One of the most rewarding parts of working with kids is helping to nurture their love of books and reading. I've mentioned it before, but I am a big-time reader, so sharing the book love with my little ones just makes my day. It's awesome to watch them develop preferences for certain types of stories and see themselves in characters. Once babies hit about 14 months, they are pretty good about not using picture books as snacks and for paper-ripping practice, and their attention span reaches a place where they can sit and become engrossed with a longer books and follow the story. So while the following list may not be the most original, these will always have a special place in my heart and have never gotten old, even after years of reading them over and over!
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
This classic book has had a special place in my heart since I was a little girl. The entire series is magnificent, but nothing beats the original. My sister and I both had Madeline haircuts when we were little, so we felt an EXTRA-SPECIAL kinship to her. It makes me so happy to see that kids are still reading and loving this book as much as I did. My little Avocado loves it, and we have spent many an afternoon running up and down the halls with napkins on our heads pretending to be Miss Clavel.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
My dad used to read me this sweet story in Spanish when I was little, and I've loved it ever since. I mean, he's a bull who doesn't want to fight and loves to smell flowers - it doesn't get more precious than that. And finding out years later that it was an anti-war book written in protest of the Franco regime in Spain only makes it even more badass!
Lentil by Robert McCloskey
I'll be honest, it took a while for Lentil to grow on me, mainly because it's on the longer side and I hadn't read this story before until I started babysitting, so it wasn't in the almanac of my heart. But any story where a kid is a hero is awesome in my book. Lentil saves the day with his harmonica and if you know what's good for you, you'll get your little one a harmonica so he can make some music as well. It won't sound good, but it'll be enthusiastic and fucking adorable!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Not much needs to be said about this beautiful book; it's an enduring classic for a reason, and one of the few kids books with a movie adaptation that isn't a horrific mess. The beautiful pictures and simple, lovely story are magical and timeless. I haven't met a kid yet who doesn't love Max and his wild things.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
This story actually makes me tear up every time I read it! Sylvester finds a magic pebble that grants wishes, and as you can imagine, chaos ensues. It's a beautiful story about love and consequences that's also funny and tender. It breaks my heart when his parents can't find him! Don't worry it has a happy ending, of course!
Any favorites in your house these days? i find myself going back to these over and over, which I suppose is why all of them have won so many awards!