As parents one of the greatest things we can give our children is a love for books. Stories open their minds to new worlds, new adventures and a new way of looking at things.
Books encourage imagination and creativity in a way not many other things can.
In a book, anything can happen next, but you have to stay actively involved to reach the end.
So much of what our kids get these days is passive stimulation. Watching television, playing on iPads are all fun, but can be easily tuned out by an over stimulated little brain. Hopefully we, as parents, can encourage involved, active attachments to books in our children.
Some of our best memories from growing up are of laying in bed and having our mothers read to us. As adults escaping into a story is just as magical as it was when we were young.
With an infinite number of books we could recommend, we have to narrow it down and start somewhere. So, pretend you are going to a baby shower and you want to give the new baby a library of picture book classics to grow up with.... To us, these are five that you should buy.
The childhood classic for our generation, we have yet to meet someone who didn't love this book as a kid. The story of a wild little boy named Max who isn't afraid of anything. Max sails off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where The Wild Things are.
Maurice Sendak's beautiful illustrations bring this story to life. I once read that he made the drawings progressively larger on each page to add excitement and immediacy to the story. Will Max stay with The Wild Things living as their king? Will he ever get home to the mother who loves him very much even though she sent him to his room with no supper? Do The Wild Things really love him so much they will eat him? We won't spoil the ending for you.
If ever a book captured the true essence of what it is to be a mother, then this is the book. Intentional or not, the complete and selfless love that the tree has for the boy in this story is as gut wrenchingly beautiful as a mother's love.
This tree just gives and gives and gives... And the boy just keeps taking and taking and taking... And does the boy ever call the tree? No. Does he come home for the holidays? No. See? The water works are already starting.
The true magic of this story, and I only found this out when I became a mother, the magic is that giving everything she possibly has to give to the boy doesn't make the tree sad, the giving makes her happy. The tears that flow are for this thoughtless boy who needs to strike out on his own and can't stay with the tree, because he needs to become a man. The tears are because this is real life. Our children will grow up and head out into the world.
Every single time you read this book, you will be bawling your eyes out and the child you are reading this book to, will look at you like a crazy person.
The only thing that will break the heaviness of this moment..... Is Shel Silverstein's authors photo.
You read that right this book was first published in 1990! The last book published in Dr. Seuss' lifetime, Oh, the places you'll go! is probably our favorite book of his. *Along with the Grinch, we love the Grinch.
This is the book where you get it given to you straight. You're going to win some, you're going to loose some.... It's all how you pull yourself back up when you've fallen down.
Inspirational and silly, just what Dr. Seuss was known for. This is a book that gives us goose bumps when we read it to our kids hoping they are absorbing all the wonderful messages along with the fun.
Leonardo is a terrible monster.... Meaning he is terrible at being a monster.
Big fans of our pal Mo Williams in general when this book arrived in our home it became an instant family classic.
The sweet story of this little monster who just can't be scary and the little boy he befriends always makes my boys giggle. This is also a great gift because you can still find people that haven't read it yet and they are going to LOVE it.
Somehow we stumbled upon this book 8 or 9 years ago and it has been special to us ever since.
The story of a little boy who imagines himself as all these horrible creatures and wants to know if his mother would still love him.
Of course his mother loves him through every crazy creature he dreams up, but your kids will love the outrageous idea of a mother snuggling a smelly skunk.
Would you want to take care of a sick alligator, or pack lunch for an alien who only eats bugs? Of course you would! You would even live by the swamp to be close to your little swamp monster.
We could go on and on for days listing our families favorite books but for now why don't you leave a comment and tell us your favorite childhood picture book. Stay tuned for another post soon where we share our favorite books for 5th, 6th & 7th graders.
Don't forget,when your kids see you reading they will want to do it more. Snuggle up on the sofa and share that quiet moments as often as you ca catch them.