I'm a big reader and lover of books, so, naturally, I started reading with my baby right off the bat. I mean, as soon as I found out I was pregnant with him. Then after Baby Cakes was born, when he spent all of his time in my arms either napping or nursing, I read to him most of the day. Now that he's five-and-a-half-months-old, his limited attention span cuts our reading time down. Still, we love to read together. After all this time, there are certain books I reach for time and time again.
1."Your Personal Penguin" by Sandra Boynton
This is my son's favorite book, hands down. Baby Cakes loooves this probably because I sing the song about a penguin petitioning to be a hippo's personal penguin. I get big, cute smiles every time I read/sing this one to him. Plus, this is a board book, so in a little while, he'll be able to hold the book on his own and look at the bright, cute pictures.
2. "Little Red Writing" by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet
This one is my favorite. I love all things writing, and if you mash that with a classic fairytale, well...it gets me giddy. Each page highlights different parts of speech in a cute, exciting way. If you're delighted by puns, this is full of them. The illustrations are rich and brimming with detail. And it's super fun to read because of all the different voices and sounds you can use.
3. "Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain" by Verna Ardema and Beatriz Vidal
I bought this book because I want my son's library to be diverse. And then I got addicted to the pleasant repetition. I got addicted to the pleasant repetition of the words. I got addicted to the pleasant repetition of the words on the pages full of vibrant color. The story builds like that. Not only will this be good for helping Baby Cakes with language (he'll anticipate the next words), but I turned it into a sort of memorization game so I could show off to my husband. Hey, we have to have fun with the books too, right?
4. "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss
Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss? This book is so zany. Full of fun rhymes. Bright colors. I could read this one over and over all in a row.
5. "On the Night You Were Born" by Nancy Tillman
Another board book for Baby Cakes to "read" by himself without ripping the pages. This is such a sweet book. I read this one to my baby when I'm in an ooey gooey snuggly mommy mood. There's a spot in here where you personalize it with your child's name, and that part melts my heart every time. I recommend this to any new mom.
6. "The Mine-O-Saur" by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and David Clark
Part of supporting diverse books is supporting diverse authors. Here you go! But that's not even why I chose this book at first. What popped out to me was the made-up dinosaur name. I'm gaga over dinosaurs. This book has rhyming, fun-to-read-out-loud growling, and a great message about sharing.
7. "The Wizard of Oz" by Frank L. Baum
This beloved classic is so much better than the movie! The characters are better and there are scenes the movie excluded. If you want to introduce your kids to some classics, this is a good start. I can't wait to get the rest of the series to add to the collection.
8."All of Baby, Nose to Toes" by Victoria Adler and Hiroe Nakata
Again, point for diversity! This book flows with rhythm like no book I've ever seen, so it's fun to read out loud. Sounds like poetry, but not rhymy poetry. I like to point out my son's body parts as we read the book because it'll help him learn. I'm also madly in love with the pictures because watercolor is my favorite.
9."I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem" by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
Did you know Jamie Lee Curtis writes children's books? She and Laura Cornell write fun, empowering stories. Just the stuff I want my kid to read. This book is all about loving yourself "even when." I mean, I even feel better about myself after I read this to Baby Cakes.
10. "Anatole" by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone
Cultural diversity! Even though I took a four three total years of French in high school and college, I'm so bad at doing the French accent for these characters. But that doesn't make doing it any less fun. The black and white pictures with a little color pop are great for a baby's eyes. This book is a great read now, and it'll be even better later when I can make a cheese platter for my kiddo, so we can read this book and try the cheese Anatole-style.
11."Where's My T·R·U·C·K?" by Karen Beaumont and David Catrow
The illustrations in this book are different from all the rest of the books in that they're not so cutesy. I'd call it ugly cute. It's different, and different is good. There's rhyming, so that's an automatic win for me. Rhymes are pleasant on the tongue. It's also pretty fun to read this book in the sort of whiny tone I get from Tommy, the boy who can't find his t-r-u-c-k.
12. "A Fly Went by" by Mike McClintock and Fritz Siebel
I think this is old enough to be called a classic, but I never read it when I was a kid. As soon as I read it to Baby Cakes, I read it to him a hundred more times. (Probably not even an exaggeration.) Just like "Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain," this book repeats certain parts to build and build an animal chase. Fun now, fun later--plus the repetition will help Baby Cakes learn to read.
13. "Tom's Tree" by Gillian Shields and Gemma Raynor
I adore this book because the character, Tom, is full of imagination. Who doesn't want their kid to explore their imagination? Believe in dreams? Hope? That's what this book is all about, plus the hard parts of hoping, like waiting and disappointment. The end of the book makes me choke up every time.
14. "Is a Camel a Mammal?" by Tish Rabe and Jim Durk
Rhymes, rhymes, rhymes. This is a great learning book. Animals are fun for all ages, but I can't wait until I can read this to Baby Cakes before we take him to the zoo so we can pick out animals we know from the book and try to identify other mammals based on what we learned.
15."The Big Orange Splot" by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
This is another oldie, but a goodie. In a neighborhood of conformity, one man follows his dreams to turn his house into something that fits his unique personality. The bold colors and wacky pictures are fun now. Later, when my sweetie is older, I want Baby Cakes to design his own bedroom. To have his own, unique space. We'll read this book before a good brainstorming session.
16. "Read and Share 5 Minute Bible Stories"
This was a gift to Baby Cakes from our church on the day of his dedication. I'm not just saying this because it's the Bible, but my son pays better attention to this book than most of his books. The pages are colorful and captivating. We're on our fourth time through this together so far, and, seriously, I've felt myself get built up reading these stories. We're supposed to have the faith of a child, right? Sometimes our souls just need the simple stuff. If it does that for me, I can only imagine what it'll do for my boy.
17. "Just Me and My Puppy" by Mercer Mayor
I read these Little Critter books when I was little, and I love reading them now even more. The irony gets me. The pictures show that the words aren't exactly truthful, which I'm sure escapes Baby Cakes right now, but I love it. This one is especially my favorite because I'm so looking forward to the joy on my kiddo's face when we eventually get him a puppy.
18. "A Treasury of Curious George" by H.A. Rey
There's just something about a collection of stories in one book that feels extra bed-timey. Settle back, get cozy, and crack open a nice thick book you can read for a week. This is that book for us. Each of the stories in this treasury is adorable.
19. "Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas" by Natasha Yim and Grace Zong
This is an ultra cute, diverse spin on Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. It's full of Chinese culture and traditions and even has a recipe in the back of the book for one of the treats mentioned. I love this any time of the year, but it would be an excellent choice for the Chinese New Year since I want to have culture-themed nights once a month when Baby Cakes is older.
20. "Dr. Seuss's ABC"
Dr. Seuss was the master of goofy rhymes. I enjoy this book so much, I memorized this one too. One time, when our little family of three was waiting in an auto shop, and I had forgotten to pack a book in the diaper bag, I recited this book from memory. My husband didn't think that was as cool as I did. Haha. Anyway, it's the perfect book for learning ABCs and how to read.
21. "God Gave Us You" by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant
This book is so close to my heart. I'm sure every momma would feel a special connection to this book, but I do because of our long wait to get pregnant. Because pregnancy was a great blessing. Because God gave us our little miracle, and I will always make sure he knows he's just that. This is another ooey gooey, cozy-up-and-snuggle book.
Do you love any of these books on my list? What are some of your favorites I didn't include? Since we love to read so much, I'm sure we'll get a new set of favorite books eventually, so hit me with your recommendations! Maybe they'll make my next list.
Happy reading, mommas!