Did you know that I used to be a librarian? I've always had a natural desire to research and know everything so being a librarian and sharing that knowledge with others was a great fit.
After retiring from the academic library world to raise my three wild things, I put my experience to work finding the most amazing books for them. I didn't want our precious reading time wasted on books that possessed no literary value; we needed top quality, engaging, fun books.
Additionally, I wanted books that showed great sibling relationships or children trying hard to do what's right. Like sneaking vegetables in their meals, I sneak good teaching into our read along time.
"The world belongs to those who read."
- Rick Holland
We started with picture books when they were younger and even now that my children are entering 4th grade, 2nd grade and kindergarten, I'm still busy searching for top quality books for everyone.
I think it's high time I shared some of our treasures with everyone, starting with our favorite picture books.
McLerran, A. & Cooney, B. (Illustrator) (1991).
Imagine your parents or grandparents as children growing up in rural southern California. I bet they acted a lot like the kids in this book: turning sticks into horses, rock piles into houses and pebbles into buried treasure. This book celebrates the idea that children can work together and use their amazing imaginations to create entire new worlds for themselves. And the illustrations will have you searching for everything else that Cooney has touched.
Hughes, S. (1977).
Big sister loves her little brother. Her little brother loves his stuffed dog. He loses his Dogger and his sister is his savior, helping him and comforting him like I wish all siblings would act. And, you gotta love the 1970s outfits.
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
Gannett, R. S. & Gannet, R. C. (Illustrator). (1998).
This sweet early chapter book is about the adventures of a little boy who travels throughout this fictional world to help a trapped baby dragon. He is resourceful, helpful and curious - all traits I'd love for my children to develop. As an early chapter book, it's also a great book for your child to read to you. Skip the endless "level 2" licensed character books and give this to your 1st grader. They'll love it.
The Maggie B.
Haas, I. (1975).
Another big sister really loves her baby brother. She also wants to be free on an adventure. So, she takes her little brother on her sailing ship, cleans the ship, makes him meals, rocks him to sleep, and brings animals for him to visit. It's a tender love story of adventure and family at the same time. I now want more babies and a ship.
"North Star, star of the sea.
I wish for a ship
Named after me.
To sail for a day
Alone and free.
With someone nice
D'Aulaire, I. and D'Aulaire, E. (1936).
Every book by the D'Aulaires is gorgeous with wonderful stories. We use their books (like this one about George Washington) to learn about real people. The illustrations spark my childrens' imaginations and the text will draw in the older readers.
McCloskey, R. (1943).
A curious boy (about 8-10 yrs old?) uses his own wits to solve crime and gives us a humorous look at small-town America.
Becker, A. (2016).
I have no words at all. I mean that this book is completely wordless. Pictures tell an entire story of adventure, danger and family helping each other. It will be read many many times and you'll then be seeking out the author's next books.