An oldie, but a goodie. There is a little bit too much prose in this book, but you can easily skim the excess to get to the wonderful romance. Thank you to my friend Quinn for introducing this classic to me long ago. (You can get it cheaply from Dover Books too!) For older girls twelve and up.
Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse. This is such a wonderful book. Gripping, yet easy to read. You could this aloud to kids ages 9 and up. Great readers who are willing to try historical fiction could do it on their own. Truly, this was one of the best books I have read in a long time.
For boys of all ages:
Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat (which you have to admit is the coolest name you've ever heard.)
Hysterical, amazing. A true story. Your boys (and your girls) will love it.
And while we are on amazing and wonderful and fabulous, I bet many of you have never heard of the Blossom family books by Betsy Byars. If it's been awhile, check them out again. Read them with your kids. They are so good. Exciting, well-written, pure. The first book is the Not Just Anybody Family by Betsy Byars.
And please ignore the picture on this cover, because it is hideous.
And for a picture book selection—
Traction man by Mini Grey (Also a great name. Wouldn't you like to be named Mini? I think it might make me feel skinny.)
And the sequel:
Both of these are hysterical classics, essential when you are particularly tired of reading Disney picture books. (And by the way, I fully believe you have the right to refuse to read badly written books to your kids. Not everyone feels this way, but I think as long as you are willing to come together with your child to pick something you both like, you are just fine. More than that, you are demonstrating to your child how to choose good literature. You are modeling! Just say no to another badly written version of 101 Dalmations!)
Did you know, by the way, that 101 Dalmations is a real novel, written by the fabulous Dodie Smith (Also a great name. Perhaps I will name a character Dodie in the future...) The movie is based on the book, not the other way around!