Thursday, May 16, 2013

What Miriam reads

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?


Crys said...

Captain E loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, How to Train Your Dragon, and these mouse books...Geronimo Mouse?...or something like that. So pretty much anything with potty humor and some cartooning he is into. I want to start him in on the Artimis Fowl series because I thought they were super fun and full of nice little potty humor bits but there is not a single picture in the series so I'm not sure if he'll be into it yet. They like me to read them The Narnia series (which I'm not going to lie for me is pure torture), The Magic Tree House books (again please poke my eyes out), and I just finished out the OZ books which I rather liked but were maybe just a tad scarier than I'd remembered. Magic Tree House are totally way too easy for E now but he and G love me to change the names of the brother and sister to their names and then they lay on my bed while I read them. It is kind of cute so I indulge this ridiculousness :) He really does sort of fall in what you'd expect for a boy when it comes to his reading choices as he also prefers non fictions about how things work, or books about weird records, or the scariest bugs in the know stuff that they totally market to boys, he's into. Gigi loves all the Tinker Bell books. Peach really likes the Pinkilicious series which I can't stand and Fancy Nancy which for reasons I'm not entirely sure of I find slightly amusing. Cheetah wants to read and eat every book in the house. Her favorite is Brown Bear, Brown Bear. My sister just had an Usborne party. Their books are amazing, but those library quality ones are pretty expensive so sadly we have very few. My favorite books are the learn how to draw books. They were perfect for a five year old!

Liz Johnson said...

Connor loves the "Magic Tree House" series (and I do too, honestly). We need to check out the Usborne Illustrated series - I love real fairy tales. :) Even if the little mermaid ends up as sea foam...

Kathy Haynie said...

Is she ready for the Little House books by Mary Ingalls Wilder yet? And, just to keep dating myself, my girls got a kick out of the Betsy, Tacy books at that age.They might be available on eReaders these days.

Bridget said...

Crys, I feel the same way about Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy.

I guess I need to check out the Magic Tree House series. I wonder if her library has it. The selection there is British-skewed but you never know.

Kathy, we've read the LHOP books together but I think she could handle them on her own. We've read Narnia together and that's another one she can tackle solo soon. I'm trying to get her to read The Great Brain series - that was one of my favorites from childhood.

Crys said...

Maybe I should clarify that I liked probably the first 15 or so Magic Tree House books, but then I just started to get tired. Annie stop running off and stay in the tree :)

Shannon said...

I bet you could negotiate to increase the book limit at the library. They've probably set the limit low because they don't know families like the Palmers.

Savannah (now in 4th grade) loves fantasy books. She's an easy-to-please reader. Halen goes for nonfiction--books about cars, soccer, space, etc.

The "books" with greatest appeal for my kids have been online ones. Our school is doing a trial run with an online library called None of the books are "name brand"--they're written specifically for the library, it seems. But the book topics are diverse and really appeal to the age set.

So far, I haven't been able to get my kids to read any books that I enjoyed as a kid (The Great Brain, Ramona Quimby, Little House on the Prairie, biographies--I was a biography nut).

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Besides The Great Brain series, Beverly Cleary has lots of good books--my favorite are Henry and the Paper Route & Henry Huggins. They all take place in PDX using the real street names. Am sure Meme could breeze through them.


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