Cultivating book worms by reading with your little ones



I spent my childhood reading with some of my favorite adults. I remember my father’s deep timbre as he read Little House on the Prairie books to my sister and me at bedtime, my Granny’s voice on a cassette tape reading my favorite Golden books after we moved out of state, sitting on a front porch swing with my Granddaddy while he read Tom Sawyer to me, laughing so hard his eyes watered.

Even though I have been firmly in the category of adult for a year or two or 20, some of my favorite books are still the books they read to me as a child.

“There is magic inside of kids’ books that rarely exists in books for grownups. There is innocence, hope and the idea that everything is possible. There are words that are life-shaping, hope-giving and soul-building.”

My child and I wanted to recommend some of our current and forever favorites in hopes that you can create memories like the happy ones from my childhood and the ones we are creating together.

Some recommendations are mine, some are my child’s; all are perfect for snuggling on the couch and sharing with your kids.


Freckle Juice by Judy Blume – I like it because it’s a classic book. I like how it’s funny because he tries to get freckles and Sharon does a funny prank on him and gives him a recipe for freckles.

Horrible Harry by Suzy Kline – He’s such a good kid but is friends with a horrible kid named Harry. Harry is horrible because he does pranks. It shows you that friends can be different but still be friends.

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey – It’s so funny and they made movies about the books. I mean, he’s a superhero that flies around in his underwear!

Mr. Popper’s Penguins Richard and Florence Atwater – A classic. I like the characters. I like how they started out with one penguin and then two and then a whole bunch and they were so laid back about it.


Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park – I love these guys! Junie B. is my kind of kid. She is precocious and hilarious. When I get a little sad mine is growing up too fast, a good Junie B. story reminds me of all that is good and cringe-worthy but laugh-out-loud funny about kindergartners.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – We all know The Giving Tree. We all love The Giving Tree. I loved it as a child but didn’t quite understand it until I became a parent. Have you read it in a while? Go ahead and take it off the shelf. Even if your kids are teenagers. Maybe especially if your kids are teenagers. Because you know what you realize when you read it as an adult? That you are the tree. YOU are the tree! Cue wracking sobs.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L.  Konigsburg – On the very top of my favorites list forever and ever amen. The story is focused on clever Claudia, who likes complications, and her cheap but resourceful little brother, Jamie, as they run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is one of my go-to gifts for kids in second to fourth grades. It is charming, funny and has a mystery to solve.

Tom Sawyer by Mark TwainRead to me, as mentioned above, on the front porch swing by my Granddaddy. We laughed until we cried reading this book more than once and, while Mark Twain will always be one of my favorite writers, one of the reasons I love this book is because of the memories we made reading it. Swinging slowly in the heat of a Mississippi summer, lazily shelling peas and using the hulls as bookmarks, just the two of us.

Child at Book fairI could recommend so many more. There is a seemingly endless supply of magical books written for children and I am so glad. That means more time snuggling and creating memories.

What are your favorite books to read together?
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April is a Mississippi native and has been a Coast resident since 2000. She and her husband, Neil, were married in 2001. In 2010, they welcomed their one and only child, Vaught, to the world and have been trying to keep up with his boundless energy and creativity ever since. April is a communications director at a local company and spends her time outside of work being a dancer’s mom, a football coach’s wife, an occasional blogger and an avid reader. She is not afraid of a dance floor or a karaoke machine, but only if they have the Beastie Boys. She is a Ravenclaw and Carrie Fisher is her hero. She is constantly narrating life in her head so, if you have ever met, there is a good chance you are a character in the story she is mentally writing.