Books Your Kids Will Love #FamiliesRead

FRE_logoofficialThis post is part of the PTA Family Reading Challenge Blog Party Challenge series. View the full post on “Happy Home Fairy”.


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Reading is a habit that is HIGHLY encouraged in our home.

You can find books in almost every room!

When the boys were babies I kept books on the changing table for them to look at while I changed their diapers.

There are a ton of books in a bin that sits between the boys’ carseats for them to read while we’re running errands (you can read about that HERE – it’s a lifesaver!).

We keep a basket of books on the floor next to our kitchen table that we will often read during dinner if Daddy has to work late.

Plus they are allowed to choose one book for me to read to them every night before bed alongside our Bible reading.

Most nights I will even find piles of books stacked next to the toilet where the boys have their routine #2 sitting before bath – ha!

Having books around is great not only because there are 100 million reasons why reading helps kids grow academically, but also because reading together as a family is magical and creates memories I know my boys will remember forever.

Today I want to share with you a few of the books that our family has enjoyed over the last couple of years in hopes that maybe your family will love them too.


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The End (Almost) by Jim Benton

This book is about a bear named Donut who is told the story is over and he has to leave, but he doesn’t want to.  You will laugh at all the antics Donut tries to pull in effort to keep his spot in the story going.


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Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

This is BY FAR Happy Baby’s favorite book EVER.  There is a monster named Larry who tells the readers not to push the image of a big red button on each page.  But, of course, you eventually push it and some crrrazy things happen.


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Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Anything by Mo Willems is amazing and hilarious.  We love Knuffle Bunny as well as the recent discovery of the Elephant and Piggie books.


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Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Our school librarian read this to Happy Baby’s class the week before school let out and he has talked about it ever since.  We picked it up at the library yesterday and have already read it 30 times.  It is about a mommy dog who asks her puppy to bark, but instead he quacks and meows and even moos.  She takes him to the vet and some really funny events unfold.

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The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

This book is Happy Buddy’s favorite.  Probably because it has the word ‘Boo Boo Butt’ in it that cracks him up EVERY TIME.  B.J. Novak really delivers a smart, clever and hysterical story that will have your family rolling on the floor with giggles.

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Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Finally, this book is about a moose who wants to be a part of his friend Zebra’s alphabet show, but when M comes, the part is given to the mouse and Moose FREAKS out.  It is so funny.

What books do YOUR families read?

– Julie 🙂

National PTA’s Family Reading Challenge Blog Party


This post is part of the PTA Family Reading Challenge Blog Party Challenge series. View the full post on “Books in the Burbs”.

When I was sent an email about the National PTA Family Reading Challenge Party, I was super excited.  Reading has always been an important part of my life, and I attribute my love of reading as helping me through graduate school! Why? Because there were so many books I had to read and being a non-reader, I would probably still be trying to get through my first year!


A couple of years ago, I wrote about my favorite childhood author, Judy Blume: “Thank God for Judy Blume!”  It’s quite fitting that Judy Blume also just came out with a new book this month!  As I reflect back on Judy Blume, I’m also reminded of the love for reading I was able to experience with my own children.

While I was pregnant, my husband would read Dr. Seuss books to our little boy (in utero).  It was our family reading time, and it was special.  We were lucky.  Books didn’t have to compete with gaming systems, smart phones, and the internet.  So, when my sons were young, it was easy to pull them away from the tv and have reading time.  It was our nighttime ritual: baths, brush teeth, tuck into bed, read a story or two, then end with prayers.  As our sons grew older, they still loved being read to, so we moved up from Dr. Seuss to The Chronicles of Narnia.  Now, my sons have moved on to Dystopian fiction, still love comic books and superhero novels, and have found their niche in reading.


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Our daughter loves Story Time! She reads 2 Bible Devotionals and 1 book of her choice.  Usually, it is a tale about Fancy Nancy or Pinkalicious.  These are stories I did not grow up on, but I have certainly enjoyed getting to know them, through her eyes.  She loves reading and as she reads more, her reading improves, too. I have found that reading a physical book is much easier than reading an e-book for her.  She prefers the tangible experience of seeing the pictures, turning the pages, holding a large book, and has an endless supply of self-made book marks that she has made-with some being in the shape of a Peter Pan hat….hmmmm, maybe her brothers have influenced some of her reading, too! They both take turns reading with her, too, which not only helps them stop and take time to relax, but it also helps strengthen the relationship they have.

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Reading is such an important part of our life, and I am so grateful for the libraries that have storytime during the summer, the crafts and activities they offer to incorporate reading, the books that come out with a kid movie (Frozen anyone?), and the many benefits reading has provided our family.  Below are some of those benefits:

1.  Time stops:  For a short time, nothing else matters.  No deadlines to think about, tv shows or gaming is not a priority, and phone calls aren’t answered.  It’s our family time, it’s sacred, it’s special, and it’s the one time we have in our day to push the pause button.  It’s about reading a story and finding out what happens at the end.  My daughter is still in early readers, but she loves them and we do, too!

2.  Family bonding: It’s so sweet seeing a bunch of adults crammed onto my daughter’s princess sleigh bed, listening to the story.  We get to talk about life issues, too: peer pressure, emotions, what happens in the story, and learning to apply what we read to how we choose to live- especially when reading a Bible Devotional.

3.  Improvement: As my daughter reads, her language skills have improved, her speech has greatly increased, and she is developing better confidence about herself.

So, those are a few benefits we have discovered when having Story Time with our daughter, my sons’ little sister.  However, I know there are many more benefits to reading as a family!  While my family and I each have our own reading tastes, it is nice that for a brief moment, we all are reading something together…no matter how short the time we have together.

I’d love to know how you incorporate reading into a family reading time, or ways you would like to!

Vacation and Read Together—Take the Family Reading Challenge!

FrancesFrost2012We’ve followed a boy who lives within the gears of a train station clock. Run with a boy turned superhero when struck by lightning. Solved puzzling cases with kids in a mysterious society. Cheered on a would-be prince restored to his throne. Cried through a first-love trip to Amsterdam. Looked for the lost class guinea pig with twin sisters.

We’ve done all of this from the blanket in the yard, cuddled up in bed and riding in the car on cross-state road trips.

Of course, it’s through the magic of books.

Since the kids were babies, I’ve read to and with them. I want my kids to share my love of reading, for the academic benefits, but also because it’s great entertainment. Books are available on every subject and about all kinds of people on different adventures. They can make you laugh, cry, think and dream. And they’re portable! Especially now with iPads, e-readers and mobile phones.

And summer is a great season to get the kids reading. The long days—hours by the pool, enjoying an ice cream—they all go well with a good book.

As we pack our suitcases for vacation, the kids have two book assignments:

  • Select a book to read—a paper book or e-book. The books have to be long enough to last past us pulling out of the driveway. It’s that easy! Reading is the perfect end-of-the-day, calming activity. Parents can read aloud and let the kids read too. Or everyone can read quietly, together.
  • Select an audio-book for travel time. When we do road trips, we like a story to help pass the hours and miles in the car. The book has to be something everyone will enjoy, so this causes the most discussion and negotiations. It also results in us driving around an extra block before parking, just to get to the end of the chapter and chit-chat waiting for dinner as we talk about what character we like (or don’t) and what we think will happen next.

Summer may not seem like the time for academics, but reading is the perfect lazy day activity. And reading together makes it even more fun. So grab a book, gather the kids and enjoy.

Frances Frost is a wife, mom of four and a PTA leader. She is also an author and the blogger for Just Piddlin’ ( Follow her on Facebook—Just Piddlin with Frances—and Twitter @JustPiddlinBlog. Frances and her family are part of our inspiration for the PTA Family Reading Challenge. Watch this video to learn about how they—and other families—love to read together

PTA Family Reading Challenge

You can be a part of the reading fun this summer by joining the PTA Family Reading Challenge—a campaign to inspire families to keep learning alive by reading great books together.

In July, National PTA will empower families to read together by sharing tips and activities that encourage ongoing reading. Families can participate in the PTA Family Reading Challenge—and win great prizes—by sharing photos, videos and memories that demonstrate how and why reading together is a fun and treasured family activity.