A List of Books Important to my Family
I chose these books from the point of view of a mom of young children (which was a long time ago now). It was SO HARD to choose only five but here goes …
Written and Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
I read this multiple times daily to children who loved to “EAT IT UP” each time. Honestly. They loved it before they were even verbal. It was then we started using the word imagination in conversations. In fact, my son went through a phase when he’d hold up his hands as claws in a perfect Max imitation and told more fiction than fact tales. This remains a family favorite. Can’t wait to read it with the grandkids.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 1984 (Reprit) | ISBN-13: 978-0064431781
Written by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
My kids loved this book. The illustrations are so kid friendly and the story has a twist. But the reason I have included it is that my daughter LOVED it. She loved Disney movies (and continued to) but this was the book that began the alternative narrative of “what a girl is.” The princess doesn’t need a prince; she can be strong on her own. Plus, the prince was a creep and the princess didn’t hesitate to call him out on it. I loved that. I set out to raise a girl who would speak up for herself and take stock in herself while remaining the romantic that she was/is.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Annick Press | 1980 | ISBN-13: 978-0920236161
Written by J. K. Rowling
So much to say about THIS book. They began as read alouds but later forced me into making the rule about not eating at the dinner table. As they got older this book also began discussions with my kids about how romantic partners should also be friends. Loyal, decent, intelligent, affectionate, brave friends.
Ages 8+ | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books | 2007 | ISBN-13: 978-0545044257
Written by Audrey Wood
Illustrated by Don Wood
Talk about a visual stunner. This Book…Wow. But the reason I really adored it was, when my kids were young, a lot of picture books that were being released were not stories with a beginning, middle, and end. I, personally, didn’t see a lot of layered characters. The word counts were tiny and I longed for some meaty stories so I got my hands on this one. The children are named after the days of the week so kids have fun predicting names throughout. Visually stunning. A fairy tale with a bit of darkness (as is typical with fairy tales) but a story of wits and bravery and loving. A great conversation starter.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | 1992 | ISBN-13: 978-0152336790
Written and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Okay. I think Tomie is a genius. I love anything he puts his hands and heart to. But THIS book is SO MUCH fun to read to kids. Because it’s your standard GORGEOUS Tomie book but it’s also just so DARN clever. The twist makes for wide-eyed kids that then break into the cutest belly laughs. All snuggled up under blankets on your lap. By the time my kids grew up this one was dog-eared and creased by love. An all time favorite around here.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Holiday House | 1981 | ISBN-13: 978-0823403851
About Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of New York Times bestseller Fish in a Tree and Bank Street Best Book One for the Murphys. She’s a former teacher, and holds writers retreats for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, impetuous beagle, and beagle-loathing cat.
For more information, visit: www.lyndamullalyhunt.com
Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the author of the New York Times bestseller Fish in a Tree comes a compelling story about perspective and learning to love the family you have.
Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books | May 7, 2019 |ISBN-13: 978-0399175152
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Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of Shouting at the Rain, selected these five family favorites. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with Family Favorites.