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favorite books

by Shawni
I think there are certain books every family should have on their book shelves.

Books open up to magic worlds where so much can be learned and delighted in. And I love when books leave you with some great material for deep discussions with kids.

Grace and I just finished Because of Winn-Dixie
..I had forgotten how much I LOVED it. It makes me cry and has so many good messages.I think Gloria Dump, with her tree full of bottles and wise words, came out on top as my favorite character this time around.

And then, of course, there’s The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread
:Oh my word it’s a good one….so much symbolism.

I’ve mentioned Ida B
a few times too. It is packed with things that are so real…and so great to talk through.

And let’s go ahead and add Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
to this list, because, hey, it is the classic of classics.
There are other books that I adore not for any deep messages, but just because they are just so darn creative. I love these Keven Henkes ones:

Julius, the Baby of the World

And these two:

Officer Buckle & Gloria

And let’s not forget Hazel’s Amazing Mother

But this is my all-time favorite picture book.

You Are Special

Nothing can compare to the messages in that one.

I’d love more book recommendations. There are SO many great ones out there.
Love, Shawni

p.s. I made bread yesterday and didn’t even take ONE picture. I even almost didn’t blog about it. Now that’s progress. I served it with this soup for dinner. Mmmmm.

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pakosta February 9, 2010 - 5:22 pm

Love all of these! my girls have read every last one! the one that is even better than Desperaux though is: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane also by Kate DiCamillo. My daughter Ava & I just cried and cried!!
A few other good ones we/they read recently are:

1. THe Thing about Georgie by Lisa Graff
2. The Naked Mole-Rat LEtters by Mary Amato
3. Elephant Run by Roland Smith
4. The White Giraffe by Lauren ST. John
5. First Light by Rebecca Stead
6. A crooked KInd Of perfect by Linda Urban
7. Shooting the Moon by Frances ORoark Dowell
8. Emma Jean Lazarus Fell out of a TREe by Lauren Tarshis
My girls loved all of those! Just thought since you guys like to read too, I would share! I need to do a book post someday! We love to read, so I am happy when I see other families that love it as much!
have a great day!!!

Shawni February 9, 2010 - 5:26 pm

Thanks, Tara! I love Edward Tulane as well, but for some reason Despereaux just speaks to me more. We read a crooked kind of perfect but all those other ones are new…we'll have to try them out!

Crystal February 9, 2010 - 5:51 pm

I too love these books and I'm excited to see others that people add. I love the Kevin Henkes books. My nine year old has been really into Patricia Polloca books. I like them because they are still picture books but with substance. They are good for multi-age reading.

Totally unrelated to this do you have any recommendations for online photography classes? We have nothing locally and I would love to take a class. crystal_goodrich@hotmail.com

Sarah February 9, 2010 - 5:51 pm

My 10 year old son's favorites: My Father's Dragon, The Wright Brothers, Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of Nimph (sp?), My Side of the Mountain.
(I think good boy's books are harder to find.)
Can't wait to try some of the suggestions.

Jan February 9, 2010 - 6:13 pm

Love all those books too. My FAVORITE children's picture book of all time is "The Seven Silly Eaters" it has great illustrations and portrays how I feel most of the time with my picky kids. Your kids seem to be great eaters, but it'll still crack you up! Thanks for all the recommendations. I've never read your favorite (the last one) but I sure will now~!

Susan February 9, 2010 - 6:20 pm

The only one I don't have and have never heard of is Ida B. I love Kevin Henkes books. We have them all. Books are our life around here. I could easily go bankrupt buying books. Thank goodness for libraries.
Here's a good one: "Mars needs Mom's Too". It's a great book to read to the kiddos when they are angry at you for one reason or another.

East of Eden February 9, 2010 - 6:31 pm

Little House on the Prairie books are dear to my heart. I also loved the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary. All of Mrs Cleary's books are great. The other book I would suggest for older girls is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. It's about a girl who comes of age at the turn of the 20th Century Brooklyn.

Love Being a Nonny February 9, 2010 - 6:56 pm

I love *You Are Special* but I have never heard of *A Bad Case of the Stripes*. I'll have to look into that one.

P.S. Has anyone ever told you you look like Sandra Bullock? You do…in a good way!

Shell in your Pocket February 9, 2010 - 7:07 pm

The bad case of the stripes looks very cute!!!

sandy toe

carlston February 9, 2010 - 7:09 pm

I don't comment very often, but I read your blog all the time. I also ordered the Temple canvas from you a few months ago and I love it by the way. Anyway, we are just getting into the great books at our house since my oldest is in 2nd grade, so thank you for all of your recommendations. However, I did want to recommend a toddler, mom, baby gift book that will make you cry and that all my 3 year olds have memorized (even my boys)… It's "Someday" by alison mcghee and peter reynolds. It will melt your heart. Thank you for this post. I'm excited to use my Barnes and Noble gift card and rotate some books on our shelves!

Karianne February 9, 2010 - 7:16 pm

Thanks for your suggestions.I LOVE to read. I think the Chronicles of Narnia should be required reading for every kid. I have also been reading Little House in the Big Woods to my four-year-old and we've really enjoyed it. It makes me realize how BLESSED we are! We'll have to try out some of the others on your list.

Christi February 9, 2010 - 7:18 pm

I'm commenting because I feel the need to identify myself. That way I can feel less like a blog stalker and more like a reader-slash-fellow blogger! Anyway, I love your blog and look forward to your ideas and insights every day. A great girls book to add to the list is "Understood Betsy" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It's old and maybe out of print, but well worth the trouble to track down!

kara jayne February 9, 2010 - 7:40 pm

i'm so glad you finished this post. after we were talking about it i thought that i really do need to document my favorites and why.

i hope the bread worked out. i was thinking about you all afternoon.

Meg February 9, 2010 - 7:53 pm

I love when people post these favorite book posts. It gives me new ideas of things to request from the library.

Here are some of our favorites…

Picture Books:
1. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
2. The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
3. Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch
4. Rotten Teeth by Laura Simms
5. The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems.
6. How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
7. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
8. Bears in the Night by Stan Berenstain
9. The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan Berenstain
10. Olivia and the Missing Toy by Ian Falconer
11. Showdown at Slickrock by Pat Bagley
12. Daughter of a King (LDS) by Rachel Ann Nunes

Chapter Books
1. The Indian in the Cupboard
2. The Mouse in the Motorcycle
3. The Frog Princess by ED Baker
4. Magic Tree House
5. Babymouse (Comic books. But super cute for girls.)
6. Frindle by Andrew Clements

Meg February 9, 2010 - 7:55 pm

I love your blog by the way. So inspiring!

MaryClaire February 9, 2010 - 8:19 pm

love this post and all the comments it generated. the very next post on my google reader after yours was this.
this book looks like something you would love. just by the title and the 3 images there, i'm pretty excited to go check it out.

dg darling February 9, 2010 - 8:21 pm

Have you read The Flea's Sneeze? That one's definitely a favorite around here!

courtney February 9, 2010 - 10:02 pm

i love this post 🙂

and wanted to add some of our faves. l love books that teach lessons.

like you, we love kate dicicamillo, i want to read them all. we just finished "the tiger rising" and it brought up a lot good topics to talk about with kids, like death & kindness & expressing feeling rather than bottling it up inside.

have you read any by jon j muth? his are beautiful too. "Zen Ties" is so so good & i just read "The Three Questions" based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. Great stuff!

There is an author that goes by Demi and he has so many wonderful books. they are all old indian & chinese folk tales. i think you'd like them because i know you like to travel. sometimes i think we only read english tales & books, when there are many from other cultures with so much symbolism, etc.

sorry…almost done :)just a few more:

"The Springs of Joy" by Tasha Tudor (it's all excerpts & quotes from famous poems & writers with such lovely illustrations)

"Little Mouse" by Lida Dijkstra (old tale with great illustrations)

and "Big Al" by Andrew Clements (teaches about not judging others by what they look like & again i love the art work)

oh and we recently read "Charlotte's Web" my husband i were bawling when Charlotte died.

there's so many 🙂 but i think i should stop. i'd love to hear even more of your favorites.

i think you're wonderful! thanks so much for sharing your blog with us.

sara@augustfields February 9, 2010 - 10:18 pm

some of your favorites are some of our favorites too! 🙂

my children love the Rachel Yoder series by Wanda Brunstetter and her little book for boys, The Wisdom of Solomon 🙂

Stacey February 9, 2010 - 10:29 pm

love that you had a david shannon book on your list, his illustrations are amazingly witty and detailed. our favorite here is his book "too many toys". i'm sure you've read it, but if you haven't, it will make you smile.
also, "jake stays awake" by michael wright
"my life as a chicken" by michael slack

too many to list, but it looks like you already have a wonderful library.

thanks for letting me blog stalk……keep it up, you never know who's out here.

SydneyMin February 9, 2010 - 10:45 pm

Ah – I know you have a niece named Hazel and so do I. She's turning 5 next month and I'm going to investigate to see if she has the Hazel book! That would be too easy 🙂 Great post.

Jenni February 9, 2010 - 11:51 pm

The books my little boys have loved(they are 4 and almost 2) are:
1. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
2. Pete's a Pizza by William Steig(after reading this, they like to act out the story)
3. Picnic by Emily Arnold McCully(about being lost and found)
4. Up in the Tree by Margaret Atood
(my nearly 2 year old loves this one!)
5. Yummers by James Marshall(I actually love this one because it's a funny story about eating and exercise).
Thanks for all of the ideas!

Josh February 10, 2010 - 12:26 am

I agree with the author of the first comment. Edward Tulane sits at the top of all Kate DiCamillo books. I just finished reading her newest book, "The Magician's Elephant," to my class. Another classic. We want to write her letters and let her know how much our class loves her books!

I need to do a post like this. I LOVE books, especially the ones I read to my class.

La Tempête February 10, 2010 - 1:14 am

There are so many! One for toddlers that I love is Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. I also love Where the Wild Things Are, Wombat Stew, The Pidgeon finds a Hotdog and the Miss Spider books.

Daily Comics February 10, 2010 - 2:33 am

WE LOVE the book Stripes – we own like 3 of them. I love books too – great post!

Pam February 10, 2010 - 3:03 am

Love all these books! Another favorite of ours is Madeline L'engles..Wrinkle in Time..loved reading that one to the kids. And thank you for the link to that soup recipe…I'll be making that this week when we're snowed in!!

Shawni February 10, 2010 - 5:59 am

Oh man these are SUCH great ideas! I can't believe I forgot Miss Nelson is Missing, Meg! Also, I LOVE Sylvester's Magic Pebble and Heckedy Peg. Oh there are SO many great ones…

Cheryl February 10, 2010 - 6:11 am

It feels good to leave a comment again, since I check your blog nearly every day. I love your writing, photographs, must mostly your positive, happy attitude. I think about you and your stories and how you do so many amazing things with and for your kids and it makes me smile. They are lucky to have you!

Back to the post, I used to teach school (in my life before kids) and I think I read nearly every one you listed. I own every book except Ida B and Hazel's Amazing Mother. Amazon.com is my favorite website and their $25 free super shipping is always calling to me to buy more! Plus I'm a HUGE sucker for book orders. They are like Christmas.

Books just are powerful and allow the mind to explore new places and understand people you might never meet or encounter.

I just read Edward Tulane last week and loved it, but I read Magician's Elephant last month and just didn't get it. Desperaux is a must read for everyone. I love the anaolgy of needing light and love because it's simply true.

My girls are totally into Olivia right now and we often read all Kevin Henkes books, but my all-time favorite picture book is Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. I love it and my boys do too.

As for a very clever picture book, I love Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens.

I am currently reading the Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan) and they are really good. I love youth literature because it is clean and often fast to read. I also read the Fablehaven series and thought they were really good too. The author, Brandon Mull, is from Utah. I really enjoy Shannon Hale too.

But my favorite books ever are Harry Potter. So well written. I love those the most.

Lexi February 10, 2010 - 4:27 pm

I am new to your blog, and I am a book lover as well. Some of our favorites are books by Sarah Stewart. My favorite is "The Gardener". "The Journey" is also a beautiful book. The messages are meaningful and the illustrations are beautiful!

Cardalls February 10, 2010 - 5:26 pm

Thanks for this post! I am always looking for great books for my kids. My 10 year old is a book-a-holic…I can't keep up with him!

Most of our favorites have been listed but my boys (10 and 8) have loved the
Olympian/Percy Jackson books,
The Rangers Apprentice series,
The Septimus Heap series (Magyk, Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren),
The Hardy Boys,
Harry Potter,
Charlie Bone,
Peter Pan Series by Dave Barry (absolutely delightful),

Emilia November 9, 2012 - 2:39 am

Thanks so much for this post! I love your blog. It is such a great resource. We love the Mo Willems books in our house. My husband and I get a kick out of them and so does our 3 year-old. Our favorites are Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, and We Are in a Book. But they are all great.

Candice December 3, 2012 - 9:08 pm

I noticed that you said that you and Grace finished Winn-Dixie. Silly detail question here: How did you get Grace alone? 😉 I love reading to my kids but can't picture it ever being a one-on-one activity. If I start reading, they all gather round – which is awesome.

Amy December 15, 2012 - 7:45 pm

This is a great post, and I'm excited to check out so many of the books on your list and in the comments. Our favorites change frequently, but right now for my almost 4 and 2-year-old daughters they are:

The Gruffalo
Sally and the Purple Socks
Interrupting Chicken
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
One-Dog Canoe

Love your blog 🙂 – Amy

rigbyspot May 23, 2013 - 5:05 am

I love your blog, your sisters website, the book you co-authored with your mom and practically anything that comes from your family. Thanks for your example and inspiration!

I have to add The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. All 3 of my kids love this book and can memorize it before they can say their alphabet. Its so cute!

Thanks to everyone for posting your favorites. I have a long list to get to now!

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