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.
- 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 Favorites: Time 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 Books – One 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 Favorites: The 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?