My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but my mom supplemented that with regular trips to the library. And whenever the Scholastic book order came home in my backpack, she always found a few extra dollars for another new treasure.
I grew up with a stack of books by my bed so tall that I sometimes wondered what would happen to me if they tipped over at night. For that reason, reading sometimes became a safety issue.
I was a repeat reader—once I found a book I loved, I would read it on a loop until the librarian refused to check it out to me anymore (yes, really). Some of my favorites were The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
So thanks to my mom (and some really amazing teachers), I learned to love books early and often, and it’s been a love I’ve tried to share with the family I’m raising. Here are five books (or series) that have meant a lot to us:
To me, a great picture book is one that will capture the imagination of children and adults alike. Shark vs. Train is just that sort of book. Whimsical and funny for all ages, it’s been a great family read-aloud.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Apr. 1, 2010 | ISBN-13: 978-0316007627
By J.K. Rowling
I started out reading this with my oldest at night, and by midway through Chamber of Secrets, I began sneaking it off his nightstand. It was fun to watch him grow up with this series, and when it left off, Percy Jackson was right there waiting for him!
Ages 8 and up | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books | July 7, 2009 | ISBN-13: 978-0545162074
My husband grew up as a huge fan of these books. So when the first movie came out, I bought him tickets for Christmas. And though he enjoyed it, the movie became a HUGE writing inspiration for me. I couldn’t rest until I had read them all (Okay, honest moment here. They’re really long books. I had to rest between reading marathons).
Ages 12 and up | Publisher: Mariner Books; 50th Anniversary edition | Oct. 12, 2005 | ISBN-13: 978-0618640157
By Ingrid Law
My daughter walked downstairs one morning and slapped a book on the counter saying, “You MUST read this.” It was a thick book for her age, and the thickest book she had read by that point. She didn’t care—book love is book love. It was the coolest thing to watch her really develop her own love of reading!
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Dial | May 1, 2008 | ISBN-13: 978-0803733060
By Jeffrey Salane
Ditto everything above, except with my youngest. He’s a pretty picky reader, and has given up on many books within only a few chapters. But Lawless held his attention all the way through.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | Aug. 6, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0307978967
New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; Book 6 of the Infinity Ring series, BEHIND ENEMY LINES, The Underworld Chronicles, beginning with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR; and the forthcoming PRAETOR WAR series. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains. Visit: www.jennielsen.com
Jennifer A. Nielsen takes readers on an extraordinary journey in this final installment of the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Ascendance Trilogy.
War is coming. . . . Join Jaron as he embarks on his final adventure!