Today is Read Across America Day (also known as Dr. Seuss Day), and there’s no better way to celebrate than by sitting down with your kids to crack open a new book – or by perusing an old favorite together.
Over the years, The Motherhood team has worked with a number of clients on campaigns that encourage reading, including one for the kid-friendly VTech V.Reader and – most recently – a charitable initiative called “Fuel for School” with Champions for Kids to facilitate local book drives for children in need.
We all love a good book, and we know that often, an appreciation for reading develops during childhood, when kids find their favorite stories.
To inspire ideas for your family, The Motherhood has compiled a list of our personal must-haves for any child’s bookshelf. Feel free to share your own in the comments!
1. Stone Soup, by Marcia Brown (Favorite of Brittnee Hammonds)
Winner of a Caldecott Medal, Stone Soup is a folk story that tells the tale of how cooperation can lead to bigger and better things (in this case, a big pot of tasty soup), as a group of travelers bring together the entire town to put together a pot of soup, one ingredient at a time. The beauty of it? It all starts with just water and a stone, hence, “Stone Soup.” It’s one of my favorites because it’s a story I read with my dad over and over again, and we’ve actually made “stone soup” a time or two because of the story.
2. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt (Suggested by Erin Olson)
While it’s not an old classic, The Day the Crayons Quit is a funny, creative story that parents and kids alike will enjoy reading together. I read it as an adult when I visited a kids’ bookstore with my best friend – she sought it out, pulled it off the shelf and told me it was one of her nephew’s favorites (and one of her favorites to read to him). After just a few pages, I could see why.
3. Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt (Favorite of Brittney Coburn’s family)
I love Pat the Bunny! We started reading to our daughter when she was a newborn, and I couldn’t wait to introduce her to one of my favorites. She’s becoming so curious and interactive and loves to feel the fuzzy fabric, play peek-a-boo and smell the flowers. As a child, I often snuck in some extra reading time with a flashlight after bedtime, and I hope to nurture that same love of books for her!
4. Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein (Favorite of Serena Mounts)
I was a big bookworm as a kid, and I remember being so intrigued by the format of this book when I first read it: a series of short (but complete!) stories and poems. It was so different than anything I’d read before, and I never, ever grew tired of reading it. The poems were diverse, silly, imaginative and witty and I loved the simple but bold black-and-white drawings that accompanied some of them. I haven’t read through it since I was a child, but I’d love to introduce it to my niece and nephew who are just around the age I was when I first read it.
5. Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester (Favorite of Sarah O’Rourke)
I loved this book because it’s so fun, lighthearted and always made me laugh, but it also taught me an important life lesson – it’s okay to be different and unique, and you should always accept others for who they are!
6. Meet Kirsten! and other American Girl books (Favorites of Nicole Paladin)
My favorite books to read growing up were from the American Girl book series! I collected as many of the Girls’ series as I could, and I even saved up my own money (which was a lot for an eight-year-old) to buy the Kirsten doll and accessories. Every American Girl book series started with a book titled, “Meet [doll's name]“, and I was so inspired by them, I even wrote by own “book” about my life and titled it “Meet Nicole!”
7. 10 Minutes Till Bedtime (Favorite of Cooper Munroe’s family)
A child, along with pet hamsters (and the pet hamsters’ many hamster friends) have an epic adventure tour of the house after the “10 minute warning” countdown to bedtime. There are many hidden, fun hamster antics to discover in the illustrations, and reading the book always got my kids giggling. There’s even a website for the Hamster Tour.
8. Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch (Favorite of Kayla Geahry)
It’s an incredibly sweet book that my mom used to read me all the time, illustrating the amazing bond between a mother and her child. It tugs on the heartstrings whether you’re the kid or the parent.
9. On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier (Favorite of Emily McKhann’s family)
A dear friend gave me this book on the day my first child was born. After nursing my new baby in the hospital, I read On The Day You Were Born aloud to her, and when I reached the last page with the words, “And as they held you close and whispered in your open, curving ear, ‘We’re so glad you’ve come!,’” I burst into tears. It was just so beautiful. My girls now know all the words and love it too, and to this day, Debra Frasier’s poetry takes my breath away.
Finally, of course, no child’s bookshelf is complete without a few of the many whimsical and wonderful stories by Dr. Seuss himself. Check out classics such as Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat or One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.