It should come as no surprise that, as someone who has a degree in Journalism and works as a freelance writer, copy editor, graphic designer and blogger, I love to read.
And I am passionate about passing this love on to my children, like so many other moms who value education and learning and getting lost in a great book. That’s why I applaud Read Across America Day, celebrated in schools nationwide on Friday, March 2, which is also Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
This week, my son, Wolfe, who’s in Kindergarten, came home from school and showed me the book he “wrote” titled “The Best Book Evr.” He also declared his “book name” is Dr. Wolfe (which, I mean, is kind of awesome).
Looking for a good book?
Beyond Dr. Seuss, and in honor of promoting children’s literature, here are some books and author recommendations, based on what my family is reading right now, and are appropriate for ages three and up.
- Eric Carle: Sure, everyone knows “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” but Eric Carle’s work spans a wide variety of books, all beautifully done with his signature colorful illustrations and artwork. Some of our most requested reads are “Pancakes, Pancakes,” “The Very Quiet Cricket,” “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me,” and “The Secret Birthday Message.”
- Tomie dePaola: A treasured addition to any home library, books by Tomie de Paolo have a folksy feel — traditional drawings combined with classic storytelling. I recommend “Tom,” “The Baby Sister,” and “The Quilt Story.”
- William Steig: He is probably best known for writing “Shrek!” which was published in 1990 and then turned into the beloved animated movies with Mike Myers as the voice of Shrek. But his other books are definitely worth a read. Parents will appreciate the humor and excellent vocabulary and kids will like the stories, usually about animals, that find themselves in interesting predicaments. Don’t miss “Farmer Palmer’s Wagon Ride,” “The Amazing Bone” or “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.”
- Pete the Cat: This funky blue character is everywhere these days, but the popularity of Pete the Cat books is well-deserved. Written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean, the books focus on counting, rhyming and friendships. It’s All Good. Look for “Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes” or “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.”
- Pinkalicious: In the original book by sisters Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, a plucky girl eats so many pink cupcakes she turns pink, then red, then has to eat green food to turn back to her normal color. The series expands on the adventures of Pinkalicious and her little brother, Pete, and the books even turns into different colors such as Purplicious, Aqualicious, and Silverlicious — a whole rainbow of fun, vibrant, easy-reader books to explore.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: I wasn’t sure if my kids, ages 4 and 6, would be ready for these books written by Jeff Kinney from the view of a boy in middle school. But we inherited the first two from an older cousin and decided to give them a try. And they have received rave reviews from our whole family. My kids don’t mind the stick drawings, and they think the little brother is hilarious. My husband and I don’t mind the books because they are a quick read, and have clever jokes that make parents chuckle. Since January, we’ve read the first three books, and are excited for more.
- Usborne Books: Moms of littles will likely recognize Usborne Books from its cute “That’s Not My…” series of textured board books like “That’s Not My Puppy” or “That’s Not My Tiger.” Usborne Publishing offers a huge assortment of books for readers ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Shine A Light books let kids use flashlights to see hidden pictures on each page, and we especially enjoy “The Human Body” or “Wonders of the USA.”
- LuJu Books: Founded by Kathryn Hast, an Asheville-based author and working mother of two, LuJu Books publishes unique, finely crafted literature with a focus on “Little Kids. Big Ideas.” Her books “Otis Grows” and “Batty Betty” are creative and thoughtful, with playful words and whimsy that also touch on topics such as bullying and accepting differences. Visit www.lujubooks.com.
- Sweet Pickles: This series of 26 books, one for each letter of the alphabet, is set in the town of Sweet Pickles where “each animal gets into a pickle because of an all too human personality trait.” For example, Positive Pig, Worried Walrus, Nasty Nightengale, Clever Camel. Published in the late 1970’s, the illustrations are a comically dated, but the messages hold up, and these remain favorite bedtime books in our family.