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I started reading aloud to my children in 1981 after the birth of our fourth child. Naturally, all along I had been reading the baby picture books so often read to little children, but it was in that year that I started with the harder chapter books. I believe that first book was Treasure Island. It was a book I had always wanted to read, and since there was no way I’d have the time to read it to myself, I decided to jump right in and read it aloud.
At the time, the ages of the kids were 6, 4, 2, and newborn. I guess I was pretty astonished that the children actually enjoyed the process, and the older two were listening. Treasure Island led to all the works of Jules Verne, then to Marquerite De Angeli, Walter Edmonds, and Lois Lenski. Here is a list of some titles we especially enjoyed:
Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (World War I and carrier pigeons — don’t read this one unless you plan to start raising carrier pigeons)
Bob, Son of Battle: The Last Gray Dog of Kenmuir by Alfred Ollivant (have a box of Kleenex handy — this one will make you cry)
The Rose Of Paradise by Howard Pyle (lesser known work by Pyle — hard to find but worth the effort)
Wreck of the Grosvenor by William Clark Russell (exciting sea adventure — one of my very favorites)
Michael Strogoff: A Courier of the Czar by Jules Verne (lesser known work by Verne — one of his best)
The Children Who Stayed Alone by Bonnie Bess Worline (pioneer adventure — you’ll have a hard time putting it down)