What geeky books do you plan to share with your kids?

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On the list: Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

I maybe did a happy dance in my chair when I found a link to Wired’s 67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10… hello, BOOK NERD DREAM! I thought it’d be fun to talk about a few books that made their list (talking about all 67 would be a little lengthy, y’all) and dish about which books we each plan to share with our kids before the ‘tween years kick in.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends, I will love you forever.

Of course of course of course Where the Sidewalk Ends is on the list — and on mine. Whenever I think of this book I flash back to second grade when my teacher (shout out to Mrs. Carr!) read it to us. As far as I know, this was my first introduction to Shel Silverstein, and it was a magical one indeed. Siiiigh.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Confession: like the good Harry Potter geeks we are, we’ve already read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to our three-year-old… twice. The first time was right after he was born, and the second time was a few months ago. I have no clue if he even noticed it was going on the first time around, but he very raptly paid attention to everything that was happening in the second reading. We’re slowly making our way through Chamber of Secrets, which doesn’t seem to hold his attention the same way.

The Borrowers

I was so excited to see The Borrowers on the list! I hadn’t thought of this book in YEARS until it was mentioned, and it was great to revisit. If you’ve never read it, it’s about a family of inches-tall people who live under a normal-sized house and the mischief they get up to.

James and the Giant Peach

This is another grade school fave that made me cheer: I was obsessed with James and the Giant Peach in fourth grade. In what other book are a little boy, a ladybug, grasshopper, silkworm, glowworm, and centipede such excellent friends? The group sails across the Atlantic atop a gigantic peach to New York City, encountering many foes (including peach-eating sharks) along the way.

Which books from the list do you love — and what other books did they totally leave out?

Comments on What geeky books do you plan to share with your kids?

  1. Tamora Pierce books once our daughter is old enough. Kickass heroines, cool magic, highly detailed settings, and positive sexuality? Yes please!

    Also, the Dealing with Dragons series by Patricia C. Wrede….more awesomeness that plays with fantasy and fairy tales.

    And Edge Chronicles for some of the most detailed illusrations I have ever seen.

    Okay, so my baby is only three months, but I can’t wait!!!

    • I can’t believe it, Tamora Pierce is my favorite author, and no one I’ve ever talked to has heard of her, or Patricia C. Wrede.
      Now I have to look up those Edge Chronicles….

      • Oh, I have loved her stuff since I was in high school! I plan on make her books required reading for my (potential future) daughters. Gay main characters who don’t die, kill people or go crazy! The only transgendered character I’ve ever seen in a fantasy book! Women who have sex with more than one person and aren’t labelled as complete whores! Also kickass fantasy worlds.

  2. Oooh, I loved the Borrowers!! So excited to read that series with my daughter! (The Littles weren’t bad either.)

    I’m so excited to read the Little House books, the Ramona books, the My Father’s Dragon series, The Boxcar Children, D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, Charlotte’s Web, and SO many others… heck, I’m just excited for my daughter to actually understand the words to Where the Wild Things Are. (She’s 6 months old right now!) I also have a beautiful anthology of Grimm’s Fairy Tales that I can’t wait to share with her!!

      • Oh YES!! My dad read D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths to me every night for years. Also, I haven’t seen the The Twenty-One Balloons by William PΓ¨ne du Bois, Animalia by Graeme Base, or The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper.

    • I’m reading Charlotte’s Web to my three-year-old right now and he LOVES it. We read 1-2 chapters a night. It was the first book I ever read by myself, so I’m stoked to be starting it with him. πŸ™‚

  3. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. My dad read it to me when I was four (because I told him the Hobbit was too scary and we needed to change books).

    The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, for fantasy in an everyday setting. The Mouse and the Motorcycle series, for similar reasons.

    Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke.

    I love that the The Mysterious Benedict Society series is on Wired’s list. The Mad Scientists’ Club and the Danny Dunn books are also worth a read, though they have a distinct vintage feel.

  4. Oooh! So many things, mostly by author:
    Boxcar Children (my mother read these when she was a kid and passed them on to me)
    ALL Roald Dahl (particularly The Witches, the BFG, and Matilda)
    The Hobbit (my mother read it to me before I could read, and by the time I have kids, they’ll have a couple movies to look forward to too)
    Garth Nix (great kids fantasy/scifi writer – his Abhorsen series are fantastic in that they mix a fantasy and ‘standard’ world)
    Diana Wynne Jones (particularly Dalemark Quartet and Chrestomanci series)
    Harry Potter of course
    Series of Unfortunate Events (although it takes a particular type of person to enjoy those books fully)
    Oh, and for even younger, Go Dog, Go and The Polar Express

    I’m so excited! Some of my fondest memories are from my mother reading to us on summer evenings while we’d all drink kool-aid.

    • Hurray for Roald Dahl! My mom used to read books aloud for us on road trips, including some Dahl. “The BFG” has always been a favorite, and I remember being delighted as a kid when I heard my mom read aloud the parts about whizzpoppers. She’d always frowned on “potty humor”, so that book was particularly awesome. To this day, I have all the Dahl books on my bookshelf, despite not having children yet.

    • Matilda! Matildaaaaaaaaaaa! Our student teacher read that book to us in about third grade and it spoke to my soul. Matilda and I are kindred spirits (which reminds me of Anne Shirley, which should also be on this list, of course), except for how I can’t move things with my mind.


  5. Daniel Pinkwater.
    Roger’s Umbrella features an umbrella that won’t co-operate, and “The Tooth-Gnasher Superflash” features a car that turns into, among things, a dinosaur and a chicken. Both picture books, both very fun.

    For older readers, just about everything. For example: “Borgel” involves time-and-space tourism (did you know that space is shaped like an elliptical bagel with poppy seeds?), and “Alan Mendelson: Boy From Mars”, which is pretty much what it sounds like with the addition of psychic powers learned from a book.

  6. The Dragonbreath Series by Ursula Vernon.

    They are early chapter books, as in every page has maybe two paragraphs of text plus illustrations. Vernon is one of those writers whose sense of humor appeals to kids and adults. When my daughter gets a little older, she will be introduced to Vernon’s now completed webcomic Digger, as well. Great stuff.

  7. I can’t believe they missed the Ramona books, and pretty much everything by Beverly Cleary! Those absolutely rock, I read them constantly when I was a kid.

    Also, pretty much every Russel Hoban book is great. He writes a series perfect for 2-5 year olds, the Frances books about a little girl badger. I have a little boy and he’s in the throes of girls=icky, we read Best Friends for Frances which is all about her dealing with being told that some things are just for boys. I’m hoping it will help, but so far no dice :/

  8. Definitely The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. My dad read that to me when I was little. And A Wrinkle in Time…my mom read that to me and my younger sister. I plan on including:

    Princess Bride
    Hunger Games
    The Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales (and I mean the original, full-gore everything…it’s what my parents read to me)
    Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (again…no editing)
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Where the Red Fern Grows (totally made me and my sister bawl…but it’s a good book to teach children about life, death, and companionship)

    I’m sure my husband will want to read them Ender’s Game and The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton.

  9. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
    I love this book. Besides being a good story, I love how Neil Gaiman has given very deliberate thought as to how to handle his protagonist, Odd. Odd has a disability. As the result of an accident he walks with a limb. Usually, if a protagonist with a disability appears at all in a fantasy story for kids, by the end of the story, the disability is healed. Gaiman doesn’t take that route. While Odd’s life definitely improves at the end of the story, he’s still the same boy who was there at the beginning of the story.

    Coraline, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, The Graveyard Book, Mirrormask and Interworld, also by Gaiman (Interworld cowritten with Michael Reeves)

    Chronicles of Narnia, Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings go without saying.

    A Wrinkle in Time and the various sequels.

    The Neverending Story.

    Any of John Lithgow’s children’s books.

    Good Enough to Eat by Brock Cole. I doubt anyone else will have heard of this one, but I have this book in my classroom and I love it. It’s about a fairy tale about an orphan girl whose town is menaced by a ogre. The girl manages to rescue herself and the town and make her own way in the world using her wits.

    • Johnny Tremain was great too! I also loved the books about the pets of founding fathers, like Ben and Me and Paul Revere and I. Hope my daughter (growing up in Israel) is interested enough in American history to appreciate those!

  10. Alice in Wonderland — there is an especially beautiful version illustrated by Michael Hague. Of course, there are things that appeal more to the adult mind, but it was originally written for a seven year old girl! Plus, all the poems and songs in it really appeal to young children, even if they don’t get all the word play.

    All of Edward Lear’s poetry. Even now, my brothers and I sometimes spontaneously burst into a refrain of “The Jumblies.”

    The Henry Reed books (and everything else by Keith Robertson, too). My dad read these growing up and introduced us to them.

    The Moffats, and everything else by Eleanor Farjeon.

  11. Well, I’m not planning on having any kids in the near future, but there are so many on this list that I LOVE and so many that I have not read! It makes me want to run out to the library right now and take out a whole stack full of books!!!
    And I think I may go home tonight and start re-reading The BFG… πŸ™‚

  12. I love lots of the books already mentioned (Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, etc.) they are definitely on the list, but my favorite children’s author is by far Bruce Coville, especially The A I Gang Trilogy and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher.

  13. I will be reading my daughter the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (she is named after one of the main characters), The silver coach by C. S. Adler, and a number of the books on this list (including Hunger Games)

  14. I am so so loving this topic and all the comments. It’s making me super excited to share all of these books with my girls (The Boxcar Children! Narnia! Roald Dahl! Shel Silverstein! The Hobbit! Dealing with Dragons! Little House! and on and on and on) Just seeing the titles in all of the comments are bringing back so many memories. I wish I had a library in my house.

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