We get all kinds of questions here at Simply Southern Photography, and one of my favorites has nothing to do with photography! My mom taught us a love of reading at an early age – in fact, she always has a book close at hand. It’s an important thing to teach children, and I am grateful every day for her love of books.
So, what are my top 10 favorite books for kids (under age 5)?
10. But Not the Hippopotamus (Boynton on Board) – This one was a gift for us when our first son was born, and it is adorable! The rhymes and light-hearted fun are typical of Sandra Boynton, and she’s become a mainstay of children’s books. She’s always on the top 10 list for moms, and there’s a reason why. In this book, the hippopotamus is so sad because of all the fun that her friends are having without her – does she get to join them at the end?
9. The Mine-O-Saur – We received this book as part of Dolly Parton’s reading program, the Imagination Library. It’s perfect for teaching sharing and happy play to your kids. Throughout the book, a dinosaur – the mine-o-saur – takes all the toys, treats, and blocks. He realizes that the kids don’t want to play with him when he’s so grabby, and tries to fix it. Added bonus? You’ll get to try to figure out how to pronounce dinosaur names like “pteranodon” – it’s not as easy as it sounds when you’re rhyming!
8. Good Night: A Touch & Feel Bedtime Book – We’ve loved this book from the moment we read it, as have our children. It has a touch-and-feel portion, and the kids love to see what each of the animals feels like. From puppies to bunnies to kittens – they’re all so tired and ready for bed! It has been the most calming bed time book we’ve read, and a true favorite.
7. Big Red Barn – I’ll be honest, we weren’t sold on this one at first. It seemed lengthy for a toddler attention span, and I wasn’t quite sure where the story was headed the first time we read it…but our oldest adores this book! At one point, I could quote the entire thing from memory after having read it so many times. It shows so many kinds of animals. It’s a good book for counting as well.
6. I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words – This was my favorite book as a child. My dad probably read it to me 100+ times, and I loved every minute. It’s still a favorite!
5. From Head to Toe Board Book – Eric Carle is a genius. His books are fun, whimsical, and perfect for little ones. Each animal has a part they play in the book – from the alligator that wriggles to the monkey that moves his toes, and having your kids act out the book while you read it is a great cure for the sillies!
4. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? – If your kiddo fights bedtime, this is a book for you. It starts with a simple question – how does a dinosaur say goodnight? – and goes through all the things kids do to stall at bedtime. At the end, it points out that dinosaurs don’t even try these tactics with mom and dad – they give snuggles, get in their bed, and turn out the light like good dinosaurs.
3. Little Blue Truck Board Book – We all need a little help from our friends, and we’ve all had our moments where we were so caught up in our big plans that we pushed right by friends and family to get there (whether it’s a trip to Wal-Mart, or just trying to get supper on the table, or your next big break at work). In this book, the big dump truck pushes right by everyone, only to get stuck and find that the littlest of creatures is the key to helping him on his way. We love what this book teaches, and the *fun* way it accomplishes the goal.
Why are these tied for first? When our first child was born at 29 weeks, he spent 6 weeks in the NICU. We went to see him every day, and one day I found “Never Too Little to Love” in a store. It’s about a little tiny mouse who really wants a tall giraffe to know how much he loves her, but he’s so tiny he can’t reach her. In the end, the tall giraffe bends down to kiss him on the head and show that you are never too little to love – or be loved. I read it our tiny little baby every single day, praying for his safety, health, and to know how much we love him.
Our second child came at exactly the same gestation – 29 weeks. He spent 2 months in the NICU, and I quickly searched for his very own book. We found “Wherever You Are…” and tears flowed the first time I read it to him, knowing it would be our tradition every day that he was there. It goes through all the ups and downs that children experience, such as playing with friends and being sad – and it has a constant reminder that no matter where you are, my love will find you. I read it – and fought back tears – every single day as I prayed that our little baby would be home with us and would always know that no matter where he was – NICU or otherwise – his parents love him.
So, there you have it…my top 10 list! What are your favorite books for kids? Let us know in the comments section!