Sunday, October 17, 2010

Listen Up, Everyone. It's Read Aloud Time!

"So, what to choose when a family truly of 'all ages' wants to read a book together? What can satisfy a six-year-old, a ten-year-old, and their eccentric middle-aged uncle and formidable grandma all at once?"

Horn Book editor Roger Sutton asks this question to introduce "What Makes a Good Book for All Ages?" in the September/October issue.

His question is answered with seventeen recommendations from ten H.B. reviewers.

The variety of the suggested titles surprised me: from classics like Kipling's "Just So Stories," to "Dying to Meet You: 43 Cemetery Road," by Kate and M. Sarah Klise, published in 2009; from Hoban's "The Mouse and His Child," to "Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man," by McCloskey; from Peterson and Audubon field guides for birds and trees, to Steig's "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble."

One reviewer concentrated on books about families, mentioning (among others) : "The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963," by Curtis, "A Long Way From Chicago," by Peck, and "Harris and Me," by Paulsen.

I wonder how many extended families read aloud together these days. I suspect it's a lucky minority.

Has anyone had this experience?

What title(s) did you read?


  1. great post! Good question, I'm heading there now!

  2. My kids (8 and 10) and I love to read aloud poetry. Among our favorites are Shel Silverstein, Ogden Nash, and any other poetry that has a funny twist at the end. When I was a kid, my dad read aloud poetry to me, too. His favorite was The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Hmm. It wasn't as kid-centric, but I remember loving the sound of the words, though I probably had no idea what most of them meant!

  3. In my family, we range from 5 to 47 and we all love A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh!

  4. Riddles, jokes, poems, and ghost stories come to mind. Storytelling about family experiences would be great for all ages. Writing family stories down would make them available as long as they are preserved.

    This was interesting!

  5. When I was a child my father used to read WINNIE-THE-POOH to my sister and me. I just re-read it and I could hear my father's voice.

    To my own children we read the one of the Harry Potters while we were vacationing in London. We also read ANNE FRANK: DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL as a family. That was a good read aloud since it was such a difficult subject, and my kids were only 3 and 7 at the time. It provoked a lot of conversations.

    We also read a bunch of goofy poetry. The sillier the better!

  6. Thank you all for commenting! So far, the read aloud situations mentioned have been parent(s) and their children - two generations.

    Has anyone been a part of a read aloud group with three generations represented?

  7. The only book that has been read aloud in my family to 3 generations would have been a Cajun Night Before Christmas. The younger kids recognize the style and cadence of the Clement Moore book and the other generations enjoyed the new twist to an old story. We did this for a few years when we had huge get-togethers for Christmas.

    I am currently reading "Yes! You can Learn How to Write Children's Books, Get Them Published and Build a Successful Writing Career" by Nancy Sanders. I am blogging my reaction and results. If you would like to hear about the results in action, here is where you can read more...

  8. Cajun Christmas . . . Yes, I remember that book and it is for sure something that would appeal to all ages.

    And Linda, your idea about writing down family stories to read aloud is a nice one!