by Karen Crow, Director at Day Early Learning at Fort Harrison
Reading is something we do at every day, several times a day here at Day Early Learning. Why? Children love to see and hear books brought to life. When we read, we are providing lessons in creative thinking, problem solving, and most importantly, we are developing language skills. We are also helping children to find themselves and others in the books we read. Choosing the “Top 10” out of all the books we read, or personally love, was difficult! I threw several titles into a hat, polled fellow staff and here are our suggestions for you.
by Maurice Sendak
What a wonderful opportunity for opening up a discussion on how we handle our emotions. Max has been sent to his room for “making mischief of one kind or another. While reading this book, we give children the chance to tell us what they think about why Max was sent to his room, how a jungle grew in his room, and would they take a boat to see wild things. We take time to wonder with them why the wild things wanted him to stay, and how he felt when he came home to find dinner waiting.
by Margaret Wise Brown
This is perhaps one of the more rhythmic, soothing books for children. It is a great read at any time, but so perfect for bedtime! There are so many little details in Clement Hurd’s illustrations, and you can almost hear “the little old lady whispering hush.” Children love to find mittens, kittens and bowls full of mush as you go through the pages.
by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
We love books that teach patterning skills, develop attention and provide an opportunity for children to “read” on their own. Be careful though, this is one book children want to read again and again. Why? This book repeats the same phrase over and over: “what do you see?” Children enjoy a book that repeats as it easy for them to remember what happens next. This helps them develop a pre-reading skill of looking through a book and verbally repeating what they have memorized.
by Jerry Smath
This is another book that repeats a phrase over and over again giving young children the chance to interact with the tale as it is read aloud. The book also has lessons to teach and an opportunity for open-ended questions. We ask: How did the animals each help Grandma Tildy? Why did she not want an elephant? And why did she finally decide to let the elephant stay? We also ask children how they help at home and what special things they can do.
by Mo Willem
Mo Willems has created a character that speaks directly to children. The pigeon leads them throughout the book to be allowed to drive a bus and children have the chance to tell him “no” each time he asks. This can be a book full of giggles and squeals if you dare to let yourself “become the pigeon.”
by Ed Emberly
We love the cleverly cut out pages that bring a monster to life and then make it disappear as you turn them. The text is simple, and children are able to shout, “Go away!” as you read along. It is a great platform for talking to children about what they find scary or what they worry about.
by Vera Williams
We are always searching for books that children can relate to or catch a glimpse of another way families live. Vera Williams has created such a place in this book. She has also found a way to share that tragedy and loss after a fire can be overcome by community.
by Todd Parr
Choosing a book by Todd Parr was difficult; his books are all “Top 10.” The Peace Book is a standout among his others and makes it easy for us to explore with children the concept of a world in harmony. The illustrations are bright and colorful and the text is simple and profound. One of our favorite lines is, “Peace is being who you are.”
by Connie Schofield-Morrison. Illustrated by Frank Morrison
This book speaks to us because of Frank Morrison’s illustrations. He captures the joy in Schofield-Morrison’s words and creates beautiful images of children of all different shades of color dancing to them.
by Matt de la Pena. Illustrated by Christian Robinson.
De la Pena and Robinson have provided us with another glimpse into the way people live. Throughout the book CJ asks questions of his grandmother, Nana, as they ride a bus after church. In turn, she teaches him to appreciate all of the different people around him and to be grateful for what he has. We love the questions or comments that come from the children we teach after we read the book.
It is difficult to believe we managed to pare our list down to ten! The staff here at Day Early Learning State and I could have listed so many others. If you find yourself in need of further suggestions please let us know. We are always happy to share in the treasures we find.