Five Family Favorites with Cindy Hudson
Five Family Favorites: Leading Bloggers Share their Family Favorite Books, #2
For our second installment of Five Family Favorites, we asked Cindy Hudson to share her family’s all-time favorite books. Cindy is the author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press, 2009) and the creator of the wonderful Mother Daughter Book Club.com. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two daughters.
From the time our girls were born, my husband and I had fun reading to them. We started with titles like Pat the Bunny and Dr. Seuss books before working our way up to novels to read out loud as a family when they got older.
Reading time was always my favorite time of day, as the four of us piled together on the bed, snuggling under blankets in the winter or enjoying the feel of a breeze from the window in summer. Often, our favorite books were ones that made us laugh or painted a vivid picture of another time or a different world. Here are five of our all-time favorites, books we’ve read more than once and wouldn’t hesitate to read again, even though the girls are all grown up now.
By E. B. White
Until I read the book by E. B. White I thought Charlotte’s Web was just a cute movie for kids. But the rich story in the book about the unlikely friendship that develops between a spider, Charlotte, and a pig, Wilbur, stole my heart. What seems to be a simple story on the surface has so much more beneath it, from the meaning of true friendship, to being resourceful while bringing about change to your world, to suffering grief from loss and learning how to carry on afterward. And as you would expect from a classic that has stood the test of time, adults can appreciate the deeper meanings while both generations enjoy the surface story. (Ages 6-11. Publisher: HarperCollins)
By Roald Dahl
Ever wonder where Dahl got the ideas for some of the wacky and evil characters that punctuate his fiction? You’ll find out when you read Boy: Tales of Childhood. Dahl’s memoir of his childhood and school days is fascinating both because of things he experiences—tonsil surgery in his kitchen, having his nose sewn back on after going through the windshield of his sister’s car—as it is for the people he encounters—a grimy-fingernailed candy shoppe owner and cruel boarding school teachers. My family still talks about the incident of the rat in the candy jar and the story about how Dahl played a joke on his older sister’s boyfriend with “goat tobacco.” (Ages 8-12. Publisher: Penguin Group)
By Richard Peck
Peck’s down-to-earth voice and talent for capturing a scene carries this story of a girl who travels from her Chicago home to spend a year with her grandmother during the depression. Even though it’s told in the voice of Mary Alice, it’s more about Grandma Dowdel and her ungrandmotherly ways. Whether she’s getting back at boys who like to tip her outhouse or teaching a lesson to an unfriendly neighbor, Grandma Dowdel’s antics are laugh-out-loud funny. (Ages 10-14. Publisher: Penguin Group)
I recently reread this book out loud with my husband and 17-year-old daughter, although my girls were 10 and 13 when we first read it. We loved it just as much the second time, and savored the story all the way through. We often had to put the book down to talk about what we liked about the story or take a laugh break, always a sign of a great book for us. Framed is full of eccentric characters, world famous art, and one boy who refuses to let his sleepy town slowly dwindle away to nothing when times get tight and people begin to leave in search of better opportunities. (Ages 8 and up. Publisher: HarperCollins)
The first book in the series is still our family’s favorite. We read it out loud together when my oldest daughter was the same age Harry is in this book: eleven. Since then, each of my daughters has read it on her own several times, always finding something new to discover in Harry’s world. There is something truly magical in this story of an ordinary, unloved boy who discovers he is quite famous in the world that exists alongside the one he knows and would love to escape. Harry Potter sparks the imagination as it has sparked the reading habits of an entire generation. (Ages 9-12. Publisher: Scholastic)
Thanks to Cindy Hudson and her family for this incredible list of books!
Nicki Richesin is the editor of four anthologies The May Queen, Because I Love Her, What I Would Tell Her, and Crush. She is a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Daily Candy, 7×7, Red Tricycle, and San Francisco Book Review. Nicki has been reading to her daughter every day since she was born. For more information, visit: www.nickirichesin.com.