Books for the holidays: for bigger kiddos

by kath_red on 20/12/2011

in Books, Kids Crafts

In our house books are an incredibly important part of our lives. We all read books and we have books shelves full of books, but we also love to have family novel time, where we read aloud to each other in the evenings instead of watching television.

When we went camping recently we read aloud  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (first published in 1883), the language used is old fashioned and we had to stop numerous times to discuss/guess at the meaning of certain words and phrases, nevertheless we were all fascinated and loved this book – its a rollicking pirate adventure. In the past we have read the Harry Potter series, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (one of our favourite books of last year) and The borrowers series (this was my favourite book as a child so am very pleased my kids love it now too!).

Reading aloud to kids is a great way to introduce them to books that they might not be up to reading by themselves yet (and are also really interesting for the adults to read and listen to too), and also to give them the confidence to read it themselves afterwards. My kids are always keen to go off and read our family novels more than once!

Our favourite books this year for the 7 and over age group:

 How to train your dragon is a wonderful series of books – suitable for early readers and boys and everyone who loves a funny book about dragons and tricksters. My kids (age 9 + 11 respectively) took this series away with us when we went camping for a month recently and they read the whole series in tandem with each other – they both loved it!

 The Septimus Heap series (there are 6 books so far – I think the next one is the last one – due to be published next year), is a another series of books that both my kids have loved and read this past year. We read the first two in the series aloud then they took over and grabbed them and read them late into the night by themselves. Books full of magic, dragons, heroes etc … you get the idea. Lots of fun.

 The Artemis Fowl series (by Eoin Colfer) is a much loved read and re-read book by my 9 year old son. He has finally persuaded us to include it in our read aloud sessions and we are all enjoying it now too – a boy hero (who is a bit dastardly mixed with magic and adventure – you can’t go wrong!)

Recent-ish books discovered this year include: The tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, Gladiator by Simon Scarrow (the first of a new series for young readers) and When you reach me by Rebecca Stead a book that my 11 year old daughter really enjoyed.

Classics which we have revisted this year and which the kids have discovered by themselves include: The Witches by Roald Dahl and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White both suitable for all ages and Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien (suitable for older kids who are into sci-fi).

So I urge you to read aloud to your kids – no matter what their age – don’t stop reading to them just because they know how to read. Keep reading – it is not only a relaxing and fun bonding family time together, but a great way to expand vocabulary, understanding and broaden everyone’s literature horizons.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate December 20, 2011 at 7:19 am

I’ve just tucked my three up into bed after a big family cuddle on the couch (in our house!!!) and read of Pippi Longstocking. The Lauren Child version. I love that Pippi is fun enough to entertain the 11, 8 and 4 year old. We too are big aloud readers. In fact, me and my farmer boy always have a book going that we read aloud together too. We’re reading the Happiness Project.
Have a wonderful festive season Miss Kathreen. x


2 Tania December 20, 2011 at 8:45 am

I suspect I am weirding all my children out, but we are currently up to book 6 of the Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events. FABULOUS for extending of vocab and lots of desperately unfortunate happenings to keep them barracking wildly for the three Baudelaire children…


3 kath_red December 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

We got as far as book 2 of this series and the kids didn’t like it at all – I suspect we will try again one of these days.


4 Jennifer B December 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm

We are currently reading out loud the final book in the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome – it’s taken us a full year to read through all 9 books and we are sad that we’re reaching the end. This series is a classic that my husband read as a kid. He read them to me when we were dating, and now we’re sharing them with our 10 year old.

They are quaint and just a bit outdated, but full of good clean fun and lots of adventures by kids exploring outside and mucking about in boats. We like that it’s a bit of a different genre from the standard fare of magic, dragons and other science fiction/fantasy stuff that our daughter usually reads. Recommended!


5 Jennifer Can Quilt December 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I read When You Reach Me to my class last year, and although it was difficult for them to grasp completely, they really enjoyed it. We had a lot of discussion surrounding the chapter titles and the laughing man and Marcus. One snag, however, were the constant Wrinkle In Time allusions; none of my kids had read the book and were unlikely to ever do so, and so I had to spend a good portion of time cluing them in to that story.


6 Astoria December 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

These are great suggestions! There is no better series to hold the attention of every age in our house than Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. These books have a wonderful, exciting story, sweetness, magic, adventure and both a female and a male heroine/hero. The vocabulary is stretching and the storytelling is fast paced. Our family’s favorite.


7 se7en December 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm

We are reading the Christmas Carol (illustrated by Quentin Blake – stunning!!!) right now and we are all inhaling every single word!!! Even our youngest wants to know what is going to happen next!!!


8 joanie December 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm

My two are now 13 and 10 and we still read together nightly. Currently we’re on book 10 of The Roman Mysteries which they both enjoy, especially my 10 year old girl. Set in Rome during the reign of Emperor Titus, they’re about a group of four clever friends who solve mysteries together – loads of adventure, history and intrigue.
All Roald Dahl books are also firm family favourites.

Thanks for your list, we’ll look your suggestions up.


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