MomsWhether your little one is heading off to school or staying at home, reading is essential.  Not only is it a great excuse for some cuddles – it’s imperative in the development of so many skills.  It not only reinforces language and listening skills, it teaches things like patience (waiting to turn a page), motor skills (turning pages) and opens up dialogue for discussions.

We all have a weak spot for children’s books and wanted to share with you our favorites.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I loved this book as a child. I remember it being one of the first “real” books that I could read. My parents kept this book on the bookshelf with the adult books and I felt so special being able to get it down and read it on my own. It was fun to read because I could relate to the boy playing in/with the tree as a child, and as the boy grows older, it is a great message that ties in nicely with environmental topics regarding sustainability and responsibility.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

I have fond memories of reading this with my grandmother. Ezra Jack Keats has many fantastic books with timeless illustrations and culturally diverse characters.

Pete the Cat by James Dean

My students LOVE Pete the Cat (and so do I!). These are super fun books with a good message and a mellow vibe. Pete continues to embark on new adventures as there are new books coming on a regular basis. I am a big fan of children’s books that can also be appreciated by adults, and Pete definitely fits into that category. In my library, I have all of the hardback books that I love to read with my students, but plan on getting the “I Can Read” formats for my students to read independently. The website also has songs and activities that go along with the books that children love.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

This is an incredibly sweet story about the bond between mother and child. Chester Raccoon is very nervous about leaving his mother to start school. His mother shares a special secret with him to help ease his fears and remind him of her love regardless of where he is. It is a great story to help little ones prepare for back to school, or any time they may be a little nervous about leaving their parents.


Any and all of Olivier Dunrea’s books – Gossie and Gertie, Peedie, Ollie, BooBoo, and a house favorite, Gideon. Such fun stories about the cutest, most mischievous goslings.

Kiss Good Night, by Amy Hest. This is a sweet story about a familiar and beloved bedtime routine.

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear and The Napping House. These classics by Don and Audrey Wood are easy to read and memorize, and both books have a fun element of surprise.

Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series is fun and catchy, all while dealing with familiar issues for children! When my son was born, I came across smaller, shorter Llama Llama books perfect for babies. Our favorite is Llama Llamawakey-wake.

Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle. Love the sounds, rhymes, and of course, the great lesson on friendship.

Where’s Dave?  by Roger Priddy
My son was obsessed with this book for a while when he was younger.  The textures, simple illustrations, bold colors and fold out surprise were a huge hit with him.

Ten Apples Up on Top! by Theo LeSieg
I’m a huge Dr. Seuss fan and love that my older son is starting to get into and appreciate his humor and silly illustrations.  This book is one he requests nightly these days – I love the story, the fact we get to practice counting, and the silly lesson in the end.

Any and All Little Critter Books by Mercer Mayer
A favorite from our childhood, Little Critter is HUGE in our house.  I adore that silly little guy – who reminds me so much of my own boys – and our son loves to look for the spider, bird, or frog in every illustration.

Everything by Matthew Van Fleet, including Heads and Dog.  While not the most enthralling works of literary genius out there, these books are always a hit with young kids – they love the textures, the peek-a-boo flaps and the cute illustrations (or actual pictures of animals!)

There’s an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
Just as Shannon mentioned, Mercer Mayer is great fun for young children. We love his Little Critter books! Along with There’s an Alligator Under My Bed, he has penned the adorable There’s a Nightmare in My Closet and There’s Something in My Attic. These stories turn the scary but classic concepts of what may be hiding in the dark, into silly stories which can be helpful for children with active imaginations.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff
We love this collection of stories by Laura Joffe Numeroff about cause and effect. Her “If you give…” series helps young readers to understand how one action can lead to many others. Just when it seems that things are spiraling out of control for the main character, the story comes full circle and the chain begins again. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Pancake are always fun too!

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Pull out your best Spanish accent and get ready for fun with a very naughty Siamese cat named Skippyjon Jones. Judy Schachner has written a whole series of books about Skippyjon and while they may be a little long for young children, given the right mood (and accent of course), they are a barrel of laughs.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
When a treasured stuffed animal goes missing, a little girl, who is still learning to speak, must use all means necessary to get it back. My son loves to say some of the made up words and Mo Willems is hysterical! Also check out his series about a funny pigeon which starts with, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
This sweet little story is a favorite of mine to read aloud as I count my son’s adorable, chubby, dimpled fingers and toes. Mem Fox is very talented and we’ve enjoyed many of her stories such as Time for Bed and Whoever You Are.

And of course, as Heidi said, Audrey Wood‘s The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear is one of my all-time favorites for all ages! In fact, all of Audrey Woods books are great!