With all these "Best of 2009" posts flying around, I realized that I never followed up on my promise to share the best books we read with our reader this year. So without further adieu, here are the six (sorry, I couldn't resist the tie-in) best elementary level books we read aloud this year.
In no particular order:
- The Harry Potter series. This series has been a part of Mike and Elena's read-aloud time for over a year now. They're currently on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There's nothing I can add to attest to the magic of Harry Potter on young (and old!) readers other than thank you, J.K. Rowling!
- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. I've yet to read a book by Ms. DiCamillo that I didn't love, but this is my favorite. I have a soft spot for stories set in the South. Elena has a soft spot for stories with animals. Ms. DiCamillo creates realistic characters with human flaws, dealing with difficult situations, that manage to be perfectly age-appropriate.
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Don't be put off by the size of this book (It's like the War and Peace of the juvenile fiction section). This already evocative story is filled with page after page of breath-taking pencil sketches. Elena and I couldn't wait to pick up the book every evening because we had no clue how the story would end. And then it did and we were sad, because it was that good.
- The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. This is the first of a two book series. I was drawn to the book by its cover (I'm a sucker for silhouettes), but the story stands all on its own. The summer adventures of "four sisters, two rabbits and a very interesting boy" are thoroughly entertaining. It's a relatively new book, but it has the look and feel of an old classic. The audio books in this series are equally fabulous, and perfect for long car trips or days when a mom needs a little quiet time from a certain non-napping child.
- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. How did I miss this book as a child? A classic that hasn't lost one ounce of charm. Elena was enthralled with the idea of running away and living in a museum – the adventure! the trickery! the freedom! I was enthralled with the charming, vintage sketches. It's one of those books whose illustrations you hope are never updated.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. We are in the middle of the second book of this series. Another example of a book with a great cover whose story doesn't disappoint. It feels a bit like "Lost" for the elementary set. You know it's a good story when you're bummed that it isn't your turn to read, because you just need to know what happens next.
Now it's your turn! What were your favorite books you read aloud this year (any book, any reading level)? In the meantime, snuggle up and read!