In their own words: great book recommendations by great kids

Not all adults love books but I’m hard pressed to find a child who doesn’t. I recently polled some kids (or, that is, asked their moms) to ask them about their favorite books. Here is what they love and also what they have to say about it:

Leonardo-the-Terrible-Monster-209x300Leonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems

Why do you like this book? “I don’t know.” – Pickle, age 2

dinosaur bookALL dinosaur books “‘Cuz I love them.” – Jules, age 3
magictreehouseThe Magic Treehouse series, by Mary Pope Osborne

“Because all the adventures they take are so fun.” – Little Miss, age 5

green eggs and hamGreen Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss

“Well, I really like how he tries the green eggs and ham at the end. I really like how more animals come on the car. It’s funny.” – Sophia, age 5

rainbowfThe Rainbow Fairies series, by Daisy Meadows
“I love the different fairy characters and the adventures they go on.” – Joni, age 7
gingerbreadmanThe Gingerbread Man, by Jim Aylesworth
“I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a feeling. It’s just a feeling. Well, I like the story. It’s a long story, and we make it a song.  And we buy the food. And we use the recipe, and I cook with Mama.  And when Mama works the oven, we act it.  And I chase Papa when he pretends.  And I’m the Gingerbread Man. It’s my favorite book. Forever.” – Ashley, age 8
percyjacksonPercy Jackson and the Olympians series & Heroes of Olympus series, by Rick Riordan
“I like the Percy Jackson series because it has Greek gods and lots of action in it – weapons (but no guns), special elemental powers, etc. There are almost always cliffhangers at the end of each book, so you would want to read the next book. And I like it because it’s a series so there’re more books so I don’t have to look for another book to read. But now I have to wait for next year for the next book.” – Fred, age 9
ifunnyI Funny: A Middle School Story, by James Patterson“It’s really good, and it’s about a kid who is in a wheelchair, and he has jokes that gave him hope. It’s a very good book, and I like all the humor, jokes, and sarcasm in it. It is fiction.” – Auggie, age 11
hackingharvardHacking Harvard, by Robin Wasserman
“I recommend this wonderful book to anyone who enjoys a good comedy mixed with action and romance. In this book, there is a bet to try to get a brainless boy into Harvard. With the risk of losing twenty five thousand dollars and losing their parents’ support, this may end their lives or give them a new start.” – Elizabeth, age 11
cityofemberThe City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau“I liked the setting of the book—that there’s an underground city and the kids have different jobs. I thought that was cool.” – Luke, age 12

The most fun part about putting this post together was definitely hearing the words of the kids. Thanks so much to all the parents who helped me with this post!

Looking back over our 9 years of reading with Fred, here are some of Fred’s favorites:


All Mo Willems books (BIG hit!)

Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman

Spot the Dog books, by Eric Hill

Eric Carle books

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

The Big Wide Mouthed Frog, by Ana Martin Larranaga (BIG hit!)

early elementary

The Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel (Mom loved these especially)

Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant

Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (BIG hit!)

The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne (BIG hit and a wonderful transition from leveled readers to independent reading)

Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

middle grades

The Warriors series by Erin Hunter (the series that turned our temporarily ambivalent reader to an obsessed one…until he decided after two sets that the books were getting too formulaic and predictable ;-))

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (an adult book but readable; however, there is mention of prostitution (didn’t see that until it was too late))

National Geographic Kids Quiz Whiz: 1,000 Super Fun, Mind-bending, Totally Awesome Trivia Questions

Scholastic Almanac for Kids

Guiness World Records

And, as mentioned above, the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. The Percy Jackson series is wonderful in that kids of all types are characters in the books. Riordan is known for his inclusiveness as a writer, his ability to make all children feel a part of his stories. There was a minor (?) uproar over his most recent book The House of Hades for including a gay character.

What are your kids’ favorite books, or what were your favorite books growing up? Are you giving any children’s books as gifts this holiday? If so, which ones?

16 thoughts on “In their own words: great book recommendations by great kids

  1. I love kids’ books, and soon I will be posting my own kids favourites for the year. It’s fun to see some overlap with the ones your have posted here. I have found that my favourites growing up have not necessarily been the same for my own kids. I think there are just more great kids’ books out there these days to choose from. I’d have to say my favourite author was L.M.Montgomery. I read and still own all her books. I’ve just been waiting for my own kids to love them, too, but it hasn’t happened yet.
    All 3 of my kids love the National Geographic Weird But True books, so those are the ones we decided to give to the cousins this year. I also bought a bunch of new books for my kids, including Wonder, the latest Rick Riordan, the latest Judy Moody, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Big Nate, and a couple new Weird But True that we don’t have yet, as well as some others that have been collected and tucked away. Great Post!

    • These are great recommendations. Thanks, Naomi! I agree that there seem to be so many more books now. Certainly when I was growing up there were no websites – no amazon, no goodreads, no Facebook or blogs to share recommendations, etc. It’s wonderful (and a privilege, I know) that our kids are growing up in such a book-rich world! I will look forward to reading your upcoming post!

    • Aw, thanks so much for writing, Auggie! I really appreciate your contribution, and at least one friend has told me that she is adding your book to her to-read list! Have a wonderful holiday!

  2. What a great post! Thank you for compiling this Cecilia. You know I’m going to bookmark this as a reference guide for my girls since I hadn’t read most of these. In Malaysia, we read more British authors so I’m excited to explore some of the titles here myself. If I were to add from my own childhood, I would include “The Faraway Tree” and “The Wishing Chair” series by Enid Blyton (which is waiting in a box, to be opened by Little Miss this year – soooo excited!!!), as well as “Anne of Green Gables”. Oh, to be that little and have all day just to read again…

    • Thanks, Justine, and thank you to your girls again for contributing to this post!

      That is interesting that you read mostly British writers while growing up. I should look into more international authors for Fred as well. I remember reading Enid Blyton…I can’t remember the book now but I will have to look up your titles to jog my memory! I hope that little Miss will enjoy her surprise!

  3. What a wonderful post, Cecelia. Lucky children indeed to have such a wealth of words in their world. My own girls are almost completely reading on their own and I miss the days of sharing every book they enjoyed. Elizabeth (11) and I are slowly working through the Anne series but she is heavily into Rick Riordan’s series on her own. I can’t stand his style so I’ve been happy to let her tackle those on her own or with her dad. I love how they act as a gateway drug to hard core mythologyy. We’ve had some great conversations about myth thanks to Riordan. I introduced my daughters to my favourites when they were really young and always have maintained a high standard for books I read aloud. I never forbade “Rapunzel Barbie” from the house but they were free to enjoy it on their own ;). I love giving books as gifts to children and I’ve even started giving to adults in the past few years. It’s been fun to try to find the perfect new release for each person on my list. We usually buy A. A. Milne or Beatrix Potter clothbound editions for the new babies in our life.

    • I love what you wrote here, Lee-Anne! I can really relate. I also miss sharing books more with my son, now that he’s reading independently. I’ve made it a tradition to get him more literary books for Christmas, to balance the more action-oriented and silly books that he likes to read. We went through one temporary break in his reading a couple of years ago when I badgered him too much and actually turned him off of reading…that terrified me so much that ever since then I have let him read whatever he wants (within reason, though he has not asked to read anything inappropriate yet). As long as he is reading! It sounds like you have struck a good balance between asserting your standards while allowing your girls the freedom to choose 🙂

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