Reading to my children is probably one of my favorite pastimes. Of all of the children’s books there are, there are a few that rate as my absolute favorites. Here are my Top Ten Favorite books to read to my children.
Heidi, by Johanna Spyri, follows the adventures of a young girl who is sent to live with her hermit grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Delightfully endearing and full of real life experiences, Heidi is a must read for girls ages 5-12. My daughter was old enough to read it herself, but we read it together one chapter a night. However, my daughter was so into it we often read 3 or 4 chapters a night.
Anything by Dr. Seuss is always a good bet. Between the fun rhymes and silly story lines, Green Eggs and Ham and A B C by Dr Seuss are my two favorites. Green eggs and Ham is very well known to Dr. Seuss fans and is a great tool when trying to get you children to try something new. A B C is a fun way to learn the alphabet and be a little silly at the same time. I started reading these two books to my girls while I was pregnant, but the best ages for both are 2 – 4 years of age.
Being a Native Texan, we love our wildflowers in the spring, especially the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes. Tomie dePaola, writer of over 200 children’s stories, has taken the native Texas Indian legends and adapted them in The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. The Legend of the Bluebonnet, a young Indian girl who has lost her family and most of her village to famine, sacrifices her most precious possession to save her people. It is a story of true unconditional love. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush follows a young Indian boy who is not skilled in hunting and other things other boys his age are, but rather is a talented artist. It is a wonderful lesson in being yourself and using your talents. Appropriate for ages 2-7.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff, is a delightful tale of a boy who goes through the silly pains of a needy little mouse. It is fun and children usually like to guess about what’s coming next. Great for children ages 4-8.
One of my newer favorites is a series of books by Doreen Cronin. The first is called Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type. A group of cows decide that they are too cold and ask the farmer, after finding a typewriter, for electric blankets for the barn. The Farmer refuses and the cows go on strike. With the help of a neutral party, a duck, the cows negotiate with the farmer as the rest of the animals join in to get little luxuries from the farmer. Perfect for children ages 5-8.
Little House in the Big Woods, the first in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, chronicles a young girl and her family as they start a new life on the prairie. It is a beautiful tale of early America and it opens up a love for history in young girls. This is another one great for reading together or alone for girls 5-13.
My next choice is my mother’s favorite children’s book. It is called I Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. It tells the story of a new mother who sings a special song for her child every night, through the terrible twos, into teenage angst, and even into adulthood. “I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” It is a beautiful story of a mother’s love. Great for children ages 2-7.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, by Kate Toms, is a cute story about a little mouse who loves to look at the stars. It is beautiful and encourages children to dream. Children ages 2-6 will love this book.
Last, but certainly not least, my all time favorite book of any kind – children’s or adult’s – is Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. As I look at it now, it is the ultimate story of motherhood. A tree loves a little boy and watches as he grows up and is always asking for something more from the tree. It is beautifully written and to this day, always brings a tear to my eye. I think it’s great for any age, but children ages 3-8 will love it the best.
Books are always a great gift, but the gift of reading to your children is one they will always cherish. Pick up one of these or your favorite and cuddle up and read. Your children will never forget it.