Doing any Christmas shopping for the small people in your life? Buy books! Toys break, take up space, and are outgrown – but building a child’s library is an investment that lasts. What follows is a list of some (and only some!) of the books we think every child should have in his or her permanent library. Want to make it an extra special gift? Include some of these dear bookplates from SarahJane Studios!
Sometimes you don’t need words to tell a fantastic story!
- Pancakes for Breakfast, Tomie dePaola
- You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jacqueline Press Weitzman and Robin Glasser
- Flotsam, David Wiesner
BOOKS ABOUT SPECIAL FRIENDS
These are some of our favorite books about friends and companions.
- Madeline’s Rescue, Ludwig Bemelmans
- Chester’s Way, Kevin Henkes
- Best Friends for Frances, Russell Hoban & Lillian Hoban
- Frog and Toad, Arnold Lobel
- Officer Buckle and Gloria, Peggy Rathmann
- Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Mo Willems
- Miss Suzy, Miriam Young
BOOKS ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR READING ALOUD
Everything on this list is good for reading aloud, but these books are especially delightful when heard. I have yet to get tired of reading any of them to my kids!
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
- How Do You Say It Today, Jesse Bear?, Nancy White Carlstrom & Bruce Degen
- Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola
- Millions of Cats, Wanda Gag
- Over in the Meadow, John Langstaff & Feodor Rojankovsky
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Bill Martin Jr. & John Archimbault
- What Do You Do With a Kangaroo?, Mercer Mayer
- Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey
- The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Laura Joffe Numeroff & Felicia Bond
- The Complete Tales, Beatrix Potter
- Caps for Sale, Esphyr Slobodkina
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Mo Willems
FAIRY AND FOLK TALES
- The Gingerbread Man, Jim Aylesworth & Barbara McClintock
- The Empty Pot, Demi
- Henny Penny, Paul Galdone
- The Seven Chinese Brothers, Margaret Mahy & Mou-Sien Tseng
- The Funny Little Woman, Arlene Mosel
- Hansel and Gretel, Cynthia Rylant & Jen Corace
- Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, William Steig
BOOKS THAT TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT CHILDHOOD
- Chrysanthemum & Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, Kevin Henkes
- Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell Hoban & Lillian Hoban
- Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst & Ray Cruz
- Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose, Sylvia Long
- Poetry Speaks to Children, ed. Elise Paschen et al.
- Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, Jack Prelutsky & Marc Brown
- Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
FRACTURED FAIRY TALES, OR, BOOKS THAT MAKE GROWNUPS SMILE TOO
I love these books. They’re a little over my four-year-old’s head, but they’re smart and funny and fun to read. And really – I much prefer these versions of Cinderella!
- Fanny’s Dream, Caralyn Buehner & Mark Buehner
- Cinder Edna, Ellen Jackson
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith
- The Composer is Dead, Lemony Snicket
Thank you for all the brilliant ideas!
Wordless books are great for getting my little ones to tell me a story, and they change all the time.
Don’t tell my daughter, but she’s getting Pancakes for Breakfast for Christmas this year!
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