Looking back, some of the greatest influences on my life were the books my dad read to me. Those nighttime hours with their giggles, gasps and pleas of “Just a little more!” are also some of my most treasured memories.
I know not everyone has a father who read aloud and that not all dads are readers. That’s why I hope a handful of suggested stories could inspire a few fathers, grandfathers, uncles and older brothers to tuck the little ones in or gather them close, turn on a mellow light and open the pages of an adventure. And, don’t forget, the kids could even read to the grown-ups!
Here are my “4 Books for Dads and Kids to Read Together”
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody – Hold onto your hats – your cowboy hats, that is! – as you head to Colorado with young Ralph Moody and his family. Life is rough in the west at the beginning of the 20th century, but Ralph faces obstacles with admirable pluck. While your eyes might shimmer over the losses the Moody family faces in their new home, you will also laugh together at the wild adventures of hardworking Ralph. But be warned, you might just have to read the rest of the series to find out what happens…and you might end up with a bunkhouse full of little cowpokes on your hands!
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Ok, yes, this is actually seven books instead of one, but they kind of go together…Could you find a better adventure to embark on together than exploring the land of Narnia? Along the way, you can all grow to appreciate the literary skill of one of England’s finest authors. a man who thought deep but cared enough about children to write well and understandably. Ponder the lessons and legacy of the series together. I have a clear memory of my dad pointing out a certain character to illustrate the kind of guy who would make a good date!
Flight of the Fugitives (from the Trailblazer Series) by Dave and Neta Jackson – I picked this book as an example of the engaging historical fiction that can make for great shared story times. I haven’t read Flight of the Fugitives in quite some time, but I remember the story of missionary Gladys Aylward. This kind of book can introduce readers to people and places that would otherwise lie unknown. It can help us to better understand the world in which we live as we get to know people who have gone before us and cultures different from our own. Books like this can definitely lead to cries of “Just one more chapter! Please!”
The Bible – Obvious? Perhaps. Yet – on the off chance it isn’t – I had to list this Book of Books. Not a book for bedtime to hold the attention of young ones? Well, you need not start with Lamentations! Try one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) or a Psalm like Psalm 139. The Bible has been labeled “the Book our mothers read” (John Greenleaf Whittier). I hope it will also be the Book that our fathers (and grandfathers, uncles and older brothers) read with those they hold close to their hearts.
Of course, there are so many other wonderful books out there. (Ideas for forthcoming posts a-brewing…) For now, may these four titles give you ideas. Imagine someday that a little one you read to might be looking back on lessons learned and times treasured like I am now. Happy reading!
Your Turn: Did your parents read to you? What were some of the books you enjoyed most as a child? Or which books do you enjoy reading to children now?