Our semi-regular series on motherhood is back today and I’m particularly excited about this post. While we’ve tackled weighty motherhood-related topics in past posts (breast feeding, co-parenting, self-care, the election) this post is touch different – because we’re talking about books!
Now some moms might be sharing their favorite parenting books, but since I’m always on the hunt for good children’s books (and haven’t found the time to actually read any parenting ones yet – whoops) I’m focusing on books for the littles. Because they really are books for us too. We’re the ones reading them after all!
Surely, the world of children’s books is nearly endless but some books really do stand out from the crowd. And my definition of good is not as straightforward as it sounds. To classify a kid’s book as worthy it has to be visually appealing with lovely illustrations, have a truly good story, be well written (for the most part) and not drive me absolutely bat-sh** to read it for the 1,000th time. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a tough bar. Pete the Cat does not make the cut. But I’ve managed to begin building a collection of kids books that both I and my kiddo equally adore. To the point where he has half of them nearly memorized. And wants to read each a minimum of three times in a row, stretching evening storytime into a freaking hour, but I digress. Because these books don’t suck, I’m ready and willing to do it.
To remind, I now have a toddler one my hands, so these are not board books. He’s just trustworthy enough to flip through the pages on his own. While I’ve found some good board books I love, classics like Go Dogs Go and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, I haven’t found as many board books that I also find truly compelling. If anyone has any recs, I’d love to see them!
1. Almost an Animal Alphabet by Katie Viggers. This alphabet book takes the ABCs to another level. Charming illustrations, actually interesting information about animals and a hidden joke or two make me smile every time we read this book.
2. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds. Ish might just be my favorite children’s book I’ve read thus far. A truly sweet story about a little boy who loves to draw, but his joy is stymied when he’s teased. But through a lesson, from a younger sister no less, little Ramon finds his love of art again. Delightful illustrations and great life lessons make this book a true treasures.
3. Home by Carson Ellis Home is a wonderful visual story about the definition of just that, home. Be it a nest, an apartment, a pasture or wigwams or boats, this book celebrates how and where all beings live. The illustrations soar above my bar and the diversity of places keep you guessing and the little delighted. It’s a winner.
4. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. If you’re looking for a book that will crack you up virtually every time you read it, I Want My Hat Back is certainly one. The humor is most definitely adult, but the illustrations keep the kiddos engaged. They might not get the joke in the end, but that almost makes it more fun. This one is also short. Always a bonus when wine is calling. (am I bad mom??)
5. Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. If books that rhyme start to make you crazy after a while, Iggy Peck will save you. While written in verse, the story of a little boy who falls in love with architecture is witty, entertaining, and truly fun to read. You’ll love the pictures, you’ll love the message. There are also sister books, Ada Twist Scientist, and Rosie Revere Engineer are equally great.
6. I’d Know You Anywhere My Love by Nancy Tillman. This story is about a mother’s love for her children, but told through eyes of a child playing make believe. If your little loves animals this is a perfect book. It communicates a monther’s devotion while also empowering the child to use their imagination. It also introduces uncommon animals like the Blue Footed Booby. I just adore it.
7. We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen. This is the only book on my list from the same author that I mentioned before. The language in these books is so simple (would be good for early readers). The illustrations are a crack up. And there’s another wonderfully adult joke at the end. It’s a gem.
8. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfeld Martin. This is another uplifting little tale about parents’ love for their children. I love the modern, dare I say hipster-esque illustrations. There are great messages for littles about caring, empathy, creativity and joy. There’s a fun little flip out section that makes my little guy say wow. It’s got all the pieces you need for a book both they and you’ll love.
I’m so excited to be raising a little reader. There is nothing more satisfying then seeing my little plop down and pick up a book all on his own. Or recite snippets of the books we read frequently. Books truly do open a child’s mind, inspire, teach and entertain.
I can’t wait to add even more to my little guy’s library with all the other Mamas’ recommendations! Check them out below.
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