Recently I shared with you reasons WHY you should read to your children, now let me offer a selection of great books you should read with your kids. Remember, whether you’re reading aloud, reading together, or reading the same book separately and discussing, the important thing is to simply READ.
Do you agree with this list? Do you see any books you’d add? Do you see any books you would not have included here? Any surprises? How many of these books have you read as a child, or TO your child? Would love to know your thoughts. 🙂
15 Books You Should Read with Your Kids
- Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – My kids LOVE hearing this one at bedtime – they’ve got it memorized, and my two-year-old son will “read” it to himself frequently. There’s a little bit of Max in all of us, I’d say.
- Charlie and the Charlie Factory by Roald Dahl – I’m frequently floored when folks seem surprised that there’s a book to go along with the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (Check out more Books No One Knew About Until the Movie, if you’re curious.) I am a collector of Roald Dahl, and have enjoyed just about anything he’s written – including the charming tale of Charlie and his adventures that begin with the Golden Ticket. This was the first book I read aloud to my 4th graders, many years ago – daily, they sat, perched at their desks listening, anticipating what would happen next. <3 it!
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin – (Confession: I added this book, replacing another book I wasn’t familiar with.) When a book ends with “no matter what you step in, keep moving along and singing your song because it’s all good”, I’m sold. The accompanying catchy tune you can find on YouTube is but mere icing on the literary cake here. Should you skip over Pete the Cat? GOODNESS NO!
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – This was the first book my daughter read to us, from beginning to end. (Yes, at age four, she is a reader!) It’s a great “gateway” book for beginning readers to gain confidence in their budding skills. And if they learn a thing or two about trying new things along the way, well, consider it a bonus.
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – Sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason. Goodnight Moon is certainly no exception here. You’ll scarcely find a parent who doesn’t fondly think about how they read it to their babies, likely long after they were babies.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Yes, your kid will likely want to read this series when he’s older, but this is a fantastic read aloud book to introduce your kids to the magical world of Harry Potter at an early age. And then take them out back and play a li’l Quidditch together, followed by a few rounds of butter beers.
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney – Perhaps this story holds more meaning to parents than their children, but every child should hear the tale of just how very much a parent loves his child. And that’s all I’ll say. Go read it for yourself.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst – The ultimate “bad hair day” book remains a classic, as Alexander shares his (obviously) bad day – and even moving to Australia won’t make things better. Or will it?
- No David! by David Shannon – If you’ve ever spent any amount of time living with a two year old, you will catch a glimpse of him or her in this sure-to-be classic story, based loosely on the author’s childhood days. It’s adorable illustrations complement the simple text, together painting a rich, sometimes devious picture to which both parents and children will relate. And you may just find yourself calling your child “David” when they start to resemble a holy terror. Also don’t forget David Goes to School and David Gets in Trouble, to round out the lovably mischeivious collection.
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey – Again, it’s a classic for a reason. The adorable tale of Sal picking blueberries with her mother will delight readers -both young and old- as they watch the paralleled story of the mother bear and baby bear collecting blueberries for hibernation.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff – I still remember sitting in the library in Kindergarten, hearing the librarian read this to us. I love the cause and effect, and how it all ties back together at the end. I’ve collected all the other “If you Give a…” books by Numeroff.
- The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – What child (or adult) doesn’t have some degree of affection for the willy, nilly, silly ol’ bear? The classic tales take kids back to a simpler style of children’s literature, which require a little more imagination, and less illustrations. Nonetheless, they are absolutely worthwhile.
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – Not unlike David Shannon’s main character (see #9), Peter Rabbit finds himself frequently in sticky situations, particularly with the ornery Mr. McGregor. Watch how Peter Rabbit’s leanings towards naughtiness make for great adventures.
- My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie and Rosemary Wells – No child’s library is complete without a little Mother Goose. Period.
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – This was the first chapter book my daughter and I read together. She was four at the time, and was so fully-engaged throughout – which honestly surprised me. She loved hearing about Charlotte, Fern, and even rascally Templeton. Her eyes welled up with tears when Charlotte passed away, but a smile crept up over her face when her babies were born, and then floated away. As a treat, we enjoyed watching the movie, and comparing it to the book.
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