Books That My Children and I Treasured When They Were Tiny by Carrie Gelson
When I had my twins (who are now eleven!) I had a baby shower after they were born. I remember sitting around a table, passing around sleeping babies and opening gifts from dear friends. One of the sweetest presents I opened that day was a book collection put together by a childhood friend and her nine year old daughter. They had wrapped up new copies of some of their favourite books read together when the daughter was preschool age and included a few words about why each book was special. This gift meant so much to me. Of course, I appreciated the time and care they had put into the collection but I also loved the little peek into their special reading bond from years before. I am a huge fan of the latest and greatest books but I also love those treasures that continue to be recommended years later. This list is from the shelves in my house – books that my children and I treasured when they were tiny. For new parents or grandparents of little ones – here is our gift to you:
Hug by Jez Alborough
Little Bobo wanders the jungle witnessing hugs between baby animals and their mamas at every turn. There is only the one word on each page (Hug) delivered with many emotions – wonder, delight, sorrow, envy and finally all out desperation – HUG!! When Bobo and his mommy are reunited, it is pure joy! My two would march about clapping at the happy ending each and every time we read this story.
The Napping House written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood
When you have little ones, sleep is a treasured commodity. So a charming cumulative rhyme about snoozing and slumber is a treasure. Oh how I relax just even glancing at the opening line: “There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.” Our copy of this book has a dedication from us to our children, “We love goodnight story time with you! Much love and happy sleep.” The happy sleep was wishful thinking!
10 minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathman
Bedtime is a big part of every day. Especially with little ones. Sometimes it is calm and smooth. Sometimes it is a disaster. Never is it as much fun as in this book where a tour group of hamsters arrive to witness the bedtime routine of a little boy. As the father shouts out the “how many more minutes” countdown, the hamsters join right in. A visual delight. Our board book copy is well worn from all of the pointing and flipping back and forth to notice various details.
My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
Rabbit is the delightful friend who means a little too well but always charms you with his antics and best intentions. The pictures of rabbit marching across various pages with huge animals balanced above his head enchant and amuse little listeners.
Hunwick’s Egg written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts
We fell hard for Hunwick, the little bandicoot who happened upon a very curious egg and was besotted. Hunwick’s egg never hatched but it provided him with companionship, faith and an important secret. Yes, he realized his egg was not an egg at all but a perfectly shaped stone and he loved it all the more. This book is beyond endearing and must be read with little snuggly children nearby.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf with drawings by Robert Lawson
This classic picture book holds timeless messages within its pages that we want our children to hear. Be true to your nature. Find happiness. Savour simplicity.
Garbage Delight: Another Helping written by Dennis Lee and illustrated by Maryann Kovalski
For months and months I sat between my children’s cribs at every afternoon nap time and read them Dennis Lee poems. Just before they were ready to nod off, one of them would request “our” poem from this collection: The Coming of Teddy Bears. Many soothing beautiful lines: “The silver stars come out to play” “The night is shining round my head” “The room is snuggled in my bed” This book was nap time magic.
Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
A simple story about friendship and connection that holds up to many rereads (trust me!) and discussions. This book is a lovely reassurance that we always come back to those we love; something that little listeners want to hear.
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas
A special book. About wonder. About relationships. About memories. Isn’t this exactly what we want to wrap our children up in as they grow and venture out into the world? A book that needs to be on every family bookshelf.
The Seven Silly Eaters written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee
Oh how I adore this book – the text is wonderful to read aloud and Frazee’s illustrations of a big busy family are full of comfort and love. Mrs. Peters adores her children and caters to all of their food preferences- each unique and specific: “What a fussy bunch of eaters are all my lovely little Peters.” In the end, the family finds a way to share their love and their individual tastes in ways that allow Mom to have a break. This was an especially important book in our household because our son has numerous food allergies – and finding things for him to eat was both a family affair and a labour of love.
When we give books to families with new little ones, we help to ensure that these children will grow up with the gift of reading! Share your #booklove! Gift books!
Carrie Gelson is proud Mama to two little book fiends who still let her read aloud to them nightly. She shares her love for books on the blog There’s a Book for That and highlights the learning and book love in her Grade 2/3/4 classroom on the blog Curiosity Racers. Find her on twitter at @CarrieGelson.