Reading to kids is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Reading helps with language development, boosts vocabulary, and builds early literacy skills. Plus, it’s fun! It’s never too early to start reading to your kids, even as babies. We all know this, but sometimes as a parent it’s hard to know where to start. You can’t read your 1 month old War and Peace, right? Here are 10 great books for the very young and for their older siblings and parents too:
1) A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
This winner of the 2012 Caldecott Award is sweet and simple but also engaging for kids. It’s a wordless story told through watercolor illustrations. Daisy the dog has a ball, breaks the ball, is sad, and then finds a new ball. When my daughter was a toddler it was one of the first books that she absolutely loved and enjoyed “reading” herself as she told the story over and over.
2) Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Another wordless (mostly) picture book. This one is super silly and will have your littlest kids giggling as the zookeeper says goodnight to all the animals but misses the gorilla who has stolen his keys and is following him around the zoo. As a bonus also check out 10 Minutes Till Bedtime for more silly fun by Rathmann. That one involves some crazy hamsters.
3) Yummy-Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
Patricelli is the queen for books for the very young. Incredibly simple in concept, each page layout shows two different pictures that demonstrate the theme. (Blueberries, yummy; Blue crayons, yucky). Also look for others by Patricelli including NO NO YES YES and Quiet Loud.
4) Clip Clop by Nicola Smee
A duck, a pig, a dog and a cat go for a rollicking fun ride on a horse. What more is there to say? This one begs for motions to go along with the reading and babies and toddlers will squeal “Again” with the characters as they get a ride on their Mom or Dad’s lap.
5) We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Everyone knows this song. All three of my kids loved this book. It also is a great one for moving along with the book.
6) Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
More silliness. Three serious animals demonstrate appropriate clothing and one confused turkey tries his best but somehow never quite gets it right. Boynton is the master of silly board books (and some fantastic children’s music). All of her books are favorites at our house. Especially check out: Moo, Baa, La, La, La!, Snuggle Puppy, and But Not the Hippopotamus.
7) Mama, Baby, and Other First Words by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober
Part of a the Art from the Start series by Merberg and Bober, this book is a first word book but told through 10 classic paintings. The others in the series are also great and focus on different themes (animals, feelings) or specific artists.
8) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
Features a lively alphabet rhyme as all the letters of the alphabet race each other up the coconut tree. Vivid illustrations by Lois Ehlert will captivate even the youngest kid. And what kid doesn’t want to hear his parent say Chicka Chicka Boom Boom multiple times?
9) Changing Faces: Meet Happy Bear by Nathan Thoms Bear is sad, or grumpy or worried. The reader will have to act silly or sing a song or blow bubbles to make bear smile again. Vertical panels in the book shift to show the bears sad face turn into a smile.
10) Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
A baby gets kisses from it’s family members as we count from 1-10. Babies will love being read this book, especially if you kiss your little one’s bellybutton and toes along with the book.