A book opens worlds of delight that you can find nowhere else. Watching a movie of a book is not the same as reading the book. A movie lets you sit passively while it does all the work for you, but a book engages the imagination as you actively create pictures in your mind of what is going on. Most young children of my acquaintance love to "read." Reading with a child is a great way for a parent to foster a life-long love of learning in his child. However, as Frank of The New Parent pointed out, not all books are created equal. We need to exercise discernment when choosing books for our children to read. Frank has a short list of his recommendations in his sidebar.
Here are some authors and books I recommend:
Dr. Suess - what child doesn't enjoy his zany stories? They often teach important lessons, too. Visit Seussville on the Internet for information and fun.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - when we were quite young, my siblings and I enjoyed listening as my mother read Little House on the Prairie and other books in the series. I was reading them on my own at age 5. Reading the books is quite different from watching the TV series!
Arleta Richardson - her book In Grandma's Attic, one book in The Grandma's Attic Series, relates the often funny true stories about her grandmother's life as a young child. The series takes you from her childhood to her life as a married woman. "Here are marvelous tales--faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike, a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps, richer; when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation." I recently found her Letters from Grandma's Attic, a child's book with the stories told in letters that the child can remove from the envelopes pasted inside the book. All of my kids enjoy this one. The whole series is worth buying.
V. Gilbert Beers is a Christian author whose many children's books include both fiction and nonfiction genres. His works of fiction teach valuable lessons through a fun story. His nonfiction works include song books, devotionals, and Bibles for young children. A lot of my favorites are available through alibris.com.
- Along Thimblelane Trails - Selected Bible stories pair with related stories involving the imaginary Muffin family. Includes questions for discussion.
- Around the World with My Red Balloon - Two children tell of their dream to travel in their red balloon carrying the news of Jesus to the children of the world.
- The House in the Hole in the Side of the Tree - Grumpy Squire Squirrel discovers the value of being friendly to his forest neighbors.
- The Magic Merry-Go-Round - From the old woodcarver who makes merry-go-round horses Eric learns about the new life he can have from Jesus.
- Coco's Candy Shop - During their outing two children and their animal friends from the candy shop learn something about God from each person they meet.
- Cats and Bats and Things like That, and Other Wonderful Things about God's World - Describes some of God's gifts in nature, such as the bats' sonar, the changing colors of leaves, and the life contained in a seed.
The Best Nest by P. D. Eastman (a writer and illustrator) teaches a valuable lesson about contentment. Mr. and Mrs. Bird search for a place to build a new nest only to discover their old one is better.
Other Eastman titles include:
- Are You My Mother? - A baby bird sets out to find his mother. But he doesn't know what his mother looks like--or even that she's a bird! Mother and child are ultimately reunited, but not before some pretty confusing situations.
- Go, Dog, Go - This lively story about dogs doing all sorts of things introduces readers to such concepts as colors, above and below, up and down, and size. Color illustrations accompany the text.
- Red, Stop! Green, Go! - With the beloved dogs from Eastman's classic "Go, Dog, Go!," toddlers can explore the world of color in this interactive adaptation of the original book. Includes flaps, wheels, and slides. Full color.
- What Time Is It? - It's 8:00 a.m. and Ted is waking up. Not Fred! He's going to snooze a little bit longer. Kids will love moving the hands on this sturdy clock book as they follow P.D. Eastman's dynamic dog duo throughout their day.
- The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary - A silly book with a serious purpose— to help children recognize, remember, and really enjoy using a basic vocabulary of 1350 words. Written and illustrated by P. D. Eastman— with help from the Cat (Dr. Seuss)— this decades-old dictionary pairs words with pictures that carry their meaning, making it simple enough even for non readers to understand. A wacky cast of characters reappears throughout the book, making this perhaps the only dictionary in the world that is actually "fun" to read!
Cat in the Hat Dictionary and Go, Dog, Go photos courtesy of Alibris.com