I have two daughters, now ages 14 and 16. We used to read all the time when they were little. I have to say, I was really picky about the books I read to my girls. I wanted funny. I wanted touching. I wanted educational. I wanted beautiful and/or vibrant illustrations. So here are a few of the books that were my girls’ and my favorites.
If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan
My mother bought me this book when I was pregnant. My daughters loved when I sang to them (we had our favorite songs too), and well, I loved singing, so it was a great combination. The melodies in the book were familiar to them, all sung to the tune of classic lullabies. The lyrics are very sweet, and honestly, some of the lyrics of the old lullabies were frightening, so it was a pleasant change.
I love how the book conveys the child’s uniqueness, how the mother would choose them from all the rest, and what she would do to make them happy. The illustrations are wonderful too, expressions of love between a mother and child.
By the time my kids had outgrown this book, the pages were a mess, ripped, wrinkled, and worn.
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
I love how this book tells most of the story through the pictures, and how vibrant they are. The animal’s faces are so expressive as they escape from their cages and follow the zookeeper home. The book is also full of little subplots, like the tiny mouse hauling the banana around.
It was fun teaching my kids about different animals while reading Goodnight Gorilla. As we read the book, I’d point to each animal and ask them what it was. It empowered them and educated them.
My girls thought this book was hilarious, too. I think they liked the fact that the animals refused to go to bed. They would crack up (and I would, too) at the page where you see nothing but eyes.
I actually didn’t own this book, my mother did, so reading it was a treat. Whenever we walked through the door, my youngest would go right to it, sit down, and read it. I loved hearing the sound of her laughing while she did.
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
This one is tied for my favorite children’s book. Of course, we loved all the Dr. Seuss books, but this one is different. Mostly Dr. Seuss books are filled with whimsical, vibrant illustrations and crazy rhymes. My Many Colored Days is vibrant, but the illustrations and rhyming are quite simple, and I think that’s needed for a book like this.
The book brings color and poetic prose together to illustrate the different emotions we all feel. This was especially helpful for my younger daughter who had a difficult time controlling her moods sometimes. It really does convey the emotions and moods well, too, in a way that a small child might be able to understand them. For instance, “On a green day,” he’s (the figure in the book) is a “cool and quiet fish.” I’d actually read each day in a voice that would also express the feel of the mood, which I think helped my daughters understand it even more.
Not only does the book try to explain how these moods might feel, but it also stresses that it’s okay to feel that way, and that those feelings will eventually go away, and that even though you may be having a brown or gray day, in the end, you’ll go back to being you.
Mama Do You Love Me by Barbara Joosse
This is the other book that is tied for my favorite. It’s about a child’s insecurity about being loved and the unconditional love a mother feels for her child, no matter what trouble she gets into.
The child asks, “Mamma, do you love me?” But that’s not all. She wants to know if her mother will continue to love her if she gets into mischief and causes trouble. I love this question the child poses, “What if I stayed away, and sang with the wolves, and slept in a cave.” The mother’s replies throughout the book encompass the depth of what a parent feels for their child. This book, seriously, almost makes me cry.
It also teaches a good lesson about naughty behavior. The mother tells the child she may not always like what she does, but she will never stop loving her.
The other thing I like about this book is the inclusion of the Inuit culture. We’re shown things throughout the book that give us a little insight to the culture. What they wear, what they might eat, the way they make things from scratch. It’s a good way to introduce a different culture to your children that they may not understand.
And visually? The book is amazing. The illustrations are beautiful, eye-catching and colorful. They help to open the door into the Inuit culture. I wouldn’t mind having illustrations from the book framed and hanging on my living room walls.
Mama Do You Love Me is a good way to teach your children about unconditional love and to reassure them that no matter what they do, you will love them forever.
Megan Bostic’s name is pronounced with the long e sound, like Meeeeegan. You can blame her mother. She’s a single mom living in the Pacific Northwest with two crazy beautiful teenage girls.
She writes fiction, poetry, vlogs, blogs, and tries to social network the hell out of her day. She likes soccer, monkeys, and the color black.
She belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, The Class of 2k12, and the Apolcalypsies.
Oh, and she wrote a book, it’s titled Never Eighteen and you can find it all over the place. It came out January 2012 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and it’s her debut novel.