For a long time, I didn’t read to my girls at night.
I was just too tired at the end of the day and ready for them to be in bed.
I read aloud at other times of the day, but bed time was not one of them.
Then, when we moved to Utah, my girls were suddenly a little older, school didn’t start so early, and virtually overnight, read aloud chapter books became part of our evening routine.
We read Sunday – Thursday (on Friday we do movie night and on Saturday, Bart and I usually go out) and it’s such a nice end to the day for me.
By the way, I choose the chapter books I read aloud based on my two oldest girls. The little girls are able to follow along pretty well but if it’s over their heads, I’m not worried about it.
Here are all the chapter books I’ve read aloud to the girls this year:
All the Read Aloud Chapter Books We Read This Year
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This was such a fun way to start out the year. I hadn’t read the book in years, but I’ve seen the movie about a million times, so it was a delight to see how closely the movie matched the text. My favorite moment was when a beloved character died and I looked up to see Ani snuggled in her bed, tears quietly running down her cheeks. Afterward, we watched the movie as a family.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
This was a favorite of mine growing up about a young girl who sets out on as ship to rejoin her family in America and finds herself in the middle of a mutiny. I loved coming back to it, especially because I remembered VERY little of the story line. My big girls were SUPER into it (my little girls had a harder time following along).
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konisburg
This is the first book I remember reading as a child and thinking “This is a really well written book.” I think my girls were a BIT too young for this one – it’d have been better to wait another year or two because it was hard for them to keep track of the four main characters and how their families and stories intertwined. For my part, I definitely enjoyed reading it again.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert C. O’Brien
This was one of our best read-alouds of the year. If you’ve never read this Newbery winner about some very smart rats who help save a little mouse family, you’re missing out. The first chapter or two are bit slow, but after that we couldn’t read enough and we read long past bedtime many many nights. (I’ve never read the sequel – is it worth it?).
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This was a GREAT book about a little girl, Minli, who sets out on a quest to find the Old Man on the Moon so she can find a fortune for her poor family. It was especially fun for my girls who are in a Mandarin Chinese immersion program at school. It’s full of little side stories that weave wonderfully into the main plot and gorgeous illustrations. Highly recommend.
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
I have super fond memories of this book about WWII and children in Norway smuggling gold past the Nazis on their sleds from my growing up, but it was a bit slower than I’d remembered and I was glad when it was done. (Also, reading the note about how there’s no evidence that it’s based on a true story was a bit of a bummer).
The Ghost on Saturday Night by Sid Fleischman
This was a quick read (took us maybe two days) in between books and it was fun, although not particularly memorable.
The Perilous Princess Plot by Sarah Courtauld
My girls LOVED this one, but the story of two young girls dreaming of their futures (one wants to be a fairy-tale princess and one wants to battle dragons and monsters) was a bit over the top for me (and more bathroom humor than I’m really delighted by).
Invisible Inkling by Emily Jenkins
This was a surprisingly fun book about a boy who discovers an invisible animal that no one else can see – I’ve read a lot of Emily Jenkins books (she’s the author of Toys Go Out and Upside Down Magic, among many others), but this series was new to me.
Mr. Gedrick and Me by Patrick Carman
This was a book from our Bookroo subscription and it was delightful about a little boy who has lost his dad and the family is struggling to keep life moving on without him. And then Mr. Gedrick shows up – acting as nanny, cook, housekeeper and all around Mary Poppins – and suddenly the family can see a future that doesn’t seem entirely bleak.
Roll with It by Jamie Sumner
The publishers sent me multiple copies of this one, so I took it as a sign to read it. Ellie loves to bake and dreams of being a celebrity chef. She also has cerebral palsy. And she’s just moved with her mom to live with her grandparents because her grandfather seems to be developing Alzheimers. That’s a lot, but Ellie is going to handle it.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
I LOVE this book and it was fun to revisit it with my girls and share some of my favorite poems with them. We read it in about three days, so it was a nice in-between book as a break from longer novels. (Full review here)
Holes by Louis Sachar
Holes is one of my favorite Newbery winners and since my girls love the Wayside School books, I couldn’t wait to introduce them to this one. It was just as good as I remembered and when we finished, we had a special outdoor movie night with our giant screen to watch the film version.
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
This had been on my to-read list for a while and it was so fun to finally get to it this year. It’s included on au, so we finished the last few chapters on audio during a road trip to Las Vegas this summer. It has been months since we finished it and I still find myself thinking about it frequently. Highly recommend.
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot
This was a fun (and not-too-long) fantasy book about a little boy who, while spending the day with a grumpy old woman he’s never met, discovers that she’s responsible for transporting magic. Naturally, he goes along.
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson
This one has been compared a million times to the Ramona books and it’s an accurate comparison. We all LOVED this delightful novel about a little girl and her family in Portland Oregon. I’m anxious awaiting the sequel.
Here Comes McBroom: Three More Tall Tales by Sid Fleischman
This was another quick read in between longer ones with three wildly creative stories about McBroom’s farm and how it will grow absolutely anything in the magical soil. It was a little weird for my taste.
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan
This one had that Newbery Honor sticker on it and it was fine. It’s about a troublemaking boy who goes to live with the only foster family that will take him – the unique Applewhite family. He’s determined to continue to be a problem but. . . they’re so different that he can’t quite figure out how to behave.
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
I didn’t discover these books until I was an adult, but Bart’s family are huge fans and it was fun to re-read it more than ten years later. It’s pretty long – it took us a good long time to get through it – but it’s engaging and well-written and I loved reading it again.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Reading a Harry Potter book every October is one of my favorite things. We’ve circled back to the beginning as the younger girls get older (Ani had no memory of this one at all) and I just LOVE this book. Aside from book 6, this is my favorite in the series.
Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue by Paula Harrison
After spending weeks reading Harry Potter, it was fun to read something quick. Ella had zero interest in this book, but my little girls were SO THRILLED by this story of a little girl who discovers she has cat skills (night vision, amazing balance, etc) and uses it to help rescue a tiny lost kitten.
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
This series is super popular and I’d never read it, so I picked it up for our next read-aloud. It was good, but not great and my two little girls weren’t into it at ALL.
A Return to Christmas by Chris Heimerdinger
It’s been three years since I last read this to my girls and they didn’t remember it almost at all, so it was a delight to kick off the holiday season with a re-read of this one.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
I don’t know if I can count this one or not, since I just started reading it to the girls. Either way, I LOVE Linda Sue Park and I’ve been looking forward to reading this book to them since it came out earlier this year.
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
Your timing is perfect! My girls and I are having a “book party” today to celebrate all the chapter books we read this year. (For some cheap and easy decor, I stuck some of the paperbacks in our Christmas tree, and I’m calling it our “book tree.”) We were in need of some new ideas, and these are PERFECT! Thank you!
P.S. Our favorites this year were: Half Magic (Gretchen Rubin recommended it), Mercy Watson, Misty of Chincoteague, and My Father’s Dragon. And we LOVED Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, too! 🙂
We also read the Birchbark house last year and just finished another in the series, The Porcupine Year, and enjoyed that one as much. Hope to read all in the series. One of our favorites this year was The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. Looking forward to reading the sequel.
The Bookwanders series was by far the best books we read all year. I loved them and my 3 and 6 year old did as well!
The sequel to Rats of NIMH isn’t quite as good as the original, but still worth the read in my opinion. We enjoyed it. It’s written by the author’s daughter I think. I’ve tried to find the 3rd one, but it doesn’t seem to be readily available.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was my favorite read aloud of 2019, SO good. I really loved Ways to Make Sunshine this year. I thought Spy School was fine, but I was happy to move on to the next one. My 4 year olds LOVED the Kitty books. It was like their wildest dreams had come true in book form 🙂
This post inspired me to read NIMH to my boy next year – I think he’ll love it!
All of a Kind Family is a great one we are just finishing up! Fun daily tales of a Jewish family in NYC with 5 girls set in 1912.
Karen Spearrin says
Wonderful list! We started reading Prairie Lotus after you recommended it. My 3 girls (8, 6 and 3) just discovered the Little House on the Prairie TV show, so we decided to read it. They are half white, half Japanese, so it has already sparked some great conversations about race. I just looked up on Common Sense Media that there is an attempted sexual assault on the main character–did you just read it? How were the girls affected by it? Did they have nightmares? Did you skip it? Curious how you handled it. Thanks for all the work you do! I love your recommendations!!
Janssen Bradshaw says
We just read that part a few nights ago and I didn’t skip it – there are two drunk men on the main street and one of them grabs her shoulder. Obviously, it would be hugely traumatic in real life, but as a scene in a book, I don’t think it was at all frightening to my children – none of them made any mention of it after the fact or brought it up again.
Kristin W says
So many great ideas, thank you! My oldest is 6.5 and we just started longer chapter books last year. His favorite by far was Charlie and the Chocolate factory! And then we watched the movie of course. We also enjoyed The Mouse and the Motorcycle and The Little Prince (which my son loved, but was tricky for me to get into). Can’t wait to take some of these more modern ones for a spin!
There was a book when my kids were young called “Wolf Story”. Not scary, my boys loved it.