Thursday 4 October 2012

Guest Post - Debra Johnson - Favourite Kids Books

Favorite Children’s Books
We all had books we loved to have read to us as small children. Those books helped us to understand the world around us, made us laugh, and brought us into the wonderful world that only literature can. Here are a few of my (and my brother’s) favorite childhood books. Our mother read to us nearly every night, and we can still remember some of these wonderful stories even as adults.

1.     Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak–A tale of a bad little boy who is sent to his room without supper, this story has the best monsters you will ever read about. Great illustrations and a fun story line will keep even busy hands quiet.

2.     The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – I always found this book sad myself, but many people still count it among their favorites. The author is well known for his children’s poetry and some of that talent comes out in the simple story line of this book. The tree’s self-sacrifice for the boy it loves is heartwarming.

3.     Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – Always a colorful storyteller, Dr. Seuss’ classic story of trying new food is as fun to read aloud as it is fun to listen to. With silly rhymes that somehow work, this is often a childhood favorite.

4.     The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle–This colorful and simple book is a great lesson in itself. The days of the week, counting, colors, food, and even a butterfly’s life cycle are all jammed into this fun read.

5.     Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz–I loved this book. After all, we all have bad days. This story lets kids know it is okay to have a bad day once in a while, as long as you keep going. Fun and funny and well worth the time to read. 

6.     The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble and Steven Kellogg–This humorous tale is fun for even older kids. The colorful and creative pictures really give insight into the chaotic story of how a field trip to the farm went wrong when one student brought his pet snake. Full of lots of mishaps and friendly animals, this is one story I remember reading over and over again.

7.     Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw – This book was a special one shared by my mother and my brother. The story of a little boy growing up and being taken care of by his mother gradually turns to him taking care of her in her old age. Sweet and makes me tear up to this day.

8.     Animalia by Graeme Base – An alphabet book that will stick around long after your kids know their ABC’s. This book is jam packed with vivid and lifelike illustrations. When I say packed, I mean it. There is not an inch of blank space on any page. Best of all, every illustrated animal or object starts with the letter that is the theme of that page. Just amazing artwork.

9.     Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert–This fun sing along book teaches the alphabet in a way that kids are sure to remember. I have the tune stuck in my head now! The graphic but simple illustrations are bright and colorful enough to get your attention.

10.   Stellaluna by Janell Cannon–My favorite animal is a bat, so reading a story about the life of a bat is just my cup of tea. The sweet tale of a bat raised as a bird helps kids to understand the differences between the two and make bats not so scary. The beautiful illustrations and sweet facial expressions on the animals make this a great read for all kids. 

11.   Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola–The tale of an elderly witch and a hungry boy will leave you laughing. I can’t get over the illustration of the river of pasta that came out of her magic pot. A great story with a Russian theme that can give kids insight into another culture.

12.   Curious George by H.A. Rey–The tales of the mischievous monkey are well known by most children. I love the classic illustrations and the simple stories of how George gets into and out of trouble.

13.   Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg–With absolutely gorgeous illustrations, this book is one that kids will love. Even older kids will sit down to listen to this tale of trouble caused by an enchanted board game. Just wow. 

14.   The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and Loren Long – This inspiring story is one that all children should read. Self-confidence and hard work pay off in this short tale. Colorfully illustrated with a wonderful moral, it is definitely a children’s classic.

15.   If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond–This tale of escalation is one that always made me laugh. The growing demands of the tiny mouse were ridiculous and fun. Love it.

16.   Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton–This is a very old-fashioned story. The machines used in it are ones that kids might not be familiar with, but I find that boys especially love stories about machines. With simple colors and bold illustrations, this story is one to remember.

17.   The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith–This is a twist on the classic fairy tale. What I love about it is not only the great illustrations and the humorous wordplay, but the lesson it teaches children that there are two sides to every story. 

18.   The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith–This is definitely a book for the older kids, but one that will make even the rowdiest ones sit down and read. With tons of humor, not only are the tales twisted, but the book is too. Told out of order with characters jumping through stories, this book will have kids fighting to see who gets to read it next. The bizarreillustrations just add to the sense of the surreal. 

19.   The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf – The classic story of a peaceful bull is one that children will love. This is an old story, but one that brings back fond memories even now. The topic of bull fighting could be scary, but this book makes it all about how to live peacefully in an angry world. A great message from a simpler time.

20.   How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss – This classic Christmas tale is one that all kids love to read. With great pictures and a heartwarming ending, it is definitely one to read during the holiday season. 

21.   Miss Nelson Is Missing! By Harry Allard and James Marshall –This book is a great one to remind kids to appreciate the nice people in their life. When a class full of bad kids get a mean new teacher, the quickly learn how great their nice teacher was. They certainly learn their lesson, and kids reading the story can learn it too.

22.   Frederick by Leo Lionni – This sweet tale of an artistic mouse is pretty much the opposite of Aesop’s fable about the Ant and the Grasshopper. Instead of working hard like all the ther mice, this mouse looks at flowers and beauty. However when winter comes along he brings something no one else does: color. With sweet illustrations, this book is very memorable. 

23.   Zack's Alligator by Shirley Mozelle and James Watts –My brother loved this book! The story of a tiny key chain sized alligator that grows magically into a real one, this book is great for showing kids the adventure and excitement of imagination. Good for older kids and new readers.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

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