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Top 10 Books for Kids

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Instead of giving the latest toy, music download cards, or video game, to a child; give a book instead. Reading is a skill that lasts a lifetime. Even if the children in your life are too young to read on their own, a book that parents can read to their children is a gift that lasts. My kids are old enough to read independently but we still read together occasionally. The list is in no particular order and I have included books for all ages.

Bears! Bears! Bears!

This is a great preschool book by Bob Barner. The book contains vivid illustrations that will hold a toddler's attention. It is a short book, 32 pages, containing factual information about baby bears. Written in rhymes; "Bears! Bears! Bears!" is an easy read for adults without being monotonous or horrifically boring. Parents and little ones will enjoy reading this book together.

I Like Fruit: Petit Collage

A touch and feel book by Lorena Siminovich. I love this book! It is a touch and feel, board book that offers so much more than reading. Board books are great for preschoolers. They are sturdy enough to stand up to the unintentional abuse a toddler inflicts on their surroundings and this one has many textures to add sensory stimulation to the reading experience. The subject of fruit can be the start of a healthy eating discussion for toddlers. I remember talking to my boys about the importance of eating healthy foods that help you grow up strong.

Sky-High Guy

Written by Nina Crews, this book is about a boy named Jack and his action figure named Guy. The book is suitable for young children, ages four to five. Slightly older children may be able to get through this one on their own. The story is about Jack, his little brother Gus and the action figure Guy. Guy manages to get stuck in a tree and Jack must find a way to save his friend. The pictures are photographs of Jack and Gus (real-life brothers). Kids will enjoy the storyline, especially those with siblings.

Shark vs. Train

In this book written by Chris Barton, two friends battle it out in increasingly ridiculous battles between the toy shark and a toy train. Illustrated with cartoons, the book gives great insight into the minds of young children at play. Although the battles become more and more ludicrous, the logic behind the outcomes remains solid. Boys, especially, will enjoy this book. It is suitable for preschoolers through grade 1. Fluent readers might be able to handle this on their own.

I like the "trash" talking that goes on between the two toys for example shark calls out train with "I'm going to choo-choo you up and spit you out," and train replies, "Ha, I'm going to finish you, mackerel-breath."

Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon

This is a graphic novel by Jennifer I. Holm, that is suitable for kids six through seven years old. Babymouse is the star of the book. She is going to win the contest so she can help the school's library, no matter what it takes, she plans to outsell everyone. The conflict occurs when she is up against her arch rival, Felicia Furrypaws. There is a reason that Babymouse is so determined. The destruction of the library was her fault - although it was unintentional. Well written with a great storyline. This book may be particularly useful in holding the interest of reluctant readers.

Mercy Watson Fights Crime

This hilarious book is about Mercy, a pig whose life revolves around hot buttered toast. One night Mercy hears someone in the kitchen and it sounds like they are using the toaster. She comes across a man in a large hat who is stealing the toaster and a number of other items. The book is funny and well illustrated. Characters from the other books in the Mercy series are incorporated into this book. It will hold the attention of fluent readers in grades K through 2. Parents will enjoy reading this to their emerging readers. Kate DiCamillo is the author.

Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum

History and cartoon characters add an easy to understand flair to this biographical account of the invention of bubble gum. The book includes snippets from the inventor and contains historically correct facts about the invention, the inventor and the history of bubble gum. Well written for fluent readers, or ages eight through nine, the book makes history interesting and fun. Younger children and emerging readers will enjoy this as a "read-to-me" book. "Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum" is written by Meghan McCarthy.

Little House on the Prairie - book series

All kids love the Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Boys can relate to Pa, in "Little House in the Big Woods" and Almanzo in "Farmer Boy." Girls will love all of the books. Laura Ingalls did a wonderful job describing her life on the American Frontier in this series. Suitable for ages eight and nine or kids in grades 2 through 3. Emerging readers, and younger children will enjoy the books as "read-to-me" books.

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian - Series

The Last Olympian book series, written by Rick Riordan, is written for middle and high school students. For avid readers, the books are an easy read. The main character, Percy Jackson, is a teenager who is descended from Greek Gods. He finds himself continually fighting epic battles to save someone or something from ultimate doom. Middle and high school kids will find the series fast-moving and entertaining.

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown is the author of this fast-paced novel suitable for advanced middle schoolers and high school students. The author combines historically accurate facts and fiction that leads the reader on a chase through Europe to discover the solution to the code. I read this and had a hard time putting it down.

Giving a book encourages reading in children of all ages. Why not give a gift that educates as well as entertains. Children are not the only ones who would enjoy these books as gifts; teachers always appreciate a gift of books for their classrooms.

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