As far as I’m concerned, reading books to my kids is one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of parenting. There’s nothing like leaving arguments and the day-to-day struggles of parenting aside and cuddling up on the couch to read an entertaining story with your children. Not only is reading with your kids a great way to expand your child’s horizons, it’s also a simple but profound way for parents and children to bond.
What are the best children’s books to read to kids? That all depends on the age and particular interests of your child, but as a mother of three in the toddler-preschool set, I have my list of top 10 children’s books for reading aloud:
Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever
This one is a little old school since I remember loving it when my parents read this to me as a child, but it’s pretty timeless since it is one of my kids’ favorite books. You can’t beat the classic nursery rhymes set to cute animal illustrations.
Never Smile At A Monkey
A recent addition to our ever-growing library of children’s books, this book cleverly combines alliteration with facts about dangerous animals to provide an educational and entertaining reading experience for kids and parents.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
If you’re looking for the classic children’s read-aloud, you can’t do better than Eric Carle’s colorful illustrations and repetitive text in this kids’ favorite. Young children love that they can “read” the book on their own due to the repetitive text, and parents love seeing the joy in their kids’ eyes as they begin experiencing how wonderful reading can be. Hearing my three-year-old read this to his one-year-old brother was one of the sweetest memories of motherhood for me.
Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?
Does it get any better than lift-the-flaps for kids? My children love just about any book with lift-the-flaps, but this cute peek-a-boo children’s book is perfect for reading to toddlers.
Go, Train, Go!
As a mother to boys I know a thing or two about the young male obsession with trains, and especially the beloved Thomas. Go, Train, Go! offers energetic text and familiar characters that make for a fun, quick read-aloud that my kids never get tired of.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Who doesn’t love this one? Even I love hearing it over and over and over and over…For my kids the best part of this book has always been the page listing everything the caterpillar eats on Saturday. My mouth waters a little bit too looking at uniquely Eric Carle illustrations of cake, ice cream, cheese, pie, etc. This one is perfect for a teachable moment too with its inherent science lesson of the life cycle of a caterpillar.
With its rhythmic text, rhyming lines, and repetitive train whistle sounds (you can just let your kids make these sounds if you get tired because they sure won’t), this book never grows old with my kids.
The Little Engine That Could
Another train book, I know. I told you my kids are boys, right? This book is just a classic, period. It has cute illustrations and a fun story, and of course everyone’s favorite “I think I can-I think I can-I think I can” lines.
The Rainbow Fish
The beautiful illustrations of this book would set it apart from other children’s book even without its equally beautiful storyline. With its message on the importance of humility and generosity as the true path of happiness and its negation of a life of conceit and disregard for others, The Rainbow Fish is an inspiring tale that both kids and parents will benefit from reading.
You just can’t have a list of the top children’s books for reading aloud without including Goodnight Moon. Though, if you’ve been a parent for longer than two seconds you probably don’t really have to “read” it since you undoubtedly memorized it after the first fifty readings. This book is magic, pure and simple.