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Challenge: Reading Together

Reading Time: A Legacy for Our Children

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Reading with your child is critical. It not only helps young minds gain skills essential to their academic success, but it also offers an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with your child, making them feel loved and special. Below are eight children's books that you might remember reading with your parents, all of which are wonderful options to create loving experiences with your own kids.

Squash Pie by Wilson Gage

Here’s a favorite I used to read with my father after work. The farmer in this book just wants a piece of squash pie, so, naturally, he decides to grow some squash. The night before the harvest, the farmer is very excited for his pie, but he wakes up the next morning to find that all his squash has been stolen. Rather than giving up, he proceeds to replant, this time planting an extra crop (potatoes with eyes) to guard his squash. His squash is stolen again. He continues to replant, each time adding a new “guard” crop (ears of corn to hear the intruder or dogwood trees to “bark” and warn of the thief). Read to the end to discover who has been stealing his squash and whether he will ever get his pie.

The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone

Here’s another delightful story, this one featuring Grover from Sesame Street. Grover is terrified when he learns about the monster at the end of the book. He spends half the book begging the reader to stop reading so that the end will never come and the other half trying harebrained schemes to force the reader to stop reading. This book is bundles of fun for both you and your little ones. You’ll want to turn each page to see Grover’s next silly antic.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Any book by Dr. Seuss will always be a classic. The ever persistent Sam-I-Am pops up page after page asking, “Do you like green eggs and ham?” His list of places for where you will love green eggs and ham is never-ending and annoys his unnamed friend until he’s forced to try it. A great book to read with your children because the words are easy for new readers. You can also illustrate the message of trying new things with your own green eggs and ham.

Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein

Runny babbit is a compilation of silly tongue twisters where the first letters of words have been swapped. Shel Silverstein teaches morals while keeping things light and funny with his anecdotes that any child or adult can relate to. Runny Babbit is a joy for all ages and is always more fun when read in a group. I can still remember having competitions with my friends or siblings as to who could read it faster without messing up.

Even If I Did Something Awful by Barbara Shook Hazen

A young girl breaks her mother’s beloved vase, causing the girl to wonder if her mother still loves her. Beginning with the question, “Would you love me even if i did something awful?” the girl proceeds to list the most horrible trespasses she can think of, including pinching her brother and saying she hates her mother.

Her mother always answers with a yes and the statement “even if . . .” and continues with something even more awful, like selling her brother at a yard sale or sending her mother to the moon with a one-way ticket. Even If I Did Something Awful is a heartwarming tale proving that a mother's love truly is everlasting and can overcome anything, even something truly awful.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Max is a naughty, disobedient boy and so his mother sends him to bed without dinner. Max runs away to the imaginary place where the wild things are. He and his monster friends do nothing but play all day, but Max gets lonely and realizes he misses his home and family. Follow Max through the wilds of his imagination and enjoy this book about a young boy who doesn’t want to go to bed.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

The book follows a beautiful fish with shiny scales and teaches a great lesson about being friends and sharing. The rainbow fish thinks he’s more important than the other fishes because he’s so beautiful, so he refused to play with them. But he becomes lonely and soon learns that it is more important to be kind and think about others than to be selfish.

This book is a valuable read and an art project. It’s printed with foil-stamping to make glittering, eye-catching scales, certain to catch any child’s eye.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

A book designed to help young readers who are just learning to count, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a fun way of teaching children the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The hungry caterpillar looks for something to eat from the moment he’s born. He begins with one apple, then two pears, and so forth.

The Hungry Caterpillar is fun for younger children because as the caterpillar proceeds to eat, there are holes poking through each food illustration, representing the path the caterpillar took to eat his food. It’s colorful and interactive for children of all ages.

I can’t help but smile as I think about these books and their wonderful memories. They were a treasured part of reading time with my parents, a legacy my parents gave me and one I hope to pass down to my children.

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