Monday, November 15, 2010

My favorite Children's books

My mother has instilled in me a serious love for children's books. She herself has quite an amazing collection. One that I have been trying to mimic since collage. I am always on the hunt for children's books that inspire. I have found that the best test for a book is reading it to children.

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***


Super B said...

You definitely have some great ones there! Eve loves Little Pea and we have a couple of the others on your list. I was fortunate as a teacher to build up my children's book library each year during our book fair!
Some of Eve's other favorites:
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas. A fun take on the original story!
Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. I like Mo Willems and this story is about a monster who is not a good monster. He finds the best candidate to scare the "tuna salad" out of. it's cute. I like a lot of Mo Willems books (the Don't let the Pigeon books and also Elephant and Piggie books...lots of fun!)
Magic Hat by Mem Fox. A fun sing-songy book. Lots of rythym and rhyme. (Tough Boris is also a good one by her.)
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up In a Ball by Vicki Churchill. A cute story about a wombat (written in rhyme.)
Another one that I love is called Someday by Alison McGhee. A touching story about a mother and daughter. Simple. Beautiful.
I could go on. There are so many wonderful books out there! I loved seeing your list. I will look for some of the ones we aren't familiar with.
Oh, one that your boys might like is called Beastly Brother by Laura Leuck. About two brothers that are monsters, also written in rhyme. Eve loves the part in the book about the biggest bug juice BURP! We always emphasize that part. (Don't know if you like books that have burping in them...but we like this one.)
yeah...this comment is nearly a book in itself.

Celeste Christensen said...

We have Everywhere Babies. The girls just love to find all the tumble babies that go backwards and forwards. Some of our favorites are of course, good night moon, good night Chicago, where is my cat?, Go Dog Go, Brown Bear Brown Bear and lots of girlie ones too.

julieb said...

i was actually thinking about kids books the other day. can't wait for babies, so we can start collecting all my favs. these sound real good. i loved amelia bedilia, and miss piggle wiggle. when i was older, ramona quimby was my fav.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Peter Pan!!
It's all you said and more. So dark and light-hearted at the same time. ;)

I have to give a shout-out to its "sister" story (as they are connected): Stevenson's Treasure Island.

And since you're a big Pan fan - you won't want to miss reading these two books:

A story based on Barrie’s own idea for more:
And a great 'What if?' adventure (but it's not for the kids!): Click!


Tara Smith said...

Our favorites are Miss Twiggley's Tree, I Knew You Could!: A Book for All the Stops in Your Life (also has great rhythm and a priceless life lesson,) and Waking Beauty (a funny twist on Sleeping Beauty).