Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

A Reading Rainbow

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice, but this is National Children’s Book Week(Okay, before this last week, I had never heard of it.) But I’m certainly glad to be on the bookmobile now!

Children’s Book Week was started way back in 1919.  It was considered a way to honor teachers, librarians, authors, and parents who all play a part in placing a book into a child’s hands.

“It all began with the idea that children’s books can change lives. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children’s books. He proposed creating a Children’s Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.”

Also, BlogHer is celebrating all month long with a campaign called Books Make a Difference!  From May 3 to May 28th, BlogHer is teaming up with the nonprofit organization First Book and BookRenter.  And with your help, they will be donating a book that will be donated to a child in need.  Go here to see how you can help!

Every once in a while I come to you all for great book suggestions.  And because of you, I’ve amassed a wonderful list of reading material for my kids.  I still get e-mail asking for the link to the book list post, and in honor of National Children’s Book Week, I wanted to post the list again.

And btw, who else besides me misses seeing Reading Rainbow? I thought it was a brilliant PBS show that after 23 years on the air, was still relevant.  I’m still bitter about it being cancelled.  (But then I still haven’t recovered from the demise of Dark Shadows over 35 years ago, either.)  A grudge?  I can hold it.

The Book List

  • The Wheel on the School (I LOVED this one)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
  • The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (A must in every library)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  • Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler
  • Boxcar Children series
  • Four Story Mistake
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Decamillo
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
  • Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
  • Kildee House by Rutherford G. Montgomery and Barbara Cooney
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Amelia Bedilia books
  • Owls in the Family
  • The Dragonling
  • The Sign of the Beaver
  • The Little House Series (we read these, and loved them)
  • Magic Tree House
  • Wishbone Series
  • Nancy Drew Mysteries (classic)
  • Anything by Beverly Cleary
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series
  • American Girl series
  • Freddy the Pig series by Walter R. Brooks
  • Betsy series by Carolyn Haywood (I read these as a girl)
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Sarah Plain and Tall
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (this one is next on our list to read)
  • The Phantom Tollbooth

Happy reading!  And please feel free to add your own childhood reading suggestions!

7 Responses to A Reading Rainbow

  • We have read quite a few of these and loved them.
    But you MUST read Frindle by Andrew Clements. We absolutely loved it.

  • We are currently reading Twenty-One Balloons and my kids love it. We also recently finished The Endless Steppe, One Grain of Rice and The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. All great books.

    So why did Book Week change from November to May?


    They moved the date in 2008. It was about the time that the responsibility for Children’s Book Week shifted to Every Child a Reader, which was the philanthropic arm of the children’s publishing industry.

    In other words, I have no idea. 🙂


  • We recently read Mr Popper’s Penguin and LOVED it! Your list looks great but is definitely missing My Father’s Dragon and the 2 that follow. Excellent books!

    Oh and right now we are reading the Boxcar Children series (we are on 2). My 5 yo son is LOVING them.

  • RockyA just went to a field-trip at the Apple Store were they made their own Reading Rainbow-like videos. They read a book,wrote a report and practiced presenting it the 2 weeks before the trip. Then they used a mac to video record and add special affects. Of course they also got to play with the new iPad and iPhones. If you get a chance to arrange such a fieldtrip, I recommend it. Or just video your own with a group of friends. Very rewarding and you get an entire new list of books from your friends’ reports (:
    And ditto to Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

  • Keep an eye out, Reading Rainbow may be back some day. LeVar Burton announced on his Twitter feed on March 19, 2010, that Reading Rainbow 2.0 is in the works.

  • How do I have no idea what the heck Reading Rainbow is? I feel like I have lived the wrong life or something! I’m off to google land now!

    PS Danny the Champion of the World and Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl are also wonderful! And the Black Stallion. I absolutely loved the Susan Cooper series, but fyi the Dark is Rising movie was awful (and I thought not appropriate for little kids).

  • My daughter just turned 8 this week and my aunt got her “A Hundred Dresses” by Estes & Slobodkin. Wonderful story with a fantastic message. Also saw on Amazon that there are books on using it as a novel unit. (My mother and I read the book before my daughter, she was less than pleased that we took over her present).
    Ditto on Mr. Popper’s Penguins. When I taught kindergarten I used to read it out loud. I lost my copy but will have my daughter check it out from the library. Will need to replace that one. Some of the older books are often the best.
    Thanks for the great suggestions. I always look forward to this post.