We love books. My parents were readers, I am a reader, and I am raising readers. We just love books around here. One of the benefits of being raised by an elementary teacher is that I was around good books from an early age.
So when I started raising my kids, I started with my favorites from childhood, added in the new ones my mom was raving about, and the ones my older sister liked for her kids. Then I went out and found some of my own. By now, I have a lot of books for kids that I really really like!
For this article I’m going to try (really hard!!) to stick to early books for littles. Unless noted, these are all board books.
You can’t start too early! You can read to your babies before they even know words. They are listening to your voice, your inflection and taking in all in. A good warm, snuggly feeling, cuddled up with a good book, we’re making a good impression of books long before they head out on their own with one!
My oldest is much too old for bedtime stories now. But all these years later, I’m still reading some of my favorites from her time to my youngest. My bedtime favorites that have stood the test of time: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman and my all-time favorite, the soothing rhythms of Time For Bed by Mem Fox.
I have to confess, that while Sandra Boynton has been around for a long time, with my oldest I didn’t see the appeal. Then with my second, Snuggle Puppy and The Belly Button Book were introduced to our repertoire and we haven’t looked back. My third child has loved adding Night, Night Little Pookie and Pajama Time! We’ve both fallen more than a little in love with Sandra Boynton. So in addition to those books, we’re also reading But Not The Hippopotamus, Blue Hat, Green Hat, Doggies, and especially Little Pookie.
Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli allows for growth. I have some of her board books, Where Is Love Biscuit?, Biscuit’s Snowy Day, and Biscuit’s Pet and Play Halloween, and I love reading about the cute little puppy and her friends. The added advantage is that if your little one falls in love with Biscuit, they can keep reading about Biscuit with early readers for kids that are learning to read. So it is a line of books that your child can grow with.
We have a number of books that are classics, that we have loved reading to each of our kids, great reads-for you and for them!
Here are some of my top picks for early books:
- Curious George by H.A. Rey
- The Best Mouse Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar and 1,2,3 To The Zoo by Eric Carle
- Go Dog Go! and Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
- Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
- ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book by Dr. Seuss
The last one, I actually have memorized. Go ahead, challenge me on the street, I can do the whole thing. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly attests to how many times I’ve read it!
There are so many benefits to reading, and everyone from your child’s pediatrician to their firsts teachers will encourage you to do it. But if you don’t know where to start it can be a little daunting. These were our favorites and, I think, a great starting point.
So, pick out a book, snuggle up and share a story with your child!
It can be soothing (Time for Bed), or fun (The Belly Button Book), or silly (Dr. Seuss ABC), or sweet (The Last Mouse Cookie), or reaffirming (Guess How Much I Love You). It doesn’t matter. It’s a little one-on-one time spent with your child over a book. And where can you go wrong with that?