As a grandmother of two beautiful girls, I treasure reading to them. Since we are miles apart, my husband and I rely on technology to read them a bedtime story virtually. It still doesn’t take the place as being together to share our love of reading. Kids are naturally curious and their questions from books can create a conversation you may have never had and help answer questions or solve a problem.
Hands down, our eldest granddaughter, four-year-old Avery, gets the biggest enjoyment when we read about animals. In fact, many times their old dog Petey was lying nearby listening. According to the National Education Association, when you read a good story and include your pet, it's fun for the whole family. When reading is fun, kids read more.
There are so many wonderfully told stories with terrific messages, but here are three of my picks suitable for pre-K, elementary age and middle school. For your voracious reader, it's worth a look at these websites to add to your library. https://www.scholastic.com; https://www.imaginationsoup.net; https://www.readbrightly.com and https://www.goodreads.com.
Pre-K: The Love In My Heart by Tim Bugbird and Illustrated by Nadine Wickenden
This is one of Avery’s favorite bedtime stories, especially since she has a pet rabbit. Beautifully illustrated, it describes the love between a parent and child. The padded cover and thick pages make it easy for tiny hands to turn the pages!
Elementary age: Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
This is a good lesson about inclusion and acceptance. When the Pet Club won’t admit a boy's tiny elephant, he sadly leaves. However, he soon meets a girl with a skunk and other friends with unusual pets. Together, they make an inclusive location for all kinds of pets in a wonderful tree house. Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.
Middle School: In the tradition of classics like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate tells the true story of Ivan, a gorilla who spent 27 years behind a glass-walled enclosure in a shopping mall. A new arrival, a tragedy and a promise awaken Ivan to the world outside. The story is told in first person, through Ivan’s eyes. The One and Only Ivan has been made into an animated movie with an all-star cast, including actress Angelina Jolie Pitt, and is to be released later this year.
Fun fact: Fish are the most popular pet in America, with over 142 million of them swimming around in American households.