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Staff Picks: Great Family Read Alouds

by eapearce

Reading aloud is a great activity even for kids (and adults!) who already know how to read. But it can be challenging to find a good read aloud book for families with children of varying ages. It has to be exciting and interesting enough to keep the attention of older kids, but gentle enough for the younger ones. Here are a few of our recommendations for titles the whole family will enjoy listening to.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar | Request Now

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar First published in 1978, this book is chock full of old-school humor that kids will love. Wayside School was built straight up from the ground, thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The book is written in short chapters with funny anecdotes from various classrooms in the school, making it perfect to read aloud in short snippets.







Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo | Request Now

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamilloIn this 2014 Newbery Medal Winner, cynical, comic-book reading Flora rescues a squirrel after an accident with a vacuum cleaner. When the squirrel is revived, he astonishes Flora with his superstrength (and poetry writing abilities). Together, with help from the neighbors (both human and squirrel)  the two navigate troubles in Flora’s life in a funny, heartwarming tale about friendship.







Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan | Request Now

Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz RyanIn this historical fiction title, which won the Pura Belpré Award, Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their happy life in Mexico to become migrant workers on southern California farms. It’s just before the Great Depression and life is difficult for Esperanza, but she works hard to stay positive and overcome hardships. This is a great read aloud for anyone who has had to make a big move or change in their lives, or who needs inspiration to push through hardships.






The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown | Request Now

The Wild Robot, by Peter BrownIn this lovely book, each chapter is like its own individual little story. Roz is a robot who finds herself on a remote island with no idea of how she got there. Stranded, she has no choice but to try and learn the ways of the island’s inhabitants–the local wildlife. This is a great story about animal adaptation and survival, and about how curiosity and kindness can make you friends, and it’s especially apt for reading aloud to kids who are just beginning to be interested in chapter books. There’s a sequel, too!






From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsburg | Request Now

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. KonigsburgThis absolute classic was the 1968 Newbery Medal Winner and continues to delight to this day. Two siblings, tired of their routine existence, decide to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, they must hide at night from security guards and elder sibling Claudia must work hard to make the museum feel like home. This is a wonderful adventure story about taking matters into your own hands!






Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis | Request Now

Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul CurtisAlmost all of Christopher Paul Curtis’ books make for great read alouds, but Bud, Not Buddy is a wonderful place to start. The 2000 Newbery Medal Winner tells the story of 10-year-old Bud, who escapes his foster home in Flint, Michigan, to try and track down his long-lost father. Bud is convinced that his dad is a renowned band leader based out of Grand Rapids, and the story of Bud trying to find him is alternatingly funny, heartbreaking, and hopeful.






Half Magic, by Edward Eager | Request Now

Half Magic, by Edward EagerEdward Eager’s classic Tales of Magic series is great fun, and this is an excellent installment. All of the titles somehow deal with magic gone wrong–in Half Magic, when you make a wish, only half of it comes true, and sometimes not in the way you expected! Four siblings are staring down a dull summer when one finds a coin that grants magical wishes. But since only one half of each wish comes true, of course misadventures and hilarity ensue.


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