“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” (C.S. Lewis)
A close friend recently told me that my spirit animal is an owl. I’ll take it. Owls have that aura of bookishness and wisdom. Books were a constant companion growing up. Quality time with my four siblings often meant sitting in the same room while we each read our own book. Some of my favorite memories growing up are of my parents reading to us as we lay in bed at night. We read through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, and many other titles throughout our evenings together before going to sleep. This routine continues in my life to this day.
One thing I want to pass onto my kids is a love of reading and story. For the first year of Edith’s life she refused to sit still past two pages of any book, which was challenging for someone who adores books. Frederick has always loved books and recently the two of them have been equally engaged in the same books and this time together is some of the best moments we have. Since neither of them naps anymore we usually spend time every afternoon reading before they have quiet time or TV time.
Storytelling is such a powerful thing. It engages the imagination, fosters empathy, and opens our eyes to new and different worlds. There is a plethora of good books for kids and discovering the ones that are beautiful, captivating, and enlightening for all of us can be overwhelming.
It’s been a slow journey figuring out which books we all love. I put together a list of a few titles that we currently can’t stop reading and a some eternal favorites. I would love to hear which books you remember from your childhood as well as any you currently love.
Journey, Quest, and Return by Aaron Becker: these beautifully illustrated adventures ignited such creativity and passion that my three year old tried to draw a door to another world on our living room wall.
Flotsam by David Wiesner: this book is done in a comic book like storyboard and the illustrations are stunning.
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney: I love this one because it communicates a really good lesson about helping others in need through simple images.
Muncha, Muncha, Muncha and Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide! by Candace Fleming: both of these are laugh-out-loud stories about bunnies who continually break into a garden and then a house to get food and the things they need.
Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty (she has a lot of other good titles too!): this whole series is done so well. It’s so good to read stories about kids with big dreams and imaginations who overcome obstacles.
What Do You Do With an Idea and What Do You Do With a Problem by Kobi Yamada: after a couple readings, both kids are so excited to reach the point in the book where breakthrough happens. I love these titles because they create a space and a common vocabulary to talk about ideas and problems.
Learning through play:
Zero, One, and Two by Kathryn Otoshi: if you’ve never read these, you must check them out. They are instructional in learning to count as well as learning to interact inclusively; it’s pretty amazing.
We’ve been loving these winter days curled up in blankets slowly going through the latest pile from the library and reading the time away. Here are some more authors and titles that are engaging for the big ones reading as well as the young ones listening.
Authors who never disappoint:
Ezra Jack Keats
Favorite board board books for 2 years and younger:
anything by Sandra Boynton