As a former elementary school teacher, current literacy curriculum director, and mom to an avid reader, I know my way around a library. A love for reading is a gift you can give to your child that will carry them far in life (and ensure they have great company along the way.)
At our house, we have about 200 children’s books, yet I rarely buy a new book. These are nearly all gifts, gift card purchases, books our moms saved from our childhoods, the cast offs of friends, or library books.
New Orleans Libraries: A True Treasure
Have you visited a New Orleans library lately? There are branches scattered around town with convenient hours, weekly story times, and wonderful children’s collections. We hopscotch between the Children’s Resource Center (it’s close), the Latter branch (also close and a library in an old mansion? that’s just cool), and the new Keller branch (a beautiful facility with a separate and enclosed children’s room). You can easily request titles online and have them sent to your branch of choice.
Bookstores are fun, of course! If you can successfully convey the difference between a library and a bookstore to your child (trust me, you want to establish that difference before you go for the first time), visiting the bookstore for fun is a great outing. You can browse, see other books in a favorite series, and sneak in a read or two in the children’s area. You might also let your child do a special chore to earn book money. Or ask for gift cards for holidays and spread them out through the year. We recently went to Barnes & Noble with a $25 gift card and after a really enjoyable 45 minute visit, left with three books and money remaining on our card.
Whether you are looking to loan or buy, here are 30 children’s book recommendations in case you are in need of ideas.
Must Have Board Books (for the youngest of readers)
- Good Night, Gorilla!
- My First Truck Board Book (for those wheel loving little ones)
- Any Eric Carle book (such as Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?)
- How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? (and any other “How Do Dinosaurs…” books by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague)
- Daddy Kisses (a special book for dads and cubs only!)
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
- I Love You Through and Through
- Berenstain Bears (I love the relevancy of the story lines, aka The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room)
- Olivia (Hilarious! Take your time with this one and see if your child is picking up the jokes)
- Sesame Street classics (such as Ernie’s Little Lie)
Classic Children’s Books and Authors
- Dr. Seuss (My favorite: There’s a Wocket in my Pocket!)
- The Little Engine that Could
- Richard Scarry (If you have a child with a truck fetish, you must own Cars and Trucks and Things That Go!)
Books that will make Mommy Laugh!
Great Grandma Books
Stories that Teach
- Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna (yes, that Madonna)
- Bears on Wheels (great for number sense!)
- Images of God for Young Children
- The Cajun Cornbread Boy
- Harry Taylor Who Dat Dog?
- Chef Creole
- Any Mike Artell book (such as Three Little Cajun Pigs)
And since we still love fire trucks A LOT…
- Fire! Fire! (how fighting fires differs in the city, the country, the forest, etc.)
- Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Fire Station (lots of crazy fun in good Richard Scarry style)
- Big Frank’s Fire Truck
For those of you with a child who has a real life interest (be it dancing, football, fire trucks or something more obscure), don’t forget to check out the juvenile non-fiction section at your local library. I felt like we struck gold when we found the fire truck section!