I’ve been pretty frank on my blog about some of the hard parts of motherhood. I’ve also been honest about how much I struggle with parts of it as well. HOWEVER! THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE POSTS! This is about one of my hands down favorite parts about being a mom – reading to my kids.
I am an avid book reader, and that addiction just keeps speeding up rather than slowing down. And it translates to kids books as well. I could easily blow thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon stocking up on books for my kids. Because guess who gets to read them? ME. So I better be picking ones I want to read on a daily basis for the rest of the foreseeable future (please tell me they will always want me to read to them! PLEASE!)
Since one of the more frequent questions I get asked is for book recommendations for adults, and since a lot of my readers are also parents – I thought I’d do a list of my very favorite children’s books. Please note that this was basically torture to get narrowed down to a manageable list. I am leaving out many of my faves, but this list is for the books that bring ME the most joy, but that my kids also love listening to.
Mother Bruce : Ryan T. Higgins
Basically the cutest story ever. This one is entertaining to parents, especially grumpy ones 😉 About a grumpy bear foodie who is forced into fatherhood when a bunch of little goslings assume he is their mama. Yes, Bruce, I feel you on missing your long winter’s naps. And Bruce in a 4 child carrier full of goslings will make you smile.
Uni the Unicorn: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Brigette Barrager
This book is just plain beautiful to look at. Most illustrations in the book would make seriously incredible inspiration for girl rooms of your dreams. Besides for every page being gorgeous, I also love the story. About Uni, who actually believes little girls are real, despite the teasing from the other unicorns and “knowing smiles” shared between parents.
Penguin Problems: Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith
Ok. If there was a child’s book that spoke more to my soul than this one, I don’t know what it is. About a chronically pessimistic and cranky penguin who is always seeing the bad rather than the good, amazing things that surround him every day. A walrus (basically a spirit guide/life coach in animal form) comes and delivers a pep talk that I’m not embarrassed to say made me cry actual tears when I read it out loud for the first time to my kids. This book is seriously adorable and funny and sarcastic and smart and inspiring I just love it. One of my all-time favorites.
Monster Trouble: Lane Fredrickson, illustrated by Michael Robertson
The story of Winifred Schnitzel, who isn’t afraid of monsters – in fact, she finds them cute. However, these monsters keep coming into her room all night trying to scare her and it is making her TIRED. She tries a variety of techniques to get them to leave her alone until she finds the secret weapon – kissing them. This terrifies the monsters and they finally leave poor Winifred alone. Great illustrations (every time we read it, Gia has to go through every monster and ask me which one I think it the cutest), smart and funny. And I LOVE me a rhyming book and this one is perfect. One night we were discussing monsters before bed and the fact that there was no thing as monsters and Gia said “yeah, but mom, IF THEY WERE REAL, what would I do if I saw one?” I said “Well, I think probably kiss them like Winifred Schnitzel does.” A huge smile spread across her face and she said “Yeah! That’s what I’ll do.” Problem solved 🙂
Love Monster: Rachel Bright
This book held first place in my heart for years. About a monster looking for love. It is SO FREAKING CUTE and it contains one of my all-time favorite children’s book lines “You see, sometimes, when you least expect it … love finds you.” Love the illustrations in this one too and its smart and a quick read as well.
Tree: Britta Teckentrup
This is my #1 favorite book for about the past 5 months. Its stunning to look at, the pages and texture of the book itself is just gorgeous. About the cycle of life and the four seasons, I can’t pick whether I like the words (another rhyming one!) or the pictures the best. The background scene is the same on every page, with the details of the season (colors, tree leaves, animals, sky etc) changing with each page. It is so comforting and calming and probably just a good life lesson for ME that life cycles and that every season has its beauty. EVEN Winter. I guess 😉
The Book With No Pictures: B.J. Novak
I had heard about this book, but was unsure it would be something a 2-year-old would be interested in. I bought it anyway when G was 2 and she freaking loved it. Be prepared to make lots of strange noises and say nonsense things that will make kids double over laughing. Its entertaining to read as an adult because its just something different. Also, Gia regularly began using the words “ridiculous” and “preposterous” in regular conversation after reading it, so that was worth the price of the book alone in entertainment. Plus, B.J. Novak wrote it, so all die-hard Office fans need to buy this!
Mustache Baby: Bridget Heos, illustrated by Joy Ang
Billy was born with a mustache. But now his parents have to wait and see whether its going to be a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache. Funny and smart with the cutest illustrations. I’d heard about this book forever but didn’t pick it up until Christmas time this year – wish I would have done it sooner!
The Pout-Pout Fish: Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
Ok, I feel certain most of you have heard of the Pout-Pout Fish, but maybe you avoided him for years because you thought he couldn’t be THAT great even though he was a New York Times Bestseller. Well, swallow your pride and join the Pout-Pout Fish empire. I just love reading it out loud – the rhyming and meter(? I think? Is that the word?) is perfection – super easy to read and a sweet little book about a pouty fish who assumes he must always be pouty because of the way he looks, until he meets another fish who gives him a different perspective.
Some Bugs: Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Bredan Wenzel
I can’t quite put my finger on why I love this simple little book SO MUCH. I think its mostly the unique and impressive illustrations coupled with rhyming. Its a quick read, Eli LOVES it, and its trying to cure me of my bee phobia by featuring pictures of wasps and yellow jackets and bumblebees without me physically cringing. The last page features a ton of bugs and their names which is also entertaining for not just the kids but me too.
Little Pea: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace
This is probably Eli’s favorite book – about a little pea who HATES all the candy he has to eat to grow up to be a big strong pea. It has a VERY FAMILIAR conversation for anyone with picky toddlers or preschoolers where Little Pea barters with his parents on exactly HOW MUCH candy he has to eat to get dessert. So so cute, and makes Eli laugh out loud every time I read it.
The Thing About Yetis: Vin Vogel
This book is about how horrible winter is. Ok, maybe not, but that’s what it spoke to to me 😉 Did you know Yetis have a hard time in winter and sometimes miss summer? ME TOO, YETIS, ME TOO. This book is just all around adorable and a quick, fun read.
Horton Hatches the Egg: Dr. Seuss
I used to read this book to Gia every single day when she was a brand new baby, and probably continued for the entire first year of her life. So sentimentally, this book just kicks me right in the feels and I will never not love it. But lets get real, Gia couldn’t pick what she listened to back then, so I was just picking something I liked. I can recite it by memory and I just really love reading it out loud. Horton the elephant gets asked to watch an egg and “an elephant is faithful, one hundred percent” so he endures some pretty terrible hardships but never gives up on that egg he didn’t even ask to have, and at the last minute Mayzie (that lazy bird who abandoned her egg) wants it back, and something magical happens. AHHHHHHH I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK. Dr. Seuss is a magician. I love it.
Families, Families, Families: Suzanne Lang & Max Lang
I read about this book online when I was looking for a book to introduce my kids to different types of families other than our own. This one is fantastic – talks about all kinds of family units (two moms, two dads, adoption, living with grandparents or aunts or step-parents, parents married or unmarried, single mom, single dad, lots of siblings, no siblings, etc). There is no discussion of what these differences are or any value placed on any different kind of family -just a simple statement that there are many different ways to make a family. Highly recommend!
The Gruffalo: Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Confession: we bought this book only after we saw the short film version on Netflix and all loved it. Good news: book is just as good 🙂 Fun to read (rhymes!) out loud, and love the story line. If you haven’t heard it/seen it/ read it – go do it!
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
Alexander is my spirit animal. He is having A BAD DAY and NOBODY EVEN CARES and it just keeps GETTING WORSE. This is a book I loved as a child and it speaks to me even more deeply as an adult 😉 You probably remember it from your childhood, but do yourself a favor and check it out as an adult as well.
So there you have it! My list of my favorite children’s books that adults will love too. Have you read any of these? If so which did you enjoy? And what should I check out next?
*I have included links to some of the products that are available on Amazon. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.