Parents know that books are a key part of early development for children. Families who read together at least five minutes a day raise kids with higher literacy rates in school, large vocabularies, and perform better on tests. Kids who enjoy books also need fewer distractions if they can just sit and read peacefully. Carrying around a few books instead of a bag of toys is a lot easier when leaving the house too.
Building a good library helps parents and their kids discover what they like and not get bored. 20 readings into the same book, parents will want a few others to draw from. Establishing a good rotation of books, some for calming down, some longer ones to occupy time, some educational, and some for getting ready for bed is key for building up a child’s library.
Books aren’t the most durable toys. Pages get torn, bindings broken, and flaps torn off. Always get the board book version when available. They still won’t last forever, but at least they might make it past the first birthday. Extra fun like popups, flaps, and googly eyes are great, but the classics are often best, and the content matters more than the package.
Honed over 19 months of repeat readings every. single. night, these are my ten favorite books and the ones my boys most often shove at me to get me to read to them.
Dragons Love Tacos
Maybe it’s the uniqueness of this book’s plot and construction, maybe it’s the stuffed dragon it comes with, or maybe it’s just because I also love tacos, but this is a great kids’ book about how much dragons love tacos and parties. I don’t love the message about not eating spicy foods, but so far it hasn’t prevented our little dragons from chomping down on spice.
Dr. Seuss’s ABCs
Perhaps my favorite book from childhood, this was the first book I memorized entirely for the boys. It’s educational, but also fun with nonsensical versions for each letter and a rhyme scheme that makes it catchy. The boys love the pictures too.
Is Your Mama a Llama?
This book introduces a few less common animals and their characteristics through, of course, rhymes. The art style is fairly unique too and keeps attention captured throughout the book that runs a little longer than the average children’s book. Not many books feature a llama, kangaroo, and bat.
Good Night New York
Bedtime books are always great. Using them to build a regular routine results in easier bedtimes with fewer fights. I love having a book that features and introduces some local highlights for kids. We get the boys into NYC a few times a month, but they don’t always get to see all the big landmarks, so it’s nice to have this book to show them.
Night Night Construction Site
Another going to bed book, this one is longer than most, so it works great for those nights where the boys are coming down from an exciting day and still have a lot of energy. It also teaches about a bunch of construction vehicles through more rhymes. On this list, every book seems to rhyme, all the time
Frog and Toad Are Friends
Hyperactive Frog and Manic-depressive toad – ok maybe mommy and daddy made up these personalities – make for some great stories and opportunities to practice voices. Broken up into a few different stories, each one teaches a little lesson through a pretty quick story. Frog and toad have their differences, but they always come together through their friendship. It’s the perfect lesson for our little amphibians.
Giraffes Can’t Dance
Gerald the giraffe isn’t a good dancer, or at least the other jungle animals tell him. When he feels lonely and sad at the jungle dance, he leaves in shame. Later, he discovers that everyone is unique and has their own special dance when they find the right music. It’s a nice lesson for unique little creatures and manages to incorporate Scottish Reel into a rhyme about dance styles.
The Little Engine Who Could
This book is an oldie but a goodie. Teaching not only about the value of persistence and perseverance but also that our uniqueness makes us special. Every kid should know the value of “I think I can” and to keep trying.
The Very Busy Spider
Another classic, this book covers pretty much every barnyard animal – which helps when trying to make a rousing rendition of Old MacDonald last longer – and focuses on a spider who spends her day working hard to build a web rather than goof around with the other animals and gets rewarded later. Hard work = good.
Yeah, it’s a simple book, but it actually works. I still don’t get why a room has kittens, random discarded clothes, a clothed rabbit, and sophisticated artwork, but it doesn’t seem to matter. By the end of the book, the whole family will be yawning.
These ten books will help build a varied and interesting library with lessons galore for children. The variation will keep them interested and prevents parents from getting bored reading the same old stories. With this as a starting point, kids will get into reading early on and may actually prefer books to other toys.