This is more for the picture book folk out there although it’s germane to novelists as well. After all, you often read excerpts of your work at school visits and booksignings. And before you submit anything, you should always read it out loud to either yourself or someone else. You’d be amazed at the number of missing words you find. Reading aloud also finds and fixes stylistic errors. So, reading your own work is always very important.

But what is the best book in general for reading aloud? I ask because I read to a group of 30 toddlers this morning. I’m in a small children’s play, and we had gone to a local bookstore (in costume) to sing and interact and read to the children. I read some variation of The Little Engine that Could, and my partner read the Ferdinand bull story. I can’t think of its actual title. The books were both poor choices. The kids got squirmy, even with interactive questions. My book was long and repetitive, and the kids did not enjoy the repetition. They flat out found the Ferdinand story boring. I was surprised because they are both classic picture books. I didn’t select our books, but I wouldn’t have thought we would have any difficulty reading them. And no, it was not our abilities. I have been onstage since the age of 3. I’ve done successful school visits. The books just weren’t fun.

So what do you think the best read aloud books are? Use the comments link below to respond. Oh, and be sure to say what age the book should be read to. After all, a good read aloud to a 3 year old is not the same as one for a 13 year old.

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.