Need some reading ideas? Before you head to the library, check out some of the best children’s books in this guest post by New Milford, NJ tutor Matthew H...
Children’s books are a great way to establish good habits that kids will take with them throughout their lives. Reading not only helps develop strong vocabulary, but also makes it easier to learn new information and retain already existing material. Finding the right book for your child may seem like a difficult process because of factors like age, difficulty levels, genres, and interests, but some stories are just plain good. Below is a list of some of the best children’s books that are worth reading, even more than once.
“Matilda” by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is a genius storyteller and one of the great children’s authors. Many of his books are beloved by children and adults, such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “James and the Giant Peach” and “The Witches”. What makes “Matilda” the Dahl book to make this list is a bunch of unique qualities that adds to its timelessness. For starters, like all of Dahl’s stories, the book is filled with some truly memorable characters. Ranging from the bizarre and grotesque to the sweet and cuddly, you will find people to love and others you love to hate. Besides the somewhat magical title character, who is a great role model for both boys and girls, Mrs. Trunchbull is a great villain that readers will be captivated by. Noteworthy is one of the book’s themes of reading, so it reinforces the idea of reading as a tool that brings about great change and power. It was also recently turned into a Broadway musical, so along with the film version and books on tape, you have a whole collection of Matilda to supplement the reading experience.
Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series
The Wayside School books are a hilarious collection of books that adults can find just as amusing as children do. Louis Sachar is no stranger to the children’s fiction genre, with his novel “Holes” having two sequels as well as having been made into a Disney film by the same name. The Wayside series consists of five books that delve into the mysterious, magical, and wacky nature of the eponymous grade school. Primarily following the exploits of Mrs. Jewls’ class, these absurdist novels have a charm that is so distinct from anything else written, particularly for children. Imagine the television program “Adventure Time” mixing with “Zoo Story” and finally blending with “The Magic School Bus”. What’s great is that while three of the books follow a standard chapter book experience, although with high levels of critical thinking, humor, and abstract concepts, two of the series’ books are largely math and logic puzzles intertwined with related stories from the main characters. Thus, readers get a truly well-rounded educational experience that incorporates high-level thinking, comedy, and math. You might learn something from this just as much as your own children do!
“The Legend of Pearl Cave” by David Akseizer
David Akseizer is a new author who just released his first book. While “The Legend of Pearl Cave” may not have the same legacy as anything written by Roald Dahl or Louis Sachar, it’s a great read for 8-12 year-olds, especially those who are on the shy side. The book’s main character is bullied at school, which is difficult for most children in and of itself, but factor in that both of his parents died when he was young and that he has been raised by his grandfather, and you have a very trying childhood. What’s so good about this book, though, is that it never gets to be too heavy or depressing, and in fact inspires kids to find the courage within themselves to overcome whatever problems they face in life. There’s obviously a huge magical action/adventure component to the story, yet the characters are so relatable, you’ll find yourself completely empathizing with mystical creatures. With the author’s light touch, he juxtaposes many opposing ideas, such as humor and tragedy, fantasy and reality, and so on. It’s an excellent read for boys and girls, particularly those who might need a little push to break out of their shell.
There are so many different children’s books out there that are waiting to be read. Your children may have preferences and genres they gravitate toward, which is totally fine. The idea is to get kids reading, so if that means mainly sports books for your athlete or mystery novels for the budding detective, then so be it. The books listed above are all very distinct from one another, yet share something in common: the ability to get kids who might not normally be a reader interested in the unique stories. Each is great because they impart life lessons that your children will take with them forever. And that’s what reading is all about.
Matthew H. teaches a variety of subjects both online and in New Milford, NJ. He recently received his MA from NYU with a background in Sociolinguistics and related research. Learn more about Matthew here!
Photo by anastasia.alen