On an Alaskan vacation several years ago, after looking at far too many souvenirs from oriental trading with a town/place sticker added, I decided that I’d look for unique children’s books as keepsakes from then on. The thought of possibly supporting a local author while enabling my picture book addiction, seemed like a win-win. I can’t say this collection has grown as large or as quickly as I’d hoped, but it’s a start. Below are a few of them, Sitka Rose being a gift to my oldest daughter from her “Mimi” on that very vacation.
A couple nights ago my daughter reminded me of our new collection when she brought me Petite Rouge (above). It’s a treasured find from a small toy store in New Orleans, near the French Quarter. I must admit, my heart skipped a couple beats at the thought of it reading it that night as a bedtime story. It’s one of those children’s stories I actually enjoy reading at least as much as my daughter likes hearing it. I may have even felt a little guilt as I self-indulgently read it in my best Cajun-Creole accent (the phonetically spelled words made me feel like a pro). Pure pleasure!
Now this had me wondering, “What other books would I do cartwheels over?” In the spirit of sharing, I’ve put together a list of the most favorite bedtime read-alouds at our house. Keep in mind that I did condense it a bit. I saved this list for the hidden gems that are so fun for both reader and listener. They’re gender neutral and good for young and old alike. I have no affiliates to the links or authors – just want to share a love of reading. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
If you haven’t read any stories about this charming, mischievous Siamese cat that thinks he’s a Chihuahua, you’ll want to check one out from the library today. He has an excellent Spanish accent! We have a bundle of them in our library at home, but the original is a must and a favorite.
This book is just fun to read aloud. With a fairy godmother, witch, and two wolves you’ll get to try out a lot of voices. It’s such an original idea with a cute twist of an ending.
A read aloud list would hardly be complete without Dr. Suess. His writing is great for this, with its rhyme. This Suess story is short and sweet, just right for bedtime. One of its main characters happens to be none other than, pale green empty pants. How could you resist reading more about those?
This story about being unashamed and making the most of your imperfections is a parent’s favorite kind of story, one with a message. The illustration are a treat too. It is also the first of a pair about little Molly Lou. If she wins your heart over, you’ll want to check out Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon next.
I never knew I needed a pocket book (a book about pockets), or had so many pockets in my life for that matter, until I read this book. The text flows and sounds sing-songy when read aloud. It’s also short, good for tired parents and the shortest of attention spans in your house.
This one is a real tear jerker, but worth it. It’s such a heart-warming story with a symbolic representation of the growing love and loyalty of a family over a lifetime.
You won’t find any political slant in this book, just fun, interesting facts about our former presidents. It’s well written, sounds nice read aloud, and will entertain even the toughest of critics. My copy is a few elections behind, but I see they have an updated version available.
I purchased my copy of this book long before I ever had children of my own. Its message was just as poignant to me then as it is now ~ give back and make the world a more beautiful place by finding what you love and sharing it. You’ll want to read about the lupine lady too.
I said above I have a book problem, too many of them. Well I couldn’t just end this list of recommendations (it was getting a bit long) without pointing out a few others that are well worth a once over.
Me First by Helen Lester – We’re lucky to learn this unfortunate lesson secondhand, being first isn’t always best. It will allow you to practice that witch voice again too.
The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer – This is for all those kids and grown-ups that want to bring every creature they come meet.
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw – This is a super quick read, for the youngest in your house, that rolls off the tongue as you read it aloud.
Do you have favorite books to read to your kiddos or books that make you cringe when you see them in tow for bedtime story time? We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!