This post is part of a paid partnership with Epic! Books for Kids. Tips, ideas, and opinions are totally ours! -Meagan & Sarah
As book-loving moms, nothing is more satisfying than rediscovering stories we loved as kids when our own children get old enough to enjoy them. It starts early, with picture books we read with the same inflections and funny voices as our parents read them to us, and it continues on, bringing chapter books and novels back to the light that we haven’t thought about in years.
Familiar-to-you stories make for great read-alouds for kids who are new to chapter books because you can pause to explain or add context as you read. Reading books that take place when we were kids–or often much longer ago than that–provides great opportunities for conversations about history, culture, and how things have changed. And there’s nothing quite like the cozy nostalgia of catching up with old friends like Anne, Ramona, and Little Sal, and witnessing your kids meet them for the first time.
Here are a few of our favorite books to revisit with your kids…
Ramona Quimby (series)
Meagan: There is so much to love about Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby series: the absolute realness of the interactions (even in all their messiness) between sister and sister, mother and daughter, daughter and father. The way Cleary so accurately captures the little foibles and anxieties of childhood. Reading these aloud feels like stepping back into my childhood, but decades after they were written, they still feel as fresh as ever.
The Witch Of Blackbird Pond
Sarah: My love of historical fiction first got started in fifth grade with titles like My Brother Sam is Dead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Even when the historical details aren’t 100% accurate, experiencing a story through characters from another time in history feels both romantic and educational at the same time.
Blueberries For Sal
Meagan: This sweet midcentury tale has held a special place in my heart since I was little. Beyond the clever and endearing illustrations, I always loved the classic story of a two curious children – human and bear – wandering away from busy mothers and getting mixed up. The “ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk” sound of the berries hitting the bucket has forever been ingrained on my mind, so the audio book is especially fun.
The Tale of Two Bad Mice
Sarah: There’s something about mice in people clothes, isn’t there? I love several of the Beatrix Potter classics, but The Tale of Two Bad Mice is my favorite. Kids relate to how naughty the mice are, and despite the 100+-year-old story, most can picture the hilarity of a ransacked doll’s house.
Anne Of Green Gables
Meagan: How do I love thee, Anne-with-an-E? Let me count the reasons these books became fast favorites of mine: the whimsical language, a dreamy, plucky and entirely original heroine, and a plot line that includes said heroine getting into plenty of “scrapes” to keep the drama levels high. I re-read the entire series beginning to end every other year or so, and have been itching for Clara to jump on board so we can discuss. While she’s not quite ready for some of the trickier language in these books just yet, Epic! offers Young Reader and graphic novel versions that I’m hoping will prime the pump.
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (series)
Sarah: Confession: I haven’t read the full Oz series, but I’ve always wanted to—and I’ve heard great things about the books later in the series in particular. Recently I started reading aloud from the first book in the series and sort of just waited to see which of my kids would be into it. They all were! In general, I’m a big fan of reading the original books behind beloved Hollywood movies; they’re often different from the versions we know from the screen, and it’s a fun comparative study to experience familiar stories in their original form (Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers and Peter Pan by J.M. Barry are two other great ones).
Meagan: I didn’t discover the Betsy-Tacy series until high school, so I missed out on one of the coolest things about it: these books, following Betsy and her childhood bestie, Tacy (short for Anastacia) from the age of five through young adulthood, progress in reading difficulty as the characters age. Set in small-town Minnesota, these books are a charming snapshot of a girl’s life in the turn-of-the-century Midwest and I adore them all.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in watching our young readers grow, it’s that not every book we loved as kids will strike quite the same nerve with our own children. Much like sweet potatoes or salmon, it may take several exposures to one of your childhood favorites to get your child hooked. And while we both, at heart, tend toward print-book-traditionalism, we’ve also both seen how experimenting with different mediums (graphic novels, read-to-me books, and audiobooks) can “grab” a child who would be otherwise indifferent to our beloved characters. In the end, what matters is the experience of bonding over a shared favorite story, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of a new approach to get your child on board!
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