- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Your children might have seen one of the film versions of this movie but again, I urge you to read the book. Aside from the whimsical and far-out wonderment of the world inside the Chocolate Factory, many lessons can be learned from the book’s hero, Charlie.
- Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh – The tale of Harriet, a natural born spy skilled at observing those around her, who keeps a journal detailing everything about everyone she knows. When her friends read the contents of her journal she must deal with the harsh realities of what she’s written and figure out how to mend friendships, a classic tale with timeless lessons – especially for today’s digital age.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – “Because of the wonderful things he does…” Bet you are glad you can’t actually hear me sing. Yet again, many children will see a movie version of this tale before reading the book. The classic tale of Dorothy and her adventures in a strange land called Oz. What is it about fantasy stories that lead to adventures in strange lands that are so exciting?
- Matilda by Roald Dahl – A classic by Dahl, Matilda is a little girl with remarkable talents, despite having rather obnoxious parents. Matilda’s brains and warm heart (and a talent at exacting revenge) have been enthralling readers for years. I prefer to read this one aloud to have the opportunity to answer the inevitable questions that will arise regarding her mean parents.
- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes – A must-read for every school age child, girl and boy alike. This award-winning book, penned in 1945, tells the tale of young Wanda, who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same tattered dress everyday. This book covers the issues of peer pressure , bullying, courage and forgiveness and does so with the grace of a timeless classic.
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – An original and inventive story of young Milo who is perpetually bored, until a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his bedroom and he is transported to the Lands Beyond. The characters he meets along the way are enchanting to readers to say the least. This book has remained a classic for over 50 years and is a must read for every family.
- The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I am burning to confess this… I have never read this book or any from the series. The television show tainted them for me. BUT that doesn’t mean other people don’t love it and that it hasn’t graced the shelves of many family libraries. The tale of the Ingalls Family and their adventures in their new home of Kansas.
- The Witches by Roald Dahl – My personal favorite of Dahl’s books, The Witches tells the story of the bond between an orphaned bond and his grandmother. Together, they work to outwit and defeat all the witches of England after the boy is transformed into a mouse by witches.
- Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene – The original girl detective and iconic literary character, Nancy Drew solves more mysteries than your local police department, I kid, I kid – but she at least rivals the gang from Scooby Doo when it comes to number of mysteries solved.
- Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol – Who did not want to be this kid when they first read this series!? Heck, I still want to be him. For numerous random reasons, I always found these books more relatable than the Nancy Drew Series. Regardless of how I feel, if you have children in your house who love the suspense of a good mystery, then share this classic series with them.
What are your favorite classic books to read aloud as a family?
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