by Alexandra Morris, Bookseller
One of my all-time favorite memories is sitting curled up beside my brother on the itchy beige carpet of our childhood home, gazing up in absolute wonder as our mom read to us from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Being exactly who I am, I used to snatch the book off its shelf each morning, read ahead during freetime at school, then put it back at the end of the day thinking my mom was none the wiser).
What turned you into a bookworm? Was it Harry Potter? Maybe Judy Blume? The Hunger Games? The Giver? The stories we read or have read to us as children have remarkable staying power. Maybe it’s the way kids can read the same story over and over and over again without ever tiring. Maybe child-minds are just better at absorbing things. (Maybe, just maybe, kid’s books are better than grown-up books. But you didn’t hear that from me.)
Perhaps the most magical thing about those memories, though, is the fact that my brother and I could sit side-by-side without trying to destroy each other. We were classically opposed little twerps. One of us studious, quiet, and well-behaved; the other distracted, loud, and hyper-active. But in those stories of magical wardrobes and sibling betrayal, there was something that could capture us both.
And so, for your quarantine pleasure, here are some fantasy titles slightly more recent than C.S. Lewis which lend themselves beautifully to a family read aloud—whether it’s just you and your little one or a whole house of kids from 2 to 20, these are books the whole family can (and should!) enjoy together: