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Read-A-Loud Books for Families

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Song and Dance Man book cover
Author:  Karen Ackerman
Title:  Song and Dance Man

Grandpa demonstrates for his visiting grandchildren some of the songs, dances, and jokes he performed when he was a vaudeville entertainer.


My Dad's a Birdman book cover
Author:  David Almond
Title:  My Dad's a Birdman

In a rainy town in the north of England, there are strange goings-on. Dad is building a pair of wings, eating flies, and feathering his nest. Lizzie is missing her Mom and looking after Dad by letting him follow his newfound whimsy. What's behind it all? It's the great human bird competition.


Bub, or the Very Best Thing book cover
Author:  Natalie Babbitt
Title:  Bub, or the Very Best Thing

Barnes & Noble: "A very silly, very beautiful picture book, written and illustrated by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Tuck Everlasting. The King and Queen don't know what's best for the Prince. Nobody else knows either, except the Prince himself, and the Court Jester, too--even though they're the only ones who aren't asked about it."


The Penderwicks book cover
Author:  Jeanne Birdsall
Title:  The Penderwicks

While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.


Fanny's Dream book cover
Author:  Caralyn Buehner
Title:  Fanny’s Dream

Fanny Agnes is a sturdy farm girl who dreams of marrying a prince, but when her fairy godmother doesn't show up, she decides on a local farmer instead.


Ramona and Her Father book cover
Author:  Beverly Cleary
Title:  Ramona and Her Father

The family routine is upset during Ramona's year in second grade when her father unexpectedly loses his job.


The Janitor's Boy book cover
Author:  Andrew Clements
Title:  The Janitor’s Boy

Fifth grader Jack finds himself the target of ridicule at school when it becomes known that his father is one of the janitors, and he turns his anger onto his father.


The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 book cover
Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis
Title:  The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.


Ruby Holler book cover
Author:  Sharon Creech
Title:  Ruby Holler

Thirteen-year-old fraternal twins Dallas and Florida have grown up in a terrible orphanage but their lives change forever when an eccentric but sweet older couple invites them each on an adventure, beginning in an almost magical place called Ruby Holler.


Children of the River book cover
Author:  Linda Crew
Title:  Children of the River

Having fled Cambodia four years earlier to escape the Khmer Rouge army, seventeen-year-old Sundara is torn between remaining faithful to her own people and enjoying life in her Oregon high school as a "regular" American.


The Day They Gave Babies Away book cover
Author:  Dale Eunson
Title:  The Day They Gave Babies Away

When the six Eunson children were left orphans the day before Christmas, 1868, the oldest, twelve-year-old Bob, took the responsibility of finding homes for his younger brothers and sisters.


The Boy Who Saved Cleveland book cover
Author:  James Giblin
Title:  The Boy Who Saved Cleveland

During a malaria epidemic in late eighteenth-century Cleveland, Ohio, ten-year-old Seth Doan surprises his family, his neighbors, and himself by having the strength to carry and grind enough corn to feed everyone.


Author:  Esther Hautzig
Title:  Riches

After following the advice of the wisest rabbi in the area, a rich storekeeper discovers that giving of himself is better than merely giving money.


Our Only May Amelia book cover
Author:  Jennifer Holm
Title:  Our Only May Amelia

As the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers, May Amelia Jackson resents being expected to act like a lady while growing up in Washington state in 1899.


Piper Reed, Navy Brat book cover
Author:  Kimberly Holt
Title:  Piper Reed, Navy Brat

Piper is sad about leaving her home and friends behind when her father, a Navy aircraft mechanic, is transferred yet again, but with help from her often-annoying sisters and a surprise from their parents, she finds happiness in their new home in Pensacola, Florida.


The Animal Family book cover
Author:  Randall Jarrell
Title:  The Animal Family

Barnes & Noble: "This is the story of how, one by one, a man found himself a family. Almost nowhere in fiction is there a stranger, dearer, or funnier family -- and the life that the members of The Animal Family live together, there in the wilderness beside the sea, is as extraordinary and as enchanting as the family itself."


Mom Pie book cover
Author:  Lynne Jonell
Title:  Mom Pie

Because their mother seems too busy preparing for company, Christopher and Robbie cook up the idea of a Mom pie to serve as her surrogate.


Mama Do You Love Me? book cover
Author:  Barbara Joosse
Title:  Mama Do You Love Me?

A child living in the Arctic learns that a mother's love is unconditional.


Martin Bridge: Blazing Ahead! book cover
Author:  Jessica Scott Kerrin
Title:  Martin Bridge: Blazing Ahead!

In two separate stories, Martin must survive a Junior Badger overnight camping trip with his prankster best friend and help his father fix the old cranky lawnmower.


The Tail of Emily Windsnap book cover
Author:  Liz Kessler
Title:  The Tail of Emily Windsnap

After finally convincing her mother that she should take swimming lessons, twelve-year-old Emily discovers a terrible and wonderful secret about herself that opens up a whole new world.


The Mouse Family Robinson book cover
Author:  Dick King-Smith
Title:  The Mouse Family Robinson

After a close call with the cat who stalks the hallways, a family of wild mice, including adventurous, young Beaumont and elderly Uncle Brown, emigrates to a more mouse-friendly house down the block.


Worth book cover
Author:  A. LaFaye
Title:  Worth

After breaking his leg, eleven-year-old Nate feels useless because he cannot work on the family farm in nineteenth-century Nebraska, so when his father brings home an orphan boy to help with the chores, Nate feels even worse.


A Ride on the Red Mare's Back book cover
Author:  Ursula K. Le Guin
Title:  A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back

With the aid of her magic wooden horse, a brave girl travels to the High House in the mountains to rescue her kidnapped brother from the trolls.


Day of Tears book cover
Author:  Julius Lester
Title:  Day of Tears

Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances's mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift over slavery has ripped the Butler household apart. Now, to pay off debts, Pierce Butler wants to cash in his slave "assets", possibly including Emma.


I Love My Pirate Papa book cover
Author:  Laura Leuck
Title:  I Love My Pirate Papa

A pirate's son shares the things he loves about his father, including climbing the mast together to yell "Land ho" and sharing the booty when they find buried treasure.


The Willoughbys book cover
Author:  Lois Lowry
Title:  The Willoughbys

In this tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children's literature, the four Willoughby children set about to become "deserving orphans" after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.


The Root Cellar book cover
Author:  Janet Lunn
Title:  The Root Cellar

Twelve-year-old orphan Rose, sent to live with unknown relatives on a farm in Canada, ventures into her aunt's root cellar and finds herself making friends with people who lived on the farm more than a century earlier.


Baby book cover
Author:  Patricia MacLachlan
Title:  Baby

Taking care of a baby left with them at the end of the tourist season helps a family come to terms with the death of their own infant son.


The Linden Tree book cover
Author:  Eleanor Matthews
Title:  The Linden Tree

In 1948, nine-year-old Katy Sue's mother dies suddenly, and she and her family spend the next year trying to recover from their loss, assisted by her Aunt Katherine, who quits her teaching job to help out on their Iowa farm.


Families book cover
Author:  Ann Morris
Title:  Families

A simple explanation of families, how they function, how they are different, and how they are alike.


Five Minutes' Peace book cover
Author:  Jill Murphy
Title:  Five Minutes' Peace

Mrs. Large tries to take a peaceful, relaxing bath but her family has other ideas.


Rascal book cover
Author:  Sterling North
Title:  Rascal

The author recalls his carefree life in a small midwestern town at the close of World War I, and his adventures with his pet raccoon, Rascal.


The Borrowers book cover
Author:  Mary Norton
Title:  The Borrowers

Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock. Includes a letter and a sketch of Homily and Arrietty by the author.


Fancy Nancy book cover
Author:  Jane O’Connor
Title:  Fancy Nancy

A young girl who loves fancy things helps her family to be fancy for one special night.


Clementine book cover
Author:  Sara Pennypacker
Title:  Clementine

While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles while also helping her father in his efforts to banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building.


The Keeping Quilt book cover
Author:  Patricia Polacco
Title:  The Keeping Quilt

A homemade quilt ties together the lives of four generations of an immigrant Jewish family, remaining a symbol of their enduring love and faith.


The Relatives Came book cover
Author:  Cynthia Rylant
Title:  The Relatives Came

The relatives come to visit from Virginia and everyone has a wonderful time.


Too Many Tamales book cover
Author:  Gary Soto
Title:  Too Many Tamales

Maria tries on her mother's wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas family get together, but panic ensues when hours later, she realizes the ring is missing.


A Crooked Kind of Perfect book cover
Author:  Linda Urban
Title:  A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Ten-year-old Zoe Elias, who longs to play the piano but must resign herself to learning the organ instead, finds that her musicianship has a positive impact on her workaholic mother, her jittery father, and her school social life.


Nobody Here But Me book cover
Author:  Judith Viorst
Title:  Nobody Here But Me

With his mother on the phone, his father checking e-mail, and his sister playing with her friends, a little boy feels as if he is all alone in the house, and no matter how badly he behaves, no one comes to stop him.


The Mennyms book cover
Author:  Sylvia Waugh
Title:  The Mennyms

The Mennyms, a family of life-size rag dolls living in a house in England and pretending to be human, see their peaceful existence threatened when the house's owner announces he is coming from Australia for a visit.


Hazel's Amazing Mother book cover
Author:  Rosemary Wells
Title:  Hazel’s Amazing Mother

When Hazel and her beloved doll Eleanor are set upon by bullies, Hazel's mother comes to the rescue in a surprising way.


Our Granny book cover
Author:  Margaret Wild
Title:  Our Granny

While grannies come in all shapes and sizes "our granny" is unique.


A Chair for My Mother book cover
Author:  Vera Williams
Title:  A Chair for My Mother

A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.



Family Fun Nights book cover
Author:  Lisa Bany-Winters
Title:  Family Fun Nights

Barnes & Noble: "Filled with imaginative activities to bring the family together and create lifelong memories, this resource for parents and grandparents is full of activity ideas that require little or no preparation and use materials that are easily found around the house."


The Family Book book cover
Author:  edited by Philippa Wingate
Title:  The Family Book: Amazing Things to Do Together

School Library Journal: "Think of this as a one-stop guide for all types of activities, from practical jokes to magic, and what to do in an emergency."


Little Britches book cover
Author:  Ralph Moody
Title:  Little Britches "Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century."


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