HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Five Family Favorites with Jonathan Auxier, Author of Sweep

Five Family Favorites with Jonathan Auxier, Author of Sweep

Jonathan Auxier | The Children’s Book Review | September 27, 2018

What are you family’s five favorite books? What a delightful question! I talk a lot about my own favorite books, but things get a little more interesting when I have to factor in the opinions of my three kids (2, 4, and 6 years old). Finding a book that appeals to multiple ages can be a challenge. Here are a few books that are a hit with everyone at bedtime:

Uncle Elephant Arnold LobelUncle Elephant

Written by Arnold Lobel

I’m a gigantic Arnold Lobel fan, and I’ve worked hard to introduce my kids to some of his lesser-known books. Uncle Elephant is without a doubt our family favorite. The book has more of an arc than Lobel’s other books — which leads to an emotional wallop at the end like no other. If you don’t own this book, you must, must, must pick it up. (Pro tip: practice your elephant “trumpet” sounds … your kids deserve it).

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | ISBN-13: 978-0064441049

My Fathers DragonMy Father’s Dragon

Written by Ruth Stiles Gannett

This is one of the first books I remember my own father reading to me. It is a perfect introduction to the longer pacing of a novel. The chapters are all short and distinct from one another, and it’s gorgeously illustrated. This one we’ve read multiple times, and I never tire of a single moment. (Pro tip: Repeating the phrase “My Father” can be confusing to a young reader. I recommend giving up and just calling the hero “Elmer”)

Order a Copy Now:  | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 7-10 | Publisher: Martino Fine Books | ISBN-13: 978-1684221967

Uncle Scrooge Carl BanksUncle Scrooge

Written by Carl Barks

You might be wondering how a highbrow fancy-pants writer such as myself would deign to list a Disney comic strip. If you are wondering, STOP. Forty years before “Duck Tales” hit the airwaves, a (then anonymous) artist named Carl Barks penned the greatest comic books of his time. They are jam-packed with adventure and gags and breathtaking art. Treat yourself and make sure you get the recently restored Fantagraphics collection, which are amazing. (Pro tip: The traditional Donal Duck voice is impossible to replicate; consider replacing with a hammy Bronx accent … you’ll be surprised how well it fits the character).

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 7+ | Publisher: Fantagraphics | ISBN-13: 978-1-60699-875-5

You Choose by Pippa GoodheartYou Choose

Written by Pippa Goodheart

This book is an import and might be a bit harder to find … but it’s worth it! Simple line drawings contain a world of opportunity for young readers as they work through a series of questions about what sort of imaginary life they might want to have. We read this so much that we had to buy a second copy after the first one fell apart. After years of bedtimes, it is still the top request. (Pro tip: As readers select different clothing options, make them pantomime putting them on … and lead by example!)

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 7+ | Publisher: Fantagraphics | ISBN-13: 978-1-60699-875-5

The Princess in BlackThe Princess in Black

Written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

For the parent looking for longer, heavily illustrated adventures, this series is the gold standard. The full-color paintings by LeUyen Pham are perfect. These books are funny, bold, and fast-paced. This is the sort of hero every parent dreams of their children idolizing. Truly, nothing beats hearing your kids run around the yard yelling “Twinkle-twinkle-little-SMASH!”  (Pro tip: just go ahead and buy the whole series.)

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Candlewick | ISBN-13: 978-0763678883

That’s my top five! Though, there is *one more* book that might be worth mentioning. As I was revising Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster I read the chapters aloud to my older kids. It was the first time I’d done anything like that with them, and I was delighted (and greatly humbled) to see them grab hold of the world and make it their own. If you have young readers who love rooftops and monsters and mischief, I hope you give Sweep a try!

Sweep by Jonathan AuxierSweep

Written by Jonathan Auxier

Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.

When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash.

Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a new life—saving each other in the process. Lyrically told by one of today’s most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Candlewick | September 25, 2018 |ISBN-13: 978-1419731402

Available Here: 

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About the Author

Jonathan Auxier is the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, and Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which the Wall Street Journal called “as delightful a magical story as readers . . . will hope to find.” He lives in Pittsburgh with his family.

Jonathan Auxier, author of Sweep, selected these five family favorites. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with .

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

  • I came across your site on Twitter. I am an Author of A Tale Of Dreams for preteens. I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy your site and am reading the Author interviews. This site keeps me more aware of what young readers enjoy. Thanks for your wonderful book reviews. I will make sure to share you with my Daughter. She has four kids and they all love reading. Thank goodness.

    October 15, 2018

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