Over the years I have don't a lot of volunteer work with children. Working with the church nursery 3 times in the last 8 years (for anywhere from 6 months to 18), working at Stanford's book fair and volunteering in my sons preschool, kindergarten and first grade classes. During these times I would bring in a stack of 5-10 books from home and read to the children. It kept the books exciting and fresh and I got a chance to really use my collection. I loved "testing" books out to see which ones were the children's favorite. The same books were always requested again and again by all the different age groups. and here is the list.
This book is a serious crowd pleaser and speaks to children's experiences. I remember reading somewhere that the negative answers children get in a day numbers in the hundreds (things like "don't touch that" and "not now") while the positive are in the 20s. The author originally wrote this book when he was a child. When reading it I give very forceful reprimands to David and the children just go crazy.
This books has three short stories about scary things under beds, in attics and in closets. I think there tends to be an almost morbid fascination with all things scary at a young age. When you think about so many of the original children's stories such as the brothers Grimm, they really are quite terrifying. I sometimes wonder if we have done our children a disservice by making everything sunshine and rainbows.
This book is delightful. It's the story of a little pea who is forced to eat the ever dreaded candy for dinner before he can have spinach for dessert. There is a part in the book where the little pea is trying to choke down his candy and says things like "yuck" and "blah". I once saw a friend Anne K. read this and make very exaggerated faces and sounds of being grossed out as the pea ate his candy. It was hilarious and now I read it as she did.
This was a random book I found at a grocery store of all places. It is written quite well and has a good rhythm to it. The part that my children love is a part that talks about babies being kissed by their loved ones. At this part I always kiss my boys as it names the places. Things like "the tops of their heads, their tummy, nose and toes....". They just love this part and I sometimes think they bring me this book when they need a few more kisses than I realized.
This book is wonderful for groups of young children. It has a puppet mouth that you fit your hand into and move to make the animals "read" their parts with. It goes through all the different farm animals and has a little rhyme for each sound that they make. When I read this I have the puppet hand bite or nibble on each childs fingers as the animals say their sound. Such as Cluck (nibble on an excited child's fingers) cluck (do the same thing with the next child). It's pretty fun to read and lends itself to different voices/accents for each animal and a sing song voice.
Cassie Anderson introduced me to this book and I just fell in love. It has the most amazing rhyme and rhythm as you ready it. It's about a family with seven children who all only eat one thing and how they find a solution. Quite wonderful.
I must say that I am bias to this book because of the illustrations. I love the colors so much in this book. I also have a soft spot for any book about sailing because Rory grew up sailing and his father is a wonder at the sport. This book also has a good message.
One of Rory's aunts who we just adore told me about this book and I double dare you to get through it with out crying.
If I had to pick one all time favorite children's book it would be the original peter pan. It is written in a way that every sentence stirs the soul and inspires imagination. It's as enjoyable for adults as it is children. It's not a one time read, considering it's 176 pages. But it is the perfect book to read a few pages from every night over the summer or holidays.
***Now I would love love love it, if you would share your treasures with me. Please tell me some of your favorite picks***