Last weekend I reorganized our bookshelves. We have several shelves of kids books (I mean picture books) but it seemed to me that we were reading the same Berenstain Bears and Arthur books over and over and over and honestly I was getting sick of them. Since the shelf that housed those books was in a prominent place I decided to switch things up in hopes of inciting an interest in new books.
(My two littlest book lovers)
The older kids started back on track on Monday so this week I have been reaping the rewards of my efforts.
Logan and Ellie have been pulling out books that I feel like I haven't read in years. We've all been reintroduced to wonderful literature, amazing illustrations and fabulous characters. It's like meeting old friends that I haven't seen in a long time. I love it.
So I thought I would introduce you to some of our favorites and hopefully you might find a new friend for your family as well.
These are some of the usual suspects. I imagine just about everybody who has kids has some books from these authors, but they are still great. The Berenstain Bears(we have more than 35 of these -- barely a drop in the bucket for the 300 plus tales that exist -- and we love them all...well most of us do, Josh doesn't appreciate how stupid Papa bear is most of the time -- I can see his point but I still love the learning for kids in these stories), Clifford, Mercer Mayer and the Black Lagoon books are all favorites of our children.
I love reading Sandra Boynton books to little ones (and even older kids seem to sneak closer to hear them). My favorites are "Barnyard Dance," "Pajama Time" and "Snuggle Puppy" (and if you haven't heard the Philadelphia Chicken's cd with the Snuggle Puppy song then you are missing out...click the link and scroll down to that song to get a taste). We have two of her musical books and we love those as well.
Of course Arthur and The Magic School bus and Dr. Seuss are each a MUST in any children's literary collection but one of my very favorites that I fear not so many people appreciate are Kevin Henkes books. These adorable books chronicling real kid situations (like starting kindergarten, giving up blanky as you get older, being honest and handling teasing) are AWESOME!!! I love love LOVE him...and so do my kids (but maybe my influence has something to do with that).
However, a whole bunch of my favorites do not come in a series, they are just fabulous books all on their own. I especially love a book that teaches a lesson in some way and these stories all make the list.
Porcupining: The tale of a serenading porcupine who won't give up during his search for the perfect, prickly bride. Really cute (especially if you make up a tune for his song).
Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm: All about following your dreams no matter how crazy other people think they are (and who wouldn't love a book about growing balloons from seeds...fabulous).
Roger, the Jolly Pirate: First of all, kids love pirates, and Roger is a sweet and adorable and that pays off in the end.
A Chair for my Mother: This little girl and her mother learn persistence and strive to have a happy attitude even in very difficult situations.
The Little Old Lady Who was Not Afraid of Anything: To me, if you aren't doing actions while you read this then you are doing it wrong (no offense). Also, how can you not love a book with a title like that?
Some Dogs Do: One of my all time favorites...it's about being who you are and trusting yourself in the face of peer pressure and teasing. Love it!
A Bad Case of Stripes: Another story about being true to yourself (and eating your Lima beans), this one is fun and a great lesson.
P.J. FunnyBunny: I have recently learned there is a whole series of PJ books (we originally only had "It's not Easy Being a Bunny" and we learned to adore that book first). Having a son nicknamed PJ we have really taken a shine to this troublesome, but sweet, little rabbit.
Too Big: I'm not sure there is a sweeter book on the planet. This story is about a gigantic stuffed dinosaur who helps his boy through some struggles even after being closeted for his size.
Alexander: If you don't love him them I may question your taste...I have never disliked an Alexander book and even though the pictures have no color, my kids love him too...I think they can relate to him.
How I Became a Pirate/Pirates Don't Change Diapers: Just plain fun, these semi-inept pirates need the help of young Jeremy Jacobs to get through some silly spots.
The Paper Bag Princess: A story about a princess in a paper bag who goes up against a powerful dragon and thinks her way through things. It is great (and if you like this one then try "The Princess Knight," or "Princess Pigsty" which are along the same lines...why is it always princesses?).
Enemy Pie: If your kids are having trouble with an "enemy" (or just having trouble getting along with neighborhood kids) I am telling you to get this book....it is WONDERFUL!
So those are some of my picks, but as I was taking pictures of books, my little ones were amassing a collection of their own, so I decided to share some of their picks with you too.
Actually I love a bunch of these too (SuperDog for the small underdog in your life, Something Queer is Going On for your deep thinker, Actual Size for your zoologist, Chameleon Colors for the child who needs courage to be himself).
Then as I was putting everything away I found these two sitting out and thought, "How could I have missed these, I LOVE them." Zen shorts has some of the best "parables" and I have even used them when teaching lessons to teenagers and adults, they are GREAT...and Miss Nelson is Missing, I feel like her sometimes and would love to try her little trick.
I guess what it really boils down to is that I love the my kidlets love books. I love that even at two years old, reading stories is one of Ellies favorite things to do. I love that Bryce sneaks his light on at 10:30 pm just so he can finish a chapter (ok, maybe love is a strong word there). I love that trips to the library are THRILLING for every single one of my tykes and that they can hardly wait to show me the treasures they discover on the shelves.
The world of books is a beautiful thing, and I'm glad we get to have a piece of that in our little home.
(P.S. If you are looking to build your at home library, I strongly suggest you start at your local second hand store. I have bought hundreds of books there and often I find books that are brand new. There is also the bonus that -- at least at our local store -- I can get books 3 for $1 so if I haven't heard of them and then I end up hating them I am only out 33 1/3 cents.)
Do you have some favorite kid friendly books I should add to my list? I'd love to hear about them.