A Baker’s Half-Dozen YA Books I can’t wait to Read to My Boy

So I already wrote about the books my son is currently reading… here are my (current, I’m sure it will grow and change) list of 7 books or series I can’t wait for us to read together. A fun and potentially frivolous post… These are just a sampling of what I look forward to… there are SO MANY I could name but it would take much more time than I have to write about them. I can’t rank them either, they are just listed in the order that seemed to flow for me.

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Yes, this IS a harry potter baby wrap… I’m a nerd mom and I love it. And Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering…

1. Harry Potter:
WE are a nerd family. I am both looking forward to and dreading approaching this series. I am already agonizing over what the most appropriate age level is to start this series. Do we keep reading it as a family? Or start it as family time and let him take over reading independently after the first three or four? How much time do we take between books? (I feel like once we start we won’t want to stop… but what’s questionably appropriate for a young chile reading about 11 year old harry potter and friends quickly escalates in the later years…) How much will his perception be tainted by the overwhelming saturation of the movie in our pop culture still? Or will it still be a force by then? I have a friend who reads the series as a way to keep her blood pressure down when she’s pregnant, which I love so maybe I should have jumped on this in the womb… but I feel like this is a parenting choice lovingly absurdly on par with what order to introduce the star wars movies…

2. The Chronicles of Narnia:
While the Star Ward order may be questionable, the Narnia order for me, is not. I plan on introducing these in publication order. (Yes, this is a point of contention and Yes, I am biased because this was the order I read them. But I also think it is good to appreciate that sometimes stories that are really good aren’t perfectly chronological. It’s fun to watch the mythology of the world evolve as Lewis wrote them, even if some of the later books contain events that happen earlier than the books written first.

3. The Giver: This is one that I am not as worried about the movies ruining. I don’t think the movie was awful, but it wasn’t the triumph the hunger games series was (which… is a series I think I will talk about with my son but not read with him… he’ll have to ask why mom is crying every page… we can watch the movies together…). This book had a profound impact on me and it gives a great springboard to talk about so many beautiful ideas and complex, troubling thoughts. The writing is simple but gorgeous. The way it invites you to engage with the story is lovely. And the subsequent books in this series are pretty good too, but The Giver remains my favorite.

OK, fess up, who else watched this TV show?! 

4. Little House On The Prairie:
I have strong memories of having the first book in this series read out loud to me and continuing the series on my own. I look forward to reading it out loud with my kid. Plus, lots of strong female characters which I really want my son to see and hear examples of in the stories we read. (Not that this is my only qualification- obviously the Giver does not fall in this category, but I do want to be thoughtful about what kind of stories we model as having value.)

6. The Velveteen Rabbit: OK, so this is more of a children’s book than a young adult, but I wan to make sure to visit this in young adulthood, and again and again and again. I love this story but I can’t read it too often because it’s painfully good. What does it mean to be alive? I will come back to this again and again.

I’m pretty sure this was the version my dad used to read to me…

7. The Hobbit:
again, I have vivid memories of having this book read to me and how desperate I was to read ahead what happened to Bilbo and his friends. Again, this brings us full circle on nerd parenting, but I love the message that someone quite small can make a huge difference. I love the mythology of the world, the song incorporated throughout, the adventure. I am strongly tempted to use this parent’s idea of making Bilbo a girl which may seem strange given that my approach to shakespeare rarely favors changing  the gender of characters… but theatre and books are different mediums and the idea intrigues me.

OF course, these are all dreams for the future right now. I hope continue our practice of family story time and that these are only a few of the books and series we read together. What do you recommend for the young adult years as reading together becomes harder to motivate? Where do you get your book recommendations? What are the favorite books you’ve had discussions about or that made you think differently about the world as an older child or pre-teen? If you are a parent of older children, when did you start reading these books to your kids? Share your wisdom with this mama!

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