Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Essential Reading: Favorite Read-Alouds, Kids and Adults

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Coming up March 9th is World Read-Aloud Day; celebrate and spread the word with these fun titles, sure to please both children and adults! Enjoy!

Download the list to find it fast at your local bookstore or library.

Blog Co- Editor, Karna Converse shares, "My daughter loves Angelina and the Princess. When we read this one together, we talk about being responsible for oneself and supporting our friends. We also enjoy Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. When we read this one together, we talk about being aware of the feelings of others. My sons' favorite read-alouds include: Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. We love figuring out the answers to these detective stories. We also like That's Good! That's Bad! by Margery Cuyler, 'Stand Back,' Said the Elephant, 'I'm Going to Sneeze!' by Patricia Thomas, and The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden -- all three for the rhymes, silliness, and illustrations. And MY favorite -- the one I give as a new baby gift to the older sibling -- is Koala Lou by Mem Fox. The story reminds older siblings that mommy still loves them, even with a new baby in the house."

Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief and Columnist, writes, "The current favorite read alouds in my house are Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie books, a series of early readers for the kindergarten set. Elephant Gerald and Piggie are good friends who embark on adventures despite their markedly different personalities: Piggie is exuberant and optimistic; Gerald is a cautious worrier. In Today I Will Fly, Piggie gets a little help from a friend to fulfill a dream; in We Are In A Book!, Willems goes meta in a story that can't help but get your child to read aloud. His vibrant line drawings and simple prose are an utterly winning combination."

Profiles Editor, Jenny Hobson, says, "While thinking of my favorite read-alouds, I was kind of shocked to realize that I get to read at least 170 titles a year to children in my job as a preschool teacher. 170! My new favorite in 2011 is Stella Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay. The book follows the snow day adventures of a big sister and a little brother, and it captures perfectly the fears of a little sibling with the reticent trust he places in an older sister. The book will make you think of the best of your own childhood snow days and may make you forget that you're pulling your hair out with your kids' snow days now. You may even find yourself wanting to make a snow angel. I love reading the timid voice of little brother Sam and the dreamy loopiness of big sister Stella. Your kids will love them, too."

Katie de Iongh, Literary Reflections Editorial Assitant, shares, "A new favorite read-aloud in our house is Don't Bump the Glump! and other fantasies by Shel Silverstein. The intriguing title is the first poem in this compilation and a reflection of the whimsy and humor of this book of poetry, suitable for all ages. Silverstein's poetry is brought to life through his imaginative watercolors as he takes readers to a faraway place where strange, silly, and scary beasts dwell. Rhythmical stanzas roll off the reader's tongue, making Don't Bump the Glump! a very fun family read-aloud. Our childrens' laughter and grins at the end of each poem are always contagious."

Marketing and Publicity Manager, Lisa Chiu, writes, "Both my boys (ages 3 and 8) really enjoy books written and/or illustrated by Grace Lin. They especially love Red is a Dragon, Round is a Mooncake, One is a Drummer, Dim Sum for Everyone, and The Ugly Vegetables. For the upcoming Lunar New Year, this Grace Lin book might be a good pick too: Bringing in the New Year."

Irena Smith, Columns Department Editorial Assistant, says, "Kate Banks' Max's Words, both for the quirky illustrations and the encouragement it offers to aspiring readers -- and aspiring writers. The book is about a boy named Max who has older brothers who collect things (stamps and coins) and refuse to share. So Max begins collecting too (he accumulates words from magazines, dictionaries, newspapers -- anywhere he can find them), and in the course of his collecting realizes that if you collect coins, you just have a bunch of coins; if you collect stamps, you just have a bunch of stamps; but if you collect words -- well, then you have a story. Wonderful read-aloud book, and just as inspiring for children as for adults!"

Columnist Cassie Premo Steele writes, "We've read Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are so many times that we have it memorized! It's perfect for all ages -- from the fun monsters for the littlest ones to the psychological insights about separation for the tweens. By the way, on the pages with no words, I always chant, 'Rumpus! Rumpus! Rumpus!' and this makes it a bit less scary for sensitive kids."

Kristina Riggle, Fiction Co-Editor, shares, "My favorite read-aloud I enjoy even more than my kids do: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. My version is illustrated with paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. It's a lively poem about how you have different emotions -- happy ones, or not -- on different days or sometimes all of them at once, 'but it all turns out all right, you see. And I go back to being me.' I love how it's affirming of varying feelings without being sappy or obvious. It reads as much like poetry as any of Dr. Seuss's books, but with no nonsense words!"

Katie de Iongh lives in Rye, New Hampshire with her husband and their three young children. She is a community volunteer, freelance writer and college English instructor.

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