By Aubrey Everett
Collecting children’s books has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of parenting. We received many as gifts, our parents handed down well-worn copies that we once read as kids, and we have purchased several on our own. Our collection reflects the people we have in our lives and the richness within the pages.
Our collection reflects the people we have in our lives and the richness within the pages.
We have read to our son since he was an infant, when the reading was mostly a ritual and soothing mechanism. Now that he is a toddler, he gets educational enrichment through his books and can make his own choices and show preferences. Some books are geared towards the bedtime routine while others have exciting elements and tend to wind him up.
In order to build vocabulary and understanding it is recommended to keep a few books in heavy rotation. Your child will become familiar with the pages, characters and elements of the story, helping them to learn simple words, colors and sounds. Reading a book over and over can become redundant (for the adults) so choose wisely.
These are some of the books our whole family loves to revisit over and over.
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
This classic board book about getting ready for sleep makes an appearance almost every night. The book’s characters go through the typical bedtime routines – bath, brush teeth, put on pajamas – and the poetic verses have a calming effect. There are several places where you can encourage participation: arms go “up!”; “rock” to sleep. Buy now at Bicycle Pie.
The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Melodic verses, beautiful imagery, a teaching moment – our son loves this book and so do we. The eponymous fish moves through the ocean with a scowl, meeting various creatures along the way. Eventually he learns to essentially “turn that frown upside down” and sheds his pout-pout demeanor. The two-page illustrated spread of the fish’s smile always brings out a wide grin from our son. Buy now at Amazon.
If it is illustrated by Eric Carle, we love it! Going far beyond the universally loved "Very Hungry Caterpillar," Eric Carle’s catalog strikes a balance between educational and beautiful. The distinctive collaged images teach about animals, food and nature. Many of his books have added elements of sound, light or sensory touch, making them ideal for children of all ages. Buy Eric Carle on Bicycle Pie.
HarperCollins Treasury Picture Book Classics
This anthology of classic picture books packages 12 stories in one volume. Enlarged artwork along with added background details about each tale make this a great gift or collectable item to be passed down. "Leo the Late Bloomer," "Harold and the Purple Crayon," and "Pete’s a Pizza" all make appearances on oversized pages with brilliant images. Buy now at Amazon.
Books with Shared Interests
Books are a great way to introduce your child to your own interests. There is a wealth of options when it comes to children’s books covering historic figures, hobbies, and musical interests. When introduced in a fun and age-appropriate way, these types of resources can be educational and fun, while also building common interests and bonds. Books like:
"Bob Dylan" from the Little People, Big Dreams series by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
"National Parks of the USA" by Kate Siber
"Be Bold, Baby: Michelle Obama" by Alison Oliver
TV to Book
We have several books that correspond to our son’s favorite television shows. One recounts an episode of Daniel Tiger, while another follows Elmo from Sesame Street as he tries to figure out who sent him an anonymous valentine. This is a fun way for our toddler to connect some of his favorite on-screen characters to story time.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
It is a classic for a reason. First published in 1947, the poetic verses and descriptive illustrations have been shared and loved by generations of readers. "Goodnight Moon" walks us through a simple bedtime routine, saying goodnight to such mundane items as a “bowl of mush” and even “nobody.” The soothing lyrics are the perfect way to end the day. Buy now on Amazon.
About the author: Aubrey works in higher education and is the mother to an active and inquisitive son. She lives in the Boston area where she enjoys taking family walks along the beach, reading books, and introducing new foods to her son. Writing about motherhood allows her to connect to other parents and give voice to a challenging yet exciting time. About the author: Kara is a teacher, author, and mother of two vivacious daughters. A Maryland native, she and her husband are restoring an 18th-century farm in Susquehanna State Park. Her writing centers on literature, art, nature, disability, and working parenthood.