Omigoodness - I love reading.
It feeds your brain, without any calories or corn syrup.
It fills your time, without any remote controls or mess.
It fuels your imagination, without any 3D glasses or virtual reality gizmos.
In an era in which I am continually telling my kids to “Turn off the video games. Lay off the candy. Silence the iPad!” I never have to limit reading. And that is a delicious thing.
Research indicates that families who eat dinner together reap the benefits and stay stronger as a unit. I would be willing to bet the same is true of reading. Families who read together bond, share conversations and expand their intellect in extraordinary ways.
When my family and I find ourselves quoting a book, we know that we’ve found a favorite. Just like a 1980’s Brat Pack movie, a good children’s picture book gets stuck in your brain and continues to share its message with you long after you have read it.
Here’s a little video of my kids and I (and our dog) sharing three of our favorite, most memorable reads:
And here is a little list of our favorites and why they stick in our brain:
No Matter What By Debi Gliori
Favorite quote: “I’m grim and grumpy,” said little Small, “and I don’t think you love me at all.” “Oh Small,” said Large, “grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.”
Why I love it: This book provides a great reminder to both my kids and me that it is OK to be grumpy, angry or sad. You don’t have to be happy ALL of the time, but you will be loved ALL of the time, no matter what. My family is known to ask each other, “Are you feeling grim and grumpy?”
Love Song for a Baby By Marion Dane Bauer
Favorite quote: We’d dreamed a baby, we’d wanted a baby, we’d planned for a baby, we’d waited and waited and waited for a baby, until finally, there was you. And, oh, how we love you!
Why I love it: It took me a long time to get pregnant with my first son, four years. This gorgeously illustrated book provides the perfect theme song for anyone who has struggled with infertility or made the decision to adopt. Makes me tear up every time!
Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown
Favorite quote: Goodnight nobody. Goodnight mush. And goodnight to the old lady whispering "hush".
Why I love it: This classic book has a calming rhythm that is perfect for bedtime. Now that I am a Downton Abbey fan, I finally understand the concept of a big nursery with a nanny and a bowl full of mush. I was a little perplexed before.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon By Patty Lovell Illustrated by David Catrow
Favorite quote: Molly Lou Mellon stood just taller than her dog and was the shortest girl in the first grade. She didn’t mind. Her grandma had told her, “Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you.” So she did.
Why I love it: This is a pro-self-esteem and anti-bullying picture book at its best. Plus, anything illustrated by David Catrow is a must-read that will remain on your bookshelf for years to come.
Hippos Go Berserk By Sandra Boynton
Favorite quote: All through the hippo night, hippos play with great delight. But at the hippo break of day, the hippos all must go away.
Why I love it: The truth? This book brings up hilarious memories of my sister and I throwing epic parties in high school when my mom went away to weekend church retreats. (Shhh… don’t tell!) But my kids love the playful rhymes and amusing illustrations. And any teacher will love the basic math lesson that is built in.
Those are just five of our favorites. Feel free to share some of yours in the comments below. Happy reading!