I’m awfully fond of Krys Boyd. Not only is she smart, funny, and immensely kind, but the mother of four (!) also helps create some best programming on the radio as host and managing editor of KERA’s midday talk show, Think.
Given that a large portion of her daily life revolves around children and books (she reads stacks each week to prep for Think), we thought she was the perfect person to weigh in on her favorite titles for young readers in our premier issue of D Moms. She kindly obliged with a stellar list, plus she threw in a few extras…
Herewith Krys’ thoughts on reading as a family and four more of her book picks for children.
“For our family, reading is a shared activity. Although our children have been reading on their own for several years now, we still read out loud as a family when we can—handing off the book every few pages so everybody gets a turn. We have explored all kinds of wonderful stories together, and the children have learned a lot about the art of negotiation when it comes time to choose the next book. Reading, critiquing and discussing different books as a family not only gives the children a nice grounding in literature, it also provides a common frame of reference for the whole family in a media landscape where so much broadcast content is either inappropriate for kids or cloying for adults.”
Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
This was our favorite of the ubiquitous “Max & Ruby” series. Sweet, hapless Max tests the patience of bossy sister Ruby as she tries to make a birthday cake for Grandma—but his mud-and-worms masterpiece is no less delightful than her raspberry and sugar-stars confection. Funny and cute but never cloying.
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Although Olivia’s appeal has now launched a cottage industry of toys and spin-off books that make her a bit “overexposed,” the first story and quirky black-and-white pencil drawings by Ian Falconer are more than worth the price of the original book. Recommended for any family raising a little one with a larger-than-life personality.
Geraldine’s Baby Brother by Holly Keller
Geraldine the pig is none-too-pleased to welcome the noisy, attention-grabbing new piglet in the family—until she discovers her natural gift for making him giggle. Preschoolers coping with the arrival of a new sibling will surely identify with Geraldine’s jealousy—and be relieved to learn how special it is to be a big sister.
The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
While the premise of this book (the aftermath of a virus that kills everyone on earth older than twelve) might be disturbing for readers before fourth or fifth grade, slightly older kids will relate instantly to the courage and ingenuity of Lisa, who becomes a leader for other children left behind by the epidemic, finding not only food, clothing and even transportation, but also helping to build a new society ruled by compassion and equality rather than brute force. This book is sure to spark fascinating discussions.