Pretty soon after I learned that I was pregnant with our son, Samuel, I started buying books. It was, and continues to be, such a joy to fill up bookshelves for him and watch him come running when we tell him to get a book.
It’s a little less fun watching him occasionally rip the pages.
These are some of my fave books so far.
Room on the Broomby Julia Donaldson and Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. A witch collects more passengers on her broom, much to the dismay of her cat. I love the message of inclusivity that this book promotes and the rhyme and repetition are heavenly. Bonus: there’s a Netflix version featuring the voice of Gillian Anderson.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. The bus driver tells you not to let the pigeon drive the bus, and then the pigeon tries everything in his power to change your mind. Hilarious, with killer dialogue that captures the rhetorical acrobatics humans sometimes perform when they really want something they’re denied.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. We’re just starting to get into this one because it's a longer read (in fact, I'm not even 100% certain that I've read every single word yet), but I had to put it on here. It's so great. A mostly epistolary book featuring complaints written by a boy’s set of crayons. Another funny read—and the crayons definitely make some logical arguments. Encourages creativity.
Little Sleepyhead by Elizabeth McPike and illustrated by Patrice Barton. A book which considers all of the work that your little guy or girl’s body has done throughout the day (i.e. feet getting him/her around, their beating heart). This book is sweet and tender, and seems like the perfect way to say goodnight to my little guy.
Llama Llama Hoppity-Hopby Anna Dewdney. Llama Llama performs a series of movements including clapping, thumping, and stretching. Sam loves to perform with the book. When Sam learned to “thump” many months ago thanks to this book, it was one of the cutest things ever.
Peek-a Who? by Nina Laden. Features a series of objects and sounds that rhyme with “who” (i.e. peek-a moo). This is my son’s favorite book. I think it’s partially because it’s concise and the illustrations are punchy. But more than anything, he loves the mirror in the back. Seeing his face never gets old to either of us.
Animal Talesby Eric Carle. A series of rhymes about animals with an accompanying sound panel. The rhymes are clever, and the sound panel is gigantic. Plus, did you see that it’s by Eric Carle?
Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin. A book about what children might dream about when they go to sleep and they’re carried away into dreamland. I’ve written about this author and illustrator a bazillion times before. If you haven’t bought one of her books, do it already!
I Like Myself!by Karen Beaumont and Illustrated by David Catrow. A young girl of color talks about how she loves herself for who she is, a valuable message for all boys and girls. I love the message of body, emotional, and mental positivity in this book. The rhyme scheme and the illustrations are engaging.
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find Youby Nancy Tillman: This book hits me right in the heart. A parent tells a child how their "love will find" him or her, no matter where they go and where they end up. The words are beautiful and the illustrations are whimsical and darling.
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan. An owl goes journeying at night, observing the other nocturnal animals around him. The language is brilliant and beautiful. I love lines like this: “Moths fluttered toward the moon. Silver dust fell from their wings.” And the description of night making way for day is A+.
Gallop by Rufus Butler Seder. A book which includes a series of animal similes. So far, I think that I’m more amazed by this book than my son is. It’s a Scanimation Picture Book, meaning that when you move the page, the animals appear to move. So cool!
The I Love You Book by Todd Parr: A parent tells their child what every child deserves to hear: no matter how you are, I will love you. This is another sweet book that, depending on the day, can bring tears to my eyes. The book is succinct, and the illustrations are charming and vivid.