Check out these ideas, from board books to young adult titles.
As summer reading club season heats up, part of the challenge for some kids is finding new books that interest them without built-in suggestions from school.
If that situation happens at your house, read on. We polled our Dispatch Magazines colleagues, asking folks to name a book (or books) they loved as a kid, still have a soft spot for as an adult or love to read to their own children. The list is diverse, full of both classics and titles your children might not have heard of.
Also, check out THIS LIST of children’s books that are good for adults, from sister publication Columbus Alive.
“I do a pretty great dramatic reading of ‘Llama Llama Red Pajama’ for Claire that I’m sure she appreciates far more now (at 22 months old) than she will when I try to read it to her again when she’s trying to leave the house for her freshman year of college.” –Andy Downing, editor, Columbus Alive
“‘Are You My Mother?’ by P.D. Eastman” –Jim Fischer, assistant editor, Columbus Alive
“‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is still a favorite. Growing up, I loved the mystery books by John Bellairs and their accompanying Edward Gorey illustrations, as well as the ‘Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators’ series.” –Julanne Hohbach, editor, Columbus Parent
The ‘Harry Potter’ series. “To this day, one of the biggest issues between my husband and I is that he’s never read the books (and refuses to). I dressed up and waited in bookstore lines until midnight to buy the books and devoured the final few in three days each. I also loved the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman.” –Emma Frankart Henterly, editor, Columbus Weddings
“‘The Very Quiet Cricket,’ ‘The BFG.’ I loved survival books like ‘Hatchet’ (and lots of other Gary Paulsen books), ‘Island of the Blue Dolphins,’ etc.” –Chloe Teasley, staff writer, Columbus CEO
“I always loved Shel Silverstein books, ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ (never understood why those are kids books though because I remember them being terrifying) and ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’ You can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss. Nancy Drew books were great too.” –Lauren Transue, support services specialist, Dispatch Magazines
“Kevin O’Malley’s ‘Who Killed Cock Robin?’ was most memorable, a cool whodunit/mystery book to sing along to. Also ‘Freak the Mighty’ was very endearing. I also have to add ‘Thunder Cake’ by Patricia Polacco … ‘The Outsiders,’ ‘Bud, Not Buddy’ and ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’” –Maya Jenkins, assistant digital editor, Dispatch Magazines
“Toddler: ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ or anything with cute illustrations. Grade school: ‘The Phantom Tollbooth.’ And ‘The Lorax’! I remember getting that from the library all the time.” –Betsy Becker, art director, Columbus Monthly
“‘James and the Giant Peach.’ Anything Roald Dahl, timeless. Also ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ by John Bellairs. A few more: ‘Many Waters’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeleine L’Engle. For the sports enthusiasts, anything by Matt Christopher like ‘Catcher with a Glass Arm’ and ‘The Kid Who Only Hit Homers.’ Most of my friends who weren’t into reading actually enjoyed these books.” –Kyle Nussbaum, multimedia account executive, Dispatch Magazines
“‘Maniac Magee’ by Jerry Spinelli. (I ran everywhere as a kid.)” –Joel Oliphint, associate editor, Columbus Alive, and Columbus Parent columnist
“My favorite Roald Dahl book is ‘The Twits’—so disgusting and subversive. ‘Knuffle Bunny’ by Mo Willems is fun to read aloud: I enjoy saying ‘aggle, flaggle, klabble.’ –Dave Ghose, editor, Columbus CEO
“My 4-year-old loves the ‘Stinky Face’ books by Lisa McCourt: ‘I Love You, Stinky Face,’ ‘I Miss You, Stinky Face’ (and) ‘Goodnight, Stinky Face’ … I promise we wash our kid!” –Holly Gallucci, senior multimedia account executive, Dispatch Magazines
“Teenager: ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’/‘The Chronicles of Narnia’! Also ‘Chicka Chicka Boom Boom’ when I was a little kid, because rhyming is fun.” –Jackie Vosler, multimedia account executive, Dispatch Magazines
“I was a sucker for a book called ‘Rascal’ by Sterling North. I think it probably launched a love of nature and the outdoors for me that continues still.” –Eric Lyttle, editor, Columbus Monthly
“If I had to pick one that dominated my childhood, it would be the Hardy Boys (which, if it had any chance of aging well at all, was killed by South Park a few years ago). I read all the ‘Casefiles’ series until they sold out, at book No. 105, as well as some if not all of the original series.” –Chris Gaitten, senior editor, Columbus Monthly
“It’s hard for me to play favorites with kids books. When I was a kid myself, I loved ‘Swallows and Amazons,’ ‘Ramona the Pest,’ ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ ‘Anne of Green Gables’ (and all the sequels), ‘Stuart Little,’ and anything by Edgar Allan Poe (weird, I know). When reading to my kids, I loved a gorgeous picture book called ‘Grandfather Twilight,’ the amazingly clever book of poems ‘Scranimals’ by Jack Prelutsky, and ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ by Kate DiCamillo. I’ll still drop everything to read a book by DiCamillo (‘The Tale of Despereaux’ is so great!). I’m also kind of a John Green fangirl. Okay, I’ll stop. … I forgot to mention ‘Five Children and It.’ It’s awesome.” –Suzanne Goldsmith, senior editor, Columbus Monthly
“‘The Boxcar Children’ by Gertrude Chandler Warner” –Lauren Reinhard, marketing manager, Dispatch Magazines
“Little kid: ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ by Crockett Johnson. YA: ‘Island of the Blue Dolphins’ by Scott O’Dell” –Erin Edwards, digital editor, Dispatch Magazines
“Small children’s book: ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.’ YA: The R.L. Stine ‘Fear Street’ series” –Erica Thompson, assistant editor, Columbus Alive
“‘Island of the Blue Dolphins,’ ‘My Side of the Mountain’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’” –Michelle Crossman, multimedia account executive, Dispatch Magazines