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While it is exciting to see a child learning to read, it might be the second most challenging phase of parenting that I’ve come across. (Potty training still holds the coveted first place trophy.)

It seems like it takes about three years of listening to r-r-r-r-e-e-e-e-d-d-d. Red! And then f-f-f-f-f-i-i-i-i-i-s-s-s-s-s-h-h-h-h-h oh sh-sh-sh-sh-sh. Fish! B-b-b-b-b-b-b-l-l-l-l-l-l-u-u-u-u-u-e-e-e-e. Blueeee? Blue. F-f-f-f-f-f-i-i-i-i-i-s-s-s-s-s-h-h-h-h. Fish. And those are just the first four words.

While there are so many amazing picture books, it is really excruciating to transition to the early readers. I understand why they are written with only 11 different words, letters the size of grapefruit and one sentence on each page. But once they progress past the early reading level to middle grade books, plots, characters and settings all return with amazing creativity.

And when that happens, it is magical! Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White was one book that my daughter first loved. “Can I just read one more chapter before I go to sleep?” And that she understood. “When I read it, I can hear all the animals talking inside my head using different voices.” And she was curious about the ending. “Do you think the animals will be able to save Wilbur? There are only seven chapters left.”

Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan is one that kept my son’s attention. The main character’s accidental victories versus fearsome dragons with fatal faults were humorous at the perfect 7-year-old boy level. Each night he tries his hardest to remember the spattering of knock-knock jokes and other riddles in the morning.

Reading gives kids the opportunity to travel the world, experience different cultures, suffer and celebrate with beloved characters, time travel to anytime and be inspired by action heroes.

Here are a few more that my kiddos also approve of and would like to share with you. The each sprout essential elements to keep young readers’ attention: friendship and adventure.

Firefly-Front-Cover-398x600Beyond the Firefly Field by R. E. Munzing – What they discovered there was beyond epically wonderful, and the boys knew it must be kept secret. They quickly became obsessed with going to see it often, even though being there was changing them and herding them toward a decision they didn’t want to make.


Rumblepants-Front-Cover1-e1346846882548-400x600Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Golden Haggis by Mike Blyth – Inspector Rumblepants and Sergeant Widebottom from New Scotland Yard’s Special and Confusing Crime Division are called in (as Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson are away on an Austrian skiing holiday) to solve the mysterious theft of the Golden Haggis, the symbol of Scottish royalty.

Caterwaul-Font-Cover-Only-6x9-400x600The Adventures of Caterwaul the Cat: Feline Pie by Damon Plumides and Arthur Mark Boerke – Caterwaul the Cat jumps from the frying pan into the fire when he escapes the clutches of the Witch of Red Moon Forest and moves in with the aging Queen Druciah, thinking he has finally found a home. Things seem pretty good until he discovers that there is one small catch: Caterwaul must find the queen a pure white female cat and use his magic to help her learn the long-forgotten recipe for Feline Pie. Because he yearns for a home of his own, Caterwaul takes on the challenge that throws him into scrapes with militant frogs, feline mobsters, wicked hunters, corrupt police constables, and giant snapping turtles. Does Caterwaul succeed . . . and does he turn over a pure white female cat to Druciah for her wicked plans?

SummerAdventuresSummer Adventures with Kate and JR, by Edith Hawkins – A collection of stories to be shared by children, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, this book may give  you some ideas of what you’d like to do the next time you see your favorite family members! Explore the world along with Kate and JR as they find fun things to do with their family!


Enchanting-Front-Cover-400x600The Enchanting World of Garden Irene McGeeny, by Concetta Kennedy – Garden Irene McGeeny has a secret. One that she’s not supposed to tell anybody. It is that her family lives in an underground castle! She tries to keep her secret, but she mistakenly blurts it out during class—the rest of the students don’t believe her. Peter, who becomes an unlikely friend, tries to prove her wrong, which leads Garden to do the unthinkable: take him to her home! Realizing the trouble Garden would be in if her parents find out or if the rest of the kids at school know the truth, Garden and Peter try to keep the secret a secret. Will the rest of the kids find out? Will the truth of Garden’s home become known by all?

MermanCover-HighRes2-400x600The Golden-Chime Mermaid and the Silver-Scaled Merman by J. R. Hardin – 

Tinkle, a Golden-Chime Mermaid and the protector of the underwater city of Gold Chime, is losing her power. So the city will stay safe, she must pass on her abilities to the young Golden-Chime Mermaid, Twinkle. But Twinkle has been captured by the evil warlock, Grim. The city needs a hero to rescue the young mermaid, but for twenty years no hero has appeared. As time is running out, a young silver-scaled merman named Dart arrives to undertake the task. Dart must find the mermaid and free her from the large sea serpent that is guarding her. In order to free her, he must complete several quests. With every task Dart undertakes he faces more and more unexpected dangers, and he only has ten days to complete the quest before the old Golden-Chime Mermaid loses all her power.

And here is one that will be released on April 21, 2015 that we can’t wait to read!

Lost AztikiThe Lost Aztiki Tribe and the Mysterious Cave of Gold by Ed Loffredo – Never heard of a Buffarillo? Why, it’s a creature that’s half-gorilla, half-buffalo, and all hero. In The Lost Aztiki Tribe and the Mysterious Cave of Gold, Bob and his merry band of adventurers learn of an ancient lost tribe, a missing princess, and a legendary cave filled with unimaginable treasures. That’s more than enough to start them off on a journey across the Western plains, but what they will find is not at all what they expect.