Books With Bella

January 6, 2017

A few months ago, Bella suddenly had an interest in chapter books.

This was such a big deal to me. I’ve read to Bella almost every night of her life, and to suddenly have her fall in love with all my old books – it was an incredible feeling.

Right now we’re in the middle of Five Little Peppers. I loved this series (did you know there is more than one?!) and only a few years ago read the others.

She loved Ralph, and for a while was pretty adamant about finding a tiny motorcycle her hamster could ride on.

Thankfully (for the hamster) that dream died before he had to try it out.

This one was actually a harder book (as is Five Little Peppers). It’s a bit older, but it’s also set in the UK and many of the references had to be explained. At first, I was super frustrated by this and thought about putting it away until she was older. Then as we went along, I saw that even though many of the words and phrases she didn’t understand, she got the concept of the book itself and was incredibly interested to know what happened next. I would ask her before we started what happened the night before and she would tell me very simply where we left off.

It also allowed us to learn new words and ideas, and Five Little Peppers (because it set so long ago and even the writing is older) takes on the same. Tonight she asked why Polly getting a “pat of butter” would be a big deal to their family, and why the kids were home all day long without their mother there.

It’s a fine balance though. I do have to be careful not to start a book way over her head and just frustrate her. There are ones I can’t wait to read together (Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess) which I think she’d *like* now but truly love and understand better in a couple of years.

This is the best part of our day together. It’s something we rarely miss doing – and I can see that years of investing in this one thing consistently is making a difference. That makes me glad, because like most moms I have a ton of, “should have done…” thoughts except in this area.

You can find the books we’re reading and keep up with the rest on my Instagram under the #bookswithBella

What are you all reading? How do you choose your books? 


  • Jennifer @ WrittenByJennifer

    January 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I remember LOVING The Indian in the Cupboard. I can’t really remember the plot now but it’s one I’ll need to revisit with Sophia when she’s older.

  • Anne-Marie

    January 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Walter is letting me read Charlotte’s Web to him, one chapter at a time! It all began with a film version he has been watching over and over. Of course, at four, the theme is completely over his head, but they pure JOY in my heart when we finished Chapter I and he asked for more, and I got to say “we will read more tomorrow night!” Oh, it’s just wonderful, and so much sooner than I expected. (Although I’m sure you’ll agree that Walter being FOUR and old ebough to listen to an entire chapter, short as it is–well, that’s just plain shocking. He is gigantic.)

  • Leanna

    January 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    We are about to read “Anne of Green Gables”: she is 11 and I know she will love it. She reads good but I think us reading the book together will be good for us both. We recently watched the new Anne of Green Gables and Pollyanna on TV. She loved them.

  • Mary

    January 7, 2017 at 8:03 am

    You’ve picked out such good ones! I love that you and Bella talk about the stories together, and even about the used-ness of the books! And yes, children can love the basic gist of a story before they understand the details. They focus on the characters. You might remind your daughter that she will like these when she gets older, too – particularly when she is grown up. Do you know the MY FATHER’S DRAGON series? Have you thought about THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS? On the latter, the writing of the original is so beautiful that you’ll love it, but the story is one children love. The cartoon versions don’t do the characters justice. And yes, FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS is a terrific series!

  • Caroline Jordan Kimrey

    January 6, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    I’m working my way through these lists with my seven-year-old. It helps me to not jump ahead top one he’s not ready for yet, but still introduced excellent literature.

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