Jenny Meyerhoff is the author of a young adult novel, Queen of Secrets, and three books for young readers—Sami’s Sleepaway Summer, Third Grade Baby, and most recently, The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger, a story about an aspiring stand-up comic with an unusual catch phrase. Unlike Louie, Jenny is not a comedian, but she does know a lot about barf. After all, she’s a mom. Her three kids love fluffernutters, comedy and reading. Jenny lives in Riverwoods, Illinois with her funny kids and her delightful husband.
For more information, visit her website: www.jennymeyerhoff.com.
I have three children, and their taste in reading almost never overlaps. My daughter would only read fun, light, realistic stories until she was fifteen. My middle son only wants to be transported to other lands, preferably with magic, and my youngest son loves graphic novels and non-fiction.
It was hard to know how to narrow that diversity down into a list of five. Plus, what about family favorites from my own childhood? Much as I tried to share my favorites with my own children, for some reason, the magic that happened for me didn’t always happen for them. But that’s the beauty of books, isn’t it? For every book there is a right person at the right time, and when those three things match up, reading becomes a transporting, transformative experience like no other.
So, my list is going to be a list of books that transported all my kids and I in the same way. When we read them together, either as a toddler sitting on my lap, or simultaneously but each with our own copy, we got to share that magic. Living in these new worlds together.
By Maira Kalman
This is one of my favorite alphabet books of all time. This hilarious book tells the story of a dog who will eat everything but the food he is supposed to eat. All three of my children never got tired of hearing this at bedtime, and of course their favorite letter was U. He ate Rocky’s Underwear.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Putnam Juvenile| October 1, 2001
By Rosemary Wells
Really we love all the Max and Ruby books, but for some reason, the chocolate chicken was an extra-special giggle fest. Ruby is so bossy, but she doesn’t deserve to lose her whole chocolate chicken. She better act fast, or the ending won’t stay happy for long!
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Puffin| February 1, 2000
By James Marshall
Again, we loved all the George and Martha books, but this one, with The Big Scare is a particular favorite. We love the way the surprise is in the story, but then the surprise is also on the reader as well. Even though we knew what was coming after the first read, it never got old. Not even on the hundredth read!
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Sandpiper| October 25, 1982
By Martin Waddell
It might seem from my list that I only read my kids funny books, but Owl Babies is sweet and just the right amount of suspenseful. My children and I all felt such happy, satisfying relief every time we reached the end of this tale of a mommy owl who leaves her three babies while she goes to find food. At first the babies are content, but then they start to wonder . . . . Is she coming back?
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick Press | October 1, 1992
By Trenton Lee Stewart
Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities? This sentence sucked me and my children in and we had to trade the book back and forth so that we could all find out what happened. The whole series is delightful, but the first is definitely our favorite.
Ages 8 and up | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers| March 7, 2007
Find out more about Jenny Meyerhoff at www.jennymeyerhoff.com.
Published: June 12, 2013
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