Monday, April 2, 2012

Books & e-books for kids (and parents)

When my family goes traveling anywhere, we always bring books along. The kids get to bring some of their favorites (though I try to limit the number they put in their hand-luggage when we're going on a flight!), and I bring some of mine. We're still mainly bringing along books made of paper and ink, but since my birthday last year, I'm also bringing along e-books on my Kindle.

Though I still love the hands-on feel and simplicity of old-school books (no recharging batteries!), I have to say that e-books feel like the perfect thing for travel: I can bring as many books as I want, and they will not weigh me down.

There are lots of options for e-readers. Amazon's Kindle, Nook by Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, are some of the most popular ones. Of course, there are apps for that too! Amazon offers a free Kindle app, and so do Kobo, and Nook.

Here are some children's books that come highly recommended by my kids right now: some are just available as old-school, hands-on books, others can be had as audio-books or e-books as well

Skunkdog, by Emily Jenkins
This book, about a dog without a sense of smell that ends up befriending a skunk, is one of my 5-year old daughter's favorite reads right now. It's a fun and actually rather touching story about how being different can make it tough to make friends, but that friendship can be found in unlikely places.

Wallace's Lists, by Barbara Bottner
This is another great story about friendship, and about making friends with someone who might seem quite different from you. Wallace, who never does anything without a list, and Albert, who never plans ahead, end up having quite an adventure together. Highly recommended by my 5-year old. It's also available as an audio-book, at

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf
This classic kids' book is the story of a bull who is very different from the other bulls he grows up with in Spain. Very good bedtime story, though you might end up with some discussions about bull-fights, and why anyone would want to poke a bull with a sharp stick.

Dr Seuss: The Sneetches & Other Stories, Dr Seuss's Sleep Book, & The Lorax
Dr Seuss is always a hit in our house, with both my 5-year old and my 9-year old. Right now, these three books are very popular reads for bedtime. The Lorax is also available as an audio-book.

Righty & Lefty, by Rachel Vail
This is the tale of two feet who are very different but still get along (even though they sometimes have very different opinions about shoes). My daughter always gets a big laugh out of Righty wanting to go on a beach holiday without Lefty!

Wag a Tail, by Lois Ehlert
My 9-year old son, who is just now starting to read, has really fallen in love with this book. It's mainly made up of fun, dynamic pictures with simple text, but I think he likes it because he is actually able to read it himself. Silly dogs and lots of action on every page contributes to the fun as well.

The Arthur books, by Marc Brown
The books about Arthur are very popular with my 9-year old right now. Really, anything Arthur will do, but these two books are good bets: Arthur's Family Vacation and Arthur's Underwear. Arthur is also available as an audio-book.

The Franklin books, by Paulette Bourgeois
Franklin the turtle is another one of my 9-year old son's favorite literary characters. There are lots of good books about him, but these are some good titles that my son has really enjoyed reading: Franklin Goes To The Hospital, Franklin In The Dark and Franklin's Bad Day. There are also some Franklin stories available for the Kindle: Franklin and the Thunderstorm, Franklin's Valentines, Franklin Goes to School, and Franklin's Halloween.

Books for older kids & parents
Here are some more book-titles that my kids are still not ready for, but that are on my reading and re-reading list this year.
  • Watership Down, by Richard Adams. Also available for the Kindle. A great book for teens and adults, though I still remember how devastating I found the story when I read it in my teens: I cried my eyes out. Haven't read it for a long time, but it's on my Kindle now.
  • Coraline, by Neil Gaiman. This is a very well-told, creepy, scary story about the girl Coraline who ends up almost ensnared by some very wicked magic. Not for little kids! It's available for the Kindle, and the movie-version is very good too (but also not for little kids).
  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I still haven't read these books, but they are up next on my reading-list, and I'm getting them for the Kindle. I'm guessing the trilogy is on quite a few reading lists right now, both for teens and adults!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin. I am very much hooked on the TV-show, but have not yet read the books, even though I got the box-set for Christmas. I'm waiting for HBO's Season 2 to end, and then I don't think I can hold off any longer! They are also available for the Kindle.

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