Children’s Books We Love

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Parenting

Children’s Books We Love

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”  Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

A lovable but clumsy elephant accidentally destroys someone’s home, then comes up with a clever solution (Welcome Home, Mouse).  A child in Tanzania turns an ordinary rock into a beloved companion (Elizabeti’s Doll).  A boy discovers that he can write a captivating story about an inchworm (Ralph Tells a Story).  A girl finds the courage to apologize for being bossy during a play date (Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad).  These characters are just a few of the many girls, boys, and animals found in my daughters’ favorite children’s books.

When we first arrive home from the library*, Clara (nearly 7) and Rachel (4) arrange the new books in rows across the living room floor.  I settle in the middle of the couch, and each girl chooses a book to bring to her spot.  Some discussion ensues about “whose turn it is to go first.”  But once we get started, if there’s a solid block of time, we love to go through fifteen or twenty “couch books” in that first sitting.

Below are some of our favorites, best for preschool through early elementary school readers.  While I’ve listed them under themes for convenience, I am not one to choose books based on their evident lessons.  My kids love them because they are good stories.  Even as I post this list, I know that I will be adding to it next week and next month and as long as we visit the library.

Exploring Imagination and Creativity:

  • A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch
  • Below, by Nina Crews
  • A Carousel Tale by Elisa Kleven
  • Welcome Home, Mouse by Elisa Kleven
  • Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner
  • Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  • Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
  • If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
  • Someone Says by Carole Lexa Schaefer
  • Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann
  • Hands by Lois Ehlert
  • Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik

Learning Something New:

  • My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
  • Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone
  • Little by Little by Amber Stewart
  • Leo the Lightning Bug by Eric Drachman
  • Yuki’s Ride Home by Manya Tessler
  • Franklin Rides a Bike by Paulette Bourgeois
  • Sylvia’s Spinach, by Katherine Pryor
  • Ready, Set, Skip by Jane O’Connor
  • Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman
  • How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story, by Tad Hills
  • The Ticky-Tacky Doll by Cynthia Rylant
  • Bella and Stella Come Home by Anika Denise
  • Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
  • A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle

Making Friends and Working Through Conflicts:

  • Lissy’s Friends by Grace Lin
  • Franklin’s New Friend by Paulette Bourgeois
  • Big Al by Andrew Clements
  • The Apple Doll by Elisa Kleven
  • The Friendship Wish by Elisa Kleven
  • You Can be a Friend by Tony Dungy
  • Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman
  • Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman
  • Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
  • Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine by Allison Wortche
  • Stanley and the Class Pet by Barney Saltzberg
  • George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by George Marshall
  • Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel

Caring for People and the Environment:

  • City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
  • The Lemon Sisters by Andrea Cheng
  • Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound by Beth Finke
  • On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole
  • You and Me and Home Sweet Home by George Ella Lyon
  • Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! by Diane deGroat
  • Whose Garden is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman
  • Trudy, by Henry Cole
  • The Puppy Place series by Ellen Miles (longer chapter books with no pictures, but my older daughter loves all of them)

Family Relationships:

  • Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
  • The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
  • Hello, Baby! by Lizzy Rockwell
  • A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
  • My Sister, Alicia May by Nancy Tupper Ling
  • Annie and Snowball series by Cynthia Rylant
  • Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant
  • Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles by Darlene Friedman
  • Career Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Show & Tell Day, etc., all about the same group of classmates, by Anne Rockwell

Dealing with Disappointment:

  • Jake’s 100th Day of School by Lester L. Laminack
  • Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly by Jane O’Connor
  • Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O’Connor
  • Franklin’s Bad Day by Paulette Bourgeois
  • Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois
  • A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Leslea Newman

Just for Fun:

  • How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet
  • “Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate, by Bob Graham
  • Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen
  • Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg
  • Slightly Invisible (Charlie and Lola series) by Lauren Child
  • Don’t Want to Go! by Shirley Hughes
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
  • Samuel’s Baby by Mark Elkin
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby Feed the Fish and others in this series, by Cynthia Rylant
  • Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers by Cynthia Rylant
  • Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
  • Mike Mulligan and More: Four Classic Stories by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Mop Top by Don Freeman

Please feel free to send me your own lists.  I’m always searching for new children’s books.

* I discovered recently, when considering an early birthday present for my daughter, that children can get their own library cards at any age.  Clara was ecstatic when she got to sign the front and back of her own card with permanent ink.  She chose six books and checked them out herself, printed the receipt, and later used it to find and return the books on time.  I will be taking Rachel for her own card when she turns five in the fall.




About Lynn Davies

I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with a Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University in Maryland. I have been in private practice for over fourteen years and have experience working with adults and adolescents, addressing a variety of issues: anxiety, depression, relationship problems, past or current trauma, eating disorders, self-mutilation, bereavement, parenting concerns, boundaries, and self-care.

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