My Favorite Children’s Books

Since it is Children’s Book Week I thought I’d share some of my very favorite children’s books.

There are SO many mainstream/classic/popular books that we all love as a family, but some of these books in particular are special because many of them are from my own childhood.  For whatever reason, these stories really stuck with me and it’s been so neat to share them with my own kids.  The older kids remember me reading them these stories when they were younger and when they see me pulling these particular books out to read to Kellan and Riss, inevitably they will drift into the room to listen.  Magic!


My brother and I were probably 4 & 8 years old when my dad first read us this book.  I think it was mailed to us as part of a “Weekly Reader” book club my mom signed us up for where every month we received 2-3 new books (which we looked forward to like crazy!).  We must have begged my poor dad to read this thing every single night for at least 5 years.  I still have my original hardcover copy which is beat to heck, but I lucked out and found a paperback copy at the thrift store for back-up.  Christina Katerina’s mother gets a new refrigerator and therefore Christina gets a brand new box which she and her friend, Fats Watson (how much do you love that name?) re-imagine into all sorts of things – from a racecar to a club house.  The whole book is done in the same colors you see here on the cover, which goes to show that with a good story, you don’t need a lot of bells & whistles.


This was also one of our book club deliveries.  In this story a boy is asked to clean his room.  His mother gives him two boxes: “to keep” and “to throw out”.  As he begins to sort through the junk in his room, he imagines all sorts of great uses for the items (spools become part of a wheelchair for dogs, for example) and inevitably, everything ends up in the “to keep” box…including the “to throw away” box!  Such a clever story!  I remember that it made me take a whole new look at “throwaway” items so that I would then create my own ideas for how they could be re-purposed.


My brother and I were significantly younger than our cousins so we were the constant recipients of hand-me-down books and toys – which is where I think we got this book.  It’s a Dr. Seuss (Theo Le Sieg) book so of course it has lots of whimsical rhyming.  The story is really very simple, but when I was a child it made me want to travel and see all those different kinds of houses!  Of course we thought the illustration with the bare bottom was simply hysterical!


Chalk it up to the Book Club once again.  This is the story of two brothers who set out to buy their mother a birthday gift with big dreams and a dime! What they end up with is the kind of present every mom dreams of getting.  Again, simple illustrations and not much color, but a totally adorable tale.  Bonus:  We all think that the little brother, Davy, looks exactly like Kellan.  By the way, I happened to find my copy of this book at the thrift store for 25 cents.  When I searched the internet for a photo of the cover, I found them selling online for $35!!!


You’ve gotta love Papa Bear and his misguided attempts to show Mama and Brother a little fun.  Here, he tries valiantly to treat the family to a picnic they will never forget, and while it’s not how he’d imagined it, he certainly delivers.  This is another book I happened upon at the thrift store (I swear it’s THE best place to find books!), it’s very hard to find in print through mainstream booksellers.


I can so clearly remember going to the library and checking this book out when I lived in North Carolina.  William Steig’s illustrations are precious.  My kids love this story and so do I!


I am a sucker for rhyming books, especially clever ones.  This story of how a town disposed of their pesky wasp problem fits the bill.  I remember reading this story in the 3rd or 4th grade and forgot all about it until I happened across it…you guessed it!  In the thrift store.


It’s impossible NOT to love this story of a bull who is happy to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree.  A month ago I was the “mystery reader” in Eliza’s 5th grade class.  I took three books to read and this was one of them.  I was nervous that they would think the story was too babyish for them, but of all the books I read, this was obviously their favorite.  They were soooo excited to hear it.


These collections of stories about two hippos who are also best friends truly crack me up.  Lovable George and Martha do the funniest things in less than 3-5 pages of text which I find genius.  Martha loves George even when he obviously lies about not being scared and even when she finds him peeping in the window at her when she’s taking a bath.  And George finds the perfect solution for Martha’s love of looking in mirrors.  There are few children’s books whose humor I find truly humorous, but these stories kill me.


I have been reading this book for so long that I can almost recite it from heart (which I do – often).  My kids challenge me to read it as fast as I can – and I’m always up for that challenge.  Quick trick brick stack, anyone?

These two are newer to my collection.

Mem Fox’s “Time For Bed” was a book I purchased when Hayden was a baby and have read to the kids ever since.  It’s a favorite purchase for baby showers because the story of various mothers putting their babies to bed is just so sweet.

“On The Night You Were Born” celebrates a child’s uniqueness in such a touching way…I swear I still choke up every time I read it.  My kids always want me to recount the days they were born when we read this book and how can you ever say “no” to that?

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