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Our Favorite Early Reader Book Series

 We have kind of had a variety of readers in our house so far.  Teaching them to read, and enjoy reading, has been different with each kids, as is everything I guess.  Nora struggled a little, and still doesn't enjoy it as much as I'd like her to.  Addison was quick to learn, actually, she surprised me in kindergarten when I found out she was reading much more difficult books at school than I was providing her with at home.  Don't underestimate I guess. Lulu struggled.  She went to a reading tutor, who was also the kindergarten teacher at our school whom we love and cherish so much, and really took some time and effort.  She is still growing as a reader, but has finally reached a point that she is a strong enough reader to really find books that she enjoys, and that have much more of an entertaining story line, so she's growing in leaps and bounds in her reading abilities all of the sudden.  
Teaching them all to love reading as much as I do is a life-long journey I suppose!  Our toddler really loves books at this point, and we must read him 2 million books a day (definitely not an exaggeration or anything...), so it will be interesting to see how that goes in the future.. as of right now, it's not even on my radar.  I'd love to just potty-train him before I stress about any of that! Ha!




I thought it may be helpful to pull together a list of very early readers that we have loved with each of our kids.  Something that I found helpful about all of the books on this list, is the fact that they are a series.  I think it really helped to find a book they enjoyed practicing, and then showing them more with the same characters, so they can get into it a little bit more.  It definitely made it more enjoyable for my kids, and honestly as an adult, I love books that come in a series, because once you get to know a character, it's so fun to see more of them!  I have linked a variety of them below, so just click on the links if you're looking to get any of them for yourself!  

Also, none of this are specifically "boy" or "girl" books, so I feel like they would appeal to any variety of child out there.  I saved all of these for my son after my daughters finished reading them, and think he will love them just the same.


*Please note that some of these links include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my affiliate link I will earn a commission. This is provided at no extra cost to you.






1.) Henry and Mudge - This is a fun series about a boy (Henry) and his big dog (Mudge).  They have a variety of adventures, and the stories are just super fun.  All 3 of my kids enjoyed them so far.  They are more advanced than, say the Biscuit ones I listed below, and my kids really loved that they were their first introductions into a "chapter" book.  They definitely enjoyed reading a few chapters and placing a book mark in it like a big shot.  They are still great for very early readers, and don't use too many overly difficult words to tell the stories.  We always just took turns reading the pages of these, or snuggling in with our kids and helping when they got stuck on a word, and transitioning to these was a breeze.






2.) Biscuit - These are just a really good, basic, beginning reader book.  There are quite a few of them, and all of my kids have enjoyed them for the basic fact that the main character is a puppy.  The words and sentences are simply, easy to understand, and use a lot of the words they know in those very early stages of reading.  They have worked super well for all my kids so far as the next step after the Bob Books or Tug the Pup "I Can Read" books, and I have a big pile stashed aside in my toddler's closet for his turn learning to read with them!







3.) Elephant and Piggie - Okay, these ones aren't a leveled reader like some on the "I Can Read" or "Green Light Reader" books, that are clearly made for early level readers, and sorted out into "Level 1, Level 2, Level 3," etc., but I HAVE to add them in this list.  Mo Willems is like, our favorite around here, and all of his books are GOLD, clearly, but this series took on a whole new life with my 2nd grader Lulu.  She was slower to catch on with reading, or really just slower to enjoy it.  It was a struggle to get her to read because she wasn't finding it enjoyable, and wasn't a strong enough reader to read books that she found enjoyable, and it was a whole thing.  We had her in extra tutoring and really tried lots of approaches, and it just continues to boil down to... finding books she really enjoys.  Elephant and Piggie was the first of any books she had met that really took her in and she enjoyed it on a whole new level.  The very first book she read of the series sent her on a spree of re-reading it over and over, and then acting out each and every sentence in the book as she memorized it.  Since then, she has acquired every book in the series, and a few that she owns multiple copies of, thanks to owning the Elephant and Piggie Biggie, and then later this full set with bookends that she proudly displays in her bedroom.  These books are adorable and hilarious, and really turned this entire reading thing around for my little girl, so Mo Willems is basically a hero at my house.  I also can't think about these books without loving memories of a smaller version of Lulu, zooming around her bedroom, putting on a full production of I Am Invited to a Party!  She has also received the Elephant and Piggie Art-tivity book and LOOOOVED that as well.




4.)  Green Light Readers (Jasper & Joop, Gideon & Otto) - These Green Light Readers are super adorable.  We own the two listed above, and love them.  We have found them more frequently at the small town bookstore we love, or on Amazon.  I can't quite figure why they don't seem to be promoted as heavily as the "I Can Read" books that you find ALL OVER THE PLACE, at Target, in book orders, etc.  Amazon has lots and lots of them, and next time around, I may try to get more of these for my little guy to read with.  We really enjoyed them quite a bit more than some of the I Can Read books, which seem so heavily influenced by marketing and tv characters.  I mean, don't get me wrong, my kids love their Disney Princesses as well, but personally, I love the sweet characters in these books, and the levels/words used seemed to be more on par with my kids at each reading level.  Our reading tutor loved them, and promptly went to purchase quite a few for her kindergarten class. Check out these ones from the series as well: Gus, Gemma and Gus, Ollie the Stomper, and so many more cute ones!




5.) Little Bear - I may or may not be adding these to the list for myself.  I just love Little Bear and his friends.  I love the way the stories are written, and I think they make a fantastic bedtime story to lull you off into a dreamy land where a bear lives in a cottage with his Mama and Papa bear, and is friends with a duck, chicken, owl, cat, girl and her doll.  The cartoon has also been one of my favorites forever, so of course I jumped at any opportunity to read these books with my kids.  So fun, so sweet, such good lessons Little Bear learns and adventures to read about. Here are a few more in the series. Little Bears Visit, Little Bears Friend, A Kiss for Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home.









Has your family loved any of the books on this list with your early readers? Are you like me, and prefer the ones that have a series to go with them?  We definitely read our fair share of stand alone early-reader books as well, but these became favorites repeatedly.  Do you have any more I should add to the list?  Finding good books during this stage of reading can be so tricky, and I love to have a whole bunch ready in my back pocket to request at the library or search for on Amazon to try to entice my kids to find some they love, and want to read themselves!  Leave some more ideas in the comments!



If you like this, check out these posts too!

Favorite Activity Style Books to Enjoy as a Family

Our family loves a good reason to snuggle in and huddle up.  I decided to make a list of a bunch of fun books we love to use for some quality together-time around here.  Sometimes this means all 6 of us, and sometimes it's a combination of any 6 of us huddled around one of these activity-type books.  We find ourselves sitting down with one of these at bedtime often, or when we have a spare 5 or 10 minutes to kill.  We also seem to go through phases, and we will be on an ISpy kick (for example) for like a month or two where the kids are constantly asking us to look at an ISpy book, and then all of the sudden those are out and we are quizzing each other on crazy NatGeo facts for the next bit, but they all cycle back into favor over and over again, and at lots of ages and stages of our kids over the years. (We have a range of kids right now from 14 years to 2 years- and it's so awesome to have anything we can all participate in together!)



*Please note that some of these links include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my affiliate link I will earn a commission. This is provided at no extra cost to you.


1.) I Spy Books - There was a point in our lives that included I Spy time before bed as a family every single night, for months on end.  We have so much fun with these, and love that it's something we can all do together.  We sometimes race to see who can find the item listed first, or we divide and conquer!  Some of our favorites are this, this, or this one, but honestly, they are all great.

2.) Where's Waldo - This goes hand in hand with I Spy.  While we tend to enjoy the I Spy books more, Waldo has been a hit as well!  My husband and I even dressed up as Waldo and Wenda for Halloween last year! We have this one and this one, and my daughter got this one for her birthday which is super cool, and a favorite for sure.



3.)  Would You Rather - We have a wide variety of NatGeo books.  The Would You Rather book we own is super fun, inspires some fun, interesting, and silly conversations, and typically leads to all of us making up our own "would you rather" questions for each other through the rest of the day or week.  

4.)  Weird but True - We also love the other NatGeo books we own, and we have a big ol' stack of these Ultimate Weird But True ones, and have fun flipping through them and reading about crazy facts.  The girls have been receiving these as gifts for quite a few years from their family members, so we have a few others like these 5,000 Ultimate Facts books, but they are all fun and are basically the same concept.  Big hit with our kids at all ages.


5.)  Bedtime Math - This is a fun activity book for kids, with a variety of math story-type problems that are presented in a fun way.  There's different levels presented for each one, to make it more appropriate for different levels of math abilities.  

6.) Magazines - Our kids get a magazine subscription from their great-grandma for Christmas each year.  As their ages have changed, their magazine subscriptions have changed, but they've always been Highlights varieties.  Right now we get the Hello magazines for the littlest one, the regular Highlights for our two middle gals who are in 2nd and 4th grade, and the Muse magazine for our teen.  We also loved the High Five magazine when our kids were more appropriately aged for it, (it falls between Hello and Highlights) and I actually think our toddler is switching to that one any month here when his subscription renews.  I can't gush enough about these.  We read fun articles together, do the picture searches, and the kids love to read them independently as well.

Our youngest child (who is almost 3), was our first to ever received the Hello magazines... and they are AMAZING.  I have told everyone I know about them, including our tutor, who is also a kindergarten teacher, and plans to use them as an "early reader" option for some of her kids.  They are sturdy, plastic-y pages that a baby can't wreck, stitched binding (which is my favorite!), and have such sweet little poems and stories.  The Find It pages work like an I Spy, and my little guy loved them so much we decided to buy him his first Look and Find book for Christmas last year.  We got him a Baby Einstein version, and it's super fun and it's kind of crazy how good he is at these things!  The Hello magazine versions have like 3 items to find in each booklet, so he kind of eased into the bigger books.




Hopefully this little list gives you a few ideas for your own kiddos!  All of these are great as a family, as a duo with a sibling or parent, or independently.  


What type of activity books or otherwise do you like to enjoy as a family?  I'm thinking poetry books would make a good addition for us... any recommendations?




February Mini Book Reviews








February flew by!  I managed to read through 2 books, and finish two audio books that I had started in January, but that's about it. I'm giving them all a mini review, and hopefully it inspires you to pick a few up at the library or the bookstore next time you're searching for something new!  Even though it was a pretty short list this month- these books were all solid winners for me.  I really thoroughly enjoyed my way through each of these.


*Please note that some of these links include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my affiliate link I will earn a commission. This is provided at no extra cost to you.


 I've Got Your Number  by Sophie Kinsella

This one is listed later in the year I believe as part of the Everyday Reading book club.  When I saw her mention it on Instagram, and describe it as laugh-out-loud funny, I immediately added a used copy to my Amazon cart, and when it arrived a few days later, I couldn't put it down.  Janssen is right on this one (per usual!), it is laugh out loud funny!  I was laying in bed reading it, and giggling out loud repeatedly!  I felt like I was in the mood for something funny and it delivered.  It was just a joy to read and light and fun.  It's easy to bust through it in two or three days for sure.  The basic premise of this one-without giving too much away- a gal is engaged, loses her ring, loses her phone, finds another and decides she is just going to keep it and use it for the time being.  Super hilarious and fun.



Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne 

I listened to this one on Audible, and started it in January, but finished it this month.  It really was amazing.  The most powerful, impactful parenting book I've read.  I literally called a friend of mine after every chapter to try and relay all of the important details to her, and then again to my husband!  I believe, without a doubt, that every parent would benefit from this one in one way or another!  Like with all parenting books, it's obviously best to make use of the tidbits that feel right and coexist with your values and ideals as a parent, and that match up with your unique children and family- BUT, there is so much good in here, everyone would find something.  The author talks about simplifying your life, and your kids life, in 4 basic principles, with plenty of examples of how to execute these changes and stories of how it has impacted families he has worked with.  Like many other parents, I have found myself asking the question, "How did we get here?"  He specifically addressed that common wonder among parents struggling with "too much" and gently reminds us that we all had hopes and ideals for how our family life would look, and allowing ourselves to imagine that again is the best way to work towards it.  And of course, simplifying our belongings, our schedules, etc.  This book has been SO, SO impactful for my husband and I, and I can't stop telling everyone I see to read it.  This is another one that I will re-listen to, because there is so much good information, and I want it all to really soak in and be remembered.  I cannot recommend another book more than this one for any parent of any aged children.



If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende

I ordered this one on a whim, after reading another of her books a few years ago and really enjoying it.  It is a nonfiction book, and the author is a small town obituary writer in Alaska. This book is about the stories of some of the people in her town, the obituaries she has written, the process in which she writes them, and all the other aspects of small town Alaska living.  I loved it.  I loved the other book of hers as well- maybe more than this one.  Regardless, the effect was the same.  The stories are sweet, and she begins each chapter with a snippet of the "Duly Noted" section of the town's newspaper, which she also writes.  These were very entertaining, and included things like, " The next time you fire up the hot tub, give Elsie Mellot a call.  The octogenarian was honored with a gift of a bathing suit at last week's Chilkat Valley Historical Society meeting. Members gave Elsie the aquamarine one-piece suit after she used the old "no bathing suit" excuse when begging off a soak at a previous historical society meeting." Ha! My favorite part about both of these books was the descriptions of life in small town Alaska.  The ins and outs of daily life, the ways it differs from my own life, and also the comfort of reading it during winter in Minnesota- it made me feel like I should stop complaining and go out and tackle it like they do in Alaska.  Maybe it's because Alaska is number 1 on my list of places I'd love to visit, maybe it's because life there sounds so simple (in a "lots of hard work" kind of way) and that's something I long for as well, but I'm in the market for more reads that involve small town Alaska as the place setting!  My husband commented, when I read him a snippet of it, that it sounds like the setting of a Hallmark movie, so maybe that's why it speaks to me - Hallmark movies are my jam!  It's a fun read, and stands apart from the types of books I think I typically read, which is fun as well!



Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

I listened to this one on Audible, and loved it that way more than I would in print I believe.  The author, Rachel Hollis, reads it aloud on the audio version, and she is just super fun to listen to.  This book was a good kick in the pants, at a time when I needed a good kick in the pants.  It's been super motivating- and as with most non-fiction, I took the info that was helpful for me personally, and left the rest.  I actually think she mentions something along those lines in the book?  I personally feel that certain types of non-fic, like parenting books, motivational/self help, or anything along those lines... you need to just take away the things that make sense to you, and this will be very different for each person.  I pre-ordered her next book, Girl Stop Apologizing, and can't wait to listen to that as well!  Some of the lines and concepts in this books continue to replay in my mind, and I remind myself of them daily to keep the motivation going!  I will probably go back and listen to it repeatedly as time goes on, and I need a fresh kick in the pants!  I definitely recommend this one.






Now to pick up all my library holds and get reading for March!  What did you read in February? Any recommendations for what I should add to my list for March?  I hope you give a few of these ones a try, it was a good month for books over here!