I have had a close and continuing relationship with greats books ever since I can remember. When I was a young child I used to pile books on my bed and read for hours on end. By the time I was 8 or 9 years old I was completely immersed in the worlds of Aslan, Laura Ingalls, and a certain chocolate factory. My Mom used to read to us every night after dinner.
As parents, we have made reading with Sweet Pea a high priority for our family. However, it seems like there are thousands of great children’s books. How do you choose which ones to read? Honestly, I believe that as long as a parent is reading to their kids, it doesn’t matter much which books they choose. So, I will start highlighting 10 age-appropriate books a month that we are reading with Sweet Pea (she is 2 years old now). I hope these reading lists give you ideas for books your kids might enjoy as well!
10 Books We Are Reading Sweet Pea in January
- How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad?– by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. This is an excellent book series and Sweet Pea asks for this book almost every night before bed. As a parent I love that it is a fun way to talk about emotions with toddlers and preschoolers. Also, I really like that the author/illustrator have intentionally included a diverse set families. This is a fun book.
- Swim! Swim!– by Lerch. Believe it or not, I first heard about this book when I asked students of mine what their favorite books were. One of the students, who had a 2-year old at home, couldn’t stop talking about this cute little book. Fast forward a few years and of course I had to seek it out for myself! Well, the book does not disappoint. It is a really cute story of a fishie searching for a friend. Did I mention it is really cute?
- Madeline– by Ludwig Bemelmans. I will be honest with you. I wasn’t thrilled the first time I read this book. It kind of depressed me. However, after I read it to Sweet Pea the first time, she kept asking for it over and over again. So, I kept reading it and now I see why it is such a children’s classic. I think that Sweet Pea likes the book so much because she identifies with Madeline. That is pretty cool.
- Olivia– by Ian Falconer. Speaking of identifying with little girls (not that I am suggesting Sweet Pea is a piglet), we both love this book too! Olivia is such a smart, creative, and spirited little girl– I mean, piglet. As long as Sweet Pea doesn’t get the idea to paint the wall, I think we will be just fine.
5. You Are My I Love You– by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa. I have loved this book since the first time I read it to Sweet Pea. It is part love song, part lullaby. I have read it to Sweet Pea since she was old enough to sit still for 5 minutes. We have now transitioned from board book to hardcover and I know we will read this for many years to come.
- It’s Time to Sleep, My Love– by Nancy Tillman. Again, I really cannot say enough good things about this book or anything else by Nancy Tillman. Her illustrations are stunningly beautiful and the words in this book are very sing-songy. When I read it to Sweet Pea I try to read it like Garrison Keillor and very deliberately read it in such a way that Sweet Pea will actually get drowsy by the time we make it to ‘sleep’s balloon.’ I hope you are as enchanted with this book as we are.
- Snap!– by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe. I picked this book up at a consignment sale for about $2 and it is one of our favorites for sure. I don’t think it is a very popular book but it really should be because it is the perfect book to read a loud. Lots of cute illustrations and easy rhythms.
8. Just In Case You Ever Wonder– by Max Lucado. We were given this book at Sweet Pea’s baby shower and now that she is a little older, it is really special that her Daddy gets to read it with her before bed. Not that I don’t love reading the book with her as well. However, since the main characters are a little girl and her Daddy, I think it is the perfect book to illustrate a Father’s love for his daughter, as well our Father’s love for us.
9. Barnyard Dance!– by Sandra Boynton. This book has been a favorite ever since Sweet Pea was about 9 months old. However, I wanted to include it here because the book has received a revival in our family ever since we downloaded the Sandra Boynton smartphone app. The app includes a number of her best books and it is an interactive reading… a lot of fun!
10. Friends Are the Best!– by Maggie Testa and Jason Fruchter. I know these character books aren’t considered high literature, even by children’s book standards. However, they are cute, fun, and a great way to reinforce life lessons Sweet Pea is introduced to through watching the TV show.
Those are 10 books we are reading now. Come back next month for 10 more Sweet Pea picks!
In the meantime, I would love to hear what some of your top book picks are.
Thanks for reading!