In celebration of Family Literacy month, here are five brilliant books perfect for families to read together. These titles will help you discover the magic in words — lessons to be learned, comfort to hold, and humor to be discovered. So this November cuddle up with your favorite listener, and check out these great reads.
- A Story for Bear by Dennis Haseley (Harcourt, Inc. 2002): A bear wonders about the secret of words when he finds a scrap of paper with writing on it and wistfully watches a woman who spends so much time reading in her Adirondack chair in the woods. Eventually the woman beckons the bear to approach and she reads aloud to him. He doesn’t understand the words, but he does understand the tenor of her voice as she reads — happiness and fear, excitement and peace. A unique relationship blooms over books.
- Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein (Candlewick Press 2010): Papa reads a story to Little Red Chicken at bedtime. At least he tries to read her a story. Alas, Little Red Chicken knows the plots of all the fairy tales, and he constantly interrupts the stories. Papa implores Little Red Chicken to sit back and listen, “Well, you’re supposed to be relaxing so you can fall asleep.” Spoiler alert — with great excitement, Papa tells the end right at the beginning! Does Little Red Chicken Fall asleep? You’ll have to read it to find out.
- The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak (Dial 2014): This one-of-a-kind story challenges readers and listeners to use their imaginations. Just like the title says, there really are no pictures, just words in different colors and fonts throughout the book. The importance of words is so evident in this book, and every reader brings their own interpretation to the text. You might know B. J. Novak from his acting role on the television sitcom The Office, where he was also a director and producer.
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Harper and Brothers 1947): This famous children’s book doesn’t need an introduction. So many caregivers and children can recite these words, “In the great, green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of a cow jumping over the moon…” In 1947 this gem was published, and today it’s still a popular gift for new babies. Read from infancy on, it is the ultimate bedtime story.
- Make Time for Reading: a story guide for parents of babies and young children by Jean Fahey: This unique book is perfect for beginning adult readers. It includes a children’s picture story on one side of each page, coupled with messages for parents about the importance of reading to their children on the other side. Using illustrations and a once-upon-a-time story, the publication translates the science of how children get ready to read, and how parents and caregivers can help.
Laurie Collins is a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion. She is also the author of the children’s picture book The Pajamas of My Dreams, and she is the Children’s Librarian in Ipswich, MA. Learn more about Laurie here.