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    • Kids can understand stories at a far higher literary level than they can read for themselves. That means your 4 year old may love The Chronicles of Narnia just as much as your 14 year old. That makes reading aloud as a family a great opportunity for bonding and learning but it does, however, present a question about whether kids are "ready" to hear certain things and grapple with certain issues, especially when you're reading to a range of ages.

      So, how can you tell when they're ready for what?

      Sure, sometimes life hits kids with heavy things to deal with sooner than we'd like, but what's our role in introducing things through literature? Do we risk raising fragile kids when we choose read aloud stories that skirt topics of death, conflict, poverty, bullying or abuse? Or do we cause more harm than good by asking our kids to grapple with things before they're ready to handle them?

      How do you choose for your family? Any positive or negative experiences around this issue you can share?

    • Excellent question, Annie! My mom used to read to us growing up and I really can't thank her enough for doing it. In regards to the topics you choose to read to your kids, I think literature can be a great way to introduce kids to more complex subjects like death and sadness. It's always important to know your kid, so what's right for one kid might not be right for another.

    • My dad used to read me Jules Verne when I was 3 and Les Miserables when I was 5. At six, I started writing my own books because I was so fascinated with them!

      I love kids stories who are also sort of for adults, like Tove Jansson's Moomin Trolls.

    • More from my own childhood reading list (till about age 13); books that left a big impact:

      Hector Malot, Nobody's Boy

      A.Dumas, The Three Musketeers

      Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; Voyages of Captain Hatteras; A Captain at Fifteen

      Astrid Lindgren, Emil from Lonneberga and Pippi Longstocking (best female childhood adventurer ever!). I don't know about the English translation but the Lithuanian version of Emil from Lonneberga was hilarious - and awesome!

      Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades - still love this book very much.

      Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote

      Francoise Sagan, Bonjour Tristesse

      Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf

      George Sand, La Pettite Fadette

      Jostein Gaardner, Sofia's World - really recommend this one!

    • Reading this thread made me so nostalgic for reading to my girls! Black Beauty; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Indian in the Cupboard stand out in my mind. I remember reading Harry Potter to my younger one before she could read them, maybe 4 years old? I still remember getting to the scary part at the end of one of them; she was lying in bed next to me with her hands pressed firmly over her eyes. I kept asking if she wanted me to stop, and seeing her emphatically shake her head "no." She wanted to know what happened more than she wanted to not be scared.

    • Ok I can’t leave this hanging out here. They were delighted to see a new book but... upon reading it, we all agreed it was not a hit over here. We much prefer her chapter books. 🙃