Reading to your children when they’re young gives you the distinct opportunity to help open their minds to the places, characters, and concepts brought to life on the pages. At the same time, you can bond and make memories. Below are eight books you may not already have in your collection that you should consider reading to your children this week.
(Note: This list does not include popular classics like Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. While you should certainly read those as well, this particular compilation features some lesser-known stories.)
1. The Seeds of the Milkweed, Written and Illustrated by the Second Grade Students of East End Elementary in Little Rock, Arkansas
The Seed of the Milkweed is a beautiful story written and illustrated by second graders. It follows the evolution of a seed into a plant and describes all the natural forces that help the seeds along the way. For example, children learn that the sky holds the sun, providing light. Through the writing and artwork of children, this story shows the interconnectedness of our natural world.
2. Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me, Eric Carle
Eric Carle is a well-known author and illustrator of children’s books. In his stories like the popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he uses simple language and vivid images to illustrate larger storylines.
Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me follows a little girl named Monica who wants her father to get the moon down so she can play with it. This whimsical story shows the lengths of a father’s love and is sure to leave you and your children smiling.
3. On the Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman
In this lovely bestseller, Nancy Tillma describes a new baby, incorporating beautifully-drawn animals as they celebrate how there has never been anyone in the world like this child before. Her poetic words leave children feeling unique and parents feeling warm.
4. Not a Box, Antionette Portis
In this short and simple story about the power of imagination, a black and white bunny sits in a cardboard box as it becomes a robot, a rocket ship and more. The entire book contains only three colors, continuing the theme of simplicity and reminding your child of the joy that is pretending.
5. Blue Hat, Green Hat, Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton writes and illustrates humorous children’s books such as Horns to Toes And In Between and But Not The Hippopotamus.
Her silly characters sometimes tell the stories themselves, with the words simply following suit. This style means her books—like Blue Hat, Green Hat—are well suited for your children to “read” and giggle to on their own. This story follows four friends—an elephant, a moose, a dog, and a turkey—as they trade articles of clothing that are different bright colors. The silly turkey just can’t seem to get dressed correctly, providing easy entertainment for young children.
6. If I Ran The Zoo, Dr. Seuss
Under the pen name Dr. Seuss (among others), Theodor Seuss Geisel sparked the imaginations of generations of children with stories such as Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, The Places You’ll Go.
If I Ran The Zoo is a particularly inspired story of a young boy (Gerald McGrew) who visits the zoo and uses his imagination to invent creatures such as a ten-footed lion and an elephant-cat. His animal creations, and the methods for which he will handle them, grow more exotic with each page. And, in true Dr. Seuss style, the illustrations are intricate while the color choices are bold and simple—perfect to catch your child’s gazing eyes.
Bonus: Wacky Wednesday, my daughter’s personal favorite Dr. Seuss book, made honorable mention on this list. Consider giving that one a try, too.
7. Falling Up, Shel Silverstein
Falling Up is one of three poetry editions Shel Silverstein wrote and illustrated. Many of his silly poems are just that—silly in rhyme and illustration. Others are silly at the surface and have deeper meanings. Opening a volume of Silverstein’s work opens your children’s eyes to the magic of poetry while incorporating humor, allowing them to relate. Whatever page you land on is bound to be a good one.
8. The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn
This bestselling and beautifully illustrated story is great for children who have separation issues or will be starting school soon. It follows a raccoon named Chester who is nervous about going to school alone. Chester and his mother exchange kisses on their hands, which they press to their faces if they feel sad or scared. At its core, the book proves that love does not diminish when proximity does.
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