A question I always used to hate was, "what is your favorite book?" When I was young I read voraciously. I loved so many books I couldn't begin to pick a favorite, or even a dozen favorites!
Now that I am older I have less time to read, so I spend my reading time a little more carefully. It's easier now to see what my favorite books are because they are the ones I keep coming back to, even after all this time and even with a limited reading budget.
I want to start making lists of several categories of favorite books. I figured my blog might be a good place to do that.
Today I want to list some of my favorite books and authors for grade-school children. This is the age for great read-alouds. How about I give you five authors and five single books?
Let's start with authors:
Maude Hart Lovelace: the Betsy Tacy series. I grew up on these because I grew up in the town where they took place, and echos of the stories were all around me. I loved the characters of Betsy and Tacy and Tib then and I love them just as much now. These books are delightful, innocent, and fun. The first book, Betsy Tacy, makes a great early read-aloud for a child who is just starting to be able to follow a purely oral storyline (Peanut, at age five, is now arriving at this wonderful point.) But you can keep reading and follow Betsy through high school and college and beyond.
Elizabeth Enright: I can't say enough about Elizabeth Enright. When you're done with the completely delightful quartet of books about the Melendy family (starting with The Saturdays) then you can move on to the utterly marvelous Gone-Away Lake and its sequel. These are must-reads, in my opinion.
Eleanor Estes: If you like the Melendys, you will probably also like the Moffat family. I did, and my kids did too. Lately we have been exploring other books by Eleanor Estes. I just started reading aloud The Alley and we like it so far.
Patricia MacLachlan: There is just something about the way this woman writes: simple words that are deep, thoughtful, and poignant. I have always loved Sarah, Plain and Tall. There are several sequels. She also has some other books that are very worthwhile. When I was young I really identified with Unclaimed Treasures and The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt.
L. M. Montgomery: She has to be one of my top favorite authors ever. Luckily, she was prolific! Listening to Anne of Green Gables on our car trip I marveled again at the sheer brilliance of that book: the characters, the dialogue, the descriptive scenery... I love it so much, but I love the other books in that series even more. And there are eight of them! And many other books besides! Most of her writing is more for older readers, but Roo and Rabbit were really getting into Anne on audio, and I bet they would enjoy some of her other books too, at this point. Maybe Rainbow Valley?
Now, some single books I really love for the elementary crowd:
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh: This is a new discovery for me. We just read this one aloud and it's another book that is perfect for a young listener like Peanut. Peanut loved it, and all the older kids enjoyed it too. Even Bean listened. It got the kids' imaginations all fired up, and when that happens I am always happy.
Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat: I love this book so much I can hardly stand it. A young boy growing up in Saskatchewan ends up with two pet owls with a whole lot of personality. Much hilarity ensues.
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey: Do you remember this one? The diamond bracelet in the automatic donut making machine? The fierce competition for the world's largest ball of string? How Homer catches robbers with the help of his pet skunk, Aroma? Your kids are going to adore this book.
The Good Master by Kate Seredy: I read this to Bean years ago and it's one of his all-time favorites. Recently we read it again and this time Fish, Roo, and the Rabbit all enjoyed it too. Jancsi (Yon-chee) is a young boy growing up on a prosperous farm on the great plains of Hungary a hundred or so years ago. When Cousin Kate arrives from Budapest, things get lively.
101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith: I loved this book so much when I was a kid. Then the movie came out and all my friends were like "oh yeah, we love 101 Dalmations!" and I was like "NO!!! THEY RUINED IT!!!" Forget the movie and go get a copy of the original book. Your kids will adore it. Fish told me the other day that he has read it or listened to the audio recording dozens of times over the years. I was happy to hear that!
Well, those are the ones I can think of off-hand. If I go and look through the dozen or so bookcases we have in this house I am sure I would find more beloved favorites. Hooray for books!