Shara Shares Her Reading List
Mom to Madre is so delighted that Shara Lawrence-Weiss is letting us re-post her lovely article on great books for kids, on our website. Shara knows what she is talking about when she recommends kids’ books. As a mom of four children, a former nanny, a Special Education Paraprofessional (K-5th) and the owner of three websites for parents, Shara reads a whole bunch of kids’ books each year. Thanks, Shara, for letting Mom to Madre’s readers learn about your picks for great kids’ books. Your comments on each book are so helpful! Connie Goldin, Mom to Madre
Published on Sunday, 26 May 2013 09:47
30 Great Books for Children
30 Great Books for Children
By Shara Lawrence-Weiss
As I was pulling books from our bookshelves to read with my kids this summer, I decided to blog a list of books that I love. I pulled out 30 books that we all enjoy. We own more than 500 children’s books so this is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s simply a starting point for parents who might be interested in building onto their home library.
The Monster In The Bubble by Andi Green
Sample: Sweet little Squeek never tried to step away…from his warm cozy Bubble, where he always did stay.
Feedback: I adore this book. I read this book to the children in our Special Education room and they all listened in silence, eyes glued to the pages. They asked me questions about why Squeek wanted to stay inside his Bubble, never leaving his comfort zone. The story resonated with all of them. My own children love it, as well. The text is quite brilliant and the illustrations are stunning.
The Lonely Little Monster by Andi Green
Sample: To sweet little Nola, no friend was in sight. So she cried fifty days and sighed forty nights. And her loneliness lingered, feeling harder to bear until she awoke to strange sounds in the air.
Feedback: Again, this author captures your attention with a moving story line and heartfelt words. The graphics are beautiful. There are more books in this series and I hope to own them all one day.
When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan
Sample: Where oh where do the leaves all go when winter comes and the cold winds blow? The leaves go tumble tumbling down. Snow is their blanket. Their bed is the ground.
Feedback: The story explains, in rhyming format, what happens to plants and animals when winter comes. The brilliant text and stunning images make this book a must-have for your home or school library.
Cloud’s best word Day Ever by Kimochis Brand
Sample: Cloud floated low down Kimochis Way. It was Parade Day. But Cloud was grumpy. He was in no mood for a parade. He wanted to drift away, but his friends saw him and gathered around.
Feedback: This glorious book is well written and focuses on social emotional development and self regulation.
How About a Kiss for Me? by Todd Parpley
Sample: Do you like to kiss a bunny? Kiss a bunny? That is funny. A duck? A goose? A skunk? A snake? Now that would be a big mistake.
Feedback: In the end, the little boy decides that a kiss from Daddy is the best kiss of all.
Count My Kisses, Little One by Ruthie May and Tamsin Ainslie
Sample: Seven kisses for baby by the light of the moon. Eight kisses for baby, to a lullaby tune.
Feedback: This simple book is sweet and lovely – perfect for reading to your baby.
Love is a Handful of Honey by Giles Andreae and Vanessa Cabban
Sample: Love’s when you can’t stop describing just what you’ve been doing all day. And love is when somebody quietly listens to everything you’ve got to say.
Feedback: I found this book at school, in our classroom library collection. I loved it so much that I brought it home to read with my kids. The text is lovely and comforting – you’ll want to read it again and again.
Sometimes by Keith Baker
Sample: Sometimes I am red. Sometimes I am blue. I am all of these things. What about you?
Feedback: This book is very simple with only a few words. It’s about liking yourself for who you are and I love that it ends with a question – to generate a conversation about feelings.
Orla’s Upside Down Day by Mary Smith and Jan Lewis
Sample: “Orla,” called Mom from downstairs, “Are you dressed yet?” “It’s my upside-down day,” said Orla. “It takes a long time to dress upside-down.”
Feedback: This funny book is all about Orla’s silly updside-down day. I read this book to our Special Education class and they giggled and laughed and loved every moment of it. My own kids think this book is hilarious. Orla tries to do all sorts of things …upside-down.
Let’s read together: Miss Polly had a Dolly (Ladybird Books)
Sample: Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick. So she phones the doctor and said quick, quick, quick.
Feedback: This was a book from my own childhood. My parents taught us to sing the “Miss Polly” song. The book is easy to read for children who want to read on their own. The song is catchy and quickly memorized.
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Sample: A little boy planted a carrot seed. His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.” But it came up…
Feedback: First printed in 1945, this story demonstrates the result of perseverance and care. The little boy cared for his seed, watered it, and pulled the weeds. Despite the fact that everyone told him his seed would not come up, it did.
Counting Little Geckos by Charlie Profiri
Sample: Geckos run beside a tree. On its trunk is number three. Geckos scurry. Are there more? Near that rock is number four.
Feedback: This adorable counting book (one through ten) has stunning illustrations. The text is unique and fun.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Sample: The little rabbit sat quite still. Then he saw that he had hind legs, and soft brown fur, and long whiskers, and ears that twitched by themselves. He was a Real Rabbit at last!
Feedback: This classic story is loved by many. You can find this story in short format (board books) or long format (chapter books). It’s a story about the power of love.
God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Sample: “Umm, Mama? I was wondering…Did you ever want a different baby? One like Samuel the seal or Fredrika the fox?” “Never,” Mama said. “Never, ever, ever. Your papa and I wouldn’t trade you for the world.” “Why?” Little Cub asked. “Why? Because God gave us you.”
Feedback: The faith-based story line is sweet and loving – perfect for a bedtime read.
If I Lived Alone by Michaela Muntean
Sample: Sometimes it’s noisy in my house. Sometimes it’s crowded in my house. Sometimes I wish I lived alone.
Feedback: My daughter loves this book. She often talks about wanting to live alone to run her own house and make her own decisions. She is six years old and quite independent. The story talks about eating ice cream for breakfast and lunch and dinner, not having to share toys, etc. It also talks about everything that would missed out on, if the child lived alone (daddy making pancakes, mommy reading to them and so on). At the end it says, “I guess I can’t live alone – because if I lived alone, everyone would be lonely.” My daughter circled this line in pencil, evidently as a visual reminder to herself that she really CANNOT live alone (haha): “I guess I can’t live alone.” I like this book because my daughter likes it; the story seems to help her with self regulation.
Mommy’s Hands by Kathryn Lasky & Jane Kamine
Sample: Mommy’s hands make hard things easy. I like to watch her fingers pick out knots from my shoelaces.
Feedback: This is a sweet story about all of the things that mommy’s hands can do: helping, hugging, loving, etc. Various cultures are represented in the images.
The Pear in the Pear Tree by Pamela Allen
Sample: Until…’Look,’ said John. ‘Look up there. I can see a juice pear.’ They couldn’t reach. They had a try. What will they do? It’s up too high.
Feedback: This is one of my husband’s favorite kid’s books. He likes the fun text and the ending: the siblings share the pear, sitting together. The book is about one boy sibling and one girl sibling. We have four kids and the two middle children are close in age: one boy, one girl. My husband really enjoys this story, as it encourages our kids to be loving to one another.
Babbity’s Big Bad Mood by M Christina Butler
Sample: Babbity Rabbit woke up one morning feeling very grumpy. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, but Babity was in a big bad mood!
Feedback: The rabbit’s friends try to help him improve his mood. This is a story of friendship and the overcoming of a bad mood. This is a good book to assist with the teaching of self regulation strategies.
Camille’s Team by Stuart J. Murphy
Sample:”I ‘m going to build a fort, too,” said Freda. “And mine’s going to be bigger than both of yours.” … “What if we all work together?” said Camille.
Feedback: This story focuses on social skills and cooperation. Perfect for home or classroom use.
I Can Do It Myself by Emily Perl Kingsley (a Sesame Street book)
Sample: I can put my toys away. I can button my buttons. I can write my name. I can do it by myself.
Feedback: The simple story line encourages kids to do things on their own, as capable individuals. Perfect for home use or Preschool use.
Kisses by Nanda Roep and Marijke ten Cate
Sample: “Oh, that kind of kiss! A kiss that makes your toes heavy. A kiss that makes your fingers so limp they can’t even lift a feather. A kiss that makes your eyes so tired it’s hard to keep them open,” Daddy says….and Lisa falls asleep.
Feedback: This is an adorable story about daughter and father. Daddy goes to tuck his daughter into bed and she asks for a good night kiss. He jokes around about the kind of kiss she might want: a vacation kiss, a mom kiss, a birthday kiss, etc. Finally, she lets him know she wants a good night kiss.
Ruby in Her Own Time by Jonathan Emmett and Rebecca Harry
Sample: “Will it ever hatch?” said Father Duck. “It will,” said Mother Duck, “in its own time.”
Feedback: This is a delightful story about a duck who took a little longer to do…everything. But, in her own time, she got there.
My Feelings are Hungry by Ava Parnass
Sample: Let me tell you the tale of one Very Bad Day. It’s a big unbelievable, that’s what you’ll say. It all started at school, and got worse all day long. Good thing Mushy my friend helps me fix what goes wrong!
Feedback: This book was written by a colleague of mine (Ava – Listen To Me Please). My daughter really enjoys this book and has fallen asleep with the book lying over her chest. The storyline focuses on emotional eating and encourages kids to talk about their feelings rather than filling up on junk food.
I Like Pumpkins by Jerry Smath
Sample: Pumpkins here, pumpkins there, I see pumpkins everywhere!
Feedback: This is a fun book to have on hand for seasonal reading (Autumn time). The text is catchy and keeps the readers interested without any trouble.
The Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell DePalma
Sample: Once there was a grand old tree. Her roots sank deep into the earth, her arms reached high into the sky.
Feedback: Perfect for Earth Day or any environmental lesson plan, showing kids the value of a tree and what happens after a tree has finally died.
The Donkey That No One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano
Sample: There once was a donkey – young, weak, and small. So weak he could carry nothing at all. Even when children sat on his hide, he’d wobble and tumble and fall on his side.
Feedback: This faith-based book is wonderful for Easter time. The donkey becomes strong, when his services are most needed, carrying someone very important through town. If you celebrate Easter (Resurrection Day), this is a must-have book for your child’s holiday collection. It has become a favorite of mine.
Everything To Spend The Night by Ann Whitford Paul
Sample: Grandpa! Grandpa! Come and see the things I brought for you and me – I packed my bag. I filled it tight…with everything to spend the night! First come the Apples we can share with Bunny and my fuzzy Bear.
Feedback: This is one of my favorite ABC books. The text is adorable and my kids love reading this story again and again. The loving relationship between granddaughter and grandfather offers a unique and sentimental story line.
Dinosaur ROAR! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland
Sample: Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak, dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek.
Feedback: The text goes through numerous dinosaur sizes, situations and personality traits. It’s a simple and catchy with fun rhyming words.
I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Sample: “I love you, my wonderful child,” said Mama as she tucked me in. But I had a question. Mama, what if I were a big, scary ape? Would you still love me then?
Feedback: What if? What if? What if? This story line depicts a typical child, asking numerous questions before bed time. It’s a fun read and makes a great bedtime book.
My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor
Sample: Sheep are gentle creatures who get nervous when alone. But when they find their flock they feel happy and at home.
Feedback: This board book is great for small children, offering sweet text, focused on appreciating animals and the farm. My kids love to visit local farms; it’s something we attempt to do on a regular basis. This is a fun story to use at home or in any early childhood setting.
I could add many additional books to my list of favorites but this is a nice start. If you plan to build onto home library collection, consider purchasing some of these stories. Here are a few locations to search: yard sales, thrift shops, used book stores, Scholastic Book Orders (through your local school), Barnes and Noble, Amazon and ebay. You can also find some of these stories at small Online retailers (privately owned book stores like Slimy Bookworm).
About the Author
Shara has a background in early childhood, education, small business ownership, nanny work and freelance. She is the owner of Mommy Perks, Early Childhood News and Resources, and Emergent Literacy. In addition, Shara and her husband co-own Weiss Business Solutions. Shara has worked with children for more than 25 years. She currently works as a Special Education Paraprofessional (K-5th). Shara has four children of her own (two boys / two girls).