Monday, June 29, 2009

The Story of Childhood: A List of book recommendations for children

I will know I have done something right, if when asked about their childhood, my kids respond with memories of Tasha Tudor’s illustrations, quotes from Children’s Shakespeare and belly busting laughter at the antics of Pooh. If they recall neighborhood battles of Troy, voyages on ships made from beds to Treasured Islands, hours spent cramped tightly into the bathroom closet waiting for a new world to appear and days spent searching the ivy for a door to the Secret Garden.

The life of books is threatened by our technological age. How can they hope to compete with galactic battles on the hand held screen and animation so real we begin to believe that it is life which imitates art?

To compete, they must merely be presented. They have spines of steel and will endure. Children are creatures of habit and rebel from anything new. But once you have lured them into the world of story, you will find it hard to drag them out again.

My children often complain that we are the only family in the world who does not have a Wi. They beg for five minutes of Pop Tropica or just one more Qubo show. But if I want to hit them where it hurts, make them tow the line and get a grip, I threaten to take away their books on tape.

Like all human beings children have a fascination with the new and improved. But in the end, they return to the old and familiar. They return to their stories and their imaginations.

A childhood without story is a childhood without joy.

Following are a list of books we have loved:

Holiday Favorites:
The Tale of the Three Trees (Elwell Hunt)
Mouse’s First Halloween (Thompson)
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (Wojciechowski)*
Why Christmas Trees aren’t Perfect (Schneider)
The Littlest Angel (Tazwell)*
The Crippled Lamb (Lucado)
Polar Express (Van Allsburg)*
Legend of the Poinsetta (dePaola)
Story of the three Wise Kings (dePaola)
Song of the Camels (Coats)
We Three Kings (Illustrated by Zharkova)
The Clown of God (dePaola)
The Very Special Valentine (Kneen)
Petook, An Easter Story (dePaola)
Happy Easter Day (Watson)
America: A Patriotic Primer (Cheney)
Books with Beautiful Language:
Anything by Beatrix Potter
Anything by Tasha Tudor
Anything by Kate Greenaway
Pegasus (Mayer)
Cupid and Psyche (Craft)
The Selfish Giant (Wilde)*
The Happy Prince (Wilde)
Robert Frost Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (Illustrated by Susan Jeffers)
Shakespeare Stories (Garfield)
Shakespeare for Children (Lamb)*
Books with Wonderful Characters:
Anything Kevin Henkes*
Anything by Richard Scary
Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)*
Curious George Series (Reyes)*
The Frances Series (Hoban)*
The Little Bear Series (Minarik)*
The Frog and Toad Series (Lobel)*
The Poky Little Puppy (Janette Sebring Lowrey)
The Alfie Treasury (Hughes)
Just Me & My Family (Mayer)
Books with Engaging Stories:
I Love you my Stinky Face (McCourt)
The Hoppameleon (Geraghty)
How will we get to the Beach (Luciani/Tharlet)
Gloria and Officer Buckle (Rathmann)
The Boy Under the Bed (McClear)
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Joffe Numeroff)
If You Give a Moose a Muffin (Joffe Numeroff)
If You Give a Pig a Pancake (Joffe Numeroff)
Little Gorilla (Bornstein)
Pigs can’t Fly (Cort)
Click, Clack, Moo (Cronin)
Moon Lake (Gantschev)
James and the Giant Peach (Dahl)*
Giggle, Giggle, Quack (Cronin)
Make Way for Ducklings (McCloskey)
Ira Sleeps Over (Waber)
Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak)
Little Sal (McCloskey)
One Morning in Maine (McCloskey)
Time of Wonder (McCloskey)
Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey)
Moon Lake (Gantschev)
Owl Moon (Yolen)
Harold and the Purple Crayon (Crockett Johnson)
Can You Spot the Spotted Dog? (Roe)
David Gets Into Trouble (Shannon)
Katy and the Big Snow (Burton)
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (Burton)
Akiak (Blake)
One Kitten for Kim (Holl)
The Giant Jam Sandwich (Vernon Lord)
We were Tired of Living in a House (Moak Skorpen/Burn)
Good Night Good Night (Boynton)
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (Viorst)
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More (Beaumont)
Strega Nona: Her Story (dePaola)
Big Anthony: His Story (dePaola)
Big Red Barn (Wise Brown/Bond)
The Mitten (Brett)
On the Night You were Born (Tillman)
The Tiny Book (Ruckman)
Bear Snores On (Wilson/Chapman)
Books with Wonderful Messages:
New Picture Book of Saints (Fr. Lovasik)
St. Jerome and the Lion (Hodges)
Christopher: The Holy Giant (dePaola)
New Catholic Picture Bible (Lovasik)
A Child’s Rule of Life (Benson, ill. by Pippet)
Weight of a Mass (Nobisso/Szegedi)
Children’s Book of Virtues (Bennet)
Children’s Book of Faith (Bennet)
On Mother’s Lap (Herbert Scott)
Selfish Giant (Wilde)*
Happy Prince (Wilde)
We Help Mommy (Cushman)We Help Daddy (Stein)
Once Upon a Time Saints (Pochocki)
Saints and Heroes for Kids (Pochocki)
Bunny My Honey (Jeram)
Frederick (Lionni)
The Rainbow Fish (Pfister)
The Kissing Hand (Penn)
Baby Dear (Wilkin)
I love You Little One (Tafuri)
Books about History and Science:
So You Want to be President? (St. George/Small)*
Magic Tree House Series (Pope Osborne)*
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, (D’Aulaire)
Little House on the Prairie Series (Laura Engles Wilder)*
Mr. Crinkleroot’s Guides to Knowing Series (Arnosky)
Deluxe Book of Flower Fairies (Barker)
Theodoric’s Rainbow (Kramer/Duffy)
Books with Beautiful Illustrations:
Anything Illustrated by KY Craft
Anything by Tasha Tudor
Anything by Kate Greenaway
Anything by Robert McClosky
Anything by Jan Brett
Baby Einstein's ABCs of Art
The Lord’s Prayer (Holder)
Owl Moon (Yolen)
Deluxe Book of Flower Fairies (Barker)
Longer Books to Read over Time:
The Secret Garden (Burnett)*
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)*
The Narnia Tales (Lewis)*
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dahl)*
Charlie and the Glass Elevator (Dahl)
Mary Poppins Series(Travers)*
Mrs. Pigglewiggle (MacDonald)*
Bunnicula Series (J. Howe)*
Wind in the Willows (Grahame)
Wizard of Oz (Baum)*
Number the Stars (Lowry)*
Cricket in Time Square (Selden)*
The Scarecrow and His servant (Pullman)*
Shoeless Joe and Me (Gutman)*
The One Handed Catch (Auch)* Disclaimer: This hints that there is no Santa Clause
Long Way from Chicago (Peck)*
The Great Brain (Fitzgerald)*
Peter Pan (Berry)*
Books of Rhymes and Poetry:
Over in the Meadow (Wadsworth/Vojtec)
Where the Sidewalk Ends (Silverstein)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Martin Jr. and Archambault)
Marigold Garden (Greenaway)
Mother Goose (Greenaway)
Mother Goose (Richard Scary)
Mixed Beasts (Wallace Edwards)
Deluxe Book of Flower Fairies (Barker)
The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts (Belloc)
The Bedtime Rhyme (Walter Wangerin, Jr.)
Mother Goose (Edited by Eulalie Osgood Grover, ill. By Frederick Richardson)
The Family Treasury of Children’s Stories Book 1 and Book 2 (edited by Pauline Evans, ill. by Donald Sibley)
* We have personally found in audio form

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