The First Coast Connect Book Club: Books To Turn Your Child Into A Reader

Aug 31, 2013

Did you have a favorite book as a child? Was there one that turned you into a lifelong reader? In this month's edition of the First Coast Connect Book Club, local book blogger Stacey Goldring has some suggestions for getting your child interested in reading.

Credit Atheneum Books for Young Readers

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

I will start with my favorite book as a child. This 1968 Newbery Medal winner follows two siblings as they decide to run away to the beautiful and elegant Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Along the way, they get caught up in the mystery of a potentially priceless work of art and the woman who sold it to the museum, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. After reading this classic young adult novel, it's clear why Konigsburg not only won the Newbery Medal in 1968 but also the runner-up Newbery Honor (for her other book published in 1967, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth), making her the only author in the history of the award to receive both in the same year.

Credit HCI Publishing

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross's childhood favorite was Margery Williams's classic tale, The Velveteen Rabbit. First published in 1922, the story centers around a stuffed toy rabbit on his quest to become real through the love of his owner. Perfect for young readers (and readers young at heart) who wonder if their toys come to life when they're not looking. 

Credit HarperCollins

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Another Newbery Honor winner, Ella Enchanted is a retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a twist. As a young child, Ella is given the gift of obedience by a fairy - a gift that quickly turns into a curse as she must do anything and everything she is ordered to. This adventure will hook young readers who enjoy fantasy stories of ogres and wicked stepsisters, and showcases a strong female protagonist who doesn't take her misfortune sitting down.

Credit Viking Juvenile

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Staying with the idea of classic fairytales with a twist, here's an unconventional suggestion for young readers. The Stinky Cheese Man rifts on all of Mother Goose's well-known stories to the delight of readers who love sarcastic, irreverent humor. Instead of turning into a beautiful swan, the ugly duckling simply grows into an ugly duck. Instead of being beaten to her grandmother's house, Little Red Running Shorts quickly laps the Big Bad Wolf. Scieska and Smith also take great joy in completely deconstructing the basic nature of books, letting their characters jump in and out of other stories, and literally turning the table of contents upside down.

Credit Harper Trophy

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende

Chilean-American author Isabel Allende brings her brand of magic-realism to this young adult novel. After a family crisis, teenager Alexander is forced to live with his grandmother, a reporter for a National Geographic-like magazine, and joins her on an expedition to the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Along the way, Alexander discovers the secrets of the wilderness, including the mysterious creature known as the Beast. Allende's first book for young adults, City of the Beasts is a great choice to turn your pre-teen or teen into a lifelong lover of the written word.

I also asked visitors of my site, Chapter Endnotes, to send me their favorite childhood books. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Are you There God, It’s Me Margaret
  • Charlotte’s Web 
  • Little Women
  • The Goosebumps Series
  • Ramona the Brave
  • Black Beauty
  • The Harry Potter Series
  • The Hounds of the Baskervilles
  • The Nancy Drew Series
  • The Man Who Stole The Atlantic Ocean
  • Miss Piggle Wiggle
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
  • Miss Minerva and William Green Hill 
  • Gloria, Ballet Dancer
  • The Hardy Boys Series
  • Harriet the Spy
  • Brave New World
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

For more great reads, visit Stacey Goldring's blog Chapter Endnotes.