Waiting for the Magic was a tender, read aloud hit in our house. My 4 and 5-year-old boys loved the talking pets that only some family members could hear. My 9-year-old envied the fact that the family adopted all four dogs and one cat available from the animal shelter. My husband and I enjoyed the loving resolution between a struggling husband and wife. The kids mostly missed the tension of the father moving out temporarily, but they caught the idea of pets bringing hope and healing to a family. Maybe this book struck a chord with us because we’ve recently experienced the magical healing and overcoming of disappointment that a new pet can bring.
Things aren’t right in William’s family. His father has left and his mother says his father is ‘flawed.’ Four-year-old Elinor doesn’t understand what is wrong, but she is the first to realize the magic their five new pets bring. Four loveable dogs and one very patient cat help William, Elinor, and their parents recognize the magic and power of love. This is a sweet story for all ages and a good one to read as a family.
India Opal Buloni is lonely when she and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida. When she goes to the grocery store and a stray dog is causing havoc, she immediately claims him as her own. As Opal and Winn-Dixie wander the small town, they make friends with a diverse group of people—Otis, the pet shop worker/musician; Miss Franny Block, the old spinster librarian; Gloria Dump, who all the other kids call a witch; and even pinch faced Amanda Wilkinson. It is through her friendships that Opal learns everyone has their problems and weaknesses as well as great strengths. She and Winn-Dixie show the residents of Naomi that there is great strength in differences.
This is a story of a young girl and her dog, but it rings true for readers of all ages. We did this for a mother / daughter book group, but I also read it to my 4 and 5 year old sons. The story is engaging, but also teaches powerful lessons.
Dallas and Florida are known as the ‘trouble twins.’ They’ve been bounced between countless foster homes and the Boxton Creek Home for Kids. Consequently, they trust no one but each other and they expect the worst from the world. Tiller and Sairy are an energetic older couple hungry for one more big adventure, but they can’t agree where to go. When they invite the twins to share their adventures, both Tiller and Sairy and the twins learn some new things about the world and relationships.
As usual, Sharon Creech creates a light and entertaining story that contains subtle, but profound life lessons. This is a great book for ages 8 and up, but it also fun to read together as a family. The characters have so much personality and their dialogue is perfect for reading out loud.
My family read this book during the holiday season and even though it isn’t a holiday book or even a religious book, it leaves you with an uplifting and positive feeling to fit the season. Creech’s angel has a unique voice and view of the world that makes you cheer for all types of people as they face their struggles and help each other.
See this article for more great read-aloud books for the holidays.
This Christmas classic has been remade in many forms, but how often do we look at the original. Dickens’s vocabulary might be too sophisticated for younger children, but the story is well known and easy to follow. Try reading about the original Ebineezer Scrooge and his ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
This is a fun collection of short stories written by some popular children’s authors. Collected and edited by Jon Sceiszka, the Guys Read series is made to get boys interested in reading. This first book, Funny Business, is filled with 8-12 year old boy humor. It is a good way to get a taste for some new authors without committing yourself to an entire book. I was impressed with the creativity and skill of writing and think it is a perfect collection for its intended audience.