Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reading at the Kids' Table

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 with 11 comments
As a reader and a blogger and just a lover of books in general, one of my biggest priorities as a parent is to grow and sustain a love of reading in my own daughter. I want her to demand that I take her to the library, to beg for just one more story at bedtime. I want Katie to expand her knowledge of the world by visiting other worlds in books. I want her to question everything but also to find books to be a far better source of entertainment than those video games she's also drawn to. (I blame her father. Lol.) And I know that April feels the same way about her daughter Aubrey. And in these formative years is when we have to instill that love of reading and just hope that everything we do now keeps our kids interested in reading.

So, the point of this post is to share some of our favorite children's books, to rag on some of those that displease us (or me, rather), and to share what we love reading with our own kiddos. Also, both of our girls had to get glasses in the same week, so we wanted to share their adorableness with you. I hope some day that these two girls get to meet because I just know that they'll be fast friends!

Our Girls:

Katie, or Katiebug, as we like to call her around these parts =)

Little miss Aubrey, don't let her cuteness fool you. She's full of sass! 

Our Childhood Favorites:

Jen's favorites:

The Giving TreeChicken Soup with Rice: A Book of MonthsGreen Eggs and Ham

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - As an adult, this book makes me kind of sad because of how badly the boy treats his beloved tree, but as a child, I saw the tree as a mother-figure and didn't think anything of it. What does that say about me?
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak - Honestly, I can't remember what this book is really about...I just remember checking it out at the library as an eight-year-old for six consecutive weeks. o_O
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss - It's good to try new things, even when you don't think you'll like them.

April's favorites:

Sweet Valley TwinsThe New GirlDawn

I know, these aren't exactly childhood books, but I honestly don't remember any being in our house. We just weren't that kinda family if you catch my drift. And that's one of the reasons it's so important to me to read with Aubrey. 

Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal - When I was young I remember my grandmother taking me to the library just about every weekend so I could check these books out. From there I moved on to Sweet Valley High. 
Fear Street by RL. Stine - I didn't read too many of these, but my friend always read them so she would lend them to me when she was done. 
Dawn by V.C. Andrews - We didn't have any children's books in the house, but my mother had always been a big reader. Her shelves were filled with Horror, Thrillers, and V.C. Andrews novels. Dawn was the first one I read, and I was 10 years old. I wasn't allowed to read it, I was told they were too old for me, but I read it anyway. Those books are what really sparked my interest in reading. 

Favorites to Read with Katie & Aubrey:

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Olivia)Olivia Saves the CircusOlivia And The Missing ToyOlivia Goes to Venice

Jen's picks for Katie:  Pretty much any Olivia book -- but especially Olivia & The Fairy Princesses -- because that little pig is so tenacious and independent and free-spirited. Also, in OatFP, Olivia considers exposing corporate malfeasance, which yes, I had to explain to Katie, but I loved explaining it to her and sharing my love of vocabulary with her. I will make her an SAT-word girl yet. =) Also also, Olivia marches to the beat of her own drum, and I like that. I like that it makes Katie want to be her own unique self and not copy what everyone else is doing.

I just love this little pig and how much she doesn't want to be like everyone else.

I just love reading to Katie, using different voices and trying to bring the story to life for her. But now she's reading in Kindergarten, and she's actually four levels ahead of where she's supposed to be right now. So, she reads to me each night, too, not just because she has to, but because she wants to, too. And her awesome Auntie Kat bought her the Olivia Loves to Read set for her birthday so we can continue our love for this fantabulous pig. :-)


April's picks for Aubrey:

Aubrey has recently gotten into the Pinkalicious books, and I know, I know.. they are pink, and I'm always seeing all the gender garbage about them. I don't limit Aubrey to just girly books, she picks what she likes and right now, it's pink. lol. To mix it up though, we really enjoy reading the Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer also. They used to be her daddy's and she loves that. Her favorite one is I Was So Mad. It's something she can relate to I guess, since I'm such a mean mommy sometimes. lol. Jen has me thinking we need to try some Olivia books now. 

Pixie hollow

The World of Fairies, At the Dawn of Pixie Hollow is a favorite of ours to read together. Aubrey loves the Tinkerbell movies and this book is almost like a secret guide to everything. It talks about all the inner workings of Pixie Hollow, from Character Bio's to hidden fairy talents that don't really get much air time in the films. 

Also, around the Holidays we bring out Jingle! I'm kind of in love with that little pup and it really does react when you're reading the story. 
The Ones That Don't Send the Right Message:

Jen:  The ones that bother me most are the fairy tales. I know most of them used to be full of warnings and dire consequences when they were originally written, but through the years and after many rewrites and interpretations, they've become trite and lacking in morals.

Take this short retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk from xxx that I read to Katie from time-to-time. It gives me a great opportunity to use my funny voices, and it was a steal when we picked it up at HPB awhile back. But I hate the thought that it makes it seem like it's okay to steal and that you can have a happily ever after if you get away with it. Also, Jack's mother seems to condone this behavior. Katie knows it's wrong to take from others, no matter who it is or what they may have done to you, but I always like to reiterate that point at the end of this story.

I can tolerate all of the princess stories and happily ever afters Katie begs for, unless they are full of misogynist malarkey perpetrating the myth that a woman needs a man to be happy, as in the example to the right. That's a short retelling of The Frog Prince in another collection of fairy tales that Katie likes me to read to her at bedtime each night. I must say, I much prefer when she requests Runny Babbit or Fox in Sox.


I don't really have a whole lot to add here, though I agree with Jen on the Fairy Tales. I'm not a fan of the whole "Needing a man to be happy". It's funny because take the little mermaid for instance. I love The Little Mermaid, but at the same time I hate the message. In pretty much every variation of the story that Aubrey has, she gives up just about everything to be with this man. In the one fairy tale collection she has, the mermaid travels with the man to go meet his soon to be wife. Then the ship gets caught in a storm and she saves him again! Then he realizes it's her the girl who saved him, and they live happily ever after. Um...NO! In real life, I'd be telling that douche to take a hike and learn how to swim. 

What books do you love sharing with your children from your own childhood? Any recommendations for our early readers?


  1. Oh my gosh, your little ones are SO STINKIN' ADORABLE. XD I have a 3yr old nephew and he adores books (I'm so proud) but he memorises them. So he can receipt full books to me. It's CRAZY really. He's already recognising words and adorable little psycho. He needs to slow down or he's going to be super bored with school. ;)
    My reading was kind of VERY controlled when I was little, which is a shame I realise now, so while I always want to let my nephew read what he wants, at the same time, gah, I feel like throwing some dodgy children's books out the window. Just recently I was reading him an ABC book that had "X is for Expedition." I. was. floored. HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?!! The rest of the book was "A is for apple" and such...but, I'm still so angry that they can publish books like that. omg, sorry! lol XD

    1. Thank you! <3

      LOL, I love your rant. That would drive me crazy too. Expedition obviously starts with E. lol. There is one book that Aubrey reads sometimes, it's an old board book but it counts the kisses between the characters, and it's so obviously counted wrong. She points it out every time. :)

    2. Aw, thanks! We think they're kind of adorable, too. :) Katie's really good at memorizing books, too, so I try to change it up so she actually has to try to read the book to me, lol. I've always been a voracious reader, reading anything I could get my hands on, even my mom's Harlequin romance novels as a kid, lol. So, yeah, some control probably would have been a good idea in my case. :P Katie has this adorable ABC chart hanging in her bedroom that uses some unconventional words for each letter, which I love, but I'm glad they still used xylophone for "X". :D

  2. I was obsessed with Fear Street and Christopher Pike when I was a pre-teen. I still have the books somewhere, a whole huge box of them! I also remember reading Some of the Babysitter's Club books, The Chronicles of Narnia and a lot of Archie comics. Besides the Shel Silverstein books earlier on, I can't remember what I loved as a younger kid. My son is 7YO and he is currently enjoying the Origami Yoda books. He's almost through with them. He's at the weird early stage of middle grade. I need to start being on the lookout for ones he can read now. My about to be 4YO seems to love a huge variety of books. He pretends to read them to me, using his finger as he goes and everything. lol

    1. I didn't read Fear Street, but I liked the Goosebumps books. And I read a lot of Sweet Valley, too. :) I didn't actually read Narnia until I was an adult, but I saw a play for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was a kid and fell in love. I've passed on my Shel Silverstein books to Katie, as I want her to have some of my childhood favorites, as well. I think we'd both like the Origami Yoda books. :)

    2. Ahhh, yes the Babysitters club! I read those too but I couldn't remember the name last night. :)

  3. What beautiful girls!! xoxox
    I was a HUGE fan of The Boxcar Children series and then as I got older R.L. Stines Goosebumps and Fear Street and Christopher Pike's books, then of course, V.C. Andrews :)
    Now a days when reading to my daughters (10 yr old, 3 yr old & 11 months) we're huge fans of Pinkalious, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Dork Diaries. Believe it or not the one that has Shel Silverstein was not only a favorite of mine growing up but it is my oldest daughter's as well! SO COOL!!
    Thanks for sharing! oxoxox
    Michelle @ Book Hangover Blabs Books

  4. My son (4, about to turn 5 in May) loves any Mo Willems book, but especially the Elephant and Pig ones. They are so funny, and after 4-5 readings, he can do the story himself. Not reading yet, but memorizing the story is the first step.

  5. This is a great post! David is really into Lego and Star Wars books right now (hello 6 year old boys!) but I am trying to get him to read The Phantom Tollbooth...

  6. Holy cuteness! They both look ADORABLE with their little glasses!! I agree that it is so important to instill a love of reading in children. My mom was a huge reader and I know that is where my love of books stemmed from. I read constantly as a child, pre-teen, and teenager. Then I majored in English and now teach it. There's never been a time in my life where books didn't play a HUGE part.

    I love Shel Silverstein. He was so amazing. I think all children viewed the book the way you did...and I would hope that the adult perspective also kicks in for everyone at some point. I actually started with Sweet Valley High--which were my older sisters--and was so happy when Sweet Valley Twins came out. I also read VC Andrews at WAY too young of an age. Lol. I remember reading Heaven and being like: whoa. Great post!

  7. Such beautiful girls! As a parent that loves to read, I also want my children to love it too! My son also loves Green Eggs and Hams, and Olivia books!


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