Read aloud books for kindergartners
by: Sharon Dennis Wyeth - (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1998) 32 pages.
An African-American girl in an impoverished, trash-strewn inner city is searching for the definition of “beautiful.” As she roams her neighborhood, she runs into acquaintances who identify what’s valuable and comforting in their lives. The conclusion, in the words of her mother, is lovely. With photo-realistic watercolors that enhance the heartwarming theme.
Perfect for: Kids who are philosophical thinkers.
Find Something Beautiful at your local library.
The Cello of Mr. O
by: Jane Cutler, illustrated by: Greg Couch - (Dutton Children's Books, 1999) 32 pages.
Sarajevo is the unnamed, bombed-out setting in this somber view of wartime. The cold, famished, despairing residents enjoy brief pleasure and relief every Wednesday at 4 o’clock when Mr. O plays his cello in the square. A triumphant reminder that art can transcend the ugliness of war, with luminous illustrations.
Perfect for: Kids who like music.
Find The Cello of Mr. O at your local library.
The Complete Ramona Collection
by: Beverly Cleary - (Harper, 2009)
All the delightful mishaps of impulsive Ramona are captured in this eight-book box set that tells suburban family stories from the perspective of the intrepid and endearing heroine. Wholesome, emotionally candid, funny, imaginative; ideal for adventurous and feisty girls. Deeply explores sibling relationships. Worth reading repeatedly and saving for the next generation.
Perfect for: Kids who like realism.
Find The Complete Ramona Collection at your local library.
The Name Jar
by: Yangsook Choi - (Knopf, 2001) 40 pages.
Unhei arrives in the U.S. from Korea. After she is teased because her name is difficult to pronounce, she decides to abandon it for an American name by picking from a jar filled with options like Amanda and Suzy. The happy conclusion promotes acceptance of cultural diversity.
Perfect for: Kids who like to learn about other cultures.
Find The Name Jar at your local library.
The Wind in the Willows
by: Kenneth Grahame - (C. Scribner's Sons, 1908)
The hook: The madcap adventures of Mr. Toad, Badger, Ratty, and Mole have enchanted children for over a century in this timeless English treasure. Enjoy the flawed but loyal friendships, weasel-ly villains, exciting battles, masterful illustrations, worthy themes, and sublime descriptions of the rural Thames riverbank. Great rollicking fun to read out loud!
Want to see the movie? The 1983 made-for-TV adaptation recreates the story in charming stop-motion animation.
Perfect for: Kids who like classics and adventures.
Find The Wind in the Willows at your local library.
Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon
by: Ruth Stiles Gannett - (Random House, 1998) 256 pages.
This nonsensical trilogy starring Elmer Elevator and a flying baby dragon was written sixty years ago, but its appeal is still soaring fantastically. With ridiculous weapons, our 9-year-old hero subdues the fierce beasts on Wild Island. It’s simple vocabulary makes it an ideal first chapter book.
Perfect for: Kids who like fantasy stories.
Find Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon at your local library.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
by: Shel Silverstein, illustrated by: Shel Silverstein - (Harper & Row, 1974) 176 pages.
Fantastical tales and common childhood fears and habits (the dentist, snakes, nose picking, etc.) are the chosen topics here, in the best selling children’s poetry book ever. Exuberant cartoons — by the author himself — amplify the humor. Simultaneously outrageous and profound, it connects deeply with young imaginations. Delightful to read out loud over and over.
Perfect for: Kids who like wild stories, humor, or poetry.
Find Where the Sidewalk Ends at your local library.
Julius, the Baby of the World
by: Kevin Henkes - (Greenwillow Books, 1990) 32 pages.
Before her baby brother was born, Lilly was a doting big sister: she sang songs to him and told him secrets. But when her parents bring Julius home, Lilly decides “Babies are dreadful.” But when her cousin echoes her disdain for the baby, Lilly’s loyalty and love get the better of her jealousy.
Perfect for: Kids who like humor stories.
Find Julius, the Baby of the World at your local library.
All the World
by: Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by: Marla Frazee - (Beach Lane Books, 2009) 40 pages.
All the World is the deceptively simple story, told in rhyme, of a family’s day at the beach. They visit a farmers market, a park, a restaurant, and their grandparents’ house. Marla Strazee decks out poet Liz Garton Scanlon’s text with her vintage illustrations. This is a captivating story that captures the pleasures of everyday life.
Perfect for: Kids who like realism.
Find All the World at your local library.
The Magic Hat
by: Mem Fox, illustrated by: Tricia Tusa - (Harcourt, 2002) 32 pages.
Children love the rhymes and repetition in this story about a mysterious, magical hat that turns unsuspecting people into animals.
Perfect for: Kids who like magic.
Find The Magic Hat at your local library.