Great Read-Alouds for your Sensitive/Easily Scared/Really Any Children!
I really have had this blog post composed in my head for a while. When C-Bear was younger this was a huge struggle. EVERYTHING upset him, or so it seemed. I had to do a lot of due diligence to come up with suitable chapter books to read to him. Even some of them had elements that caused anxiety and fear. This is still a struggle, truly, but that has not stopped us from reading aloud wonderful literature! Here is the best list of chapter books that are relatively clean of all of that. (This post does contain affiliate links to offset of the cost of maintaining this page! Thank you for your patronage!) Before you see boxed sets and think I am trying to just make money or something (and please use this list to buy these on half.com or buy single volumes...seriously, getting affiliate fees is nice, but that isn't what this is about) I am listing boxed sets for a reason. We bought just the first books of these series of boxed sets and ended up spending WAY more in buying them all (many times even used) than we would have just buying the new boxed set. It has a great price break. Paddington is an especially good value indeed (and that is exactly how Michael Bond would write it)! I was going to list Olga da Polga because I LOVE IT and so does C-Bear, but I think that one is only printed via Usborne (EDC)/Kane Miller right now. If you have an Usborne consultant you can buy there. Sadly I am only seeing a library bound book published with EDC right now, but search half.com. They are every bit as "laugh-out-loud" funny as Paddington. I ended up ordering the rest of the series from the UK as they are extremely difficult to find in the States. The original was not too tough to locate.
This listing is a bit of a start. There are not really scary parts in any of these books. If you have a scared scared kid, like C-Bear, you can edit it if you think a sad or scary part is coming up. This mama gets sentimental and I cry at some the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I sometimes skip over parts. Mostly, they are happy, insightful, and lovely. Many make you long for times past, I will warn you of that. Which did we start with? Winnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner. This was when he was around 5. Another potential tip (but don't fall into the trap of just letting them do this and not read to them) is to maybe get an audio version of a book to listen to WITH them. So, sit with them. You can let them listen solo sometime, but the whole point is together and you reading to them is more important than them listening to Cherry Jones (as wonderful as her renditions of Little House are). Almost all of these are quite funny. Some funnier than others. They have made for a beautiful bond of reading and it's a legacy I hope to pass on to both kids! So far, C-Bear is becoming a voracious reader (more on his reading choices sometime soon). UPDATE: A note about the Penderwick's: I have gotten these title ideas at a variety of places, but many of them have been publishers of curriculum. The Penderwick's I got from Read Aloud Revival, which is a great source of knowledge. She calls it a modern day classic. I concur; it is a really good book (the first in the series, I have not read them all yet). My only beef with it is the love theme. It is going to depend on how you approach this topic and how old your children are. The eldest Penderwick in around 12, I think, and she ends up having a crush on an older teen boy. While, I don't think this is not something that happens often to girls on the verge of the teens in really life I don't know that we, personally, would be reading a book endorsing it to our daughter. I just read it to C-Bear and I did edit it (there is a little kissing between older teen/twenty something boy and his girlfriend). Nothing more than kissing happens, but I wanted to point this out for you as a precaution depending how you view this. The books are very well-written and I do like them! But, be aware of this. Book 2 has a play about Aztecs and human sacrifice (Updated April 15th, 2017). I think the first book is worth the read and the second one really needs to be either filtered or wait until your kids are older. I got this from RAR, like I said above, and I think she has slightly different criteria than we do. While we only want GOOD literature, we watch content very carefully. There is a lot of great content in here, but it may not be the best choice for sensitive kids. A tip, aside from finding some of these used, is to (when you have exhausted these) look at the books similar customers have bought or looked at on Amazon. I almost just made several buys, but I stopped myself at last minute! LOL! We have a very large home library and do not regret it, but I need to exercise more practice using the library for these types of books (we use it for plenty of other types). Read aloud are a good investment because I plan to read these titles at least twice to C-Bear, another two times with K-Bug, and they will likely read them when they are older, too. Some of them C-Bear is very close to reading on his own (if not for being a bit overwhelmed). Happy Reading!