While I appreciate Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and even more so, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, most of my after school reading falls into the category of Chika Chika Boom Boom. My son is almost 2; he loves to be read to, and he loves to point out things in children’s books. Like most children, he has his one or two favorite books that he makes me read over and over and over again. And he says, “Again… Please!” like he knows how mind-numbingly painful some of them are for me.
Below are my Top 5 books to read to the tiny people in your life. These books will (hopefully) not be so mind-numbingly painful.
1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Shameless bias here: this was my favorite book when I was little. If you’re unfamiliar, there are vibrant colors, and all the lowercase letters climb up a coconut tree. A reader can choose to read this with regular inflection, or sing it. You can even switch it up and speak with a soft tone, and then switch to a booming bellow when the letters fall– kids love that.
2. If Animals Kissed Goodnight
This is the ultimate right-before-bed book. It rhymes, and the plot follows a young girl who asks her mom how animals kiss goodnight. I like it because the animals are ones that children recognize and can attempt to repeat.
This book is even older than I am, and most children still love it. There’s something about an adorable bear who is looked over because of his tattered wardrobe that screams “snuggle in and read me!” The illustrations are beautiful and children can select several things to point out on each page to practice naming objects.
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
There are several reasons I like this book. The physical pages are different lengths, which causes interest. The food illustrations are easy for children to name. And the story of a caterpillar who eats too much and gets a stomach ache is the perfect anecdote for me to remind my son of when we’re 1 grape away from having his stomach pumped: “Remember the Hungry Caterpillar story? What could happen to our belly if we eat too many sweets?” The ending will also provide the most shocked face from a toddler who does not yet know about butterfly transformation.
5. Little Blue Truck
We love trucks; by “we”, I mean my son. He knows more types of trucks than numbers (think: apple truck, box truck, cargo truck, dump truck… also see Alphabet Trucks for reference). However, his most favorite truck book is Little Blue Truck. There are a few Little Blue Truck books, there is even one about Little Blue visiting the city (hilarious for adults who have tried to drive in the city). The original Little Blue Truck though is an awesome read for any toddler. It’s about being polite, and remembering that working together helps everyone. There’s also many parts where kids can chime in with “beep!” or “HONK!” This one will leave you smiling.
Bio: Danielle teaches English to 9th graders at State College Area High School. She enjoys cooking, organizing, and spending time with her family.