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December 12, 2014

Books for Parents: Teacher-Recommended, Kid-Approved

By Allie Magnuson
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Since I encourage parents to read to their children as much as possible, I like to offer them personal recommendations of good books. This week, I'm going to share a list of some of my favorite books for family read alouds!

     

    The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein

    The classic book about a tree who loves a boy so much that it gives everything it has to the boy throughout his life, from childhood to old age, features simple prose, simple illustrations, and a simple message of kindness, self-sacrifice, and unconditional love.

    The 50th anniversary, hardcover edition would be a great addition to any child's bookshelf. I highly encourage parents to read it with their children to help them see the value of friendship, and the true meaning of giving.


    Ruby the Copycat, by Peggy Rathmann

    A little girl tries to become another girl's friend by copying her, until she learns — with the help of her teacher — that the best way to make friends is to be herself. 

    I recommend this book because it conveys the reality of the way little minds work, and teaches self-esteem. It has humor that adults and children will enjoy, and the illustrations are sure to please.


    A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon

    Camilla Cream won't eat lima beans, even though she loves them, because all of her friends hate them and she wants to fit in. But on the first day of school, she breaks out in stripes. Now she really doesn't fit in, and the only thing that will cure her is to admit she loves lima beans.

    This is another story I recommend to help children understand they're just fine the way they are. The illustrations are bright and intriguing to look at as Camilla's appearance changes on almost every page. My students love this book. 


    The Rain Came Down, by David Shannon

    The rain comes down and causes much chaos. Chickens squawk, which makes the cat yowl, which makes the dog bark. The man yells at the dog and wakes up the baby, the wife yells at the man, and so on.

    This highly engaging, comical story where one thing leads to another will make parents and children laugh. It should be especially recognizable to those who live in the desert, where on the rare occasions when the rain comes down, it causes just such chaos.


    Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems

    The bus driver has to leave for a while, and tells the reader not to let the pigeon drive the bus while he's away. What follows is the pigeon's hilarious begging and pleading with the reader.

    Written entirely in dialogue, this is a great book to read aloud with drama and expression. Best of all, it gets kids to directly engage with and respond to literature. Parents will be asked to read this one over and over.


    Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems



    Daddy and Trixie go to the laundromat, and in the midst of having so much fun, neither of them notice that Knuffle Bunny ends up in the washing machine. When they are almost home, Trixie realizes what's missing, but she doesn't talk yet, and has a hard time trying to communicate with Daddy. 

    This story about a child's favorite stuffed animal, and the hurried rescue mission that ensues when it gets lost, is sure to resonate with parents. The charming pictures are a blend of Mo Willems' distinctive illustrations set against background photographs of Brooklyn, New York.


    Clifford the Firehouse Dog, by Norman Bridwell

    Clifford the Big Red Dog goes to visit his brother, who works at a firehouse, and tries to help teach a group of schoolchildren about fire safety. But he's too big to stop, drop, and roll. When he hears the fire alarm, he takes off to the burning building, where his size is an asset. 

    This enjoyable book about familiar and fun-loving Clifford will get parents talking to their children about what to do if there is ever a fire in their home, and help alleviate any fears about such a scary subject.


    Llama Llama, Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney

    It's bedtime for baby Llama, but when Mama turns off the light and leaves the room, he starts to worry she won't return. His whimpers soon turn into hollers, but Mama is busy. In the end, she comforts him with the promise that she will always be near.

    This is a sweet rhyming book for little ones who need reassuring that family will always be there for them. It makes a perfect bedtime story.

    If you have a favorite title that I missed here, please share with the rest of us here in the comments section.

    Since I encourage parents to read to their children as much as possible, I like to offer them personal recommendations of good books. This week, I'm going to share a list of some of my favorite books for family read alouds!

     

    The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein

    The classic book about a tree who loves a boy so much that it gives everything it has to the boy throughout his life, from childhood to old age, features simple prose, simple illustrations, and a simple message of kindness, self-sacrifice, and unconditional love.

    The 50th anniversary, hardcover edition would be a great addition to any child's bookshelf. I highly encourage parents to read it with their children to help them see the value of friendship, and the true meaning of giving.


    Ruby the Copycat, by Peggy Rathmann

    A little girl tries to become another girl's friend by copying her, until she learns — with the help of her teacher — that the best way to make friends is to be herself. 

    I recommend this book because it conveys the reality of the way little minds work, and teaches self-esteem. It has humor that adults and children will enjoy, and the illustrations are sure to please.


    A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon

    Camilla Cream won't eat lima beans, even though she loves them, because all of her friends hate them and she wants to fit in. But on the first day of school, she breaks out in stripes. Now she really doesn't fit in, and the only thing that will cure her is to admit she loves lima beans.

    This is another story I recommend to help children understand they're just fine the way they are. The illustrations are bright and intriguing to look at as Camilla's appearance changes on almost every page. My students love this book. 


    The Rain Came Down, by David Shannon

    The rain comes down and causes much chaos. Chickens squawk, which makes the cat yowl, which makes the dog bark. The man yells at the dog and wakes up the baby, the wife yells at the man, and so on.

    This highly engaging, comical story where one thing leads to another will make parents and children laugh. It should be especially recognizable to those who live in the desert, where on the rare occasions when the rain comes down, it causes just such chaos.


    Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems

    The bus driver has to leave for a while, and tells the reader not to let the pigeon drive the bus while he's away. What follows is the pigeon's hilarious begging and pleading with the reader.

    Written entirely in dialogue, this is a great book to read aloud with drama and expression. Best of all, it gets kids to directly engage with and respond to literature. Parents will be asked to read this one over and over.


    Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems



    Daddy and Trixie go to the laundromat, and in the midst of having so much fun, neither of them notice that Knuffle Bunny ends up in the washing machine. When they are almost home, Trixie realizes what's missing, but she doesn't talk yet, and has a hard time trying to communicate with Daddy. 

    This story about a child's favorite stuffed animal, and the hurried rescue mission that ensues when it gets lost, is sure to resonate with parents. The charming pictures are a blend of Mo Willems' distinctive illustrations set against background photographs of Brooklyn, New York.


    Clifford the Firehouse Dog, by Norman Bridwell

    Clifford the Big Red Dog goes to visit his brother, who works at a firehouse, and tries to help teach a group of schoolchildren about fire safety. But he's too big to stop, drop, and roll. When he hears the fire alarm, he takes off to the burning building, where his size is an asset. 

    This enjoyable book about familiar and fun-loving Clifford will get parents talking to their children about what to do if there is ever a fire in their home, and help alleviate any fears about such a scary subject.


    Llama Llama, Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney

    It's bedtime for baby Llama, but when Mama turns off the light and leaves the room, he starts to worry she won't return. His whimpers soon turn into hollers, but Mama is busy. In the end, she comforts him with the promise that she will always be near.

    This is a sweet rhyming book for little ones who need reassuring that family will always be there for them. It makes a perfect bedtime story.

    If you have a favorite title that I missed here, please share with the rest of us here in the comments section.

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