Are you ready for more read-aloud recommendations and great books for kids?
Then read on!
Many people ask if it’s necessary to continue reading aloud with older children who are capable of reading books themselves.
My answer is a resounding, “Yes!” The time spent reading aloud with your kids offers so many benefits.
Besides the time spent together, it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss events, relationships, moral issues – all through the books you choose to read.
Read alouds can become the stepping stone to many conversations.
It’s also the best way to share books that they might not read on their own. My daughter isn’t a bookworm (shocking, I know!) but she LOVES read aloud and talking about books. So, if I can’t bring her eyes to the book I’ll bring her ears to it instead.
And don’t forget all the other benefits – increased vocabulary, logical thinking skills (really!), and hey, it’s just fun.
Keep reading to those older kids – you won’t be disappointed!
We read so many great books this past year that I couldn’t choose a favorite though there are a few authors that we return to often (Elizabeth Enright and Edward Eager made many appearances this year).
Below, you’ll find our very favorite books for kids – they’re great for 4th graders but younger or older children can enjoy them just as much.
Many of these books are classic novels that you should definitely be reading with your kids but we’ve also read some that are more ‘modern’.
I think it’s more difficult to find recently published novels that are worth our time, so if you have any recommendations, leave me a comment!
- The Candymakers
- James and the Giant Peach
- Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (don’t forget Charlie & the Chocolate Factory)
- George Washington: True Patriot
- Half Magic
- Knight’s Castle
- The Princess & the Goblin
- Magic by the Lake
- The Mysterious Howling
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- The 21 Balloons
- The Hidden Gallery
- The Unseen Guest
- Gone-Away Lake
- The Princess and Curdie
- The Interrupted Tale
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- The Four-Story Mistake
- Thimble Summer
- Return to Gone-Away
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
- Chocolate Fever
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
(TJ listened to it last year but she enjoyed it so much she wanted to borrow it again!)
This book is recommended for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 that love mystery. Its story is built around four fictional characters named Logan, Miles, Daisy, and Philip who are contestants in an annual New Candy Competition that is hosted by the Confectionary Association. These four contestants will compete in Sweet candy factory and when there is a winner, Life is Sweet will make the winning candy.
There would be mysteries that will unfold as the story goes on; some of which are “Did one try to steal a key ingredient from the factory?”, “What is the secret ingredient at Life is Sweet?”, “Will one of them win the competition?” etc. These mysteries will keep the reader engaged and keep reading till the end.
Anyone reading would “see” the story unfolds through the lens of each of the four participants’ perspectives up to the point where they overcome their doubts, trust each other and finish the contest. Overall, after reading, one would feel satisfied, understand the meaning of teamwork, would have explored the concept of friendship, and learned the benefit of getting along with others different from you.
This highly-rated children’s book tells a story about James Henry Trotter that lost his parents to an awful rhinoceros’ accident, making him have to live with his two mean aunties. The experience makes James very sad and lonely after he endures it for three years.
He will meet an old man that would give him a bag of magic crystals with an assurance that it would turn his misery around forever. These magic crystals will be accidentally spilled on his aunts’ withered peach tree, setting a series of events in motion. When the peach tree grows really big, James will climb inside it to escape from his mean aunties and start life afresh.
The book has warm humor and an engaging storyline that is perfect for a child’s bedtime. Children would find joy and parents would be delighted while reading it and tapping into the many memories the book would help create.
This is a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Charlie Bucket and his parents, Grandpa Joe, Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina, and Mr. Willie Wonka himself are in a magical glass elevator on their way to take over the Wonka Chocolate Factory. However, they ascend too high and end up in space just at the time when the Space Hotel is about to open and they ended up boarding it.
When they board, they find out that some nasty creatures have boarded before them. They start to escape but also have to help a space capsule filled with housekeepers, waitresses, and bellhops escape a swarm of vermicious knids. They return to Wonka Works and have another crisis to deal with. The book has some life lessons, humor, and wild adventures contained in it.
(as much as we liked this one I don’t recommend the sequels)
Inkheart tells a story of magic, deceit, kidnap, and murder; which makes it not recommendable for the faint-hearted. The story places focus on a book restorer that lives with his daughter. Mo, the restorer can read characters out of a book and that is why he does read out loud to his daughter.
The story is original and well-written, making one feel a connection to the characters and maybe care for them a little. The book has many pages but the compelling story is worth everyone.
Every kid that grows up and wants to know about the life of the first president of the United States would not do wrong by reading this book.
It tells the tale from an honorary perspective in a way that is not being taught in schools. The narrative style employed in this book is engaging and makes history seem interesting for a change.
This magical story has an early 20th-century setting and is all about the adventures of three sisters and a brother that finds a magical coin.
The magical coin only grants half a wish at a time which sometimes causes disasters. The adventures are thrilling and the book is enjoyable but has a serious life lesson on happiness.
Pinocchio tells a story about a magical puppet that wants to be human. A woodcarver in an Italian village got a piece of wood and set out to use it for his next project until he found out that the piece of wood can talk.
This piece of wood is called Pinocchio and Geppetto, the woodcarver raises him as his son but he turns out to be disobedient. The book teaches children to be obedient and good people, not just for themselves but for other people in society.
The main characters in Knight’s Castle, Roger, Ann, Jack, and Eliza which all come from the children in Half Magic (another children’s book). Roger’s father falls sick and gets treated at a hospital in Baltimore and his kids spend summertime with their cousins.
His dad’s illness makes Roger, his sister, and his cousins go on a quest to get a magical cure for him. The character development of this book is awesome and the adventure contained in it is captivating.
A princess named Irene lives on a beautiful mountain that houses a secret about a certain goblin kingdom that later kidnaps her. Princess Irene and her nurse are rescued by Curdie – the son of a miner – that sings songs that make the goblins flee and takes them to their castle where a series of events unfold.
This book is perfect for kids that are into fairytales and is captivating. It is also a good read for adults if they can make time for it.
During summer break, Martha, Mark, Jane, and Katherine live by a lake. When they go swimming, they meet a turtle that tells them the lake is magical. This makes the kids visit the lake every day to get their wishes granted.
The children make fun wishes and even ask the lake to help them find a treasure on an island so they can give it to their uncle. The events that unfold in this book are worth reading and the suspense would keep kids moving from one page to another.
This book is the first part of the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series and tells the story of three children named Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia that grew up in the woods and were taken in by Lord Frederic Ashton and his selfish wife.
The children face a rough fate in a society that wants their downfall. Pervasive humor does not lack in any way in this book and the abrupt way in which it ends makes one crave the sequel.
This is the first of the seven-novel Harry Potter series which is laced with humor to makes one laugh out loud. The texts are witty, charming and would amuse kids and adults alike. It tells the story of a young boy, Harry, that starts his first term in a school of witchcraft and wizardry called Hogwarts.
He is surrounded by lots of young people just like himself who in awe of their new reality. He becomes close friends and forms a group with Ron and Hermione. This 3-man group would go on many adventures throughout the story and the story would have a great conclusion, leaving readers feeling good. The book is highly recommended to anyone above 8 years of age.
A professor named William Waterman Sherman has become fed up with being a teacher at a school in San Francisco. In a bid to do something different with his life, he decides to sail around the world in a hot air balloon for a year.
While flying in the sky, a group of seagulls destroys his balloons which makes him end up on an island where he will go through series of events throughout the story. The book is an entertaining work of fiction and is beneficial to kids between ages 8 and 12.
The Hidden Gallery is the second book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, the one that follows The Mysterious Howling. After a disastrous end to the prequel, Governess Penelope Lumley is moved to London and stays there while repairs are being made to the Ashton Place.
She teaches the three kids in her “care” about the city after they lived the beginning of their lives in the forest. As the story develops, things get out of hand and one thing happens after another. The plot is great, impressive, and entertaining to the average ready.
This is the third book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series and the sequel to The Hidden Gallery. Governess Penelope and the three kids return from London. Even though they grew up in the wild, they have picked up city activities like bird-watching. Some family mysteries that need solving pop up.
Also, Admiral Faucet’s ostrich goes missing, prompting the three kids to use the skills from the wild to track it down. The search leads them back to the wild – the habitat they grew up – and one wonders if they would rather stay there or return to the castle. Every child over 8 years of age that reads this book would find the mysteries intriguing.
Gone-Away Lake is an engaging family story centered around Portia Blake, a ten-year-old and 12-year-old cousin Julian Jarman. The Jarmans live out in the country while the Blakes wish they had the same luck.
The book tells us how they achieved their dream and encourages the kids to read that they can achieve theirs when they put their mind to it.
This is the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin that tells a tale about the journey of Curdie who is a courageous miner that is loyal to the king. An old princess purifies Curdie’s hands in her fire and asks him to risk his life to help her younger sister and the king that are in a city far away.
A strange creature named Lina helps Curdie on his journey and one has to read the book to know if they were successful or not. The story has themes of faith, love, courage, consequences, growth, etc. lace throughout its entirety.
This is yet another book from the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series; the fourth one to be precise. Ms. Lumley gets invited on her 16th birthday to speak to residents at her school at a Celebrate Alumnae Knowledge Exposition. This makes her travel along with Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia to her alma mater.
In the school, she finds out that Judge Quinzy has infiltrated the board of trustees and has kicked off a repressive regime that would convert the school’s name to Quinzy School for Miserable Girls; who knows why? It also comes to light that Judge Quinzy is after a particular old diary that has clues to why Ashton men howl at the full moon. These and other mysteries would be uncovered in the story. Children intrigued by mystery would fall in love with this book and the series as a whole.
The Phantom Tollbooth is a children’s fantasy book about a kid named Milo who finds it difficult to figure out what to do with himself. He gets bored even though he has a room full of toys and books.
Fortunately, he received a big box in his bedroom one day which changes all these. When Milo opens the box, he finds a tollbooth, sets him up, drives through it with a small electric car, and enters the land expectation. Milo has a wild journey that every child would want to sit down and read through for a couple of hours.
As a sequel to another book called The Saturdays and it allows readers to follow up the adventures of the Melendy family. Each of the four children, Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver have different goals and each is fun to read about.
This book has a lot of action and decent dialogues, making one get immersed in the reality of the characters.
Garnet Linden lived a normal life on her family’s farm in Wisconsin. One day, she comes across a silver thimble that she suspects can have some extraordinary magic in it when summer starts. Shortly after she finds the thimble, the drought that had spread across the land and affected the farmers stops.
Also, Eric – an orphan – becomes a part of Garnet’s family and at the same time, she goes through adventures that she never thought were possible. Any child reading this book would long for the lifestyle of someone living in a small town, whether they have been exposed to it before or not. The book is entertaining and well-written making ordinary activities sound exciting.
This is a continuation of the Gone-Away Lake story. The Blakes are back to the scene where they had their entertaining adventures and are permanent guests in “the house of astonishments” (as Portia calls it).
As summer goes on, the children start to hear stories from neighbors about Mrs. Brace-Gldeon, the lady that owned the house before they got in. The story tells us how they adapt to the old Victorian mansion and the many events that would take place over the summer. The elements of mystery embedded in the story are superb and compel one to read for long hours at a time.
In this tale of magic and the power of love, Edward Tulane – a china rabbit who has a huge ego – is loved and highly thought of by his mistress, Abilene Tulane. This makes Edward complacent and not have the best manners but Abiline’s grandmother is one of the few that does not suck up to him.
When she tells Edward that she is disappointed in him, he goes on an adventure that lasts a lifetime. The book teaches the lessons he learned on loss, love, and consequences. These lessons are almost certain to have a positive impact on the reader.
Henry Green was obsessed with chocolate and probably loved it more than anyone in the world. His obsession made him create a new illness called Chocolate Fever and he was the only one to contract it.
This tale is lighthearted, funny and would leave chocolate lovers satisfied. There are lessons of prejudice, care and courage to be learned in the book.
Tom Sawyer wants freedom, the same way every other child wants it. He was born in Missouri and raised by Polly, his auntie, and lives with her and his cousins. Tom likes to play hooky and go fishing. He is a little rebellious but his auntie sends him to school and tries to set him straight.
On a Monday in school, Tom sees a new girl in school named Becky that he falls in love with instantly. While confessing his love to her, he mistakenly utters the name of his previous crush, Amy, which makes Becky mad. This triggers a chain of events that are covered within the book. The story is entertaining, relatable, wonderful to read, and shows the joys of childhood.