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Riveting Reads to Enjoy with the Whole Family

By Karen DeGroot Carter • November 09, 2020

Studies continue to show the many benefits of reading to your children. In addition to associating positive emotions with reading, children who are read to on a regular basis also enter school with a broader vocabulary than those who don't. And those who continue to be read to and to read on their own continue to grow not only their vocabularies but their love for reading.

When my children were little, a bedtime story was part of our evening routine, and I have fond memories of sharing favorites such as The Real Mother Goose collection with them. At family nights hosted by Denver nonprofit Community Resources, Inc., I've read to preschoolers while their parents learned how and why to read with their children as much as possible. The highlight of those evenings was always handing out a new book to every child before they headed home.

I've also had the pleasure of meeting Denver parent, author, and educator, Melissa Taylor, who has run the impressive Imagination Soup educational blog for over a decade. Through her colorful site, Melissa serves up a comprehensive menu of educational resources, insights, and how-tos for parents, with a special emphasis on reading. Among the books she recommends for family reading times are titles that can entertain kids of varied ages. As Melissa notes, "Brilliant stories grab kids' attention and keep them engaged, entertained, delighted, curious, and surprised—no matter what age they're written for." Share this list with your kiddos to see which they'd like to read with you!

Rabbit's Bad Habits by Julian Gough

One of the silliest of the Rabbit and Bear books by Julian Gough, this fun read-aloud chapter book includes some science and even character development as Rabbit reveals he's much more than just a somewhat difficult hare.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

In this award-winning book by prolific author Kate DiCamillo, the quirky, endearing story of a girl who rescues and befriends a flying squirrel is sure to captivate even the most restless readers.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

When a shorter story is needed but your kiddos still want to be entertained, this fun romp by popular British author Neil Gaiman may be just the ticket. Take your family on an adventure that no one sees coming as an innocent dad attempts to run a seemingly straightforward errand that becomes anything but.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

This classic by the one and only E.B. White has been a favorite family read for decades. Originally published in 1952, its story of a spider named Charlotte and a pig named Wilbur never fails to warm the heart. (Also consider a family movie night featuring the 2006 film!)

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

This moving historical novel by New York Times bestselling author Pam Muñoz Ryan has garnered multiple awards since it was published in 2015. Set in the 1930s, it reveals the challenges faced by migrant workers while also exploring the resilience of the human spirit.

Zoey and Sassafrass: Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro

If your family includes fans of science or magic, the first book in the popular Zoey and Sassafrass series by Asia Citro will likely be a big hit with its exploration of scientific research (and even the scientific method) as well as its compelling story of a baby dragon who needs some special help.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Another first book of a series, this one by award-winning author Rick Riordan, introduces tireless adventurer Percy Jackson as he discovers he's not exactly the person he always thought he was. Greek mythology and mind-bending mysteries collide in this fast-paced story that will lead you and your crew wanting to read the next book in the series, and the next.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Kids who love games and adventures of all types can't get enough of this bestseller by Chris Grabenstein. Set in a small town with a very special new library, this story will challenge you and your crew to analyze clues and unlock mysteries throughout an action-packed adventure orchestrated by a master game designer.

Whatever books you and your family decide to enjoy together, rest assured you're creating memories—and a love of reading—that will last for many years to come.

Read more by Karen DeGroot Carter

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