Many years ago, I stumbled upon the book Strawberry Girl at our local library and checked it out on a whim. Even though I read numerous picture books daily with my young children, we had not ventured into chapter books.
After reading the first chapter of Strawberry Girl aloud, my children and I were hooked! (scroll down to view details on this book)
Thankfully, that book turned out to be a page-turner, and I found that is the key to reading aloud to children:
Find books that are so interesting, you can’t wait to turn the page and find out what happens next!
That was several years ago, and we’ve read a plethora of chapter books together since then.
You’ll find our absolute favorites listed below.
Please note two items:
♥ I’ve personally read all of these books and will alert you if there is any content that is even remotely objectionable for even the youngest of ears.
♥ Bookmark this page and check back often, as I will update it frequently. The newest selections will be posted to the top of the list.
Favorite Read Alouds
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I intentionally did not list these books in alphabetical order.
I’ll add the newest selections to the top of the list so you can easily find the new-to-you listings.
Let’s get started!
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Oh what a heartwarming, uplifting read this is! The girls and I especially loved this book.
Set in New York’s upper East Side prior to World War I, All-of-a-Kind Family gives a glimpse at what life might have been like for a poor immigrant family.
Small, continuing stories of Mama, Papa, and their 5 girls just warm the heart. Since the family is Jewish, it gives those of us who aren’t Jewish a bird’s eye view of traditional Jewish customs.
My children and I were so thrilled to find out this was the first of a series!
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
I don’t exaggerate in the least when I tell you that this book has forever changed my perspective – what it really means to be hungry, what persistence and hard work looks like, and how privileged we really are here in America.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an amazing look at William Kamkwamba’s life and how his brilliance, but mostly his determination and sheer will led to a life-changing event for himself and his village.
Living in a remote village in Malawi, William uses donated English text books (he speaks Malawian), to teach himself how to build a windmill. With the aid of a windmill, his family could get out of their famine-stricken circumstances and really live.
Note that this book is probably best for 3rd-ish grade and up, but my 4 and 6-year-olds were riveted right along with the rest of us!
Also, note that the beginning deals with black magic – and how it doesn’t work. There is also a portion on William having to put his dog down due to hunger that I skipped over with my children. It was fairly graphic.
But don’t let those two issues make you skip reading this with your children. There are a multitude of talking points and life lessons here that are too good to miss.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
If you’re looking for an easy read for youngest all the way to your oldest, Mr. Popper’s Penguins will be a hit!
House painter, Mr. Popper, isn’t exactly thrilled with his job and wants a new adventure in life. His long-time hero, Admiral Drake, sends him a gift: a penguin!
Mr. and Mrs. Popper end up with 12 penguins by the end of the book! How fun to follow along with all of their issues and antics.
My children and I read this during the summer, but will definitely read it again when we study penguins this winter!
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Illustrated by Robert Ingpen
We have this particular version of The Secret Garden, which I highly recommend due to its stunning illustrations!
This hardback version is well worth the few extra dollars, because you’ll read it over and over again with your kiddos.
Even though this book is over 100 years old, the character of Mary Lennox comes alive in the words of this text as if it were written yesterday.
I adore The Secret Garden for many reasons, however I mostly enjoy that it provides an opportunity for many talking points with my children: some children have parents that don’t show much love or affection, if we say something about ourselves enough times, we might believe it (Colin’s “sickness”), what true, simple friendship looks like (Dickon, Mary, and Colin), and more.
A must read – especially this particular version!
The Hallelujah Lass by Wendy Lawton
My children and I read this book in 2 days – we truly could not put it down!
The Hallelujah Lass is a beautiful look at the life of Eliza Shirley, the girl who brought The Salvation Army to America.
This heart-warming, emotional book is a glimpse at what it looks like when we give our all to Christ and say, “I’ll go where you want me to go.”
Our favorite part: the prayer wall! We have a small section of our school room carved out for our own prayer wall, thanks to the inspiration of Miss Shirley.
Bound for Oregon by Jean Van Leeuwen
This was another book that we found early on in our read aloud adventure, and I’m so glad that we did!
Bound for Oregon is based on the true accounts of Mary Ellen Todd, who ventured the Oregon Trail with her family in 1852.
Note that there are several anxiety-provoking parts in this book – sickness of various family members, the dog is trapped in the water, etc.
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
The Courage of Sarah Noble is a shorter read, but is packed with emotion.
Set in the early 1700’s, Sarah and her father set out through the woods and wilderness to build the family a new home.
“Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble!” (fill in with our own name) has become a common phrase in our house when one of us needs to be brave!
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
Now this is a page turner!
This amazing story of determination and persistence is a fictionalized biography of Nathaniel Bowditch of Salem.
Nat is a notable example of a life-long learner with an intense desire to gain knowledge.
Want a story that will light a fire under your kiddos to learn? This is it.
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
Strawberry Girl is a lesson in hardships for the Boyer family. They are new to Florida, and waiting for their strawberry fields to produce so they can earn some money.
This book is rife with life lessons, including getting along with neighbors, hard work and perserverance, and having very little money.
Note that this book does deal with a neighbor’s drunkenness and how that affects his family. The situation does resolve in a positive way.