I like to set aside at least one day of the week--usually Sundays during school, and whenever I'm off work during the summer--just to curl up in bed and do nothing but read. It's always been that way; I've been an avid reader pretty much forever.
Reading's a great way to spend the summer; perfect for plane or car rides, winding down after a day of summer fun, or spending time with family by reading aloud.
No matter what your kids' age, there are books out there that they're bound to love. Not readers? It only takes one book--ONE--to turn a kid from "I HATE reading" to "Can we go to the library now, Mom?" For the Mini Diva, for example, it was the first Magic Tree House book.
I can't guarantee that my list will help you find The One for your kids, but I CAN tell you that there are zillions of books out there just begging to be read. These are some of my favorites for each age level.
Keep in mind, though, that the age levels are just a guideline. I first read Harry Potter in first grade, but I know that others are just learning to read at that point. It all depends on your child, and his/her reading/maturity levels.
Also, you're not going to find any books with mindless, rabid followings. Most of these books have stood the test of time and are good for any gender; others, I think, are really interesting to read AND have good messages. I've read, and love, all of them.
So here we go:
Anything by Dr. Seuss
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
Elmer by David McKee
The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (and the whole Fudge series) by Judy Blume
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Anything by Roald Dahl
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (the whole Narnia series is great)
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
There were several seriously good books I left off of this list. That's because these particular books are best read aloud--particularly with funny voices. When I was growing up, Mom read to us from big, "grown-up" chapter books. It helps kids learn to love reading, stimulates imagination, and builds vocabulary (and blah blah blah). Plus, we would trade off; sometimes we kids would read from our favorite books (I read a chapter of Junie B. Jones out loud almost every night when I was little). Here are some of what we in the Loonyverse think are the best books to read aloud to your kids of all ages.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Any Rudyard Kipling short stories (we're partial to How the Elephant Got Its Trunk and Riki-Tiki-Tavi)
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Hope you enjoy. :)