The university library at AUS is a wonderful thing, but it is not a place where my kids can load up on tons of books to read (fiction for children is not a university library's niche). Sometimes we check out non-fiction books from there, and I think the time is coming when Miriam could enjoy some of the graded readers they have, but in general, we're on our own for books.
Fortunately, both girls have access to their libraries at school. Miriam can check out one book a week. She sometimes asks the librarian for guidance, but for the most part, she chooses her own books and I let her. I do wish she could check out more than one book a week because she's often able to read the book twice over by the time library day comes around again, but we're grateful for what we have.
Here are the books that tend to emerge from her backpack on Sundays (her library day) after school.
My Secret Unicorn. The title says it all. I like these books, too. The writing is quality, there are a few simple pictures throughout to keep things interesting, and it's a series so she always has something to look forward to. Plus, what 7-year-old girl doesn't wish she a) had a pony; and b) that that pony was secretly a unicorn? Win/win.
Seahorses. This one (and the others in the 3- or 4-book series) are slightly above Miriam's level - more words on the page, more complex writing, and no pictures - but she plows through them anyway. Good for her. I think the librarian recommended this one.
The Rainbow Magic books. I am ever-so-slightly UGH about these. First, there are about a million of them. Seriously, they never go away. Second, they are a little too easy for Miriam. She can toss one off in a day. And third, the stories don't have any oomph to them. But she's the one reading them, not me, so whatever.
Miriam also reads quite a few books from the Oxford Reading Tree series, which is what the British schools here (including my kids' British schools) use to teach literacy skills. Miriam is at Stage 13 or thereabouts, which means there are quite a few non-fiction books for her to read. I really like these books and there is enough variety that she's always learning or reading about something new.
We often read these together, but Miriam also likes to read them on her own on road trips or other long periods of quiet activity: Usborne Illustrated books. I can hardly overstate how much I like these books. I am often wary of collections of stories because either the writing is crap or the illustrations are crap or both. Usborne has managed to put together a lovely series of books that introduce my kids to age-appropriate versions of stories from all kinds of times and places, all beautifully illustrated. For example, one of the girls' favorites is A Midsummer Night's Dream. Seriously! The writing in these books is smart, but easy to follow. Miriam can read them on her own, but both she and Magdalena enjoy having the stories read aloud to them. Plus, these books tend to feature the "real" versions of fairy tales and such. It's a nice contrast to some of the saccharine Disney treatments...even if it is ever so slightly odd to end a bedtime story with "and then the little mermaid DIED." Our pattern so far has been to get the girls each one of these books every Christmas, but I might want to pick up the pace because they are so great.
What books do your kids choose to read from the library, school or otherwise?