It’s no secret that Jill and Amanda are huge fans of Janssen’s work, and we have quite a few books we have Everyday Reading to Thank for. Her lists are creative, comprehensive, and our tastes are so similar, we can wholeheartedly recommend anything Janssen approves by that merit alone. Still, we wanted to separate out 10 books we absolutely love that we found all thanks to Everyday Reading.
Listen to our interview with Janssen to take a peek behind the curtains at Everyday Reading.
10 Books We Have Everyday Reading to Thank For
We are going to jump right into the book list here, with 10 books we have Everyday Reading to thank for. Sure, we may have found them another way or another day, but we are thrilled to never have to find out.
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo (series)
This is the very first Everyday Reading-recommended book that I (Jill) tried reading with my kids. My oldest was five and liked them just fine, our youngest was a baby and only cared that I kept feeding her, but the three year old… Our three year old LAPPED these books up and I can’t tell you how tickled I was the first time she asked me for toast “with a great deal of butter on it.” Okay, I can tell you- I was extremely tickled! Thank you, o porcine wonder, for that gem!
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (series)
Okay, this one I (Jill) actually knew about and loved long before I discovered Everyday Reading, but for whatever reason I had never thought about going back to it in audiobook form with my kids! We grew up reading a ton in my family, but we didn’t really do audiobooks, so this discovery started a fabulous trip down memory lane for me as I started looking up every childhood favorite in audiobook form that I could find!
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Fun fact: my (Jill’s) oldest kid was called Bean by almost everyone who knew him for the first two years of his life. When he was about 2 1/2, we moved to a new town and started introducing him to people by his actual name and the nickname faded out for the most part, (something that still makes me sad every so often). I have a bit of a collection of books with characters that share my kids’ names in them and after finding Ivy and Bean, we all decided that it definitely belongs in the collection. I may not have been trolling Everyday Reading to find books with my kid’s name that day (I believe my original intent was to find a new audiobook for a picky two-and-a-half-year-old), but that’s exactly what I found!
Alvin Ho: allergic to camping, hiking and other natural disasters by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham
Scene: Jill’s husband is taking the two oldest kids camping for a night. They are gathering supplies and loading up the car. Jill brings out the tablet their kids use to listen to a story as they are falling asleep.
Jill: Do you want to take this with you?
Jill’s husband: Sure. Wouldn’t it be great if they had a camping story to listen to?
Jill: [frantically starts searching for kids audiobooks about camping]
Everyday Reading (and Libby) to the rescue! The kids loved little Alvin Ho and have listened to all the rest of the books in the series since discovering this one a few short weeks ago.
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman
A few weeks ago, my (Jill’s) daughter found a random book about a horse at the library (unsurprising, since she is obsessed with horses) and ended up keeping it as one of her checkouts that week. Not being able to read yet, the books she picks out for herself tend to be random and not always particularly enjoyable, so I kind of forgot about it until I was scanning a few of Everyday Reading’s lists a few days later and a familiar title kept coming up. It took me a minute to recognize it before realizing it was the random horse book my 4-year-old had found at the library! I had immediately dismissed it, but with Everyday Reading’s encouragement, I unearthed it from the pile of books next to my daughter’s bed and read it with the kids that night…and almost every night until it was due back. Lesson learned: sometimes the four year old really can find gems at the library on her own!
Narwhal and Jelly (series) by Ben Clanton
This book. If I (Amanda) ever write a children’s book, I hope it could be half as good as the Narwhal and Jelly series. This book shows up in several posts on Everyday Reading, which is why it intrigued me so. An easy reader chapter book? A beginner graphic novel? A great audiobook? What is this wondrous book about the unicorn of the sea?! Well, read it, listen to it, laugh over it, and delight in it yourself (and then share it with your kids if they insist). And then go eat some waffles while you peruse Janssen’s site for more great books. Just watch out so the syrup doesn’t get in the keyboard.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater
This is apparently a classic, but one that Amanda never found until the panicked moment of “Ah! We need a new audiobook right NOW and Libby doesn’t have anything available, what do I do?!” Well, that’s entirely the wrong question. The correct way to solve this dilemma is clearly to ask “What would Janssen do?” And of course, Janssen has a reading list for that. And now we can regularly listen about penguins and practice our penguin walking to this funny story.
The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
When we were working on our lists of princess books, we left no stone unturned. Imagine our delight when we discovered a new-to-us princess book on Janssen’s site that she compares to our all-time favorite book, Ella Enchanted. Yes, our finding this book is a tale of true love, and we have Everyday Reading to thank for our happy ending – I mean reading.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Do you love book clubs? Do you love book club reading lists? We do. And we especially love Everyday Reading’s book club lineups. Book Club books can be tricky, especially when they are selected before they have been read by the one who put it on the list. The more experienced the list-maker, the better chances you have of getting a killer lineup. And Janssen has plenty enough experience to pick smashing books and then pull from her fantastic repertoire to compare/contrast to lots of other popular books. She’s been hitting bulls-eyes left and right in 2020, including The Giver of Stars. In short, take a look at Janssen’s book club list, and we doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Janssen speaks my (Amanda’s) language of audiobooks. So when she writes a review like this and just can’t stop talking about an audiobook on Instagram, I take notice. Lovely War now sits firmly on my digital shelf as being one of my favorite audiobooks, and a great introduction for me into full-cast audiobooks (and Everyday Reading has a list for those, too!).