education,  Family

Books My Kids Are Reading Part 7

I’m back with another update (the 7th!) of what books my kids and I have been reading together.

The books I share here are the ones my kids, 2nd and 5th graders, enjoyed and gave their stamp of approval. My feelings are sometimes more complicated. I’m a mom. I overthink all. the. things!

First, I wanted to show you a different kind of book.

This is my son’s Irish reading homework from a few months ago.

Suffice it to say, I have to trust him when he says it’s a story about a monkey drinking milk.

Now, onto the book list!

The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams

We’ve read a lot of David Walliams’ books and I know we can expect something funny and engaging illustrations.

If you look closely at this picture, you’ll understand why my kids found The World’s Worst Children to be HILARIOUS. In the end though, it was pretty clear why you wouldn’t want to be “Windy Mindy” or one of the world’s worst children featured in the book.

Also, this book was organized in a sort of short story format. Each story was about one child and was a great length for our evening story time.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Everyday while my daughter’s class eats lunch, her teacher reads them a book. I can’t tell you how much I love this practice!

They are currently working their way through The Invention of Hugo Cabret and my daughter is raving about the story and the pencil-drawn illustrations. While I can’t vouch for it personally, it is teacher-approved. Plus, the book has 5 stars on Amazon and has won a bunch of literature awards. So, there’s that.

From the publisher: Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

The Tornado Chasers by Ross Montgomery

I thought this book was going to be a simple adventure tale with some humor thrown in. I was wrong. This book was so complicated and frankly, it jerked me around in the feelings department!

The publisher explains it best: “When Owen Underwood’s family move to Barrow, it’s because there’s nowhere safer in the Valleys – and safety is very important. Especially when the threat of tornadoes, and giant bears, is constant. But in Barrow, safety is taken to extremes. Children have to wear bright yellow at all times and are never allowed outside except to go to school. How can Owen face an entire summer of that? In secret, Owen and his friends form the Tornado Chasers. Their mission: to get as close to a Grade 5 tornado as possible. It’s time for them to face their fears!

My kids enjoyed this book because it seemed a little dangerous and it kept them guessing. There was a twist at the end that none of us saw coming. That’s hard to do!

Also, The Tornado Chasers inspired us to learn more about tornadoes and wing walking. Even if I have a few problems with the story, a book that prompts conversation about real world topics and inspires my kids to do research has to get kudos.

This is one of the videos we watched about wing walking.

Two things of caution about the book. (Wing walking is on a whole different level of caution!)

1) I don’t want to ruin it, but there is death at the end. It’s not said explicitly, but it is heavily implied. My son didn’t quite pick up on that, but my daughter did.
2) The bully in the story says things like “what the hell” periodically. I don’t like this in a kids’ book – even a book for 9 – 12 year olds – unless it adds to the story somehow, which in this case it did not.

The Bolds on Holiday by Julian Clary

On a FAR lighter note is the book The Bolds on Holiday. We’ve read another in The Bolds series and absolutely adore these books. What’s not to love about a family of hyenas trying to pretend to be humans?

While my 10 1/2 year old daughter and I both enjoyed this book, I’d say The Bolds series does skew a little younger and is definitely appropriate and engaging for my 7-year-old.

I Totally Funniest: A Middle School Story (I Funny) by James Patterson

My kids really, really LOVED this book about a boy competing to be the planet’s funniest kid comic and have asked to read the others in the series. It turns out that we started with the 3rd book in the I Funny series. Whoops! That’s okay though! It read just fine as a standalone. We’re now reading book 2, but still haven’t read book 1.

If your kids love corny jokes, this book is FULL of them. There are numerous references to actual, real-life comedians (at least once who has recently become disgraced, but my kids don’t know about that), so be prepared for your kids to say, “is that a real person?” It turns out my kids know very little about pop culture.

For so many different reasons I liked that the book’s main character is in a wheelchair. His background story is tragic, but the book does a great job of showing how he worked his way through that tragedy. I think it’s good for kids to read about a character that is completely different from them, but still so relatable. Does that make sense?

As a mom with a kid who is about to go into middle school, I really liked the over-arching message of the book that staying true to yourself is always the best thing to do.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

If you don’t have A Light in the Attic or Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, you must get them! Handy Husband and I read these poems as kids. My daughter read them and my son just discovered them.

It’s amazing to me that these poems are engaging young readers (and mom!) decades after they were originally published. My son loves to read these poems to me – probably because each one is quick and clever. And he definitely loves the pictures. There’s something about reading in a poetic rhythm that engages your brain in a different way, don’t you think?

I will say, a few of his poems have not-PC-any-longer references, but I still love both of these books.

The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris

I’ll admit, I was super curious when I saw that Neil Patrick Harris was writing children’s books. Could he write? Would it be interesting and fun to read?

Spoiler alert. We (and especially the kids) LOVED this book. Do read it! The story was highly entertaining and the characters had a lot of depth to them that I’m sure will be explored as the series progresses.

Now, in fairness, the plot was a bit formulaic. A band of kids join together to save the town from evil. But the formula works! The story was written in such a fast-paced, action-filled way that I can see it easily being adapted for a movie or tv series.

One thing I liked about the book, as a mom, is that it encouraged kids to practice, practice and practice a skill in order to master it. In this case, magic tricks. But if you’ve got a kid who is easily frustrated when something is hard, it’s nice to have a story that reminds them that practice is important and normal!

That’s it for this round!

As always, I’m happy to learn about other books my kids might enjoy! Do share!

Here are past posts on children’s books we LOVE

  1. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 6
  2. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 5
  3. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 4
  4. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 3
  5. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 2
  6. Books My Kids Are Reading Now (Part 1)
  7. Two Children’s Books That Made My Eyes Leak – Cried my eyes out. Still my favorite books.
  8. Star Wars Phonics Books – These worked miracles at encouraging my son to read.

Affiliate links to Amazon used in this post. Thanks for your support. You guys rock! 

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