A love for reading is a nonnegotiable in our family. We have shelves lined with books in almost every room, combining my mid-century poetry with my husband’s Hiaasen. Our daughter is three, so she has had plenty of time to accumulate a lovely collection herself, and even our five-month-old has an impressive shelf all his own. If our kids want to rebel as teenagers, they will stand up at dinner and profess that the written word is dead.
I love kids’ books. It takes a lot of talent and artistry to tell a deep and meaningful story in simple words and short sentences. Reading before bed has become a beloved tradition that I look forward to as much as my kids do since I have very purposely filled the reading roster with books that are thoughtful, beautiful, and fun.
Here are some of the best children’s books that are sure to become new classics
The Dark by Lemony Snicket (one of my all-time favorite young-adult and children’s authors) is about Laszlo’s confrontation with the dark, who usually stays in the basement, but one night it does not. It is a lovely story about facing your fears with striking illustrations to match.
The Toot and Puddle series centers on two pigs who share a fun and meaningful friendship. You Are My Sunshine shows kids what true, unconditional love is like, even when one friend is going through difficult emotions like the mopes.
Who would think Ryan from The Office would write such a fun kids’ book? BJ Novak turns the expected on its head and fills the pages with everything but pictures. Be prepared to get silly and bust out some funny voices.
The grandmother in Leave Me Alone is all of us, just wanting a minute of peace to finish her knitting project without her grandchildren all over her. Colorful and unexpected, this feels classic and modern at once, plus the dreamy watercolor illustrations make it a book you can’t help but love.
Cute and quirky, This Is Not a Picture Book shows Duck and Bug discover a new kind of book: one with absolutely no pictures. Once they figure out how to read it, they see how much they enjoy reading, even if there are no pictures. A tribute to books and a celebration of reading itself, it is a charming story of its own.
What are your family’s favorite children’s books to read together?