I think there’s something totally awesome about children’s books; great illustrations, funny voices, silly characters. I think the best part about them, though, is that they can hold memories. I have a few books that I read to my son that my mom used to read to me, and every time we read them it’s like I get taken back in time! I remember the voices my mom used to use at certain parts of the books, all the feelings I used to feel as she turned the pages, and what pages were my favorites that I loved to linger on. As a kid, books were real. Books were magic. Books took you to new and exciting places! So, yeah, there IS something pretty awesome about children’s books… Our collection is small now, but I hope to have a good sized collection for my kids one day; the books I loved as a kid, the books my husband loved as a kid, and some that are new to us but loved and recommended by others.
And that last part is where the OSSS Facebook fans come in!
Here are some of their favorite children’s books, a couple of my favorites, and a few of Amazon’s favorites for you to read aloud to your kids. I’m so excited to add to our collection and make some great memories with my own kids! Happy reading!
Children’s Books Your Kids NEED on Their Bookshelf (she: Mariah)
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day ~ Judith Viorst
The perennially popular tale of Alexander’s worst day is a storybook that belongs on every child’s bookshelf. Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair. And it got worse… His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble ~ William Steig
Sylvester can’t believe his luck when he finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion jumps out at him on his way home, Sylvester is shocked into making a wish that has unexpected consequences. After overcoming a series of obstacles, Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family. Illustrated with William Steig’s glowing pictures, this winner of the Caldecott Medal is beloved by children everywhere.
Charlotte’s Web ~ E.B. White
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.
Tikki Tikki Tembo ~ Arlene Mosel
Three decades and more than one million copies later children still love hearing about the boy with the long name who fell down the well. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent’s classic re-creation of an ancient Chinese folktale has hooked legions of children, teachers, and parents, who return, generation after generation, to learn about the danger of having such an honorable name as Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.
The Spooky Old Tree ~ Stan and Jan Berenstain
In this big, sturdy board book version of a deliciously shivery, easy-to-read classic Berenstain Bears Bright and Early Book, three brave little bears explore the inside of a mysterious old tree and go into, up, through, over, down, and out. Simple rhyming text teaches the concept of directions as beginning readers enjoy a story and illustrations filled with thrills and chills of the gentlest kind.
The Seven Silly Eaters ~ Mary Ann Hoberman
Peter wants only milk, Lucy won’t settle for anything but homemade lemonade, and Jack is stuck on applesauce. Each new addition to the Peters household brings a new demand for a special meal.
What’s a mother to do? Even though Mrs. Peters picks, peels, strains, scrapes, poaches, fries, and kneads, the requests for special foods keep coming. It isn’t until her birthday arrives that a present from her children solves the problem with a hilarious surprise that pleases everyone.
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory ~ Ronald Dahl
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
Love You Forever ~ Robert Munsch
The mother sings to her sleeping baby: “I’ll love you forever / I’ll love you for always / As long as I’m living / My baby you’ll be.” She still sings the same song when her baby has turned into a fractious 2-year-old, a slovenly 9-year-old, and then a raucous teen. So far so ordinary–but this is one persistent lady. When her son grows up and leaves home, she takes to driving across town with a ladder on the car roof, climbing through her grown son’s window, and rocking the sleeping man in the same way. Then, inevitably, the day comes when she’s too old and sick to hold him, and the roles are at last reversed.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site ~ Sherri Rinker
As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.
You Are Special ~ Max Lucado
Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones–those with smooth wood and fine paint–always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello.
I Want My Hat Back ~ Jon Klassen
The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor– and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.
Where the Wild Things Are ~ Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it’s been too long since you’ve attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak’s color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.
The Going to Bed Book ~ Sandra Boynton
This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.
Hey, Little Ant ~ Phillip & Hannah Hoose
What would you do if the ant you were about to step on looked up and started talking? Would you stop and listen? What if your friends saw you hesitate? That’s what happens in this funny, thought-provoking book. Originally a song by a father-daughter team, this conversation between two creatures, large and small, is bound to inspire important discussions. It might even answer that classic childhood question: To squish or not to squish?
The Monster Under My Bed ~ Suzanne Gruber
At bedtime, a little bear finds that there is a logical explanation for those monster noises coming from beneath his bed.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! ~ Mo Willems
When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler’s temper tantrum.
Frog and Toad Are Friends ~ Arnold Lobel
The endearing pair hop along through five enchanting stories, looking for lost buttons, greeting the spring, and waiting for mail. Their genuine care for each other makes Frog and Toad two of the finest amphibious role models around. Young readers will chuckle with Frog as they watch Toad’s silly efforts to make up a story. And they will applaud Toad as he finally wakes up after hibernating all winter. The fifth story will warm the hearts of any would-be pen pal–or anyone who has ever known what it’s like to have a true-blue (or green) friend.
Little Blue Truck ~ Alice Schertle
Beep! Beep! Beep! Meet Blue. A muddy country road is no match for this little pick up–that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road. Filled with truck sounds and animals noises, here is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.
Press Here ~ Herve Tullet
Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size!
The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings ~ Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
When Little Rabbit wishes for long, beautiful red wings, his wish comes true, but life is not at all as he’d expected: his friends, and even his own mother, don’t recognize him! He learns the hard way the truth of that old adage “be careful what you wish for,” and that the best thing for a little rabbit to be is himself.
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie ~ Laura Numeroff
This book is a great first introduction to Mouse, the star of the If You Give series and a perennial favorite among children. And with its spare, rhythmic text and circular tale, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is perfect for beginning readers and story time!
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes ~ Eric Litwin
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are, Pete keeps movin’ and groovin’ and singing his song…because it’s all good. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes asks the reader questions about the colors of different foods and objects.
Listen Buddy ~ Helen Lester
Buddy’s father had a beautiful big nose. He was a great sniffer. Buddy’s mother had beautiful big teeth. She was a great chomper. Buddy had beautiful big ears. It didn’t matter. Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger have created eight children’s books together. Munsinger’s unparalleled animal characters and Lester’s hysterical text have joined together to create another silly tale about a bunny who just can’t seem to listen.
Skippyjon Jones ~ Judy Schachner
Skippyjon Jones is no ordinary kitten. Oh, no. . . .He’s actually El Skippito, a great sword-fighter ready to battle banditos the world over! With a little imagination and a whole lot of fun, this frisky cat dons a mask and cape and takes on a bad bumble-beeto to save the day. And along the way, he’ll be sure to steal young reader’s hearts, yes indeed-o!
Goodnight Moon ~ Margaret Brown
In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room–to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one–he says goodnight.
My Father’s Dragon ~ Ruth Stiles Gannett
My Father’s Dragon–a favorite of young readers since the 1940s and a Newbery honor book–captures the nonsensical logic of childhood in an amusingly deadpan fashion. The story begins when Elmer Elevator (the narrator’s father as a boy) runs away with an old alley cat to rescue a flying baby dragon being exploited on a faraway island. With the help of two dozen pink lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a fine-toothed comb, Elmer disarms the fiercest of beasts on Wild Island. The quirky, comical adventure ends with a heroic denouement: the freeing of the dragon.
The Day the Crayons Quit ~ Drew Daywalt
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water…
How I Became a Pirate ~ Melinda Long
On the Night You Were Born ~ Nancy Tillman
On the night you were born, you brought wonder and magic to the world. The moon stayed up till morning. Polar bears danced. Here is a book that celebrates the one and only ever you! Now available in its entirety in board book format, Nancy Tillman’s masterpiece is perfect for acknowledging the special people in our lives that they are loved.
Green Eggs and Ham ~ Dr. Seuss
Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way.
Just Me and My Dad ~ Mercer Mayer
This well-loved Little Critter picture book has become a modern classic. It’s the tale of a father-and-son camping trip filled with Little Critter’s mistakes and good intentions. In spite of difficulties, however, the happy father and son manage to put up their tent, catch fish for dinner, and sleep beneath the stars. In spite of minimal text, the story is full and rich, with endearing illustrations from start to finish.
Junie B. Jones Books ~ Barbara Park
With over 50 million books in print, Barbara Park’s New York Times bestselling chapter book series, Junie B. Jones, is a classroom favorite and has been keeping kids laughing—and reading—for over 20 years!
Pigsty ~ Mark Teague
Wendell Flutz’s room isn’t a mess. It’s a total pigsty. But Wendell’s mother can’t get him to clean it up. Wendell doesn’t think the mess is so awful. In fact, he doesn’t even mind it when one day he discovers a real pig sitting on his bed!
The Goodnight Train ~ June Sobel
All aboard! The Goodnight Train is full of coal and leaving town. Rhythmic prose and playful illustrations create a gentle, whizzing journey where animals and little ones fluff their pillows and settle in for a clickety-clackity, rock and-roll ride to Dreamland. A remarkable rhyming bedtime treat!
Tickle Monster ~ Josie Bissett
Share the treasured gift of laughter with your child and you ll create memories that will last a lifetime. This book is well on its way to becoming a celebrated children s classic. It makes a wonderful gift for parents, grandparents and children for almost any occasion baby showers, birthdays, Mother s Day or Father s Day. The best sound in the world is the glorious sound of your children laughing, says author Josie Bissett. Children love playfulness. They love silliness and they LOVE being tickled.
Gregory, the Terrible Eater ~ Mitchell Sharmat
Gregory isn’t like most goats. Instead of indulging in delicacies like old shoes, boxes, and bottle caps, he prefers to eat fruits, vegetables, eggs, and fish. Mother Goat and Father Goat are disgusted, and after several attempts to get Gregory to eat like a proper goat, they finally take him to see Dr. Ram.
Put Me in the Zoo ~ Robert Lopshire
Spot believes he deserves to be in the zoo with the other amazing animals. In this Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss, Spot shows two young friends all the exciting things he can do with his spots. From changing their color and juggling them to moving them onto everything around him, you won’t believe what Spot can do. Beginning readers will be delighted by Robert Lopshire’s lively tale that proves there is a special spot for everyone.
The Pout-Pout Fish ~ Deborah Diesen
Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny. Bright ocean colors and playful rhyme come together in Deborah Diesen’s fun fish story that’s sure to turn even the poutiest of frowns upside down.
Caps For Sale ~ Esphyr Slobodkina
Caps for Sale is a timeless classic, in print for over fifty years, and beloved by generations of readers. This easy-to-read story about a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity and teaches children about problem and resolution. Children will delight in following the peddler’s efforts to outwit the monkeys and will ask to read it again and again. This is an excellent easy-to-read book that includes repetition, patterns, and colors, perfect for early readers.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation ~ Mark Teague
Some kids spend their summer vacation at camp. Some kids spend it at Grandma’s house. Wallace Bleff spent his out west…on a ride, a rope, and a roundup he’ll never forget.
A Bad Case of Stripes ~ David Shannon
Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them. Why? Because the other kids in her school don’t like them. And Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she’s so worried that she’s about to break out in…a bad case of stripes!
The World According to Humphrey ~ Betty G. Birney
You can learn a lot about life by observing another species. That’s what Humphrey was told when he was first brought to Room 26. And boy, is it true! In addition to having FUN-FUN-FUN in class, each weekend this amazing hamster gets to sleep over with a different student, like Lower-Your-Voice-A.J. and Speak-Up-Sayeh. Soon Humphrey learns to read, write, and even shoot rubber bands (only in self-defense, of course). With lots of friends to help, adventures to enjoy, and a cage with a lock-that-doesn’t- lock, Humphrey’s life is almost perfect. If only the teacher, Mrs. Brisbane, wasn’t out to get him!
Where the Sidewalk Ends ~ Shel Silverstein
Come in . . . for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.
Dragons Love Tacos ~ Adam Rubin
Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.
Corduory ~ Don Freeman
Don Freeman’s classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today then he was when he first came on the scene in 1968. This story of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child’s friendship has appealed to young readers generation after generation.
Go Away Big Green Monster! ~ Ed Emberley
Caldecott Award-winning author-artist Ed Emberley has created an ingenious way for children to chase away their nighttime fears. Kids can turn the pages of this die-cut book and watch the Big Green Monster grow. Then, when they’re ready to show him who’s in charge, they’ll turn the remaining pages and watch him disappear! This lavish reissue features dramatic die-cut eyes and sparkling foil on the cover.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar ~ Eric Carle
In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.” So begins Eric Carle’s modern classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The book is complete in every detail, following the ravenous caterpillar’s path as he eats his way through one apple (and the pages of the book itself) on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, and so on, through cherry pie and sausage–until he is really fat and has a stomachache. And no doubt you know what happens next!
Just Another Ordinary Day ~ Rod Clement
Like most kids, Amanda gets dressed, goes to school, plays with friends, and eats dinner with her family. But don’t be fooled by this deceptively simple story–readers will soon find out that Amanda is no ordinary girl! Bestselling Australian artist Rod Clement has created a wickedly funny picture book in which the artwork tells an extraordinary story of “just another ordinary day.”
Magic Tree House Books ~ Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and his little sister Annie are just two regular kids from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania. Then they discover a mysterious tree house packed with all sorts of books…and their lives are never the same! Soon they are traveling through time and space in the magic tree house and having amazing adventures. Whether it’s watching baby dinosaurs hatch, finding a secret passage in a castle, helping a ghost queen in an Egyptian pyramid, or finding pirate treasure, readers won’t want to miss a single story!
For more recommendations for children’s books, check out these posts:
30 Books to Read Out Loud to Older Kids