If you’re like me, I’m guessing books were huge to you growing up — I proudly considered myself a bookworm for years. (I’m trying to get back to it, but I read more articles than books at this point in my life!) For my boys, I’ve always tried to encourage reading, sometimes by adding in some bonuses like knee-bumps, sometimes by reading them the same book three times in a row, etc. So let’s discuss, ladies — which are your favorite books — and for what ages? (And, how do you find new ones — do you have any lists that you swear by? I often will Google “best books for 2-year-old boy” or some such, but finding Amazon’s list of bestseller kids’ books isn’t always helpful.)
A weird thing I’ve done that I kind of cherish now is take pictures of their favorite books, maybe every nine months or so. It’s a wonderful little snapshot of their favorites at that point in time, and I love all the memories that come flooding back to me, like J declaring every food he liked to be “disgustingly delicious!” just like Oscar the Grouch does in Elmo’s Delicious Christmas, or the cute way he would wave at the arriving ship captain in Eric Carle’s 10 Little Rubber Ducks.
Now that H is around, it’s also fun to compare their reading material. J was obsessed with construction vehicles from a young age, but H seems to like animals more. (H is doing this adorable thing right now where he kisses any sleeping animal or kid in our bedtime books. At least, I thought he was kissing them — turns out he’s licking the page. #ProudMama?) I’ve included some of the pictures I could find below, with links to the books that are still in print (a lot of their favorites are surprisingly from my childhood (and my brother’s) in the late ’70s and early ’80s). Even though it feels like a pretty good snapshot, it’s funny how some books that had a long run aren’t represented — I swear I read Hop on Pop a thousand and two times to J, and both boys went through an obsession with The Robot Book (you have to get the one with the twirly things — ISBN 0740797255), as well as the In My Tree series of puppet-books. J also went through a long era where he was obsessed with Sam the Firehouse Cat (an old book from my childhood, in which Sam saves the neighbor cat Becky from a fire, and then they get married and have babies right away!) and the newer book Pickles the Firehouse Cat.
I do have some hesitations about reading the boys older books sometimes — I saw this interesting comparison of how Richard Scarry has updated some of his books to reflect Mommy and Daddy both doing housework, and things like that — but I also feel free to skip over parts of the books, or “lose books” entirely that raise eyebrows. I don’t get too upset about books that still say “fireman” rather than firefighter, or things like that, but maybe I should police that more. There’s at least one Richard Scarry book with a hippo for a judge whom I purposely refer to with feminine pronouns.
We get a lot of kids’ books from the library (I love ordering them online and then picking them up — quick and easy!), but when people gift us books I try to ask them to inscribe the books, at least with their name/date.
If you’re curious, here are some of the pictures I’ve taken over the years:
J’s Favorite Books at 9 Months
Pictured: Urban Babies Wear Black / Pat the Bunny / Goodnight Moon / Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? / In My Tree/ Sleepy Baby / Tubby / Animal Kisses / Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? / Belly Button Book / The Big Book of Beautiful Babies
J’s Favorite Books at 14 Months
Pictured: Llama Llama Mad at Mama / Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes / On the Night You Were Born / Animals Should Definitely NOT Wear Clothing / Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale / Where’s Spot? / Goodnight Moon / The Goodnight Train / Winnie the Pooh’s A to Zzzz / The ABCs of Brooklyn / Billy & Milly Short & Silly / Don’t Squish the Sasquatch / How Do I Love You? / I Am a Bunny / Good Night New York City / Baby Colors / Belly Button Book! / Where Is the Green Sheep? / Dear Zoo / Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! / Barnyard Dance! / Toes, Ears & Nose / Tails / The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book
H’s Favorite Books at 21 Months
Pictured: First 100 Words / Snuggle Puppy / Where Is the Green Sheep? / Time for Bed / Little Blue Truck / Where’s Spot? / Let’s Talk / Sophie’s Big Noisy Day Book! / Freight Train / Playtime Book and DVD / Hide-and-Peek / Where’s My Teddy / Noisy Orchestra
J’s Favorite Books at 26 Months
Pictured: The Bath Book / The Fire House Book / The Tweety and Sulvester Book / Sheep Out to Eat / Maisy Goes to the City / Room on the Broom / Lights On, Lights Off! / I Can Do It Myself! / The Potty Train / 123 NYC / Wow! New York City / This Moose Belongs to Me / King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson / The ABCs of Brooklyn / Demolition / Richard Scarry’s Best First Book Ever
J’s Favorite Books at 3.5 Years Old
I can’t find one in between 26 months and 3.5 years — boo!
Pictured: The Knight and the Dragon / King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson / Freight Train / Knuffle Bunny / Blueberries for Sal / The Book With No Pictures / First 100 Machines / Let’s Go Trucks! / The Playground Book / The Bath Book / Big Joe’s Trailer Truck / Richard Scarry’s Great Steamboat Mystery / I’m NOT Sleepy! / The Tweety and Sylvester Book / The Many Faces of Ernie / Sam The Firehouse Cat / Santa’s Toy Shop / Frosty the Snow Man / Elmo’s Delicious Christmas
J’s Favorite Books at 4.5 Years Old
Pictured: Where the Wild Things Are / There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon / Richard Scarry’s Great Steamboat Mystery / 5-Minute Marvel Stories / The Book With No Pictures / Dragons Love Tacos / (slew of Lego City books) / World of Reading (slew of Marvel-themed books)
Which are your favorite books (and your child’s!) — and for what ages? Any favorite sources or lists for finding new ones?