Books children should read

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Books children should read from Pre-K through grade school

Remember the stories your parents read to you as a child, the ones that made your heart beat a little faster? Maybe they had a lesson in them, maybe not. What you remember are your favorite characters, their journeys and discoveries. 

A few classics are a part of the core curriculum in many schools, To Kill a Mockingbird for example. These books are rich with themes and symbolism, providing fodder for endless discussions about right and wrong. Since classrooms also cover math, science and other important subjects, a number of fun and important stories have yet to make it into the classroom.

Beyond the classics, there are a number of books children should read, from nature and animal stories to magical adventures. In addition to developing language skills, a love of reading instills a sense of wonder and curiosity. The following tales could turn any kid into a lifelong reader.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

What happens in a child’s world after bed time is between her and her imagination. Max, our hero, is sent to bed early for acting up, and he’s not happy about. This scene may sound familiar to many young ones. It departs from the norm when Max sails off on an adventure to become king of the wild things.

For over fifty years, the illustrations and imaginative story line has brought a smile to kids all over the world. According to one article in The Christian Science Monitor, children relate to Max’s negative emotions, anger and boredom, and find ways to deal with situations they find frustrating.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series is wildly popular among kids and adults for a reason – these books are page turners packed with substance. Kids are naturally drawn to books with magical worlds so why not turn them onto one with an epic, lively tale to tell? The cast of young characters make mistakes that teach readers a range of lessons, including how friendship can be a powerful thing when you’re up against a challenge. 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

It is one thing to tell kids that reading feeds the imagination, another thing to show them. Introduce him to the Chronicles of Narnia and you’ll see his face light up at the turn of every page. Children around age 8 will adore the colorful characters, while ages 11 and up delve into the fight between good and evil.

Animal Board Books

Board books featuring animals help preschoolers lay the learning foundation, teaching them the alphabet and how to count to 10. Many include rhymes and fun illustrations to keep them engaged and coming back again and again. The harder pages are built to endure the wear and tear (and occasional chewing) of the tiniest soon-to-be readers when they're at their most rambunctious.

The Giving Tree by Shel Siverstein

No list of books children should read is complete without Shel Silverstein’s popular tale about self-sacrifice. The Giving Tree is the kind of story that always stays with you. It’s about a relationship a boy has with a tree. The tree gives him the things he thinks he needs as he comes of age. As an old man, he returns to his stump for a “quiet place to sit and rest”. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is a relatively straight forward story about a boy born into what at first seems like utopia. It’s a society built on the concept of sameness. As the story progresses, readers are faced with a series of questions about ignorance as a path to happiness, and the differences between utopian and dystopian societies.  

Compared to other classics, this is relatively contemporary and gives young minds much to chew on.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Science lovers of all ages old A Wrinkle in Time close to the heart because it’s a gateway book into the realms of science fiction. The basic story follows a brother and sister trying to rescue their scientist father from a botched experiment. This is a magical read that transports you to a state of mind where everything seems possible, including traveling through time to save someone you love.

These are only a handful of the countless books children should read. Fortunately, book stores and library shelves are full of holiday stories and characters that can help kids learn more about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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