What’s the surest route to a kid’s heart that doesn’t involve a Wi-Fi connection or gobs of sugar? Why a book, of course. Not so sure? Here’s an experiment to try. The next time you find yourself around a bunch of kids, plop down on the floor with a storybook and begin reading. Now, watch as your little friends drop what they are doing and enter a trancelike state while edging ever closer to you. Before long, you will find yourself surrounded, if not overwhelmed, by a gaggle of kids hanging on your every word and seriously invading your personal space in order to get a better look at the pictures.
Even in our gadgetized world there is little to match the simple power of a book. Instilling a love of reading from a young age can have lifelong benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics says reading to kids stimulates early brain development and helps build language, literacy and social skills. Plus well past the point when kids are able to read on their own, reading aloud and sharing books with kids helps them grow their vocabulary and strengthens family bonds.
And don’t forget the added bonuses—books never get you into trouble with the dentist, they never need to be taken to the Genius Bar for servicing and they never lose their power. Here’s a list of failsafe favorites kids will love…Happy Reading!
Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
Introduce baby to the world of the senses with this interactive touch-and-feel book that encourages wee ones to touch the soft bunny fur, smell flowers, look in the mirror and play peek-a-boo. A mainstay of the diaper set since the 1940s!
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
The book every parent knows as well as their prescription for Ambien. This bedtime favorite not only provides kids with a soothing way to say goodnight, it promotes the joys of language through sing-song sound patterns and rhythms. No childhood is complete without it.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book, by Dr. Seuss
Only Dr. Seuss could have created this singularly outlandish alphabet book. Toddlers learn their ABCs through an array of zany characters including “four fluffy feathers on a Fiffer-feffer-feff” and “the quick Queen of Quincy and her quacking quacker-oo.”
The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt
Ah, the joys of longer attention spans. Branch out from board books into this wonderfully hilarious story about the day a box of crayons walked out on their gigs. Red feels overworked. Beige wants to be accepted. What’s it going to take to get them back to work? A little creative coloring might be in order…
Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina
The tale of a peddler who encounters some serious monkey business, this fun and easy-to-read classic uses repetition, colors and silliness to get the pre-K and Kindergarten crowd ready to read on their own.
Henry and Mudge: The First Book, by Cynthia Rylant
The first in an acclaimed series about the adventures of a boy and his endearingly overgrown English Mastiff. Children adore the sweet characters and comforting storylines about loyalty and companionship. A just-right chapter book for newly independent readers.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
Potty jokes, bad grammar, gross-out school pranks and a wedgie-dodging underpants-wearing superhero—Captain Underpants is obviously not Shakespeare, but to kids it’s a riot!
Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Ready for an antidote to bathroom humor? This timeless tome will do the trick. Head back to the turn of the 20th century as plucky orphan Anne Shirley navigates life at Green Gables. A perfect family read-aloud that will keep everyone rapt.
Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
The book that started it all! There is no way to avoid this young reader juggernaut and no reason to either. J.K. Rowling’s exquisitely well-crafted romp takes kids’ imaginations by storm and is a veritable literary rite of passage. Must def throw in a robe for your budding wizard. But hide the broomsticks. Don’t want anyone getting hurt.
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
Double digits, already? Life comes at you fast. Even more so for Auggie, who suffers from a severe facial deformity that has kept him from going to school—until now. This amazing transformative novel turns every tween who reads it into an unapologetic book promoter. Keep a box of tissues close at hand.
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