On the hunt for a great read-aloud to share with your child? Look no further! This list includes classics and new wonders to read aloud to your children. Books are listed alphabetically by title, and descriptions are adapted from publisher descriptions or the Fay School library catalog summaries. We hope they will ignite imagination, foster conversation, and keep the pages turning!
Anna Hibiscus (series) by Atinuke
Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa with her whole family in a wonderful house. There is always somebody to laugh and play with. Anna Hibiscus loves to splash in the sea with her cousins and have parties with her aunties. But more than anything else in the world, Anna Hibiscus would love to see snow. Featuring warm, loving multi-generational family relationships, this book showcases daily life in modern, urban Africa.
Akimbo and the Lions (series) by Alexander McCall Smith
Ten-year-old Akimbo lives on a game preserve in Africa. His father is the head ranger, and Akimbo is eager to help him whenever he can, even if it means getting into some pretty dangerous situations. In this story, Akimbo helps his father set a trap for a lioness that has been attacking cattle on nearby farms. But when the lion they catch turns out to be a cub, Akimbo must find a way to care for the young lion until it’s old enough to be released in the wild.
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The summer India Opal Buloni and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the supermarket—and comes out with a dog. Opal adopts the lovable, mangy dog, whose personality changes her life and the lives of the quirky characters in this rural community. (Newbery Honor Book 2001)
Also by this author: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux (Note: This story is read aloud in grade 2 library class), Flora and Ulysses (see below)
The Boxcar Children (series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Alden children begin their adventure by making a home in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process, they find a grandfather.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
What happens when the five luckiest children in the entire world walk through the doors of Willy Wonka’s famous, mysterious chocolate factory? What happens when, one by one, the children disobey Mr. Wonka’s orders? In Dahl’s most popular story, the nasty are punished and the good are deliciously, sumptuously rewarded. Also by this author: Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, and many more
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming
An eccentric inventor designs a car that takes him, his two children, and a lady friend into a fantasy world of chocolate factories, castles and child-catchers.
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
A little country cricket helps a New York boy sell newspapers and magazines in Times Square by providing musical entertainment. (Newbery Medal Book 1961)
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived. (Newbery Medal Book 2014)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. And that is how Claudia and her brother, Jamie, end up living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art-and right in the middle of a mystery that makes headlines. (Newbery Medal Book 1968)
Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
When Gooney Bird Greene arrives at a new elementary school, she loves to be the center of attention and entertains her teacher and fellow second graders by telling absolutely true stories about herself, including how she got her name. Also by this author: Gooney Bird on the Map, Gooney Bird and the Room Mother
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized. The story, told in wordless sequential pictures and distinct pages of text, let the cinematic story unfold. (Caldecott Medal Book 2008) Also by this author: Wonderstruck
Jasmine Toguchi (series) by Debbi Michiko Florence
Spunky Japanese-American Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! She’s also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie—something special, something different. Eager to do something her big sister has not done first, Jasmine decides to pound mochi rice with the men and boys when her family gets together for New Year’s. Surely her sister has never done THAT before. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year’s Day?
Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina
Juana loves many things—drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love school activities like solving math problems or going to dance class. And she especially does not love learning English. But when Juana’s abuelos tell her about a special trip they are planning—one that Juana will need to speak English to go on—Juana begins to wonder whether learning English might be a good use of her time after all.
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
With help from an eccentric professor who gives their imaginations special intensive training, three children succeed in locating the last of the great Whangdoodles, once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world.
Little House in the Big Woods (Little House series, book 1) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Based on the real-life adventures of Wilder, the story takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura and her family, who live in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Pioneer life isn’t easy for the Ingalls family since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But they make the best of every tough situation. Little House in the Big Woods and the other eight books in the series offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier.
The Magician’s Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, book 1) by C. S. Lewis
Witness the creation of the magical land of Narnia in the first book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series. When Digory and Polly try to return the wicked witch Jadis to her own world, the magic gets mixed up, and they all land in Narnia, where they witness Aslan blessing the animals with human speech. While this novel stands on its own, it is book 1 in The Chronicles of Narnia. Also by this author: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (bk. 2)
Meet Yasmin! (series) by Saadia Faruqi
Yasmin is a spirited second grader who’s always on the lookout for those “aha” moments to help her solve life’s little problems. Taking inspiration from her surroundings and her big imagination, she boldly faces any situation, assuming her imagination doesn’t get too big, of course! A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani-American family will delight and inspire readers.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy, Keith, and his shiny toy motorcycle in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn. When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith’s red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. With a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle. Also by this author: Ralph S. Mouse, Ramona
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
With no one else to help her with her problems, a widowed mouse visits the rats whose former imprisonment in a laboratory made them wise and long lived. (Newbery Medal Book 1972)
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This tale of friendship and hope is narrated by a silverback gorilla, Ivan, who lives at The Big Top Mall, a shabby, circus-themed roadside attraction. When Ivan meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. Applegate makes a powerful statement about the treatment of animals—especially those living in captivity—and reminds readers that all creatures deserve a safe place to call home. Also by this author: Ivan: the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
From her upside-down house, the eccentric Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle issues to parents her marvelous cures for such common children’s diseases as Won’t-Put-Away-Toys-itis, Answerbackism, and Fighter-Quarrelitis.Also by this author: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Magic
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Escapades of a lucky little girl who lives with a horse and a monkey—but without any parents—at the edge of a Swedish village.
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson
The making of “Show ways,” or quilts which once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author’s family. From slavery to freedom, through segregation, freedom marches and the fight for literacy, the tradition they called Show Way has been passed down by the women in Jacqueline Woodson’s family as a way to remember the past and celebrate the possibilities of the future. (Newbery Honor Book 2006) Also by this author: The Day You Begin, The Other Side and many more
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
A classic action-packed adventure story about a thrilling dogsled race. Based on a Rocky Mountain legend, Stone Fox tells the story of Little Willy, who lives with his grandfather in Wyoming. When Grandfather falls ill, he is no longer able to work the farm, which is in danger of foreclosure. Willy is determined to win the National Dogsled Race, knowing that the prize money would save the farm and his grandfather. But he isn’t the only one who desperately wants to win. Willy and his brave dog Searchlight must face off against experienced racers, including a Native American man named Stone Fox, who has never lost a race.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River. This fantasy novel inspired by Chinese folklore is a companion novel to Starry River of the Sky and National Book Award finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The escapades of four animal friends who live along a river in the English countryside—Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger. Grahame’s classic tale celebrates country life and the dependability of good friends. Also by this author: The Reluctant Dragon
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. Also by this author: We’re All Wonders
The World According to Humphrey (Humphrey series, book 1) by Betty G. Birney
Sent to live in Room 26, Humphrey, the class hamster, begins to learn a lot about humans through simple observation from his cage, in an amusing tale about a curious creature who takes full advantage of his educational opportunities.