A love of reading is born of a love of having a story brought to life by a storyteller. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading to me, and trips to the local library. I am now passing on this love of words and stories to my young daughter. At only 19 months old, my daughter turns pages, points at pictures, and baby babbles from beginning to end of many books.
I began reading to her the minute she came home from the hospital. Nothing is off limits in the early years: Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, or even Alice Steinbeck. As my daughter has grown and tuned in to the story, board and picture books are now our must-haves. My daughter and I read the following ten children books more than any other books in her personal library.
10. Big Ernie’s New Home: A Story for Children Who Are Moving Written by Teresa and Whitney Martin.
Big Ernie is a very happy cat living in a busy city with his owners. One day everything changes when his owners move into a new home. Big Ernie is scared and homesick at first but soon starts to explore his new home. The book is geared toward three year olds and older. My daughter enjoyed the pictures and pointing at the images. It is a paper book so it may need storing when not being read with an older reader to supervise.
9. Mary Englbreit’s Mother Goose & Nursery Tales
These are two separate compilations written and beautifully illustrated in Mary Engelbreit’s beloved style. The verses and stories are timeless. The illustrations captivate both young and old with their intricate details and vivid depictions. The books are hardcover and may requiring storing to prevent young readers from ripping pages between readings.
8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle
Most people know and love this book along with Eric Carle’s other works. My daughter just received this book as a gift and is instantly captivate. She loves pointing out the hole in the food and the location of the caterpillar on each page. Se easily reads this book four times in a sitting.
7. My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins or Things Written by Judith Viorst and Illustrated By Kay Chorao
Viorst is the brilliant writer of the favorite Alexander books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day. A child is uncertain on the credibility of a mother’s dismissal of monsters based on his mother incorrect calculations in certain situations. If a mother can make mistakes than what if a mother is mistaken about a monster not being under the bed?
6. On the Night You Were Born Written and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman
This book is a beautiful ode to the birth of a baby. Nancy Tillman illustrates in pictures and words the pure joy of new life. With a careful balance to sentimentality and story, Tillman provides a special book for children and adults alike.
5. Baby Turtle’s Tale Written by Elle J McGuinness Illustrated by Romi Caron
A baby sea turtle hatches on the beach to find none of his family insight. In this ani-motion picture book, the baby sea turtle meets other sea creatures and a fisherman on his journey to a coral reef. The book is suggested for 4-5 year olds but the gorgeous pictures hold the attention of children much younger.
4. The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett
Jan Brett has produced a number of wonderful children books. A boy desperately desires snow-white mittens even though they can be easily lost in winter. Soon after receiving the mittens, the boy drops one in the snow. A number of animals snuggle into the mitten one by one stretching the mitten well beyond it limits. It is a very cute tale available in board book form.
3. Mama, Do You Love Me?Written by Barbara Joosse Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
A tale of a young girl testing her limits and learning a mother’s unconditional love is limitless. The Alaskan influence gives an extra element to the story that makes it a favorite. My daughter is one of the few 19 month olds who can point out a Muck Ox or a Walrus.
2. Karen Katz Lift-A-Flap Books:
Where Is Baby’s Mommy?
Grandpa & Me
Grandma & Me
Daddy & Me
Karen Katz is by far my daughter’s favorite author. My daughter has hours of fun each day reading these with (or without) me. I ask the questions and she happily lifts the flaps and points out the hidden objects. She has carried over the learning of open/close, behind and under from these books into real life. Practicing these concepts has helped her learn. She is currently in love with Katz’s A Potty for Me.
1. Is Your Mama a Llama? written by Deborah Guarino and Illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Lloyd the Llama is on a journey to find out who has a Llama for a mama. On the way, he meets a baby swan, seal, kangaroo and more. In the end, his friend Lynn happily helps Lloyd find the mama Llamas. The rhymes and repetition made this an instance favorite. My daughter still wants to read this nightly. When she reads it alone, she repeats the rhythmic structure all by herself. This story is appropriate for infant to school aged.
Children love repetition, vivid pictures and engaged storytellers. Whether a child has a personal library of ten or 100 books does not equal a love of reading. Children respond to active interaction with stories and words. There are so many children’s books in publication; you and your child are bound to love one. To find more books and information on age appropriate reading visit your local library.