Our favourite kid books of 2012

by DaniGirl on January 2, 2013 · 8 comments

in Books

Before I became a parent myself, I’d have been surprised to know that I’d still be reading aloud to the kids as they enter the double-digit years. The big boys will turn 9 and 11 this winter, and they still insist on nightly reading time. Beloved and I take turns reading to two big or one little boy, and Tristan will often turn on his bedside lamp and read to himself for another half hour or more after that. (Simon, much like his mother, is usually snoring by then.)

I wasn’t quite as diligent in tracking the books we read together on Goodreads.com as I was in tracking my own reading material, but I thought I’d share a quick list of the best books we read in 2012. It’s been fun indoctrinating them with some of my favourites and taking the chance to read some books I managed to miss in my own youth, voracious reader that I was.

The year was definitely dominated by fantasy. Here’s what I read out loud to Tristan and Simon in 2012, in more-or-less chronological order:

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (*must* get to the movie!)
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
A Wind in the Door – Madeleine L’Engle (I liked Wrinkle better, but it was great to finally read these!)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling (we’ve been working our way through the HP series for a couple of years now. Not sure if I’m ready to move on to Order of the Phoenix just yet. The books at the end of the series are so long it takes us months to read!)
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang – Mordechai Richler (the boys knew the cartoon but I thought they should get the original straight from the source. Also, I heart Mordechai Richler.)
When Santa Fell to Earth - Cornelia Funke (Beloved recommended this one and we really enjoyed it! Add it to your Goodreads wanted list for next Christmas.)
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Dinosaur – Mordechai Richler (still reading this – very different from Hooded Fang, with a lot more satire that goes over the boys’ heads, but I’ve been trying to point it out to them and discuss why he uses satire and how.)

When I look at the list it seems kind of short but I suppose it’s only half a year of reading since Beloved and I take turns. One of these days I’ll ask Beloved if he remembers what he read to them, because it was a completely separate list. I know they went through a lot of Rick Riordan.

I love that the boys clamour to go to the library for fresh books on a regular basis. On their own, they read a pretty good spectrum of material. Simon loves those Guiness Book of Records books (don’t all eight year old boys?) and chapter books like the Wimpy Kid and Bad Kitty series. Tristan still reads Pokemon and is much more in to graphic novels and comic books now, but surprised me by asking to read the Hunger Games trilogy. He’s on the second book of that series, but only picks it up now and then. I love that he’s also working his way through Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes collections!

124:365 Reading

Here’s my number-one kid book recommendation for you from 2012, but it’s for a much younger audience. It was Beloved who stumbled across a Mr Putter and Tabby book at the library, and we have been reading them to Lucas through the year. It is, without doubt, the sweetest kid book series we have come across, and I could (and did!) read each of them out loud night after night without having them lose their charm. Here’s a full list of all the titles in Cynthia Rylant’s Mr Putter and Tabby books from Amazon.

What were the best kid books consumed at your house last year? We need to populate our 2013 wish list!

I was delighted to see that Julie and Kamerine played along by blogging their bookly habits of 2012, so let me know if you blog your kid book faves and I’ll post a link here, too!


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 elise January 2, 2013 at 11:39 am

For me, kids books wise, it was Tadpole Rex. Illustrations were beautiful, and I loved to read it out loud, it just fell like music was coming out of my mouth. It was also hard to pronounce for me for the first readings so it helped me work my English-mouth muscles :)

Other than that, our 5 y/o is on a spell of Tintin and Asterix comics. We unfortunately can only get them in English instead of French at our library, but we’re sitll enjoying them. He loves that we tll him we used to read them when we were kids, and we’re still reading them as adults, as these comics are interesting both for an adult and child audience.

2 Cath in Ottawa January 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

We love anything by CYnthia Rylant – Another series of hers that we love is Henry and Mudge (big hit with dog-loving 4yo).

We also just finished reading The BFG by Roald Dahl out loud – I bet your guys would love it!

3 DaniGirl January 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Oh yes Cath, we read Henry and Mudge too, but I don’t find that series has near the charm of Mr Putter and Tabby. Hmmm, Roald Dahl – great suggestion, thanks! And Elise, maybe I can challenge all three of us in our French with the original Tintin and Asterix books!

4 Jen January 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm

I have struggled a bit this year because my kids have a 4 year age gap (ages 4 and 8) and in addition, my 8 year old daughter is much more advanced in her reading and comprehension, even beyond the age difference. I’ve done lots of read-aloud novels with her over the years but wasn’t sure my little guy was ready for something more involved, despite really wanting to find something we could all read together. I came across my old copy of Little House in the Big Woods and decided to give it a try – and surprise, surprise, both kids loved it! Lots of opportunities for discussion too, about the way they lived, racism, etc. We have done the first two books now and will take a break as my girl wants to move to the next HP (Goblet of Fire for us too – I’m really trying to spread them out a bit). Would love to read A Wrinkle in Time and Chronicles of Narnia, but I want my little guy to be able to understand them too. So many books, so little time!

5 Jen January 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Ha, I swear I didn’t mean to put that lovely face in there…something I typed must have done it! Sorry!

6 valerie January 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

We’re currently reading The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander – there’s a series of 5 books (we’re actually on book 2). Both kids enjoy them, especially if I go silly on the voices.

Also for Sarah/Tristan age – The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, and the Hamish X series by Sean Cullen. I find the latter a bit weird (too many footnotes as he’s trying to be funny) but Sarah enjoys them. All three series are good for either gender.

7 DaniGirl January 8, 2013 at 7:15 am

Thanks Valerie, I hadn’t heard of any of those. I wonder if it’s Sean Cullen the Canadian comedian – sounds like it. Neat!

Jen, yes, the 4 to 8 age gap is a big one. I think soon I’ll bring Lucas down to share the books with the big guys, but his attention span is not quite there yet. Oh, and your funny face was an 8 with a close-parentheses) 8)

8 Nancy January 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I’m lazy. I make them read on their own…they read lots of great books between the two of them – Harry Potter (#1 & #2), Hunger Games, Star Wars novels, Gordon Korman books, a gazillion Manga type, Daniel X (Trevor re-reading series now) and among others too many Rick Riordans to keep track of. I am impressed you did The Hobbit and all those others within one year!! WOW!! (and Beloved did more) you are a better Mommy than I am.

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