A few weeks ago when we were all sick, one of the bright spots in life was plenty of time to read to the kids. I took the opportunity to pull out some old favorites that we hadn’t read in awhile, and I was struck by how much I enjoy reading to the kids when we’re not limited to the latest random princess book that Maggie found at the library!
With Christmas approaching, I realized it would be a great time to share some of my favorites with you all, and my fellow authors jumped at the opportunity too. If you have little ones in your life to read to, here are some great ideas for you!
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers: We checked this book out of the library numerous times before serendipitously receiving it for Christmas from Aunt Andrea & Uncle Joe. We love it! The illustrations are lovely; Maggie likes to look at the first page, filled with swaddled babies, and tell me which ones she likes best. Elizabeth just loves to point at each page and exclaim “Baby!” It’s an especially sweet book to read when your family is growing!
Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Patterson: This is hands-down the most beautiful children’s book in our home. It’s a prayer from Saint Francis, praraphrased poetically, and is a great way to share gratitude for God’s creation with your little ones.
Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman: this one is a sweet retelling of a Jewish folk tale. Joseph’s grandfather makes him a beautiful blanket when he’s a baby, and over the years it transforms into many different gifts for the growing, changing little Joseph. I love Joseph’s absolute trust that “Grandpa can fix it,” and the way that the gift continues to be precious over the years.
I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt: my husband will laugh at me for putting this on the list, because it’s truly not his favorite. But despite the weird things the child in the book imagines (“what if I were a super smelly skunk? … what if I were a slimy swamp monster?”), it’s a sweet, comforting book about a mother’s love. I think it’s pretty adorable, and I smile whenever Elizabeth picks it out for me to read.
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton: actually, anything by Sandra Boynton is my favorite! We probably have close to a dozen of her board books in the house, and I’m always happy to read them over and over again. They are so simple and short that I often can recite a whole book without looking at it (in the car, or during a diaper change), but somehow they’re never boring. Our entire children’s library could be Boynton and I would still be pretty happy with it! Right now Horns to Toes is a huge favorite in our house, and some others we particularly love are But Not the Hippopotamus, Blue Hat Green Hat, and Moo Baa La La La.
First 100 Words by Roger Priddy. We frequently check this book out from the library because my two year old loves naming the pictures and colors. He loves learning how objects fit into categories. It is a great book for my son to “read” by himself. This book was also a great companion on a recent long car trip.
Freight Train by Donald Crews. Written in the 70s by a well known author, this book was in my stash of books from when I was a first grade teacher. Since my son has a love of trains, we pulled this book out to add to his book shelf. We enjoy saying the colors of the train cars and naming the different types of cars on the train. It’s a favorite of my son’s and is often read before bed. It also won a Caldecott medal, a annual honor given to excellent picture books.
10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. This is a fun little book that is actually based on a real news story. In this book, by classic author, Eric Carle, a ship full of rubber duckies is caught in a storm and a box of duckies goes overboard. The ducks fall out and float away in many directions in the water. Our book is a hard cover version with a button on the last page that squeaks like a rubber ducky. It’s a fun favorite around here.
The Pigeon Loves Things That Go By Mo Willems. This is a short, funny, and clever book that my son loves! I don’t want to ruin the humor, but there is a little surprise at the end of this book. My son loves that there is a pigeon and duck in the story too.
Mary Clare’s Picks
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey: I love this book, and so do the kids. Unlike so many other books we own, it doesn’t attempt to teach them their letter, colors, numbers, morals, and how to wash the dishes, all in one book. A simple, beautiful story with fantastic illustrations, real characters, and plenty of old Boston flavor. Very refreshing.
Baby Faces from DK Publishing: This board book was a favorite of both of our babies, as babies. I apologize to parents everywhere, because comes off at first as rather simplistic, annoying, and/or boring. But it really works for babies, and it has come in hand for us as parents. It seems to teach some emotional intelligence. For instance, when they are fit to be tied, we can verbalize “angry”, and they know what that means because there’s an angry baby face in the book. It helps them to understand what’s happening with them and to calm down faster.
Read Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall: This series of 5 large hard cover books is a progressive gift from Rebecca’s “Aunty Godmother”. Geared towards toddlers and pre-schoolers, the language is accessible, understandable, and real, yet deep, which is just as it should be, as far as I’m concerned. Pretty much every day, we are reading one of these stories to them, on demand, 1-10 times. 🙂
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (& the Holy Spirit): we jump now to a Bible book that’s appropriate for children of all ages. (It’s so complete and mature (for lack of a better word), in fact, that I’ve considered using it to finally fulfill last year’s new years resolution to read through the entire bible, cover to cover.) Of all the bibles and bible story sets we have read, this is the most cohesive as a themed book, and has, by far, the best illustrations. The very short chapter format keeps even my baby’s attention.
Whether you decide to gift these books for Christmas, or pick them up at the library, we hope you enjoy reading and sharing these books!