Books to Read Aloud to the Children

By Wednesday, August 19, 2015 , ,

Obviously, at this point in my life I’m single and have no children, but I was blessed with parents who read aloud to me when I was young, and even now I still enjoy both being read to and reading to others. In a previous post, I shared my top books for children, and all of those would be good read-aloud material, but here are a few more with special read-aloud magic. This list includes few regular chapter books as well as some short ones you’d find in the juvenile section.

My book exposure clearly began early
You Are Special by Max Lucado
This is one of many excellent short children’s books by Max Lucado. A story about a town of wooden people called Wemmicks, You Are Special focuses on Punchinello, an unfortunate Wemmick who can’t seem to do anything but look silly and make mistakes in front of the other Wemmicks. The town is driven by comparison, and Punchinello becomes convinced that he’ll never measure up to the talented and pretty ones. It’s not till Punchinello meets the head wood carver that he understands why the opinions of the other Wemmicks seem to matter so much, and how he can be free of it. It’s a creative, memorable story that children need to hear often.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
To be honest, this one and The Secret Garden, also by Frances Hodgson Burnett, are equally important read-aloud material, but I’ve written about The Secret Garden before, and A Little Princess is a bit more fairytale-like, which could lend it especially dramatic while reading aloud. It’s a classic that’s been around for ages and none of the movie adaptations come close to doing it justice (seriously, I will fight on this one). In it, Sara Crewe has spent her early childhood in India with her wealthy widowed father, and at age seven, she moves to a young ladies’ boarding school in England. After a few years there, she is suddenly reduced to utter poverty and forced to become a slave in the school. Sara fights to remain hopeful through the unlikely friends she makes at the school, her love for learning, and her vibrant imagination. She’s a bright and steady heroine, and the story is packed with positivity even when Sara’s situation is hopeless.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
I remember having this one read to me quite early on. I was maybe only seven or eight, and the story of the magical cupboard intrigued me instantly. It centers on a boy named Omri who receives a seemingly ordinary and boring medicine cupboard for his birthday, but he soon discovers that it has mysteriously magical properties when he locks an Indian action figure inside. The figure comes to life and speaks of his tribe and country as if he’s come from another time period and world. Following this shock come Omri’s adventures with the cupboard, his Indian figure, and perhaps most significantly, his need to keep it all a secret. Definitely a fun one that shouldn’t be missed!

The Song of the King by Max Lucado
Another short masterpiece by Max Lucado. It was also introduced to me pretty early in my childhood and I still remember it well. The themes of royalty and chivalry were fascinating for me even then, and not much has changed :) Three gallant knights – Carlisle, Alon, and Cassidon – are the center of this story. Carlisle is the strongest, Alon the quickest, and Cassidon the wisest. They’re renowned in the kingdom as the best and noblest of all the knights in the king’s service. One day, the king issues a test to determine who is worthy of the princess’ hand in marriage. It consists of a dangerous journey, and the king’s special song will be their guide. The process of the test is interesting and often keeps you guessing, and the ending is unexpected. The chivalry in the story is obviously a major advantage, and there are many other excellent talking points throughout.

There you have it! My read-to-the-kids list for you. But hey, read all of these for yourself too if you haven’t already. I remember once when I was hanging out with a group of college friends, it was somehow discovered that a few of them had never heard of You Are Special, so I promptly retrieved it and read it to them right then and there. I think C.S. Lewis said it best: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” 

This is how you'd find me pretty frequently at this age. And at my current age, for that matter. I'm so glad a love of reading was fostered in me from my earliest years!

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