Sunday, June 8, 2014

10 Unique Books My Kids Love

I've always loved books as a child and want to pass on that love to my children. I remember like yesterday, sitting in a chair and getting lost in reading a fable or story, at the mercy of my own imagination. I sure hope reading books is not becoming a lost art among future generations. I know I'm not the only parent reading to my children every night before bed time. 

Baby E and Baby T most likely could care less what I read to them, but they never fail to get excited about a new book or story! Our library card gets used a lot. I used to choose books for them based on my taste and now that they are older we are also choosing them based on their interests at any particular moment. Excavators. Victorian dress. Horses. Biblical times. Travel and geography. Cultures around the world.

Our home library is filled with Russian books, since it's something we can't grab at the library. Baby E is now fluent in Russian and English. Not sure how we managed that - it just happened organically, we always speak Russian at home as it is our native language and she speaks English with some of her cousins, kids at the playground, and adults we meet throughout the day. We love to read in both languages and to my delight she can translate back and forth with ease! 

There are many books in English that they love, though Baby T cares for the images and pictures only at his tender age of two. Over the past couple of years there are a few books we came across that impressed us to the extent I would consider adding them to our permanent library. Books that inspire, captivate, many of them beautifully illustrated. Here they are in no particular order, and I hope your children enjoy them as much as we do! 

1. "Journey" by Aaron Becker:  My kids love this book! It is perhaps one of both their and my personal favorite ones from this list. If you borrow a book from the library or buy just one from this list - make it this one. It's a very simple story that indeed needs no words - the illustrations tell everything. We just love the way it stirs the imagination! *Warning: there is a little boy who draws on the wall in this book.

2. "Building Our House" by Jonathan Bean: Kids always want to know how something is made. Have they ever asked you how a house is built? This was the perfectly illustrated story to answer just that. It may not be how a house is built in every country, but for much of U.S. this story will hold true. It a great read if you are embarking on the adventure of building your own home with your family!

3. "Wow! Ocean!"  by Robert Neubecker: Less about the story, more about the illustrations. It's a great learning tool about ocean life and has all the names of dozens of sea creatures that your kids are fascinated with. I learned a thing or two myself! Bonus, they loved looking for the little dog on every page - sort of like Waldo.

4. "King Midas and the Golden Touch" by Charlotte Craft and Kinuko Y. Craft: My daughter loves reading about kings, palaces, princesses (not the Disney kind though). She really enjoyed this story and it has a great lesson to teach the children - that the love of money and possessions does not make one happy. The illustrations are beautiful, they are like elaborate paintings.  

5. "Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken" by Kate DiCamillo and Harry Bliss: An adventure loving chicken? Brilliant! My kids loved hearing about her travels and wanted to read it again and again. The illustrations are fun!

6. "Sailing Off to Sleep" by Linda Ashman and Susan Winter: A great bed time book for any age with a little adventure, wildlife, and love. It's great both for my 2 year old and my 5 year old, a perfect book to read with both of them. The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are beautiful and very cozy.

7. "The Sea Chest" by Toni Buzzeo and Mary GrandPr√©: We all absolutely loved this story! There is suspense in it, compassion, and lots of love, all accompanied by beautiful oil painting illustrations. It's a coastal legend from the shores of Maine, a great read for kindergarten and elementary age children (but even my 2 year old enjoyed it, though he may not understand it all).

8. "Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs" by Linda Ashman and Lauren Stringer: Do your kids ask you where a beaver lives, a snail, or maybe a butterfly? These beautiful illustrations with short phrases and rhymes show the different homes and habitats of various creatures.

9. "Bub: Or the Very Best Thing" by Natalie Babbitt: My daughter loves the setting of the book, I love the story, and my toddler can relate to the little boy in it. The King and Queen try to figure out, what is it that a child needs most? The answer is simple and right on, we always get and give lots of hugs and kisses at the end of this book!

10. "Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose" by Scott Gustafson: This is a book we actually have on our shelves and the only one on this list that we didn't discover at the library, it was a gift from a friend that has since moved to far away lands overseas. Beautiful illustrations accompanied by nursery rhymes as old as time, all in a large format book.

What are your and your kids' favorite books?! We'd love to discover more! 

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