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Books to Inspire Budding Readers

The jury is in. For I Love to Read month, I polled many moms to get their top picks of children’s books. My six-year-old son loves the Magic Treehouse books, as well as anything to do with Star Wars, insects, reptiles, or naughty boys. Experts say it’s especially important to tap into whatever your child is passionate about—from fairies to pirates—to make learning to read fun. And while that may be true, it’s also essential that your child develop an ear for a good story. These books definitely fit both bills and are especially good for the five-year-old to seven-year-old set:

  • The Quiltmaker’s Gift (Jeff Brumbeau)
    A generous quiltmaker finally agrees to make a quilt for a greedy king, but only under certain conditions. A lovely story of quiltmaking and changing hearts.
  • The Book of Why (Martine Laffon & Horteuse de Chabaneix)
    One of my son’s favorite books attempts to answer most of the questions of the universe, like: Why is wind invisible? Why do we cry? All answers are written with such wit that parents enjoy this book as much as children.
  • Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes)
    This story is wonderful—especially for the child who may be insecure about her differences or her name. Chrysanthemum is the main character of this charming book who thinks her name wonderful until she enters kindergarten.  
  • The Happy Lion (Louise Fatio)
    This classic French book tells the story of a lion in a French zoo who manages to sneak out—and the brave little boy who saves the day. 
  • The Trumpet Swan (E.B. White)
    Unlike his four swan brothers and sisters, Louis can’t trumpet even a peep. And since he can’t trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. A good story for a younger child with older accomplished siblings.
  • The Magic Treehouse (Mary Pope Osborne)
    These chapter books are especially good for budding readers as they foster listening skills (not many pictures) and teach history as two children are transported back in time for many adventures from the dinosaur days to ancient China.
  • Captain Pugwash (John Ryan)
    Captain Pugwash is a pirate and captain of the ship the Black Pig who goes through many adventures on the high seas. Perfect for pirate-loving boys!
  • The Princess and the Pea (Lauren Child)
    All the books by Lauren Child are especially wonderful as the main character is a delightful and precocious little girl. Other good titles: I Am Too Absolutely Small for School and I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato.
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
    When Max is especially naughty, he is sent to bed without his supper. From his room the adventures begin for the mischievous boy who can command monsters. Sendak’s paintings are marvelous.
  • Yertle the Turtle (Dr. Seuss)
    Yertle, king of the pond, commands all the turtles to stack themselves up so he can be top of the heap. This story is ripe for conversations with children about bullies and basics of human kindness.

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