One of my favorite parts of being a parent is sharing my love of books with my son. Most days he does a “sit time” where he sits with a pile of books for 30-40 minutes. Each night we read before bedtime. And we read together at other times of the day as well.
What my son doesn’t know is that I secretly love his children’s books just as much as I love my “adult” books. I adore the vivid pictures and the sweet stories. I choke up at the same lines each time even though I’ve read them a hundred times. I can recite many of them by heart.
Our favorites include many of the classics like The Very Hungry Caterpiller, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Dear Zoo. But today I thought I’d highlight a few books aren’t as well known.
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Oh, I love this one! And, even better, so does Hadden! You’ll learn fruits and vegetables for each letter of the alphabet accompanied by beautiful illustrations. This book has made grocery shopping more fun too. Last week I pointed out a kumquat to Hadden and he said, “That’s in my alphabet book!” Additionally it’s encouraged him to try a taste of more fruits and vegetables and helped us in our quest to have an adventurous eater.
Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
I love interactive books and books about nature. This book hits both notes. Hadden loves to do all the actions: rub the tree to make it warm, clap your hands to bring the snow, close your eyes and count to ten. The paintings are lovely and the story is sweet. It’s a winner!
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The theme of this story is “you must do something to make the world more beautiful”. I adore that. I could lie and say that I read this book because I want my son to learn that lesson. But that’s only half the truth because *I* need to be reminded to make the world a more beautiful place too. So that’s why we read it so often. Miss Rumphius goes on fabulous adventures all over the world before she settles down. Then she makes the world more beautiful by planting lupines all over. The sweet pictures make this book a slam-dunk.
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama and illustrated by Loren Long
Are you tired of me mentioning stunning pictures yet? Pretend that you’re not while I say it again about this one. The illustrations are so, so lovely. In the book, the father tells his daughters about different character traits that he sees in them and then links each one to a historical American. It’s a simple, easy introduction to many of the people who have helped make our country great. But the end is where I really get choked up and start sounding a bit like a preacher delivering the crux of her message:
“Have I told you that America is made up of people of every kind?
People of all races, religions, and beliefs.
People from the coastlines and the mountains.
People who have made bright lights shine by sharing their unique gifts
and giving us the courage to lift one another up, to keep up the fight,
to work and build upon all that is good in our nation.”
Can you see why reading that gets me on a roll? This book is a beautiful way to give your children a simple introduction to great Americans from Maya Lin and Jackie Robinson to Jane Addams, George Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I especially love the diversity represented in this book.
Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horáček
Hadden loves butterflies, which made this book a favorite in our home pretty quickly. By searching for a missing butterfly, Lucy discovers many vivid colors in her garden from a green beetle to a red ladybug. On the last page, (this is Hadden’s favorite part) the butterfly comes back as a pop-up so as you gently open and close the book, it looks like it’s flying. It’s darling.
Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway
This book has several easy yoga poses for little ones. Between the pictures and the descriptions (“Yoga Baby breathes like a lion” or “Yoga Baby curls up like a sleeping mouse”), it’s super easy for kiddos to follow. Hadden has fun doing each pose and loves it when we do it with him, although now that I’m in my third trimester I’m less thrilled about doing a couple of these. This book also features a diverse group of kids, which makes me like it even more.
We are always on the hunt for new, interesting books. What are some of your favorites?