This cold weather is terrible for playing outside but perfect for snuggling under blankets with a good book (or more)! My daughters love to be read to. But my eyes would remain permanently crossed if I could only read pictures books to them. Here’s a list of 9 books I’ve already read to DaughterOne. All of these books are appropriate for young children but offer a whole different layer of emotion and insight as adult. I’ve included some quotes to whet your reading appetite.
1) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
It is gorgeous and one of my favorite books of all time. The story is simple, familiar and sweet. But I’m going to ruin the ending here for you (if there is anyone out there who doesn’t know this already), it ends sadly. My daughter is very sensitive but handled it better than I did. I knew the ending, have read it many times, yet still cried while reading the ending to her. She was also unbothered by my outburst.
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
Another children’s classic by Mr. White. This one is about a mouse and his adventures. It is extra cute. Not my most favorite E.B. White but lovely nonetheless.
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
Of course you know the story but the experience of reading it aloud is totally different than watching the Disney version — most notably the language is a bit more complicated. But who doesn’t love a challenge to advance your own and your child’s vocabulary?
It is so special to read. And it is pretty weird — I mean — dreamlike.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
5) Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrin
Pippi is so much fun. She’s a joyful precocious little girl living alone except with a horse and a monkey and has superhuman strength. She always gets in a bit of trouble but everything always seems to work out alright in the end.
I’ve already recommended this movie to you. I love it. And I’m reading the book now to DaughterOne. It is about a unicorn that finds out that she is the last — that all the others have been captured by “The Red Bull” so she journeys to find her fellow unicorns and save them.
This quote is a very poignant moment in the book that is likely too complex for children to totally understanding — it being about youthful hope coming to someone too late in life — deep stuff. Like all these other books there are some philosophical moments.
But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. “Where have you been?” Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shining beetle, but this time it was the unicorn’s old dark eyes that looked down. “I am here now,” she said at last. Molly laughed with her lips flat. “And what good is that to me that you’re here now? Where were you twenty years ago, ten years ago? How dare you come to me now, when I am this?” … The unicorn made no reply, and Schmendrick said, “She is the last. She is the last unicorn in the world.” “She would be.” Molly sniffed. “It would be the last unicorn in the world that comes to Molly Grue.”
Recommended by the owner of The Bear and the Books in Hopewell, this is part of a series of books about a shy little black cat with a red scarf named Jenny Linsky. Jenny lives with a sea captain, Captain Tinker, and has backyard adventures with other neighborhood cats, finding out that she braver than she ever thought.
Have you read “The Little Prince?” I thought I had when I was in middle school but clearly I never understood that the story was much (much) more than a little boy traveling from planet to planet and obsessing about a rose that lives on his own little plant.
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”
I’m ending my list with my other favorite childhood book that I have loved more as I read it more. It is one of those beautiful classics that is adventurous and magical as a child and continues to be so
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
This post contains affiliate links to amazon.com — of course we’d love if you order through those. If you are the kind of person who leaves their house, supporting local businesses is great. Here in Hopewell we have The Bear and the Books.