Connecting Through Books

We all know how important it is to read to our children. Not only is it good for their development, it helps create strong bonds.

Reading to your children doesn’t have to stop when they learn how to read to themselves, or when they outgrow picture books. That bonding time is just as important with older children. Also, chapter book read-alouds don’t have to be just for older kids. I started reading longer books to my daughter when she was 3 or 4.

For littler kids, you can start with shorter chapter books, such as Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, or Ramona, and work up to longer ones. The first one I remember reading to my daughter was “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” by Roald Dahl.

Here are some of my favorite read-alouds:

Matilda, Roald Dahl

The title character in “Matilda” is a lovable little girl who loves to read and has some special abilities. Some people love her for it, while others – such as her parents – do not. It’s a great story with a perfect ending.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series is iconic, and if you haven’t read it already (or even if you have), “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is a great book to read aloud. Plus, through the month of April, it’s available for simultaneous checkout as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/OverDrive. Maybe a family book club is in your future?

Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

Who doesn’t love Anne Shirley? This story of a little girl with a big imagination is timeless and appeals to all ages. Warning: Reading “Anne of Green Gables” aloud will almost certainly lead to reading “Anne of Avonlea” next. Not that that is a bad thing.

Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo

“Because of Winn-Dixie” is a heartwarming story about a girl and a dog who find one another at just the right time. A lot happens to main character because of her new dog, Winn-Dixie – most of them good.

The BFG, Roald Dahl

Thanks to the movie that came out a few years ago, “The BFG” is probably a familiar story. It’s also extremely fun to read aloud. The BFG has a unique way of speaking…”is I right, or is I left?”

The ideas are endless. For more suggestions, I like the book “The Read-Aloud Family” by Sarah Mackenzie. She also has a blog.

Happy reading!

~Val

Listen While You Work

Whistle while you work? Why not listen instead?

One of my favorite tips to share with people is to listen to audiobooks while you’re doing mundane tasks. Audiobooks aren’t just for long car rides anymore. I am always looking at ways to add listening time into my day.

Getting ready for work? Audiobook.

Doing the dishes? Audiobook.

Cleaning the closets? Audiobook.

Cooking dinner? Audiobook.

Exercising? Audiobook.

You get the idea. Listening to an audiobook while you’re doing something that is otherwise boring or unenjoyable makes the time seem to go faster. It turns a cleaning project into something to look forward to. It also helps you squeeze a little extra reading time into your day.

The Plum Creek Library System just added a lot of new audiobooks to our collection at RBdigital. You’ll find many popular authors there, as well as classics, children’s, YA, and more. There is truly something for everyone.

Here are some of great audiobooks available on RBdigital.

Dark of the Moon, John Sandford

I absolutely love the Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford. Virgil Flowers is a BCA officer originally from Marshall, Minnesota (yes, you read that right). Virgil has a great sense of humor and would rather be fishing than working on any given day. The Virgil Flowers series is a spinoff of Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series, but you don’t need to read that one first. “Dark of the Moon” is the first book in the Virgil Flowers series.

Iron Lake, William Kent Krueger

William Kent Krueger is a Minnesota author and a favorite among Tracy Public Library patrons. I have read some and listened to some of this series. You can’t go wrong either way. “Iron Lake” is the first book in Krueger’s Cork O’Connor mystery series. If you haven’t tried them, you won’t be disappointed.

11/22/63, Stephen King

I often recommend this book to people who are curious about Stephen King, but don’t aren’t really into Horror or don’t want anything too gory. “11/22/63” is about a man who travels back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. It’s a great book, and at more than 30 hours long, you’ll get a lot of bang for your borrow.

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells

When you think of “The War of the Worlds,” you probably think of Orson Welles’ 1938 radio adaptation, or one of the movie adaptations. But have you ever read the book? With “The War of the Worlds,” H.G. Wells was a pioneer of the Science Fiction genre that is extremely popular today.

O Pioneers!, Willa Cather

I read “O Pioneers!” in college, and had somehow forgotten how good it was. I was reminded a couple of years ago when the library’s book club read it. I decided to listen to the audiobook, and was not disappointed. It features Alexandra Bergson, a strong woman who is left in charge of the family farm by her father. If you haven’t read this classic, I highly recommend giving it a listen.

There is much more to explore on RBdigital. There is also an RBdigital app, for easy listening on the go. You must first sign up on the RBdigital website.

If you have any questions, email me at vquist@plumcreeklibrary.net. Happy listening!

~Val