Just finished reading Bridget Watson Payne’s take on keeping up a running monologue/dialogue with your child? Here’s the follow-up we promised, where the author of the recently released The Secret Art of Being A Parent talks favorite books.
As mentioned in my previous post, in my new book, The Secret Art of Being a Parent, I recommend: “Read to your kid a lot. Here’s a secret: When they’re an infant you can even read them your own book or magazine or whatever you’d like to be reading yourself. They just like hearing your voice.”
As every new parent knows, one of the first things to go out the window when you have an infant (right after sleep) is any semblance of “me time.” People who used to read several dozen books a year frequently drop down to reading none at all. Unread issues of magazines pile up. You get out of touch with topics you’d like to be keeping up on. Even just 20 minutes in the evening: sitting, holding the baby with one arm, and a paperback or tablet or folded-up periodical in the other hand, and reading what you want to be reading anyway, but out loud, is a boon to you both.
Probably the most compelling reason to read to kids? It’s fun. Really, really fun. Sure, at some point you’re going to get stuck with some book they love and want to hear a million times (a book you’d like to throw to the bottom of the ocean — in our house it was Aliens in Underpants Save the World). But mostly, there are so many absolute gems of children’s literature you’ll enjoy together. Books you loved as a child and now get to come back to. Brand new books you get to discover together.
There’s a reason books are still around, though their demise has been prophesized so many times. They are, in their essence, tidy packages of pure pleasure. And while the joy of reading adult content can be a more mixed and complex one, the joy of reading children’s books is unadulterated. Good ones (and there are so many good ones) are, quite simply, a delight.
Not that children’s books can’t be serious sometimes. The best ones are. But their seriousness is just one more strand in the braid of pleasure they weave. One more voice in the lullaby making you feel safe, warm and held tight.
Here are a few of our family’s favorite kid’s books:
Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Sleepy Time by Gyo Fujikawa
All the World by Liz Granton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Henry in Love by Peter McCarty
All the Things I Love About You by LeUyen Pham
Big Red Lollipop by Ruksana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
And Tango Makes Three by Justine Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry
For early grade school:
Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin
Elephant and Piggy series by Mo Willems
Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
Phoebe and her Unicorn series by Dana Simpson
For where we are right now (our daughter’s finishing third grade):
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Babysitters Club series by Raina Telgemeier and Ann M. Martin
The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta
Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransom
Miss Marvel comics series by G. Willow Wilson
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Bridget is a San Francisco-based writer, artist, art book editor, teacher, speaker and founder of Open Studio. She’s the author of six books, including the recently released The Secret Art of Being A Parent. She’s shares a favorite-book-packed apartment with her husband Bill and daughter Mabel. To learn more about Bridget and to purchase her books, visit https://bridgetwatsonpayne.com
And not to be left out from your reading list…