I have been a parent for close to 9 years now. In that time, I have read a bunch of children’s books. I love to read and have always been a voracious reader since childhood. I find it important to teach my children the value of reading. If it is a rainy day outside, I want them to think about curling up with a good book, not playing video games.
So, I really don’t mind reading books to my kids at all. That being said: There have been some books that I have NOT enjoyed reading. I won’t mention those books. If you don’t have anything nice to say… and all that. But I would like to share with you some of MY favorite books over the past nine years. Again, let me be clear, these are the books I have loved to read, not my children. Although, I have found that our tastes have overlapped quite a bit. So, without further ado, my top 3 story books for kids that parents actually like to read.
Story Books For Kids That Parents Actually Like to Read #1
Otis-By Loren Long
This was one of the first “real” books that I began reading to my now 9-year-old son. So, I still read it to my 5-year-old daughter. So I’ve been reading this one for about 8 years. I still love it. It is the story about a tractor named Otis. He isn’t big and he isn’t strong. But he finds his way to fit in the farm but being calm and friendly to all of the other farm animals. One day, a bigger and stronger tractor shows up at the farm to take his place in the field. Otis, thinking that his only worth on the farm was in his ability to get work accomplished, sinks into despair. Then, one day, his best friend is in danger and Otis saves the day by discovering what it is that makes him special.
I think what I really love about it is the illustrations. They are beautiful and engaging. Loren’s use of watercolors gives Otis’ world a feeling of comfort and warmth. After all these years, I still love to look at these picture and I often still see something new in them I have not seen before.
Loren Long has written other Otis books. I haven’t read them. I’m sure they are great but I am content with this Otis, with his steady “Putt puff puttedy chuf”.
Story Books For Kids That Parents Actually Like to Read #2
The Book With No Pictures-B.J. Novak
This is a fairly recent addition to our household. So I never really read this one to my son. But my daughter absolutely LOVES this book. We would read it every night if it was up to her (and it usually is..). The plot? Well, there really isn’t one. This brilliant book by comic and actor B.J. Novak (The Office) is simply a trick on the adult reading it. It firmly states at the beginning of the book that the rules of books are that anything the words say, the person reading the book HAS to say. No matter what. From there, hilarity follows with lots of silly, preposterous words that the adult reading will have to say.
Obviously, the first thing I love about this book is that my five-year-old daughter loves a book that has absolutely no pictures. It is introducing her the fact that you can be completely engaged in a book without illustrations. I love the length of it as well. It takes about 3-4 minutes to read. This, to me, is the perfect length. I also love the fact that there are a number of fairly complex and grown-up words in this book. Sure, at some point I am reading the sentence, “My only friend in the whole world is a Hippo named Boo Boo Butt”. But the author is not writing down the children.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It is especially fun when grandma and grandpa come over. Let them read this to their grandchild and you will have some great memories to cherish.
Story Books For Kids That Parents Actually Like to Read #3
The Pout-Pout Fish-Deborah Diesen, Pictures by Dan Hanna
This is my absolute favorite book to read to my children. It is just plain fun to read this. I first started reading it to my son about 4 years ago and am now reading it to my daughter. I will honestly be sorry when she grows out of it as well. Diesen’s pace and prose is excellent in this story about a fish that swims around with a big pout on his face. All his friends him a hard time about this frown until a wonderful plot twist at the end. It is an excellent metaphor to teach children that the way others see them doesn’t mean that is the way they need to see themselves. And that what others may see as a limitation or liability can actually be a blessing if viewed with the right attitude. But, really, I just like to say the words in the book out loud. They make me feel like Chance the Rapper!
Whatever books you and your children like to read, I hope you continue to enjoy this special time together. I am proud to say that my 8-year-old has inherited my love of reading and we often have to make him put his books down to go to sleep at night. He would stay up all night reading if we let him. It is tough to tell him to stop reading! We have been reading “older” books lately, just as stuff by C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl and Lynn Reid Banks. We read the first Harry Potter book but he didn’t really take to it (to my wife’s great disappointment). There are a ton of books out there that are fun for both you and your children to read, if you haven’t tried one of these three, please do. And let me know what books you love to read with your own children.
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