Kids books, That Reading Life

Chapter books we read to our son

Cover of My Big Truck Book

A nouveau classic

As a baby, Jacob had some favorite board books (Sandra Boynton, Is Your Mama a Llama?, Dr. Seuss, anything about trucks, etc.) and we gradually moved up to regular picture books (Berenstain Bears, the Duck on a Bike books, more Dr. Seuss, etc.), which we checked out of the library by the dozen.

Pillow Fort: Chapter books we read to our son

Jacob, when he was still young enough to be read to (and his buddy Bun-bun)

And then we moved on to chapter books, as you do. We read to Jake before bed each night pretty much right up through fifth grade. I remember very clearly the night he asked if we could stop reading at bedtime. I think he already have a girlfriend at that point, a sign of the changing times. Sigh. The days are long but the years are short, yada yada.

But onward!

This post is about chapter books, the ones he remembers listening to and the ones we remember reading. Those two don’t necessarily coincide. Also, my husband and I often read a different book to Jacob as we took turns on bedtime duty, my husband reading one night, me reading the next, one of us reading night after night if a book was getting really good.

Maybe this list will inspire you if you’re a parent of little ones. Or maybe you read the same books to your kids. Meet me in the comments!

The List

Here they are in no particular order and I doubt this is a complete list, sorry.

The Castle in the Attic, My Father's Dragon, Tiger

The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – A great book if you have a kid that likes knights and castles.

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett – A classic.

The Five Ancestors books by Jeff Stone – We read all seven of the originals before the Our of the Ashes books came out. Lots of martial arts in these, plus some good storytelling.


A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – We did a combo of reading these aloud and listening to the audiobooks in the car. They were great and filled, as Lemony Snicket is, with jokes for the grown-ups too.

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary – I checked out this audiobook at our library when Jake was about five and we were both riveted. I think we listened to it about four more times throughout his childhood. It’s awesomely narrated by Neil Patrick Harris. Highly recommend.

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl – Another fantastic audiobook we listened to over and over.

And while we’re on Roald Dahl…

The Witches, The Twits

The Witches – This book is legit creepy.

The Twits – Fun gross stuff.

And moving right along…

Watership Down ,The Magic Thief, The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas – These weren’t my favorite, but Jake liked them.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien – Ben’s father read these to him and his siblings when they were kids and Ben read them all to Jacob. Maybe he’ll keep up the tradition.

Redwall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Tarzan of the Apes, Little Women

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Hufflepuff scarf

I’m a proud Hufflepuff. Jake and Ben are Slytherins. We make it work.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – We read each book and then watched the movie. Delightful.

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs – This one was so much fun. I’d never read it before.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – We didn’t quite make it through this but we made it far enough, I’d say. It’s a book I adore, but I’d forgotten how condescending Marmee could be. In that vein, I found The Big Trouble with Little Women interesting.

Book of a Thousand Days, Knight's Castle, Treasure Island

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale – An off-beat one to be reading to Jacob, but we both enjoyed it.

Knight’s Castle (Tales of Magic, #2) by Edward Eager – More knights! More castles!

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dinosaurs Before Dark

Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Wayside School #1) by Louis Sachar

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney – I think he got too old around book six. He also would read these himself or sometimes pull an old one out and we’d read a few chapters for fun.

The Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne – Good ole Jack ‘n Annie.

And that’s honestly all I can remember right now! It’s been fun to look back though and talk about it with Jacob.


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