I organize our books every quarter… or when I start tripping over stacks and stacks of books on the floor. With books for a three-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl addicted to series books, we constantly run out of space for all of them.
In my most recent attempt at being organized, one of the things I did was collect all of Little T’s chapter books, put them in baskets, and chuck them under her bed. This way, they don’t occupy precious shelf space and it’s easy for her (and me) to put away books she leaves lying around the house.
So, what books will you see under my 6-year-old’s bed? Between the books I give her from our bookshop’s inventory (my one and only perk), some books I buy from other homeschooling parents, and a lot of hand-me-downs from her 9- and 11-year old cousins, she has quite a big
Let’s take a peek at some of her favorite series books that she refuses to part with. These are books that can be enjoyed by kids ages 5 to 10, depending on their reading level. Most of them, especially the older books, are great read-alouds too.
(The following book titles are mostly affiliate links. Clicking on them just means that we’ll get a little something when you eventually buy them from Amazon.com. We also have some of the titles from time to time over at the shop. Thank you!)
Tomie de Paola’s Fairmount Avenue Books
Tomie (we’re on a first-name basis, you know!) is my children’s favorite author and his book 26 Fairmount Avenue is actually the first long chapter book that Little T read by herself at age four. I started to read it aloud to her, but she got impatient when I had to stop frequently to attend to Little Sir who was still a baby then. So, she took it from me and finished it.
Tomie’s autobiographical series is like a neighborhood where Little T knows all the characters and events. She talks about Tomie and his family as if she really knows them! She re-reads all his books all the time, from his picture books to these chapter books. Ten thumbs up!
The Boxcar Children
Gertrude Chandler Warner’s book about four orphans who make a home for themselves in a boxcar was first published in 1924 and is always cited as one of the top 100 chapter books of all time. (That’s why we always carry these at the shop!)
Each book in the series is about a mystery that the children solve together. I only bought the original book in the series at first, but since Little T got hooked on it and because it seemed to be difficult to find, I swallowed my trepidation about e-books and bought the Kindle version of the first 20 books. I was able to buy more printed books after that.
Through The Boxcar Children, my daughter has become curious about camping, the outdoors, and doing things the old-fashioned way. These are the books (printed and electronic) that Little T reads again and again and again.
I have fond memories of reading Bobbsey Twins books when I was in grade school, so I was excited to introduce “them” to Little T when I saw her voraciously reading The Boxcar Children series. Sadly, I find it difficult to find good, non-smelly copies, so we only have one Bobbsey Twins book.
Like The Boxcar Children, The Bobbsey Twins are mystery books that easily capture children’s imagination. Little T is frustrated though with the inconsistencies in the timeline of the stories.
Though I much prefer real books over e-books, I make exceptions for hard-to-find books like Bobbsey Twins, and I make sure that my daughter just uses the Kindle and not the iPad. If you want to download free Bobbsey Twins books, click here... and you’re welcome!
I am still on the lookout for the real books even if my daughter is perfectly happy reading the stories in
my her Kindle, so do let me know if you have copies you’re willing to lend or sell to me!
Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Books
The Ramona books are a series of 8 books about school girl Ramona Quimby. The first book was published in 1955 and the last one was published in 1999.
I didn’t really think that Little T would already enjoy the books when I bought the boxed set from another parent last year (or was it two years ago? I forget.) Well, she fell in love with Ramona and her school adventures immediately. She asks me if she can go to school (instead of being homeschooled) just so she can pull off the innocent pranks that she has read in the books!
Cam Jansen Series
Cam Jansen is about a girl detective who uses her photographic memory to solve mysteries. The reading level is lower than The Boxcar Children and The Bobbsey Twins, so kids go through each book really fast. Little T loves how Cam “takes photos” with her mind and gets really excited when I bring new titles for her from time to time.
The series Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park and the Jigsaw Jones books by James Preller are similar to Cam Jansen, as both are also mystery books at about the same reading level. We even have two junior Nancy Drew books that are similar in style and content!
I discovered The Littles by John Peterson at The Learning Library two years ago, and borrowed some for Little T who was instantly hooked. First published in 1967, The Littles books tell the story of a family of tiny creatures who stand 4 to 6 inches tall and have tails. Living in the Biggs’ house, the Littles are constantly in danger of being discovered by the human family. I like this series too, and I’m looking for more books in the series.
Little T discovered Thea Stilton on her own at my sister’s house where we always hang out when my niece and nephew are there. I didn’t want her to read it at first because I find the font too colorful and “different” for my taste. But you can’t stop a reader from reading a book she fancies! Besides, she picks up a lot of facts from the series.
My girl finished her Ate F’s Thea Stilton collection last year, but still refuses to read her Kuya M’s Geronimo Stilton books “because I’m not a boy.”
Magic Tree House
Magic Tree House is apparently a popular series by Mary Pope Osborne about two kids who are transported via a magic tree house to different places and historical periods, usually to retrieve an important historical document. I didn’t buy one single book but look at how much we already have! Some were given by a grand-aunt and grand-uncle, and most were lent or given to Little T by her favorite Kuya M.
There was once a discussion over at our homeschool group’s FB page about why parents shouldn’t let their kids read this series. It was something about the magical nature of the books, I think. Anyway, I didn’t pay much attention then because I thought that Little T was still too little for the books, until she started being absorbed by the books in her cousins’ house. Oops! But then again, there’s no foul language and no one really gets hurt in the books. I really must find time, though, to screen all the books that Little T reads!
Greek Beasts and Heroes
Little T was first introduced to the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology through the picture book Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas and The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by the awesome Aliki. However, when I asked her to try one of the books from the series Greek Beasts and Heroes last year, she wasn’t so interested in them. They are actually great, as each book is about a specific Greek god, goddess, or beast.
So, save for one book, I wrapped them all and gave them as gifts last Christmas. Imagine my horror when she suddenly found that one book lying around and asked for the others now, now, now! Good thing I gave several books to one of my nieces and asked her to keep them for Little T when the time comes!
Nate the Great
A humorous detective book series, Nate the Great by Marjorie Sharmart is perfect for the 4 to 8 age group or those who are just starting to read independently. Though we discovered it when Little T’s reading level has already gone past it, she still gets a kick out of the mysteries that Nate solves. This series is also a great read-aloud.
I found it challenging to classify and write about all of Little T’s chapter books. So, I decided to do a series of posts on chapter books, with the next one listing classic children’s novels. If you notice, though, most of the books on this list are already considered classic as they were first published decades ago and have withstood the test of time!
What are the books under your child’s bed? Do share!