May 16, 2012


I grew up reading. My parents read, my grandparents read, and everyone read to me. When I was a kid I loved books of all kinds though I was partial to the Wizard Of Oz books, the Narnia series and A Wrinkle In Time. At some point I found the Choose Your Own Adventure books then my dad handed me a stack of sci-fi books and my fate was sealed. Now, I read everything.

As much as we think things change so drastically over the generations, they really don't. Mia and Beth just finished the entire Little House series. She loves the Oz books, some of the Narnia series and I recently discovered that the Choose Your Own Adventure books are now in e-book form.

While the classics are good, I have to admit that I absolutely love one particular series of more contemporary books. Clementine.

I was introduced to Clementine by some good friends who happen to have a daughter named Clementine (no relation) and gave the book to Mia for her birthday. Clementine is a smart, hilarious kid who lives in an apartment building in New York where her dad is the superintendent. Her mom's an artist and her brother - whose name I forget because Clementine rotates amongst all of the vegetables since she, herself has to deal with a fruit name - is a rather pleasant bother.

I was reading the latest Clementine book to Mia last night when a particular line struck me as brilliant:

Fair doesn't mean that everyone gets the same thing. Fair means that everyone gets what they need.

And that's when I realized what I like about these books. They tell the truth. Yes, they're funny but they're honest, they're smart, and they don't talk down to kids. And to be honest? It's rare that a kid's book makes me stop reading aloud because I'm laughing so hard.

What were your favorite books as a kid? And if you've got kids, what are they're favorite books?

Posted by Chris at May 16, 2012 7:05 AM

My 8 year old is currently devouring every Diary of a Wimpy Kid book there is. Those are hilarious. She's been averaging about 2 a week. I've been reading the first one to both kids so my son can get a taste. My Daughter also really likes Harry Potter. I just bought the first one for her the other day and we're going to start that over the summer. We have a couple of Clementine books and I agree... they are FANTASTIC.

When I was a kid I loved anything in the Wrinkle in Time series. I was/still am a big science fiction/fantasy book fan.

Posted by: Jen at May 16, 2012 8:23 AM

Harry Potter and the Kingdom Keepers series are popular with our seven year old currently. In the past, he loved the Junie B Jones, Ralph the Mouse and the Magic Treehouse books the most. He also really like the first book of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series but when I read the next one he was scared, justly so, so we stopped reading those until he's older. There are some books that I loved as kid and have tried to get him to read and he is not that interested. I think I probably remember them better because I was older when I read them so I figure he is a few years away from some of them. He loves those choose your own ending stories, we went old school and got him those a couple of years ago, and he reads them over and over again!

Posted by: Christina at May 16, 2012 9:08 AM

Thanks for the recommendation. We are big readers too, but none more than our daughter (8). She devours books, reads at a very high level and takes a book with her everywhere. When she reads aloud, she even sounds like us, with proper conversational tone and special voices and whatnot. It's great.

Posted by: Brad at May 16, 2012 9:29 AM

Love that whole Cactus Family is into the reading thing. We are multi generational bookworms here.....probably helped that my grandmother worked in the local library and I spent many a day/afternoon hanging out in the library devouring everything I could get my hands on.. As a kid hands down my favorite book was Corduroy by Don Freeman followed by The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder...Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary were also good reads. Lil Dude ( age 5) and normally only into non fiction really enjoys the following books: (bedtime) The Bunnies Are Not In Their Beds by Marisabina Russo. Started to read it to him a year or so ago and it is still in rotation. Love that he can read the pages to us now. Another (bedtime) fav. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. ( anytime) Otis and the Tornado by Loren Long. He likes SOME of the books in the early to read Biscuit series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and SOME of the stages reading Mr. Putty and Tabby series. Normally we just check stuff out from the local library but most of the ones listed above we had to purchase because they were placed in such heavy rotation. A very neat book I discovered for a special little girl in my life is called The Beautiful Warrior: The Legend of the Nun's Kung Fu by Emily Arnold McCully. Might be a good read for Mia. Will have to check out Clementine. Happy Reading! We are off to the library! : )

Posted by: Mutt at May 16, 2012 10:27 AM

I can remember learning to read at a young age, and basically reading everything I could get my mitts on. I loved the Little House books, Nancy Drew, and etc. Today is no different. While I tend towards fiction, I will usually give everything a try!

Posted by: bacioni at May 16, 2012 10:38 AM

Thanks for this great suggestion! They look great.

When I as really young, I remember trying to read a Nancy Drew book, it went a little over my head at the time, but this post
reminds me a little of the series I loved reading as a kid, The Ramona books, and it's set in NYC, so def. makes me think of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! Great, great book for children, highly recommend.

I also was obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie series when I was young, loved, loved them :)

Oh and can't forget the Boxcar Children, my first grade teacher would always read it to us during story time.

Posted by: Heather at May 16, 2012 11:01 AM

Growing up, we three sisters loved Little House, Beverly Cleary and later Judy Blume. Isabel loves the Clementine series, and she just gave her friend the first one for her birthday because she wanted to share it. She also loves any of the Magic Tree house books, and always asks if I think there is anyway she could go on an adventure like that. I am trying to figure it out.

Posted by: stacie at May 16, 2012 11:53 AM

I devoured the Hardy Boys books as a kid. I read every one multiple times. Also the Encyclopedia. Really.

Mia might like these extensions of the Little House series.

Posted by: COD at May 16, 2012 12:13 PM

My third grader just finished devouring the Harry Potter series. And my first grader LOVES Clementine! (I do too.) She also likes the Magic Tree House books.

I remember reading a lot of Trixie Beldon (loved those) and Nancy Drew... Linda Craig (and her golden Palomino Chica D'Oro) In college, it was more Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Now, I'll read just about anything that someone recommends. I just finished reading The Book Thief, but always love a good mystery...

Posted by: Kim at May 16, 2012 4:01 PM

As a British kid, I was brought up on Enid Blyton and Winnie the Pooh... I also loved Paddington, all the Swallows and Amazons series, the Mister Men books and a slightly odd series called Green Knowe. But my favourite author was almost certainly Roald Dahl...
My elder daughter (10) is a total bookworm. She tends to prefer not to challenge herself, so reads "easy" stuff, but is now into Morpurgo's books (which are excellent - I love Kaspar the king of cats!) and is currently reading Philip Pullman's I was a rat. She is also a Roald Dahl fan (she reads them in French, then reads them again in English).
My younger daughter (8) likes reading too, but has less patience and concentration (she's like a study in perpetual motion...). She likes the Magic Treehouse stuff and the Magic Kitten books. She's also reading Charlie and Lola, and the Mister Men books - but she's reading them in English (bearing in mind my girls speak French as their main language), and that warms my heart!

Posted by: Kirsty at May 17, 2012 3:26 AM

I read a LOT of R.L. Stine (not the crappy Goosebumps but the "real" books) and really almost anything I could get my hands on

My kids seem to really like the Dork Diary books & Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Also check out Johnathan Rand - good chiz for kids books and he writes some pretty kick ass stuff for grown-ups under a diff pen-name (Christopher Knight)

Posted by: Kris at May 17, 2012 8:20 AM

We love the Clementine books too! We were introduced to them by a local kids book store owner. As a little kid I loved the Sweet Pickles books and when I was a but older I was all about Sweet Valley Twins!

Posted by: Elissa at May 17, 2012 6:36 PM

I loooved Indian in the Cupboard!! (The book, not the movie).

Posted by: Tieraney at May 20, 2012 7:14 PM