Children's Books

What to Read?

By Liz Shellum

      My kids know that they can only choose ONE book at the library about a Barbie/Disney princess/fairy/licensed superhero because Mom gets too bored reading those.  Knowing WHAT to read with kids makes all the difference. If the grownup doing the reading is bored stiff, everyone knows it. Here’s a list of tried and true books that we all love to read together.

*These books are sorted by age, but not limited to just the age listed. The best books don’t come with an expiration date.

Ages 0-1:
1.  Anything written by Sandra Boynton. We especially love Hippos Go BerserkBarnyard Dance, and The Going to Bed Book. Hands down my favorite baby books.
2.  Dr. Seuss board books. These are very abbreviated from the originals, making them much easier to get through, with all the rhymes you remember from your childhood.
3.  Bright Baby titles by Roger Priddy, like AnimalsFirst Words, and Colors. These are great for identifying objects, but not for a story.
4.  Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day, and the rest of the Carl series. No words here; you get to follow the action and talk with your baby about what is happening.
5.  Karen Katz’s baby series. Our favorites: No HittingPrincess Baby, and Grandpa and Me.
6.  Babies by Gyo Fujikawa. It’s simple and beautiful.
7.  Let’s Count!What do I Eat?, and Wheels on the Go! by La Coccinella. The holes in the design of each page make it fun to follow.
8.  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, the classic bedtime book.
9.  Eric Carle’s board books, particularly Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
10.  I Howl, I Growl by Marcia Vaughan and Polly Powell. Do the movements, make the animal noises together!

Ages 2-3:
1.  Llama Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. We quote this one often. The rest in the series are fun too; the Llama Llama board books are much simpler.
2.  Olivia by Ian Falconer. This little pig learns to be her own person.
3.  No, David by David Shannon, for all the naughty little boys in your life.
4.  Silly Sally by Audrey Wood. It’s fun to do things your own way!
5.  Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberly. Empower kids to brave bedtime monsters. See also: Bye, Bye, Big Bad Bullybug.
6.  Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin and Betsey Lewin. These are some smart animals!
7.  Dogs by Emily Gravett. All the dogs your toddler can handle, in every variety.
8.  Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This one is timeless.
9.  Five Little Monkeys Play Hide and Seek by Eileen Christelow. I laugh at loud with this one.
10.  Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski. Don’t get the board book or you will miss some adventures!
11.  I Love My Mommy by Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd, because moms are the best.
12.  The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth. After this, look for The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst and The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires.
13.  The Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer. There’s a book for every situation—going to the dentist, feeling mad, an outing with mom, you name it.
14.  How do Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. These dinosaurs make such good choices!
      15.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. A great way to talk about 

Ages 4-5:
1.  Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser. Talk about a vocabulary builder! Nancy goes on to have several more adventures in other books.
2.  The Napping House by Audrey Wood. This is a great book for waking up!
3.  Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. So glad this is back in print.
4.  The Monkey and the Crocodile by Paul Galdone. Another old story worth rediscovering.
5.  Too Many Toys by David Shannon. Ever negotiate about what toys to get rid of?
6.  It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle. It gets sillier as the pages turn; kids love to yell the crucial line.
7.  My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Lara Leuck and Mark Buehner. Everyone has a mama, even monsters!
8.  Thundercake by Patricia Polacco. If thunder is scary to your kids, you need this book.
9.  Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet by Kelly DiPucchio and Bob Shea. Poor Gilbert can’t find the right pet. You’ll love what he chooses!
10.  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Our kindergartner even came home on her first day of school with her own traced hand for me to kiss.
11.  Hip Hip Hooray for Annie McRae! by Brad Wilcox and Julie Olson. Annie learns confidence without constant praise of others.
12.  Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems. This is a hilarious version of the original. See also: Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.
13.  Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. Find the CD if you can—it makes the book even better to sing it!
14.  Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean. No cooler way to learn colors.
15.  It’s a Spoon, Not a Shovel by Caralyn Buehner. Test your manners in the most fun way!