6 Lists of Great Picture Books For Kids

My sister Jen is back to share with us her favorite picture books!  She writes:

 

I love picture books and am so excited to share my family’s favorites with you.  I began collecting picture books when I worked at the local library during college.  As the library discarded old books, I would add them to my personal collection.  When I became a teacher, I would order books from the monthly book orders and gather books from garage sales.  It was such a blessing to have so many books on my shelves when my children were born!  Reading to your children should begin as soon as they are born or even before!! 

Here is a video that I made for my fifth grade class in 1999 to show what a day with my new baby was like.   As you can see, Johnathan seemed to enjoy being read to even as an infant! 

 

            I have so many favorite picture books that I have read to my children over the years.  Below, I organized them into categories and included some helpful tips about ways that you could use these with your own children.

  1. Infant/ Toddler Books When choosing books for your young children, try to find books that involve the stimulation of several senses. 

Like in the video, a book that squeaks or makes other noises will hold your child’s attention at this age (The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle). Also, look for books that have flaps that can be lifted (Spot books by Eric Hill) or patches that can be felt (Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet).  Other books involve pointing at pictures to develop visual discrimination skills (I Spy Little Wheels by Jean Marzollo).  Some books encourage activities that develop fine motor skills (The Cheerios Play Book by Lee Wade).  Making reading fun at a young age will help children to continue enjoying reading as they grow!

 2.  Bedtime Books – As I gathered my books, these are the ones that brought back the sweetest memories of rocking my babies at bedtime.  The soothing, lullaby like rhymes in these books are wonderful ways to calm your baby before they sleep.  I also had several of these memorized so that I could recite them to my fussing baby in the car or at the grocery store.  It was amazing how they would stop crying to focus on a familiar rhythm and rhyme! (My FavoritesTime For Bed by Mem Fox, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown)

3.  Christian Books – Many of these books were gifts from my parents to my children. They have been so useful in instructing my children in Biblical teachings and are sometimes used as our Bible story for the day.  (My Favorites:  I Believe in Jesus by John MacArthur, All the Way to God by Katie and Michael Giuliano, The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado, God’s Wisdom for Little Girls, Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31 by Elizabeth George, and The Wemmicks Collection by Max Lucado)

4.  Holiday BooksOne of my favorite things to do at the holidays is to get out the picture books that have been put away all year and display them on my children’s book shelves in their rooms. The books are special because they are only out for a few weeks every year.  Thanksgiving Favorites: The Story of the Mayflower Compact by Norman Richards, Off to Plymouth Rock! By Dandi Daley Mackall, The Turkey Saves the Day by Shelagh Canning, Out and About on the Mayflower by Judy Veramendi   Easter Favorites: My Easter Basket by Mary Manz Simon, The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs, and What is Easter? By Lillie James  Christmas FavoritesThe Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier, The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, The Small One by Alex Walsh, Little Shepherd by Dandi Daley Mackall, Gigi, The Perfect Christmas Gift by Sheila Walsh, Christy: Christmastime at Cutter Gap by Nancy LeSourd

5. School-subject Related Books – When I was a classroom teacher, I liked to begin new units of study by reading a picture book to my students. (My Favorites:  Science/ Weather: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, Social Studies/ Immigration: Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen, Handwriting/ Cursive: Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary, Math/ Large Numbers: How Much is a Million?  By David M. Schwartz (includes a list of math activities), Math/ Division:  The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins, One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes, Math/ Measurement: Counting on Frank by Rod Clement (includes a list of math activities) Math/ Calendar/ Days of the Week: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle)

6. Other Childhood Favorites –  There are certain book characters that have been family favorites.  Curious George and Clifford books have led to good discussions and life lessons.  My children also loved the Corduroy books and Amelia Bedelia books although the Amelia Bedelia books do involve a little higher vocabulary in order to enjoy the humor.  A few other titles that we have loved reading over and over are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, Harry by the Sea and Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.

 

            A few more tips:  Develop a set time in your day for reading to your young children to develop reading as a habit.  As you read, point to the words to help your child develop sound/ symbol relationships and tracking skills from left to right and top to bottom of a page.  Also, make sure to read books like Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and other Dr. Seuss books to reinforce rhyming skills as this is a foundational reading skill.  Enjoy the list of books, make a trip to the library, and snuggle with your little ones as you read together! ~ Jennifer

 

So those are my sister’s favorites!  Right now my absolute favorites for my 7 and 9 year old are Max Lucado’s Wemmick’s Collection, Elizabeth George’s “God’s Wisdom For Little Girls” (based on the Proverbs 31 passage – LOVE it!) and anything by Dr. Seuss!

So tell us – what picture books are you reading or are your favorites?

Walk with the King,

5 Spiritual Reasons To Read To Your Child

 

 

My sister Jennifer ————>>

…is back this week to lay the foundation for why it’s important to begin reading to our children at a very young age.

     Jennifer writes:     

             The most important thing I can share about our parenting is the priority that we as a family have placed on reading together.  It is the thing that has shaped our children the most. 

Reading together has served to develop their minds, their hearts, and their souls.  It touches them not only intellectually but also spiritually.  Most of the research and studies that show the importance of reading to your child stress the academic benefits of this activity, but I would like to show you that there are also eternal benefits of reading to your child

 Reasons to read to your children:

  1.  To develop skills which will allow them to read and understand the scriptures. 

It brings me such joy to walk into Johnathan or Julianna’s bedroom and see that they have chosen to read the Bible on their own!  This is how they will come to the knowledge of all of the wonderful truths about our Savior that are written on those pages and hopefully make their faith their own. 

Joshua 1:8a – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. NKJV

2.  To develop their ability to express their own ideas both verbally and in writing. 

This equips them to clearly communicate the truths of the gospel with others.  The ability to organize, sequence and clearly express their thoughts, develops as they are exposed to the rich language of experienced writers.  Johnathan has had several school assignments in which he has had to write about his beliefs, and it is such a blessing to see how clearly he can articulate his understanding of what we have read to him and taught him over the years.

I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. NIV

3.  To develop their listening and auditory processing skills. 

They are better able to listen and think about information as well as sustain attention for longer periods of time if they have practiced routinely listening to you read for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Sometimes I feel like our preacher’s sermons may be a little above Julianna’s level as a 10 year-old, but I have been impressed with her ability to focus, listen, and take notes during Sunday morning worship services.  Here is a picture of the front page of her notes from last Sunday.  Look how much they can learn even at a young age if they are trained to listen!! 

4.  To lead to teachable moments and discussions for training your children in righteousness. 

We have a routine of reading together nightly at bedtime.  So many times, when I am tucking the children into bed, they will ask a question about what we have read, or they will share something about their day that relates to what we read.  These still, quiet moments are wonderful times to reach their hearts with the truth, and though I love a schedule and getting them to bed on time, I am willing to ignore these things to work with their hearts while they are soft and moldable! 

5.  To create lifelong memories. 

My mom has allowed me to borrow the volumes of Bible storybooks that she read to us when we were children (which I will share with you in a later post), and as I turn through the pages with the familiar pictures and stories, I remember the snuggles with mom, the giggles of three little girls with curlers in their hair, the talks about our Lord, and the bedtime prayers said while kneeling beside the bed. These are the types of precious memories that I hope I am creating for my children when we spend time reading together.

          In parenting, we always have to keep eternal purposes in mind. 

What is our true goal of parenting?  Why do we do what we do?  What is our motivation?  With these thoughts in mind, I encourage you to read even more to your children! 

~ Jennifer

You may have tangible wealth untold,

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I, you can never be-

I had a mother who read to me.

From Teddy to Ready (2002) by Susan Martelli

_________________________________________________

Thank you sis! 

Alright mamas – I encourage you to grab a good picture book or chapter book and pull your chicklets in close to you and enjoy a moment of bonding together!

Some readers have asked for book recommendations, well hold tight, cause Jen will be giving them in coming weeks :)  But we’d love to hear what you are reading right now to your children - feel free to share it in the comment section!  Currently we are in the middle of the book titled Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – it’s our second time through – the kids begged to hear it again :) .

Walk with the King,

My Favorite Easter Breakfast – Resurrection Rolls

Every year we make these Resurrection Rolls - they are quick, easy and taste great!
Here’s my kids making them 3 years ago at our old house.

And here they are making them last year!
These are so fun because when the rolls are done baking – they are empty inside…
JUST like Jesus’ tomb!

You need just 5 ingredients: crescent rolls, marshmallows, sugar, cinnamon and butter

 

Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll.

This represents the tomb.

 

 

Each child takes one marshmallow.

This represents the body of Christ.

 

Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.

Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.

 

Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (This is a REALLY important step! Otherwise the marshmallow will “ooze” out of the seams)

Bake according to package directions.

Cool.

Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!

Celebrate God’s love! 
Walk with the King!


If you are in need of some fresh new recipes – then visiting Janelle’s blog at Comfy In the Kitchen is a must! She also has a Feasting In Fellowship Friday Link-Up Party happening right now – join the fun!!

Vlog ~ An Object Lesson & Prayer For Our Children

Ezekial 11:19 & 20 says:

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

I made this video this past summer but never posted it…but it goes with the Gentleness Challenge. Often times our frustrations with our children come because we are tired, exhausted and irritable…but sometimes it is because they have hard hearts and they need a mama who is willing to get on her knees and plead in her child’s behalf before the throne of God.  Ezekial 11:19,20 is my prayer.

 (If you can’t see this video click here.)

Let’s pray that God gives our children undivided hearts.  That they would be born again with God’s Spirit within them and that their hearts would not be hardened by sin but soft and tender.  Pray that they would be careful to keep God’s laws and follow hard after Jesus!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

Teaching Our Children How To Be Gentle

 

Since the day my son came out of the womb – he was a rough and tumble little guy. It’s the way God wired him! As a toddler, he rarely cried when he fell or bumped his head and as a school boy he is very high energy. It’s hard to keep him from running, jumping, climbing and diving in the house! lol! He loves contact sports and has played flag football with the public school kids for the last 4 years. This year flag football was a lot like (full contact -minus- the pads) +plus+ some flags! I did a lot of wincing and turning my head – it was hard to watch! He also takes Karate and gets to do a little sparring while learning discipline, respect and tenacity. And then there’s basketball. He is currently playing in the public school league and this is his sport. He loves the non-stop running and to be honest – it seems to be quite a full contact sport at his age also! The kids are still learning the fundamentals of a foul! lol!

I love that my son can use his energy appropriately through sports, but at home this has posed a bit of a challenge. Sometimes he gets his coat out of the closet like he’s going after a football – he throws an elbow at his sister, whips his coat out and dashes out the door leaving her knocked on the floor wondering what just hit her.

This is where manners come into play. Clearly, there’s a long list of manners that are missed in this very simple – and sadly common – coat scenario. First, ladies before gentlemen would solve the entire problem – right? Secondly, words like – “excuse me”, “I am sorry”, “are you okay” “let me help you up” or “you can go first” would also help.

I have taught my children manners many times. Some weeks I’ve been a heavy enforcer and then with the hustle and bustle of life, the manners slide without me noticing. So I ordered this hand book titled: Proper Manners and Health Habits, to begin in the new year and I was so surprised when I opened the book and saw the title to Chapter 1!

Chapter 1 is titled “Gentle Words” and oh boy was I excited to tell the kids that they would be joining me for the January WLW “Gentleness Challenge” – this is a family venture!!!  Like us – children need to learn to use “Gentle Words”.  So what words are considered “gentle words?”

And there you have it.  Lesson 1 for teaching our children to be gentle!  These are the words of the month in our house and I’ve been clapping each time they use them…so yesterday Alexis said “thank you” and I kept on doing what I was doing.  She called me out on it – “mooooooooooom, I just said thank you.”  I said, “your welcome.”  Then she repeated – “no mom, I just said thank you.”  I repeated, “your welcome Alexis” a bit confused…she said – “aren’t you going to clap mom?” lol!  Children love praise which goes with yesterdays post (and by the way – clapping is SO much easier than a sticker/rewards chart and extremely effective – try it – clap and hoot and holler for your kids when they do good – they will light up – they will stand taller!).  Let’s teach our children to be gentle through using good manners and remember to praise them 10 times more than we correct them!

Walk with the King,