Tag Archives: best books

Best Books: Harry Potter Set

We are a few days late, but we wanted to wish Harry Potter a very happy birthday. What better way to wish him a better birthday than to talk up those amazing books that follow him on his incredible adventure with his two best friends Ron and Hermione?

I discovered the Harry Potter books when I as a teenager. I was a senior in high school, I thought, these books are for kids. I was so wrong. A friend of my mother’s bought me the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for Christmas because she knew I loved to read and had heard the books were really popular. I smiled graciously and accepted the sweet gift. Little did I know that she had just purchased me a book that would truly make me feel every emotion, and take me on an adventure that lasted nearly 20 years for me.

Now as a mom of a new reader I take great joy in sharing my Harry Potter collection. However, I want my kids to have something of their own. I have begun purchasing the illustrated editions for my younger kiddos, but older kiddos will love this boxed set as well. Both sets are beautiful and will take you on an amazing adventure from beginning to end. We promise!

Best Books: Oh The Places You’ll Go

When I was a teenager my cousin’s best-friend’s Mom was dying of cancer. She had a long horrible illness. But during that time she prepared items for her daughter to have and read when she was gone. One of those things was a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go. She bought her daughter a copy and took it to all of her teachers that year in school (her senior year) and had them all sign a little message to her. The mother left three pages at the back for herself, and wrote a very long heartfelt message for her daughter to read on graduation day. The mom passed away before graduation. But her husband gave it to their daughter the night of graduation. To this day she counts it as the single greatest gift she was ever given. It was filled with motivational letters from her teachers, and a letter that told her everything her mother ever thought of her, and how proud she was of her.

oh the places you'll go

When I started having kids I knew I wanted to borrow this idea. So I bought a copy for each of my kids. Instead of just doing it senior year I have taken it to every teacher for every grade and let them write a note to my kid. I will continue to do so every year, and save a spot for me at the end. I hope that one day it will show my children how special they are, and how many people worked hard to help them become the best person they could.

Best Books: The One and Only Ivan

In a world where we are being faced with bullying, loneliness, and school shootings it is hard to completely understand the fears, isolation, and loneliness that children and teens are dealing with. As adults, we see the world as it is, but children are still learning how the world functions, and how to deal with the emotions that result from living in that world. Sometimes children need help to understand those emotions.

Katherine Applegate’s book, The one and Only Ivan introduces a lonely and isolated Gorilla that has lived in captivity for 27 years. Ivan meets a baby elephant named Ruby that has been taken from the wild. Throughout the novel the two interact on a human level, they share their fears, their hopes, their dreams. As readers, we get to see the world from Ivan’s perspective. It details the essence of childhood. The limits of understanding, the boxed in protection that becomes a cage, the loss of innocence as the real world takes shape around them, but through it, all is a friendship and humor that helps them to navigate this strange world. The world that Applegate has created allows children to place themselves in Ivan’s place and follow him on his journey of self-actualization and his quest into the real world of adulthood. Throughout this journey, the readers are able to confront their own emotions and reconcile their own experiences with loneliness and isolation.

The one and only Ivan

The book brings humor, joy, and sadness as it tells the story of Ivan and Ruby. Readers will enjoy the friendship and humor as they learn some deeper lessons. It makes for an excellent read, and if parents read it as well it can open up doors and opportunities for discussion about what kids are really going through today.