Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Books Every Pre-schooler Should Read

Pre-schooler Book Recommendations:

Ok, so I keep pointing out how important books are to early childhood development.  It is perhaps equally important to be consistent with children (more on that later).  And a predictable bedtime routine helps toddlers fall asleep. Bedtime reading and storytelling should be part of that routine -- it is a favorite time of day, for both my daughter and I.  Also, it sends a powerful message to kids that, through reading, they can warmly share time and simultaneously learn with parents and caregivers.

I have compiled a list of books (from a very huge field) that I think should be on every pre-schoolers book shelves. I chose these books because they seem to be gender-neutral, do not place the spotlight on a traditional family (after all, nearly 50% of all children in this country are being raised in an environment that is in some way non-traditional),  and most importantly, have a meaningful theme.  Additionally, these books are pleasurable for both children and adults to read, over and over and over again!  Enjoy...


On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier

Children should always feel that they are special, from their very first breadth. This book tenderly reassures children how important they are to the people closest to them, and also to the universe at large.


The Snail and the Whale, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer

This book brilliantly checks off all the boxes. It covers many themes, including the power of perserverance and how small creatures succeed with big dreams.  It has a compelling environmental message and is completely done in poetic rhyme  (essential aspect to cognitive development).

Knuffle Bunny - by Mo Willems


While I would like to see Mo Willems include some other types of families in his books (after all many of his books are set in diverse Brooklyn), I think this one incorporates an important tale -- make sure your child's special night time friend is something that can be replaced, if needed.  I would further this with some advice:

Unless you are overnighting outside your home,  train your children to keep their special nightime friends in bed at all times, where it won't get lost and it is presumably clean (might I remind you that it is lice season).  Besides, it is rather unsightly to see children walking around with raggedy stuffies close to their mouths...

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell and Henry Cole.


A true animal story that heartwarmingly demonstrates there are many types of families. Just wonderful...

Urban Animals, by Isabel Hill

Another graceful rhyming book that subtly teaches children about animals and architecture.  It's a great refresher course for adults too!

Strega Nona, by Tomie DePaola

In this retelling of a delightful old tale, Tomie DePaola combines humor and warmth to the story of a magical "Grandma Witch" and her relationship with young farm-helper Big Anthony.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault and Lois Ehlert

This book combines tongue twisting rhyme (see a pattern here?) with a sweet personified alphabet.  Be prepared to read this one over and over!


Sometimes I Like to Curl up in a Ball, by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge

A sweet feel-good story about friendship written in sing-song rhyme.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,  Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

It is never too early to read master poets!

Little 1, by Ann and Paul Rand

This simple book, originally published in 1962, tells the story of a number who adds up to be so much greater than the sum of its parts -- very sweet!

What Animals Really Like, by Fiona Robinson

This hilarious picture book delivers a subtle message about stereotyping, it resonates beautifully with kids and the illustrations are superb!



Note:

At the risk of sounding negative, I will mention that I am not fond of Dr Seuss. For starters, he was not a doctor;  more importantly, I believe children should learn real words (of any language). Made up words can simply be confusing.

Advice: 

If you have to choose when to volunteer your time at your children's school, I strongly recommend prioritizing your school's book fair.  It is so wonderful to watch children choose books with their friends and your presence sends a strong message that reading and education are important to you.