As a former first grade teacher and now mom of three, I am asked all the time by friends and neighbors, “What’s a good book for __ year olds?” I thought I’d share some of our family’s favorite kids books for those of you looking to gift books this season. These also make great gifts to have on hand for birthdays in the new year! Today, I’ll focus on books for younger kids; tomorrow I’ll share more for older kids.
My kids received Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock a few holidays ago, and it’s long been a favorite. The beautiful illustrations of a brother and sister traveling through Paris are the background for a sweet story of all the items the little boy loses along the way. Your kids will love looking for the lost mitten, scarf, backpack, and more. This book is great for any age (even older kids would like it).
Lucy Cousins is best known for her Maisy books, but I came across Hooray for Fish while I was teaching first grade. My students, and then my own children, love the large, colorful illustrations along with the descriptive adjectives and sweet ending. I love giving this book as a gift; it’s oversized and a great read-aloud for kids 2-5.
The Napping House by Audrey Wood is another favorite of mine from my teaching days, which has now been read to my kids hundreds of times. It’s my absolute favorite cuddle-up-and-read book with toddlers and preschoolers, and the board book version is a great baby shower gift. With lovely illustrations, it’s a cumulative story about a sleeping granny, a dozing dog, a slumbering cat, etc. that are all woken by a tiny flea. Kids love being able to “read” this book by memorizing the parts as you read it daily.
This is one of my favorite books to gift to 2-3 year olds. Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley is filled with colors, shapes, and cutout pages (kids love that!) that show how the monster is made. Emberley cleverly dismantles the monster so kids can bravely say, “You don’t scare me!”
Some books are fun for parents to read, not just for the kids to hear. The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman is a rhyming romp about a large family where the kids are all picky eaters. The chaos and stress on the parents is refreshingly realistic, but there’s love and humor woven into the family dynamic as well. Again, this works with any age kids, 2 and up.
Hope these books give you some great gift ideas. Come back tomorrow for older kid book suggestions!
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