Great list! In regards to Pilgrim’s Progress – my girls and I just finished an adaptation titled “Little Pilgrim’s Progress” by Helen L. Taylor. It is excellent – we had many wonderful discussions following our readings. I also loved Homer Price as a child. I read last year it to a group of upper elementary kids at the school where I volunteer – they loved it. Also – “Trumpet of the Swan” is a book I read regularly – one of my favorites. Do either you or Ali like horses? I loved Marguerite Henry’s books – “Misty of Chincoteague” and others when I was young.

    Best wishes on your list – I may join you! We don’t homeschool during the school year – but we do some things during the summer to keep up. Have fun – but for pete’s sake you might need to stop and cook or potty train Noah once in awhile:)

    1. Thanks for the good Pilgrim’s Progress recommendation! I remember seeing that one, but didn’t know anything about it. I’ve added all of your books to the list!

  13. That is a good list, I *loved* many of them back in the day. And even though you have lots of Roald Dahl on there, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach are also awesome (just in case you forgot ;-) ). Other awesome ones not on here (I can’t believe you stopped at only 101!) that I am eagerly looking forward to being able to read with mine include the Little House on the Prairie series, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Pippi Longstocking, The Borrowers, Owls in the Family, and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.

  14. I’ve been reading to my 5-year old son since he was born as well. Love the list, we need some new ideas. We are almost finished with the entire “Magic Treehouse” series. Those are very good, and educational too. When we went to Disney last fall he pointed out several things on Spaceship Earth that he had learned about in those books. He even had us read the Titanic research guide to him after we read the book about their adventures on the Titanic.

  15. Oh, I,m so glad that someone mentioned ‘The Borrowers”! ( But forget the movie; they totally didn’t get it and near to ruined the whole story line!)) The books are charming , and when I was little ( like , a hundred years ago,) I never wished harder for something to be true and real in my life!

  16. When my son was in 2nd grade I volunteered to come to his class once a week to read a chapter. The teacher had selected Shiloh. I read each week in the same suspense they were in as we wondered how the boy would ever resolve the problem and give Shiloh the home he deserved. Thank you for the sweet reminder … and the list!

  17. The Borrowers and The Littles were favorites of mine. Bunnicula & Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing for a little older.

    1. Thanks! I’ve never heard of Bunnicula, but it looks hilarious!!! I’ll definitely have to check those out.

      I added all of these to the list!

  18. Abiah has really enjoyed The Boxcar Children series. This next year he’ll be reading through The Borrowers series (five books) and a collection of Roald Dahl books I got in a set from Costco. All three of my older kids have like Junie B Jones books but I still can’t decide if I like them or not because she’s a little bit sassy and rude. I need your list so I can add to my library! Can you email it to me? :) Also, carries new and used books and you can search under age/gender etc. to find books to meet your kids reading levels and interest. It’s a good resource for ideas.

    1. Thanks! What do you want me to email you – the book list? You should be able to print it off straight from my blog. But in case it doesn’t work, here it is (so far).

  19. This is an EXCELLENT list. So many of the books on here were (and still are) my favorite. A couple I would add

    Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O’Dell) I absolutely adore this book
    The Wizard of Oz, as mentioned by a couple other people.
    Summer of the Monkeys and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I remember my 3rd grade teacher read the first one aloud to our class, and we were always begging her for another chapter.

  20. Abby loved all the Junie B. Jones books! I started out reading them to her, but she finished up reading them on her own. She also really enjoys the American Girl series, and Nancy Drew books ( there is a series for younger kids now). Both Abby and Grayson loved The Tale of Despereaux so much, we read it twice!

  21. You have hit upon my very favorite subject! I can’t believe you haven’t read the BFG. You will love it. A note on the Watsons Go to Birmingham, I haven’t read it, but my roommate remembers reading it in fourth grade and it introducing her to some concepts you might not want Ali getting into quite yet. Not in relation to Civil Rights, in relation to… er… love. (nothing huge, but things like the dad touching the mom’s chest, which really struck Em in fourth grade, but might go over Ali’s head. here: Also, I can assure you there are more than 3 Junie B. Jones books. She is one of my personal favorites, and my favorite compliment is when people tell me I remind them of her. There are quite a few “stupids” and “dumbs” etc, but those can be changed easily. I would add : The Borrowers, Because of Winn Dixie is very good (but rather sad), Bridge to Terabithia (again, sad, might be for Ali when she’s a bit older), and Ella Enchanted (which I read about five times in a row as a kid, but might be more appreciated when she gets a little older.)

    1. Thanks, Becca!

      Great suggestions! And thanks for the heads-up on the Birmingham book. I’ll be quick on the out-loud edits. :)

  22. wow. i think i do indeed need to print off this list. since we started homeschool i’ve wished there was a real live person who could give me advice about what to read. voila! we have done Sonlight the last couple years. and although a couple of the books are decent, we’ve been kinda bored with the rest, despite their assurances that these are the best books out there. well, i think i just might try your list.

    one book we did read that i LOVED was . it was hilarious. loved every thing about it. just the right length for little kids too. not too much detail. just fun stuff. perfect. i want more books like THAT one.

  23. Love this list! Some of them are new to me and I look forward to finding them. My kids have also liked books by Andrew Clements. My daughter enjoyed the first few Betsy-Tacy books until Betsy became a teenager and became interested in boys. We cut her off for now! The Phantom Tollbooth is another fun one.

    The bad guy in Jotham’s Journey is pretty scary. My daughter didn’t make it to the end and also opted out of Barthomew’s Passage, so you may want to preview those. My son loved them.

    1. Thanks! Good to know about Jotham’s Journey – Ali is pretty sensitive to bad guys. We may hold off on that one for a few more years.

  24. What is your preferred format for reading? I am a reformed book collector and I now restrict myself to books on Kindle, which results in much less clutter. If I’m reading to the kids, it shouldn’t matter if its from a book or Kindle, right? I am also considering some audible books for travel. Have you tried any books on audible, and found any with nice voices for children?

    1. Oddly enough, I have no digital book-reading device yet – I’m still old school.

      Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t like reading on a screen very much. Luckily for me, other people don’t mind nearly as much.

      Chris and I love listening to audio (especially This American Life). Ali likes listening to Veggie Tales stories and the audio bible, but we haven’t tried any Audible yet, I’ll have to give it a try on our next car trip!

  25. Oh I loved ‘The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew’ by Margret Sidney
    Its one of my most beloved books. And ‘Eight Cousins’ and ‘Rose in Bloom’. But the Five Peppers still remain the best childhood book in my heart. And its free on Kindle!

  26. Finally! The list I’ve been searching for! River has been into read aloud “chapter” books for awhile, but it is hard to find good ones that we both enjoy. We both LOVED the little house books – at least the first 3 or 4 until the characters got to be teenagers. In fact, River and I have read Little House in the Big Woods 3 times at his insistence. We’ve read a few of the others on your list (River loves Pippi and we’ve also read other great books by the same author). We are listening to The Magic Tree House series on audio book right now and both kids love that, too. River begs to sit alone in the car when we get home so he can head more. They are also really educational and entertaining to me, too. (Tip: Mt. Brook library has the whole series on CD, I think). I will print our your list and start taking it with me to the library. Thanks!

  27. Busy day at work so I didn’t get to comment until now but I love Christy by Catherine Marshall. Her husband was Peter Marshall the great preacher. It maybe a little old for Ali but it is about a girl that goes to teach in the Tennessee mountains. I can probably think of others but right now my mind is blanking out on me.

    1. Christy is an awesome book, and you(rachel) should read it, but it is definitely a bit old for Ali. I would wait until a girl is at least 12 (and that’s a mature 12) to hand her Christy.

  28. Ohhh thank you for this list! I am currently reading A Little Princess to my girls, one of many favorites from my childhood. I recently found that my library has the Sugar Creek Gang books, which I love. Oh and I need to find the Mandie books lol!
    My girls are 7 and 9 and I’m just starting reading out loud to them so they dont like it much but I’m determined to keep it up.

    1. I started book one of Mandie with Ali, except that I forgot it started with her mother’s funeral.

      After explaining why Mandie was crying and why her new stepmother was being cruel, I decided that I wasn’t ready to read those to her!!

      But I loved them growing up…maybe later. Or maybe I could skip the first couple until she’s living with her Aunt and Uncle.

  29. I see so many of my old friends on that list! I don’t think I could ever read Bridge to Terebithia out loud… I’d cry to much to get the words out around the knot in my throat. Be careful with My Side of the Mountain. I remember my very elaborate plans to run away from home after reading that one as a kid. Not to escape home so much but to begin my own adventure. I got so far as packing a sled full of survival gear for myself and my cat (it was winter) and was climbing out my bedroom window when my mom came downstairs for a midnight snack. She didn’t catch me, but the near miss thankfully too away my confidence in the plan! (Actually, I’ll want to make sure my son enjoys both of these books and so many others on your wonderful list!)

    1. Thanks for the tip on My Side of the Mountain! And I agree on Bridge to Terabithia – that would be heart-wrenching to read aloud!

  30. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. I’ve been so inspired to start reading chapter books to Eden but have had a hard time knowing where to start…definitely couldn’t have come up with such a great list as you’ve got here!
    Also LOVE that Freckle Juice (just barely) made the cut in your 101. One of my faves as a kid!

  31. Don’t miss Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook and website. It lists titles by genre and grade and gives a small summary with related works. He includes almost everything mentioned here and many more. A homeschooler must-have!

  32. I LOVE this list!! Well done, Rachel! You are right…truly great literature (even kidlit) is vastly different from the books that are quickly put together to make a buck (like the ones based on TV cartoon characters – ugh!). We have to introduce our kids to the good stuff while they are young. I loved many of the books on this list when I was a child and now my 7-year-old daughter is starting to read them too. She’s currently reading “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.”

  33. What a great list! I’ve always planned on reading chapter books to my girls when they got older but I guess there’s no reason why I can’t start now! The question is where to start! I love so many of the ones you listed! I need to go through my box of books and get started! I loved when my mom read to me!

  34. This is fantastic! Thank you so much. I’ve tried to do chapter book read alouds with the boys before, but well, they insist on doing everything together. Which, of course, is mostly a good thing, but sometimes it makes getting into stories hard. What, with the 2 year old influence. But, this got me to try again and the boys are so into our naptime/bedtime reading it is wonderful. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler is my favorite. My favorite to read to my class when I was teaching was Sarah Plain and Tall and the ones that follow. I love the variety of your blog…teaching, family, humor, food, sexy jeans, and so forth. :)

    1. That’s the best compliment anyone could give me!! I kinda buck the norm of bloggers by not staying in a niche, but I do it very purposefully. I like covering all subjects that pertain to me. Glad that it’s appreciated!

  35. I don’t think I saw A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett on the list… Of not, add it! :)

  36. Great job Rachel!

    My mom always read out loud to use before bed. She started with Peter Pan, and that book really drove me to reading as a 5 year old because I couldn’t stand just one chapter a night. And now, decades later, I still love to read.

    When he was younger, I read every night to my now 21 year old. We especially loved:

    1. Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves. Boys 8 and up might like this. The title almost put me off, and now I’m glad it didn’t. Lots of swashbuckling adventure and a very redemptive story line. I’ve always wondered why this wasn’t made into a movie. It’s that good.

    2. The first few books in the “Redwall” series. Great fun, good stories and clear lines between good and evil. We listened to the first book on tape during a road trip to Florida and even when we saw the beach, we were so caught up in Redwall that when it rained we were happy to head back to the car to listen longer! The later books in the series started referring to one of the characters as “I am that I am,” so we dropped out at that point. The Vestavia Library has some of these on CD. Each character has a different voice and the books are very well produced with sound effect. Ages 8 and up might like, especially boys.

    3. “The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.” When my younger son was 6 and my niece was 9, we listened to this on a road trip to and from Nashville. 6 year old faded in and out on it, but my niece absolutely loved it and so did I. We also checked this out at the Vestavia Library on cd.

    4. One of my favorite books of all time, “Little Britches.” I grew up reading the Little House books (way back in the day) and always wished there was something like it for boys. Then I happened upon “Little Britches” by Ralph Moody and struck pay dirt, except Little Britches is better in so many ways than the Little House books! There is a series of books by this same author, telling the true story of his life.

    5. “Cheaper by the Dozen.” We listened to this as a book on tape when my son was 9, again on a road trip. At the time he was still an only child and was fascinated by the ins and outs of life in a large family like the Gilbreths. He recently moved to his own place and one of the books from our library that he took with him was Cheaper by the Dozen. :-)

    6. “The Great Turkey Walk.” A librarian at the Hoover Library recommend this and when we finished the book we were so glad she did! Set in 1860, main character Simon Green isn’t all that smart at book learning, but he is not afraid of hard work and he proves it by walking a heard of turkeys 900 miles to Denver. The characters he meets and forms fast friendships with will stay with you a long time. Thoroughly enjoyable and contains very positive themes of hard work and honesty paying off while retaining a spirit of adventure and humor.

  37. Oh, this list is wonderful – it reminds me of what I read as a child and what I enjoyed reading to my classrooms when I taught (3rd,4th, and 5th grades). My fourth graders and I did a whole language unit on Sarah, Plain and Tall and Strawberry Girl (which was written about growing up in Florida – and the setting was in my home town!). I still read to classrooms when I occasionally substitute.

    I also remember my mom reading Cheaper By The Dozen to my dad, brother, and I while on a summer vacation road trip – it is still one of my favorite books!

    I would add “Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton-Porter to your list. It is a fabulous story, but would probably be better when she is a little older (I read it when I was about 8 or 9 along with “The Secret Garden”).

  38. Oh this makes me want to curl up in a corner of the library and go to town! I always read through the Little House series every year while teaching first grade and the kids always loved them! I never tired of them either, and they always made me take a step back from the fast pace of modern society and realize that sometimes the “old fashioned” way of approaching life is really better. :) Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones were always favorites of the kids…MTH is great because of the non-fiction aspect…I will warn you, though, that though Junie B is pretty funny, she really does need a good attitude adjustment…I always thought that she was one of those “learn how not to act” characters.

    Would love for you to come back to this list with updated reviews after you and Ali have gone through some of them!

  39. Oh, and if you can get the accent down, Uncle Remus Stories (though not a chapter book) make for quite an entertaining read-aloud :)

  40. We started with Mrs Pepperpot and the Jungle Doctor (a little preachier than I remembered, but Elizabeth likes them).

    Moved into Enid Blyton (Faraway Tree collection, Wishing Chair). We now have a “slippery slip” in our bedroom and Elizabeth wants to plant a Jello flower plant or a chocolate cookie tree :)

    Not exactly chalter books but we also love fairy tale / folk tale anthologies from around the world, though some of the real classics may be a bit gruesome (but those bits apparently helpful for working out fears and I LOVED them as a kid)

    I’ve been planning to read the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis Narnia series… Many more I could add too :)

    I think I’d leave Diary of Wimpy Kid for reading on own though personally, though I think they are pretty great for early elementary readers.

    We often read our chapter books at the dinner table, especially when we have other kids over (cousins) who aren’t used to sitting still and listening (not JUST the baby either, ahem. Oh well!)

  41. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but I loved this book when I was little called “The Last of The Really Great Whangdoodles,” it’s a really silly book, but very imaginative and fun to read. It has some really great imagery in it!
    And when Ali gets older, I definitely recommend the Christy series by Robin Jones Gunn. Written by a Christian author, I always enjoyed the read and the adventures that Christy went on.

    1. I can’t believe someone else said “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles”! I loved that book as a child and when I was a fifth grade teacher, I read it to my class every year.

  42. I love your list! It includes many books I read to my first graders. Some others that are must reads are “Martins Big Words,” “Pink and Say,” any of the Skippyjon Jones series, and “The Wall” by Eve Bunting.

  43. Love this list! So many good ones, including ones you’ve said you haven’t read yet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins are fantastic. Some of my favorite memories growing up are family times in the living room in the evenings when my dad would read aloud to my sisters and me. We went through the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, Alpha Centauri and Whalesong by Robert Siegel, and The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie by George McDonald. They are all beautiful fantasies that helped give me the spark of imagination and freedom that only literature can give, especially when it is experienced with loved ones. :)

    1. Thanks! I’m adding them to the list now. I know that The Lord of the Rings is really for older kids, but what about the rest? They sound fascinating!

      1. I just saw your comment now, sorry! I believe they are all appropriate for elementary and up, even the Lord of the Rings. Yes, they probably won’t read LOTR by themselves before they’re in Jr. or High School, but the books are WONDERFUL as read alouds when you’re younger, that’s how I grew up with them! And I, too, get scared easily, we just knew what was going to happen.

  44. Thanks for this list, my 6 year old and I are always looking for more books! I have to say he is very well read for being only six! I have it difficult to continue to find great books for boys, most lists have the same ones! So thanks! Here are a couple of our favorites…… Poppy (series) by Avi, Henry Huggins By Beverley Clearly, the Tower of Geburah (Archives of Anthropos) by John White (very similar to Narnia), Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry & Ridley Pearson (probably best for older kids, although my son and I could not put it down.) and Geronimo Stilton (he found these to be hilarious and the pictures really kept him engaged, and great for vocabulary) He is also a huge fan of audio books while he plays with Legos!

    1. Thank you for the suggestions – and for explaining what they’re like! They all sound great. And Audio books while playing Legos?? My husband is going to LOVE this idea!! (He’s rather obsessed with them). I’m adding your books to the list now!

  45. Definitely add “There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom.” I read this aloud to my 4th graders and they loved it.
    At first the main character is a ‘bad’ kid and my students thought the things he did were so funny. Then he starts trying to change into a better person and they really started rooting for him. It was terrific!

  46. Love your list!!! I happened upon this post from pinterest, but would like to recommend any Lois Lowery books. They are really for older elementary kids. Number the Stars, The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Gossamer were all fabulous. But, they do get a little intense so make sure your child is emotionally ready.

  47. I read The War with Grandpa to my kids every year. They really love the book and can relate to the little boy. They also enjoy trying to predict what will happen next (what prank Peter or Grandpa will pull off). It is a very funny story but also teaches a lesson.

  48. I have not had time to read all the replies, but “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper was great to read to/with my kids and opened up a big conversation about differences and similarities that all humans have. I just LOVED it and I know they did, too.

  49. I LOVE this list and will be using it! I teach third grade but have a soon to be fifth grader as well as a third grader. I agree that reading aloud is a wonderful experience. Last year we began a book club with my daughter and her friends. We chose books that the moms and daughters could read together or separate – but giving them something to talk about. Then we get together talk about them, do an activity that relates to them and just have a great time.

  50. Great list. Was gonna say The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, but saw someone else posted that, too!

    A great Christopher Paul Curtis book is “Bud, Not Buddy.” Also LOVE “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare. Both are Newberry Medal winners. I read them both when I taught fifth grade, before I had kids of my own, and thought they were great books. I couldn’t put Witch of Blackbird Pond down! Lots of my other favorites are already on your list!

  51. My very favorite book from childhood is Island of the Blue Dolphins. Still makes me cry when I read it. The Westing Game was also another one of my favorites.

  52. Old favourites – The Trixi Belden series, Nancy Drew books. There’s also The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, What Katy did and What Katy did Next by Susan Coolidge and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carol. Another favourite is Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot (which you can follow up by viewing CATS)

    1. Wow – you came up with several that I’m shocked no one had already suggested – I totally forgot about The Railway Children, but loved it as a kid!! Thanks for adding to the list!

  53. I have to second “My Father’s Dragon” and the two follow-up books. I read these books many times during my childhood. They are a GREAT early chapter book.

    I’m sort of sad to not see Harry Potter on here. I know it’s newer, and definitely for older elementary. But they are SUCH fantastic books. The discussion potenial of the characters alone is astounding. Especially when you throw in the complicated Snape, the torment of Malfoy, and the sacrifice of Dumbledore.

    1. I know – I personally LOVE Harry Potter, but clearly I’m not going to read them to my five year old. I’m not sure at what stage I will think they’re age appropriate, but I do agree with you that they are fantastic literature. But now that you’ve suggested them (and I’m shocked that it took this long), they’re on the list! Thanks!

  54. Hatchet or anything by Gary Paulsen is great for upper elementary kids. The man knows how to write adventurous stories! I also like The Castle in the Attic. The storyline could be compared and contrasted to The Indian in the Cupboard.

  55. The Mysterious Benedict series as well as Peter & the StarCatchers and the Percy Jackson series for newer books you probably didn’t read as a child either (I’ve loved all of these, but I bought them for my kids, really!)

    The All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor for a wonderful older series. I read the first three as a kid, but never could find the fourth till I moved to Dallas. I remembered them in grad school and found the fourth and a fifth at a local library. *Loved* them!

  56. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. One of the best Fantasy series for children!

    Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls – one of my husbands childhood favorites.

  57. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! Also know as Alice in Wonderland. By Lewis Carroll! That would have to be my favorite book/movie of all time. I love the idea of a world where nothing is what it seems. It keeps you on your toes, and those are the best books!

  58. Have you discovered A Mighty Girl yet? I just came across it recently but it’s amazing! Their niche is books for courageous girls and they have hundreds of listings. I’ve found a lot of good recommendations for my daughter.

  59. We loved The Indian in the Cupboard series (especially the first two books), my daughter would beg me to read just one more chapter from that series. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park was fantastic as were Richard Peck’s A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder (the Grandma is a hoot), we loved Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy, and I sobbed through the end of Kira Kira while reading it aloud. So many wonderful memories of reading to myself and also aloud to my children.

  60. I am an elementary school librarian and I love sharing my favorite titles with parents and teachers.
    Some of my recent favorite are..
    1. Crunch by Leslie Connor
    2. Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan
    3. Masterpiece by Elise Broach
    4. Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
    These are all great chapter books for 4th or 5th grade independent reads or for read alouds for even younger students. Hope you love them as much as I do!

  61. The Giver and Number the Stars. There is a sequel to the giver but I don’t remember the name.

  62. Paint The Wind by Pam Munoz. She makes imagery out of words like no other. Truly amazing. My students were saying, “How did she think of that?” Beautiful story of extended family being the family.

  63. I love this list though I would leave off the magic tree house series. The writing is less than stellar. I tried reading these to my older 2 and we never made it past the first few books though the storyline was intriguing my kids couldn’t get into them because of the poor writing.

    I cannot wait to add some of these to our reading list. I love reading to my children, even the older 2 who have been reading on their own for many years now.

  64. I HAVE to suggest The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and the rest of the series! They are phenomenal! Great adaptations of the fairy tale. My older girls LOVED them and I’m now reading the first to my middle girls, ages 7 and 8. So many books and just not enough time it seems.

  65. I found this list on Pinterest. It’s an excellent list. Some of our favorites aren’t listed though. Some we have loved are Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Grace Lin?), Holes, Frindle (Andrew Clements), and The Name of This Book is Secret (Pseudonymous Bosch).

  66. Love this! Brings back so many memories. I have a box full of books waiting to read to my oldest, many of which are listed above. Another book I recall with fondness that my fifth-grade teacher read our class: “The Lion’s Paw” by Robb White. It’s extremely hard to get hands on now, unfortunately. It’s technically in print, but costs quite a bit.

  67. I loved the boxcar children series by Gertrude Chandler Warnerwhen I was a kid. The first 20 in the series is my favorite, but she has a TON of them. My all time favorite is the first one in the series. Also, I loved the Nancy drew series, by Carolyn Keene. I loved…The hidden stair case and, the secret of the old clock.

  68. I love your list! I’ve been trying to compile a similar one for my six-year-old boy. Aside from the Magic Treehouse books when he was younger, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was our first real read-aloud chapter book. And, really, how can you top it?! It’s now his standard for good literature. He turns down almost any book I start! We’ve loved all of Roald Dahl (favorites beyond Charlie: The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me; Matilda; and James and the Giant Peach) and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Selznick. I’m trying to get him to let me read The Tale of Desperaux and Because of Winn Dixie, but he’s a tough sell. =)

  69. Great suggestions!
    I know it’s not a chapter book, but “Where the Sidewalk Ends” was always entertaining – and a great intro to poetry.

    I remember loving “Big Red” by Jim Kjelgaard, the wonderful books by Marguerite Henry about horses, and all of the Black Stallion books. There’s also “A Little Princess”. I always cried at the end of “Where the Red Fern Grows” – but it was a fantastic book.

  70. The Great Brain series by John D Fitzgerald … admittedly, I didn’t just read thru the most recent comments, so, this could have been mentioned- but didn’t see it on the list… so, here ya go! :)

  71. Love the list! Just finished reading Charlotte’s Web to my 4 yr old son, he loved it! He also loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the children’s versions of Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe.

    My daughters are avid readers. One they loved that I read to them (and a childhood fave of mine) is Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards and her other one, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.

    Thanks for the list, we’re headed to the library now!!

  72. At what age would you suggest starting chapter books? I work from home full-time, but keep my daughter at home full-time also right now. She’s almost 18 months and we try to read at least 2 books a day, more if her daddy has time to read to her also. We use the library non-stop, but was wondering at what age children might start listening to a chapter book instead of picture books.

    1. I’m certainly no expert, but I guess when their attention span will take it? My daughter has a great attention span, but I know it’s hard for other kids to sit still. As far as understanding the content of chapter books, I’d say 4 and 5 year olds are able to “get it”.

  73. Two quick notes — the Fudge series has a reference to Santa not being real, in the second or third book. Not a problem for my family, but good to be aware of. Also, I wouldn’t put Magic Treehouse in “good read-aloud” category. They are purposely really formulaic so that beginning readers can read their first chapter books. I found them super painful to read. But to each their own!

  74. There are some magnificent suggestions on here! Thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas. There are many, many books that I enjoyed as a girl and that I have enjoyed with my children. An offering for your consideration is “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”. I remember loving that book in my youth. Happy reading!

  75. I love that you took the time to put together this list and continue adding in suggestions! I have such great memories of my dad reading chapter books to my siblings and me, and there are so many great books on this list that I either fondly remember or had read but almost forgotten. One series that I really enjoyed as a kid was the Orphan Train Adventures by Joan Lowery Nixon. They do have a bit of deep content (children in a family being separated and placed in homes–some good and some not–after going west on an “orphan train”), but they are great books. My first exposure to them was when my 4th grade teacher read one to us in class, but after that I read them every summer for years. They were one of my first experiences with historical fiction, and that’s still one of my favorite genres. Enjoy reading with your daughter–you guys will make some great memories!

  76. Thank you for this fantastic list! I wanted to also recommend the Mercy Watson Series by Kate Dicamillo. There are six early chapter books in the series. Each one is enjoyable, silly and has charming illustrations. My five year old daughter really enjoyed reading them with me.

  77. All of these books are great reads. I’ve read most of them as a child all the way to current. I’m a bit shocked that any Dr. Seuss books didn’t make the list. Those were always fun books to read when I was younger, and I’ve got such a huge collection of his books that I read to all my children. Also, my older one did a report on “The Whipping Boy” by: Sid Fleischman. It’s a Newberry Award book. Actually, any Newberry Award book is really a great read. Or at least the ones that I have read. I think it’s phenomenal that there are so many parents/caregivers out there that really understand the value and importance of reading to children. It opens up such a wonderful world to them that they would never have gotten otherwise. Great list of wonderful reads. :-)

  78. Sharon Creech – Walk Two Moons
    Kate DiCamillo – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – a beautiful book!
    Margie Palatini – Piggie Pie

  79. I am so excited you printed this list. These are ALL of the books that I loved so very very much growing up. I’ve started purchasing them so I can re-read them as an adult, and to have them when my daughter is old enough to understand them. I’ve already started reading aloud to her at 5 months old, and she is loving every minute as much as I am. So thank you so very much for printing this list!!!

  80. Thanks for the great list! Another series of books that my brothers and I loved as kids and that my own kids adore are the Thornton W. Burgess books (The Adventures of Reddy Fox, Sammy Jay, Prickly Porky, etc.). Written about 100 years ago, but the kids love them!

  81. As an elementary school librarian I’d say your list is fantastic! One of my new favorite read aloud books is Savvy by Ingrid Law. I read it to the sixth graders a couple of years ago and they loved it!

    Many of my read alouds are already on your list. Others we have enjoyed include: Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith and Chocolate Touch by Patrick Catling. I also read a non fiction book on the chocolate making process. Of course we paired these with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and had a whole year (second graders) of nothing by chocolate books.

    How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell was a big hit the year after our principal ate fried worms in response to the students meeting a huge reading goal.

    Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan is one of my other favorites.

    Frindle by Andrew Clements is also a great book. It is engaging and kids love to see another kid get the best of adults.

    As a child I loved The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald. Our librarian read the first book to us and I’ve read it to my fifth graders.

    The Soup series by Robert Newton Peck is hilarious.

    I could literally go on and on, but these are a few of my favorites.

    1. Thanks! We did read the BFG next. It was good, but moved a little slower than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But Roald Dahl must be the most creative man that ever lived!

  82. Wonderful list, but I admit, you lost me at #2. I found the first few chapters of Great Glass Elevator to be horribly racist. Many older books have teachable moments with references of a questionable nature…authors who were a product of their times and probably meant no malice. But Great Glass Elevator…the way he treats Asians is not acceptable, nor could I explain it away. Fortunately, my daughter was bored to tears by that point, so we found no need to continue the book.

    We are huge fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery books around here. I can’t wait to start Chronicles of Narnia. Ramona books and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle…LOVE all of those.

    1. When I made the list, we hadn’t read that one. We started it, but my daughter quickly lost interest, too. But we did barely get to the beginning of that part, and I was shocked! It was so bizarre to see him write that. So yes, I should probably go back in and put a caveat.

  83. Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith is a wonderfully entertaining book to read with children! I am a teacher of three years and have read it with each class. Needless to say, every year, the kids love it! You should definitely add this book to your list!

  84. I read Al Capone Does my Shirts-Gennifer Choldenko great children’s book. I read if for book club a year ago. the story is set in the 1930/40’s in San Francisco. A great learning experience about excepting and tolerating people that are different than you. It also has some fun adventure to it as well. Sorry i am kinda late on commenting and adding to your list.
    Great list of books. I don’t have any children, but I will have to try and read some of these anyways, specially the ones that I haven’t heard of.

  85. Red Dog by Bill Wallace is a great read aloud. It is a little graphic in one part but 4th graders were able to handle it. There is a cliffhanger at the end of almost every chapter, so the kids can’t wait until the next day.

  86. Thanks for posting such an awesome list! I’m an aspiring elementary teacher and brand new to blogging. I created Turtles and Teaching to post about great blogs and other resources I find that could be useful to future and current teachers. I would love to add this list of books to my blog! I hope you can visit it sometime!

  87. Wow! Your list got long. I teach first grade and my students have always loved Charlotte’s Web. This last year Mr. Popper’s Penguins was a huge hit. They nearly always love anything by Roald Dahl. I would caution about The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane…the main character (a china rabbit) dies, in a sense and it’s quite poignant. If you child is okay with Charlotte’s passing in Charlotte’s web it will probably be fine. As a parent, I would probably read the last chapter to yourself to determine appropriateness for your child. My son’s favorite book we have read aloud is The Tale of Despereaux. My favorite read alouds as a child were Where the Red Fern Grows (another tear-jerker) and The Littlest Prince.

  88. I loved Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry when I was a kid, and the second one in the series, Anastasia Again, was my favorite. Also, A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond is darling and hilarious. The Witches by Roald Dahl is awesome, but might be just a little scary. It would be a good read near Halloween, though. My fourth grade class read it together and the kids were immediately hooked! Thank you for this list–its awesome!

  89. As an elementary librarian, I’m enjoying this immensely! I always read Kate DiCamillo’s Edward Tulane to my 4th graders — each chapter ends with a cliff hanger, and I warn the kiddos that I’m going to cry as I read the last page (it’s a wonderful story of redemption for a self-centered toy rabbit, so it may have its place for a child who is self-absorbed).
    I also always read the latest chapter book by Andrew Clements. This summer’s book is “About Average”. The author has a great way of having both strong boy and girl characters who are around 5th -6th grade. Others include, “Lost and Found,” “No Talking,” “Extra Credit,” and his latest series books on “Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School”.
    A new series that my 2nd graders stood in line to check out after we had already read them aloud is called, “The Buddy Files” by Dori Butler. It’s written by the dog telling his story, so the title of the first book is “The Case of the Lost Boy.” By the end of the 2nd chapter, the kids were saying a favorite line with me — “Oh, boy! Pizza!” (or any other food) “It’s my favorite food!”
    And other dog books: Ol’ Yeller (Gibson); series “Down Girl and Sit” (Nolan).
    A note of caution regarding recent Newbery winners: some are being politicized, so before you get to page 8 and find yourself having to explain what a scrotum is (yes, that’s right), check it prior to read aloud time.

  90. As a elementary school librarian, I love your book list! I have a few more for you to add!
    The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
    Savvy by Ingrid Law
    The girl who could fly: by Victoria Forester
    Among the Hidden series by Margaet Peterson Haddix

    The Girl who could fly is my new favorite.
    Hope you enjoy!
    Tricia Lyon

  91. A couple of other great chapter books to read are “where the red fern grows” and “walk two moons”. “alice in wonderland/through the looking glass” is another classic! All these books are great for kids who are a little older (4-7th grade). OH and my last suggestion is “Frindle” a great book about the invention of words and gives kids lots of empowerment!

  92. More for your list:

    Shakespeare’s Secret, Elise Broach

    Chasing Vermeer, Blue Balliet (includes fun with tangrams, which improves math and spatial relations skills)

    Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series, R. L. LaFever

    This Island Isn’t Big Enough for the 4 of Us! Gary Greer and Bob Ruddick

    Word After Word After Word, Patricia MacLachlan. My 4th graders ate this book up; and the writing they produced after I read this to them blew me away.

    I’m sure you already have The Tale of Desperaux on the list, but just in case. . .

  93. This is a great list. I printed this out and bookmarked it since there are so many good suggestions.

    My 7 year old is in 2nd grade and getting to be a fairly good reader, and it’s hard to find good stuff for him to read that isn’t totally trash. Your list reminded me that there are still lots of good times to come, as I often feel like he’s growing up so fast.

  94. This is a fantastic list! Thank you so much for posting this. I am adding it to my To Read list as I’m typing. I loved many of the same books in my childhood, but it is always fun to find out what other people loved!

  95. Keep reading aloud to her even when she can read them herself. If you haven’t read the book The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma–you would love it. It is for you to read. The true memoirs of Alice Ozma (who is maybe 23 or 24 right now) and her father (an elementary school librarian). He read to her everyday without missing a day starting in about 4th grade until her 1st day of college. Truly inspiring and a challenge to all parents. Hope you enjoy!

  96. I love love this list. I’m pinning and will refer to it often. To add to your list, check out Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck. My girls and I just finished reading it and we all absolutely loved this adventure. I know this is one that I will read to my boys when they’re a little older.

  97. Raggedy Ann Stories is a great book to read aloud to children. You can get it on Kindle or at the library.

    The original version included some racism, but I have published an edited version on Kindle, if you are interested.

  98. Hi! I taught elementary students for over 30 years. A few more books I’d like to share are: Biscuit stories by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
    Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    Merry Animal Tales by Madge A. Bigham
    Sneakers by Margaret Wise Brown
    Bambi by Felix Salton
    Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
    The Year of Mr. Nobody by Cynthia King
    The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John
    Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier
    Rascal by Sterling North
    The Secret Oceans by Betty Ballantine
    The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key
    Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
    Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
    Lost Star (Amelia Earhart) by Patricia Lauber
    Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
    Star Wars books by Ryder Windham
    Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
    Heidi by Johanna Spyri
    The Chimpanzees I Love by Jane Goodall
    The Churchmouse stories by Margot Austin
    The Peppernuts by Maud & Miska Petersham
    The Story of Helen Keller by Lorena A. Hickok

    I can go on and on…Let me know if you’d like more…And of course, there are all of the Classics…Moby Dick, Shipwrecked, The Invisible Man, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

    Thanks, again. This was fun reminiscing…


    Sandi Graff

  99. I almost started crying as I read this list. So many amazing childhood memories wrapped up in this book. As a parent, there are so many things you worry about doing wrong. But I think you’re definitely doing this right.

  100. Not sure if this one was mentioned but i didn’t see it on the list. I remember reading Indian inthe Cupboard and loving it.

  101. I pinned this ages ago and am just now actually checking it out. This is a great list, my son is 5 and I have read a few of them to him already, but I am always looking for new ideas. I’m not sure we’ll get through all these before he is able to read on his own.

  102. Thanks for posting this list. Junie B. Jones books were my favorite books growing up. They are so funny and so innocent. Also, you might go through and read her all the Caldecott award books (best picture books) and eventually the Newbury award books (best chapter books.)

  103. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is a beautifully written piece of children’s literature. The author’s use of imagery is art. He creatively paints a picture in your mind. I look forward to reading this book to my students and future children.

  104. The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Andrews is a wonderful read aloud. It is about 3 children who meet a professor and together they go on a journey to Wangdoodleland to find the Wangdoodle, king of the land. Their expedition is filled with surprises at every turn thanks to the prime minister of Wangdoodleland, the Prock, whose main job is to protect the Wangdoodle from the intruders to the land.

  105. My gifted 7 year old has read around 25 of those titles and multiple ones of them if they are a series. Some with me, most on her own. I must say though that there is a time and a place for the books you are discrediting. My daughter read Rainbow fairies for a while. Those books are made for kids to practice reading as a new reader, Quick read, enough ation to keep them on the edge of their seats, Yes repetitive, but they really are not meant to read outloud together, mainly a practice reader so they can get more literature under their belt before tackling harder level thinking reading.
    Also to be honest we really enjoyed the Disney Fairies series. We listened to them on tape in the car on long trips. They were MUCH more interesting than the Rainbow Faries, and I wouldn’t say a bad read outloud book for the list to be honest. I do agree with rainbow faires as not such a great outloud book. :)
    My daughter’s favorites are Geranimo Stilton (especially the Kingdom of Fantacy books) but she has read almost all the other ones too, and Geranimo has a cousin who’s name is Thea she has her own books too and that is a more girly version. She LOVED Judy Moody series, and Judy’s little brother Stink has a great series as well. We read Chronicles of Narnia, and Hugo together with our kids, and now my daughter is on book 5 of the Harry Potter Series. Which I honestly can’t wait until she has finished that series so that we can move on to something else! Thanks for the list. It is hard to keep up with my daughter’s reading obsession sometimes!

    1. I agree – I was thinking about revisiting the Fairy books when my daughter is reading chapter books – I can see how she would like them. I just prefer to read aloud more quality literature. :-)

      Thanks for the recommendations!

  106. Hi,

    I am just curious how old your daughter was when you started reading chapter books aloud with her. Do you think that was a good age to start? I want to start reading chapter books with my oldest (I don’t think my youngest has the attention span yet) and am also wondering if you have a specific book you would recommend to start with? Thanks!

  107. My kiddo looooves the Humphrey series about a hamster with very human qualities. The author is Betty Birney.

  108. A Dog’s Life is a must-read every year to my 4th graders. They LOVE it. Also, I do Elijah of Buxton as a Literature Circle for some of my advanced kids. This is one of my all-time favorites, even as an adult. Some chapters are a little intense. I have thought about doing it as a whole group read aloud.

  109. You have compiled a really great list–just a few more suggestions from someone who has read aloud to kiddos for over 30 years –Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; The Man Who Loved Clowns and Turtles on a Fence Post both by June Rae Wood; Save Queen of Sheba by Louise Moeri ; (and just for fun) A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King Smith.. Too many books…too little time!

  110. I would strongly suggest the Dear America series and/or The Royal Diaries, written by a variety of authors. The series covers a variety of ages, so you’ll want to check the content before reading it to your child. Some of the books are very child-friendly, but still deal with heavy topics (death & loss, racism, war, etc.) that can open a lot of doors for discussion. Depending on what you’re ready to talk about with your daughter, you may want to save some books for later. (For instance, in “A Coal Miner’s Bride: the Diary of Anetka Kaminska,” the girl writing the “diary” is actually married off to an older man, and although there is no description of their wedding night, there is reference to relevant goings-on that might raise questions of “What were they doing?” from an observant child.)

    I started reading these books in 5th grade, and I loved how it made history relatable and far more interesting than when I read it in textbooks! These books are probably the reason I’m something of a history buff– they were my gateway. I’ve saved every copy I bought (from those fabulous Scholastic flyers!) to give to my children one day.

  111. I agree with the Roald Dahl books i saw on the list., especially BFG, Matilda ! I like that they both had movies and wr watched the movie after we read the book. I would add Witches by Dahl. It also had a movie. Angelica. Houston played the head witch. I loved reading the book to my two littlest kids because Dahl wrote an accent for the head withch that sounded German. I would do the accent the kids lived it!

  112. Two words: Harry Potter!!!! All 7 of them. My two boys and I just finished the series this past summer.we were in a mourning period after we finished. JK Rowling is a master at engaging readers young and old alike!!

  113. Great list…includes many of our favorites! Here are some more you may enjoy…
    The Great Brain Series by John D. Fitzgerald, (especially our sons & my brothers.)
    Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards,
    Journey by Patricia MacLachlan,
    Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher,
    Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech,
    Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmid,
    Wolf By the Ears by Ann Rinaldi, Heidi Johanna Spyri,
    The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill,
    Mandie Series by Lois Gladys Leppard’s (our daughter loves these),
    Little Women, & Little Men by Louisa May Alcott,
    …would love to hear what you thought of these. Enjoy! :)

  114. I “found” two new chapter books that my second and third grade class loved this year: The One and Only Ivan; and Little Dog Lost. I also routinely re-visit How to Eat Fried Worms and The Wizard of Oz as read alouds in my class. I haven’t read the following to my class, but I remember loving Misty of Chincoteque when my fifth grade teacher read it to us.

  115. Over the years, my second graders love the book Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford. It is fun and they can’t wait until we get to the next chapter. They also enjoy Roald Dahl’s The Witches.

  116. So many of my childhood favorites on this list! Going through the children’s section of the library helping my 8 year old son choose books I have come upon several of them and re-read them myselves (still a bit advanced for him). I just re-read A Wrinkle In Time and still loved it! Looking forward to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and From The Mixed Up Files. Another book I just re-read and LOVED that I did not see on your list is The Phantom Tollbooth. Traveling with Milo through the crazy worlds of language and literal thinking was so much fun! Thank you for the great post! I found it a bit late, but better late than never!

  117. I want to suggest The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

  118. I just finished reading The World According to Humphrey to my 3/4 grade reading remediation class and they loved it. They were disappointed for it to end, and wanted to read more of the Humphrey books.

  119. Narnia series my favourite!

    I enjoyed this book, and with its other parts offers the opportunity to live in the colorful and well-described world of Narnia. This is a treat if you haven’t read it before, but keep in mind it is a kids book and the plot is thin and the characters are mostly kids. In spite of that, the story is entertaining, especially if you read with others.

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