Gift Guide: 3 Best Read Aloud Books to Engage and Excite Kids in Reading

200px-The_Tale_of_DespereauxOne of my favorite times of day is snuggling up to my two girls and reading to them. Their bodies relax, but their brains come alive. They giggle, they grimace, they ask questions. They are learning to be fully engrossed in books and to discuss literature.

These are three fantastic books that will thrill your kids, in the 5-10 age range. I’ve seen my sixth grade students reading them– and my girls are in first and third grades. They make captivating read alouds. I myself enjoyed them very much as an adult, especially trying out different theatrical voices.

These all would make a lovely present for any child this holiday (ahem, grandparents, take note!). No batteries or plastic from China required.

Tum-Tum and Nutmeg: 3 book set

It is impossible not to fall in love with Tum Tum and Nutmeg. Truly, these mice living in a home where two children need their help is adorable and riveting at the same time. No violence, just good, clean fun here– adventures with mice, kids, one cranky aunt– all of it is perfect for snuggly good reading with no nightmare potential. There is one adventure where alcohol plays a part in freeing the mice from pirate mice, but it is funny and not too mature. Any of these books would make a lovely gift. We’ve just read the second one– so the first two are on my list for the girls.

Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

We adore this book. From the moment you meet little Despereaux (another mouse) you will be in love. He is tiny in body but very large in spirit, despite his callus mother and a father who gives him away for talking to humans. From this heartbreak Despereaux must rebound and his journey involves a dungeon, several cruel (but delightful) rats, a princess, and a plot twist for the ages. There is some serious drama here– poverty, cruelty, and a dark, scary dungeon, but it is not in overdone. Young readers and listeners will be spellbound and riveted for the entire book. Add to that there are very interesting, and sometimes creepy illustrations that captivate.

 Harry Potter (books 1-3) by J.K. Rowling

Now I know that you would have to be living under a rock to not know about these books. But many parents don’t know that the first 3 of these books are perfect for reading aloud to the age 5-12 year old set. We chose to read them during the day, just in case, and I edited out some of the more terrifying quotes from Lord Voldemort, but these books are just too good to hold back on. As the reader I love using different voices for Hagrid, Professor McGonagall and Dumbledore. These books resonate with children because Harry is so stuck, so desperate, and so longing. And what child doesn’t want to get that letter that says, You are a Wizard! Head off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! It is magic, the book, the characters, the story. Just watch your kids beg you to read them more.

What are you favorite read aloud books? Please share in the comments!

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