Book List

My wife and I began reading to Hannah when she was only a few weeks old, and she quickly learned to enjoy books.  We discovered that choosing books was a matter of holding the adults' interest as much as the child's!  Choose books that YOU like reading out loud.

I advise that you start reading to your baby, twice a day, by the age of two months.  She might not learn to read earlier; but she will certainly learn that books are fun!  Then school work will be more enjoyable, when the time comes.

In the first few months, Hannah enjoyed board books with photographs or cartoon-type drawings with bright colors.  She loved anything by Sandra Boynton (especially Barnyard Dance) or Rosemary Wells.  Family photo albums were also favorite "books."  The sing-song cadence of "Mother Goose" rhymes are great for reading aloud.  The biggest hit with Hannah was a board book with photos of farm animals.

Here are some books Hannah enjoyed between 4 and 15 months or so:

Nancy Shaw:  Sheep in a Jeep (Rhythmic, almost musical, and funny)
Pat Hutchins:  Rosie's Walk (Just a few words, but great pictures to talk about)
Vera Williams:  More, More, More Said the Baby   (Love and affection in families)
Don & Audrey Wood:  King Bidgood's in the Bathtub (Rich, detailed pictures with sing-song text)

These books Hannah also loved to read at 15-22 months:

Margaret Wise-Brown:  Good Night Moon (Find the mouse on each page)
Don & Audrey Wood:  The Napping House (A funny “stacking” story with great drawings)
Bill Martin: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Short or long version)
Nancy White Carlstrom: Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?  (The classic! Rollicking fun)
Eileen Christelow:  Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (The kids’ game)
Mem Fox:  Time for Bed (A sweet bedtime story)
Verna Aardema:  Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (Beautiful African stacking story)

These books have more of a story line, and we read them as Hannah got past 22-24 months:

Anita Jeram:  Contrary Mary (Is Hannah ever contrary? Ha!)
Ludwig Bemelmans:  Madeline (A weird old story, but kids love it; great Paris scenes)
Ezra Jack Keats:  Whistle for Willie, The Snowy Day   (Gentle stories - classics)
Sheena Knowles:  Edward the Emu  (Love and attachment)
Leo Lionni:  Frederick, Cornelius, Swimmy (Lionni has written many wonderful fables)
Esphyr Slobodkina:  Caps for Sale  (The monkeys love to tease!)
Jan Brett:  The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale (All the animals climb inside the mitten)

For older kids:  See what your child fancies.  These have a wacky sense of humor – we loved them!

Taro Gomi:  Everyone Poops  (The Japanese pull no punches!)
Judith Viorst:  Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day  (Everybody has a day like this sometimes)
Selby Beeler:  Throw Your Tooth on the Roof (Baby tooth traditions from around the world)
Robert McCloskey: Blueberries for Sal, Make Way for Ducklings (Classics about family love)

Try reading books that might seem too "old" for the child.  Infants often understand much more than it might appear.

Don't forget your public library!  They have lots of books for infants and children, and it’s free.  It’s a terrific habit to start.  Check their schedule for the librarian’s “story time,” often appropriate for 2 and 3 year olds.

© 2007, David Marc Epstein