The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 15, 2013
Kate Messner is an award-winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers. Kate also spent fifteen years teaching middle school and earned National Board Certification in 2006. Her picture latest picture book, Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish, is a great back-to-school (and any other time) read. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family and loves spending time outside. Thankfully, she took a break from one of her favorite summer pastimes, kayaking, to share this great list of her family’s favorite books.
Reading aloud and reading together have been part of our family life since the kids were born, and it remains important to us, even though both kids have been reading on their own for years. We’re also big book sharers, so even if we’re not officially sharing a title together out loud, you hear a lot of “Hey, listen to this…” excerpts when you’re hanging around our house. Here are five of the many Messner family favorites:
This beautiful, quiet book manages to be filled with hushed wonder and thrilling all at once. We all love the story of a child and parent who head out into the woods at night, searching for owls. They are full of anticipation and patient hope (“Sometimes there’s an owl and sometimes there isn’t”) and as readers, we love sharing in that journey.
Ages 3-8 | Publisher: Philomel | October 23, 1987
By J.K. Rowling
Fact; I’ve read every one of the Harry Potter books out loud twice – once to each of my two kids when they were old enough. Sharing the magic of Harry’s acceptance into Hogwarts and his subsequent challenges, heartbreaks, and triumphs was as magical as any wand and at least as transporting as any dose of floo powder. I wish I could read them for the first time again.
Ages 8 and up | Publisher: Scholastic | 1997 – 2007
By Linda Urban
All of our Linda Urban books are pretty dog-eared, and their covers are sticky with maple syrup from people reading during breakfast – a sure sign of love in our house – but this one is our favorite of the bunch. It’s about a girl named Ruby Pepperdine and a parade. It’s also about worries, donuts, sea captains, and the kind of magic that’s not about wands and wizards but about small towns and families and love.
Ages 9 and up | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | March 5, 2013
By Michael Hearst
This isn’t a book that we’ve read aloud together, but it’s one that we’re constantly passing from hand to hand, saying, “Look at this!” We all love the natural world and appreciate books that celebrate it with a sense of wonder, even when it comes to the creatures that are more creepy than cute. We were especially enchanted with the hagfish, which produces its own slime as a defense mechanism.
Ages 8 and up | Publisher: Chronicle Books | September 26, 2012
This book is all about spending time outdoors, looking more closely at everything from the ladybug in the garden to that frog that just jumped into the pond. CITIZEN SCIENTISTS is a Messner family favorite because of the way it brings together two of our favorite things – books and being outdoors – and invites us all to participate in real scientific research that can be as simple as counting ladybugs in our own backyard.
Ages 8 and up | Publisher: Square Fish | February 14, 2012
Find out more about Kate Messner, visit: https://www.katemessner.com
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