Whenever I think about road trips I can’t help but think of my mom, more specifically, all the family road trips (both long and short) that my mom spent reading to us. Whenever we’d get in the car my mom would pull out our latest book and start reading. The stories she read made those trips magical. We often begged my dad to keep driving for just a little longer so my mom could finish the book, or we’d just sit in the driveway and listen, not wanting to break the spell by going in the house. Here are some favorite books, both old and new, to read aloud to the children in your life to create the same magic I experienced in my growing up years:
1. The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop: A gift of a toy castle, complete with silver knight, introduces William to an adventure involving magic and a personal quest.
2. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner: Because they do not want to be separated, four orphaned children run away and live in an old abandoned boxcar.
3. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks: A nine-year-old boy receives a plastic Indian, a cupboard, and a little key for his birthday and finds himself involved in adventure when the Indian comes to life in the cupboard and befriends him.
4. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: The story of a little girl named Fern, who loved a pig named Wilbur and of Wilbur’s dear friend Charlotte, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn.
5. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
6. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull: Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven, a refuge for mystical creatures. When the rules are broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Dendra and her brother must face the challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.
7. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall: While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.
8. A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck: A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.
9. The Borrowers by Mary Norton: Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock.
10. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien: Mrs. Frisby must enlist help from the rats of NIMH in order to save her sick son from the farmer’s plow.