In honor of my son’s 9th birthday today, I thought I would post what his favorite books of 2017 were. (Don’t worry, I’ll have the adult version coming next week! This week has just been very kid-centric!) I asked him, and it took him less than 20 seconds to come up with these. When you know, you know!
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
We are about 3/4 through this book, and it’s already his favorite of the series. (Followed closely by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.) This kid is a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and one of my favorite things of 2017 has been to watch him become that fan. The fifth book is much darker than the previous four, but he’s been loving it, and lugging around my hardcover copy of it to school to read in any spare moments he has. If you have an 8-year-old who’s shown even the slightest interest in Harry Potter (or if you’re an adult who hasn’t read them yet), give them the first book and get started!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway
This is the newest in the Wimpy Kid series, and my son knew the release dates months before and was counting down the days. He read it in a day or two and declared it the best one yet. These books are silly, and probably slightly inappropriate, but when it comes to books I’m a little more lenient! This one also takes place during the holidays, so if you’re looking for a book to get for a reluctant reader, or a reader who doesn’t have the newest one yet, go for the Wimpy Kid books. I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t like them!
This is another graphic novel, this time from the author of the Captain Underpants series, Dav Pilkey. It’s a comic, Dog Man, written by the two main characters, George and Harold, from Captain Underpants. As you might expect, this book (also a series) is silly, funny, and absolutely ridiculous. So of course my son (both of my sons, actually) love it. I’m glad that authors such as Dav Pilkey and Andy Griffiths are making reading fun for kids. It’s easy to get bogged down with all the books we think our kids “should” read, and sometimes that makes them think reading isn’t fun. Dog Man is definitely fun, and I’m sure we’ll be adding more of this series to our collection!
So that’s my older son’s list of favorite books this year! After his birthday and Christmas gifts, his TBR pile will get a little longer, and I’m interested to see what will be on his list of favorites next year.
Today I want to highlight another of our favorite Christmas books! My boys love the Fly Guy series, and Fly Guy’s Ninja Christmas is great. The Fly Guy series, written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold, is about a boy named Buzz and his pet fly, Fly Guy. Fly Guy and Buzz can understand each other and they go everywhere together. In this one, Fly Guy is frantically searching for a present for Buzz on Christmas Eve, and he runs into a strange man in a red suit in his house. He uses his ninja skills (which any kid will appreciate) to fend off the mysterious stranger, and still has to find a present for his best friend!
This book is super cute, and if your kid likes ninjas at all, they will love this book. It’s really great for beginning readers to read on their own as well, or for more advanced readers who are looking for a quick, fun book to read. If you give books as gifts for Christmas, this is a perfect one to gift. (I wrapped it up for my 6-year-old last Christmas!)
I had to include my vintage yarn Santa with my “vintage” copy of The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear. This was one of my favorite books to read as a kid, and it’s one of my kids’ favorites now. When I pulled it out, my almost-9-year-old said, “Oh! We haven’t read that yet this year, and we need to!” (I don’t think anyone can ever be too old for the Berenstain Bears.) There’s just something about this book that makes our holiday book stack feel complete, and I have a feeling I’ll be forcing my kids to listen to me read it when they’re adults.
Brother and Sister Bear are getting ready for their annual visit to Santa, and they, as all of us do, are hypnotized and excited by all of the decorations, toys, and advertisements. When it comes time to make their Christmas wish lists for Santa, they realize that they might be asking for too much, and that the true meaning of Christmas isn’t the presents you receive, but what you choose to give to others.
The Berenstain Bears are a long-time favorite of mine and my kids, and the Christmas books are done so well. This book is sentimental and sweet and teaches a good lesson without getting preachy. The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear would make a great addition to any holiday book collection, if you don’t already own it![Top]
Well, it’s definitely winter in Texas-we’ve had REAL snow, cold weather (in addition to 80-degree days), and we’ve started reading Christmas books at night! This week my kids have been reading some new-to-them chapter books, and we read one of my favorite Christmas books ever together. Tell me what you and your kids have been reading this week!
A New Class: Star Wars: Jedi Academy 4
Our elementary school had their book fair this week, and even though we own the entire Jedi Academy series, my 6-year-old wanted “his OWN copy” of this one. He’s finally starting to read chapter books on his own, so I’m just happy he found a series he loves. My kids love this series. They are part chapter books, part graphic novel, and full of adventure and plenty of elementary/middle school drama. This book is about a younger brother joining his embarrassed sister at Jedi school and the hijinks they get into while there. Yoda is in this one, so if you have Star Wars fans they’ll love this!
This series is new to me, and I don’t let my kids play Minecraft very much, but they still love it. There are a ton of books in the unofficial Minecraft book world, and The Creeper Diaries are about a Creeper (please don’t ask me to explain what that is, because I can’t) named Gerald who is a pacifist in a war-happy Minecraft school. It’s definitely in the graphic novel category, and full of adventure, magic, and good versus evil. Any kid who is a fan of Minecraft or wild adventure books will probably love this series.
What We’re Reading Together
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
I mentioned this in last week’s post, so I won’t go on and on about it, but we finished reading this book this week, and my kids loved it! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is the story of the 6 Herdman kids and how they come to understand the Christmas story, and manage to touch the hearts of an entire congregation of people who previously despised them. There are funny moments, touching scenes, and plenty of Biblical history thrown in. This isn’t a religious book, but it does focus on a Christmas pageant, but even if you aren’t religious, I think there’s plenty to enjoy. My kids loved hearing the shocking things the Herdmans got up to, and I loved re-reading one of my childhood favorites to them. (And I even teared up at the end at Gladys’s last, “Hey! Unto you a child is born!”[Top]
In honor of the start of December (And the official start of the Christmas season-our elf arrives today), I thought I would show you all some of the books in our overflowing Christmas book basket! This isn’t even half the books, and I won’t list them all because, well, it would take too long to read! I’m going to list a few of our favorites, and try to highlight a few more throughout this month.
Tell me what Christmas or holiday books you read with your kids!
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
I mentioned this book on Instagram, and I was so happy to see that a lot of you also read this as a kid! I loved this book growing up (and I got to be in the play version and loved every minute of it) and my kids are loving it as well. It’s a short book, and is great for reading out loud together (6 and up) or for an older kid to read on their own (8ish and up). The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is about how a family of 6 ill-mannered kids, the Herdmans, end up attending Sunday school at a very traditional church. They go for the snacks, and end up staying and volunteering to be in the Christmas pageant. No one argues with them, because if you argue with a Herdman you might end up with a black eye. The Herdmans have no idea what the Christmas story is, and as they learn throughout the book, the kids and parents who thought they already knew everything end up learning a few things themselves. This is a great book that really highlights the importance of understanding and tolerance, even for the “worst” kids. And I have to say, the Herdman kids ask some interesting questions about the history of the Christmas story that started some great discussions between my own kids!
The Night Before Christmas
This is the classic Christmas book, and I’m sure everyone has a copy of it. We have the Mary Engelbreit illustrated version of it, and I just love it. The pictures are beautiful and keep a somewhat outdated story interesting for my kids. We read this every Christmas Eve right before bed!
Llama Llama Holiday Drama
We love the Llama Llama book series, and I was heartbroken when Anna Dewdney passed away in 2016. Even though this is a board book and probably too young for my kids, we still read it! (I think there’s something about Christmas books-no matter how old kids get, they’re never too old for favorite books.) It’s all about how tiring the holidays can be, and how hard it is to wait until Christmas. Llama Llama throws a tantrum, of course, and his mama explains that while holidays and gifts are fun, the real gift we have is each other. I think that’s a great message, delivered in a simple format, that’s wonderful for any age.
The Spirit of Christmas
The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous, and the story is very sweet. (If you’re like me, you’ll tear up at the end.) It is told in rhyme, similar to The Night Before Christmas, and tells the story of the spirit of Christmas entering a family’s home and decorating it every which way to get ready for the holiday. But the narrator keeps thinking something is missing-ornaments, bells, cookies. At the end, the narrator realizes that Christmas isn’t Christmas without love and children, and I’m already tearing up just thinking about reading this to my kids again this year! It’s truly a wonderful book.
Little Critter: Merry Christmas Mom and Dad
I loved Little Critter as a kid, and I still love him! This is two books in one: Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad and Just for You. In Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, Little Critter tries to make cookies, decorate the tree, and wrap presents in his own, messy way. In the classic Mercer Mayer style, Little Critter doesn’t always pay close attention to what he’s doing, but his heart is in the right place, and he just wants to please his parents. Just for You isn’t a Christmas story, but it is a sweet story of Little Critter trying to help his mom any way he can. (Even if that means it makes more work for his mom in the end!)
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
Do your kids read the Little Blue Truck books? Mine loved these so much that I had them memorized for a good couple of years. In this cute Christmas story, Little Blue Truck is delivering Christmas trees to all of his friends. The illustrations are super cute, as usual, and there is a light-up element at the end of the book that any kid will love.
Elf Alternative–North Pole Ninjas: MISSION: Christmas!
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? We do, and it’s fun, but last year I wanted something a little different. (In addition to the elf, because my kids definitely did not forget about Elfie coming.) We tried the North Pole Ninjas, and it’s awesome! The set comes with a book, a stuffed elf ninja/sensei, and a bunch of good deed cards. This is sort of like the Elf on the Shelf in that you can move the ninja around every day, but instead of focusing on behavior, this is meant to focus on doing good deeds throughout the month of December. The book tells how there are special ninja elves at the north pole who perform top secret missions, and now that you have the sensei, you can also be a secret ninja and help them perform all their good deeds. There are 50 cards with suggestions on them, but you can always make up your own as well. The goal is to pick a card or two a day and carry out secret missions (good deeds) throughout the month, with the sensei guiding you. My kids love ninjas, and they really do like doing nice things for other people. We all need a little encouragement in this area sometimes, and this is a fun way to encourage it in kids.[Top]