Children’s Book Week

I found out over at Scribbit that this is Children’s Book Week. The post on Scribbit had some wonderful suggestions on how to encourage reading in children, if you’re interested. Then she came up with part two

We don’t have that problem around here, as Maya is just as much of a reader as her parents are. (This doesn’t always follow…I know several couples who both love to read, read to their children, model reading in front of their children, maybe even have one or two children who love to read…and one or two who just don’t enjoy it at all. Some is nature, and you just have to accept that.) Glinda has recently put up a couple of lists of not-to-be-missed childrens books, one for the younger set, and one for the older set. I’ve written a post or two on my favorite children’s books as well. So, this time I thought I might make a Thursday 13 list, of 13 children’s books that I love, but that I probably would have missed out on if I hadn’t had Maya. The only thing is that with so many of her books in storage for the move, I’m working from memory. Most of these are for the younger set, aka picture books.  But not all.

1. Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution, by Steve Jenkins. This book does an amazing job of explaining evolution and natural selection in a clear, sensible, fun way. The pictures are beautiful, and gosh, this book is more succinct and clear than my High School Biology book was on the matter.

2. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale, by Demi. The tale of a greedy raja and the smart girl who tricks him into sharing the rice, thus saving her village from starvation. The girl’s a quick thinker with mad math skills. A wonderful book for kids learning the concept of multiplication.

3. The Empty Pot. Another beautiful picture book by Demi, the author of One Grain of Rice. The childless emperor decrees that the child who brings him the most beautiful flower shall inherit the kingdom. But they must use only seeds provided by the emperor. Ping loves flowers, and loves to help things to grow, and wishes very much to please the emperor, but his seed simply will not grow. What can he do? A simple tale of ethics, with beautiful illustrations. Another favorite by this same author is Liang and the Magic Paintbrush. Beautiful.

4. Tikki Tikki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel  – I’m sure many of you grew up with this book and its rhythms and  funny moral, but I had never heard read it before.  I love it.  This is a wonderful story explaining why Chinese families choose short names for their children. You may find yourself in the shower, however, saying “Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo”.  And if you’re a spoilsport, go look at Wikipedia on this, and find out that the story is in no way true.  Duh.

5. So Much, by Cooke And Oxenbury- A cute story of a little boy who is very well loved.  This book is especially fun to read in a Caribbean accent.

6. The King’s Equal, by Katherine Paterson – Not a picture book, which the rest have been thus far, but a short chapter book about a somewhat dubious prince who wants very much to be king, but must first find a girl who is his equal.

7. Stephanie’s Ponytail, by Robert N. Munsch-  A silly story illustrating the pitfalls of mindless conformity.

8. On Mother’s Lap, by Ann Herbert Scott – Beautiful illustrations, and a must have for any child who is getting ready to welcome a new sibling into the house.  Maya’s an only, and she loved it, too.

9. Anatole, by Eve Titus – There are several books in this series, but the first is perhaps my favorite.  It’s the tale of Anatole, a smart French mouse who helps to save a local cheese factory from ruin, and becomes a respected member of their staff.

10. Elephants Aloft, by Kathi Appelt – This is an awesome book to give to a beloved niece or nephew. Auntie Rwanda misses her darling niece and nephew, Rama and Raja, and asks them to come to visit her.  Every page has a beautiful, clever picture, and a single preposition describing their journey.

11. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig – Poor Sylvester, he finds a magic pebble that will grant him any wish, and right then, along comes a hungry lion ready to eat him.  What will he do?  His parents faces at the end of the book are filled with such donkey joy, I can’t help but smile when I read it.  Truly, you can’t go wrong with William Steig.  Also really loved Brave Irene and Doctor De Soto.

12. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster – I have no idea how I missed this book when I was growing up, but oh my god, what an amazing, wonderful, clever, funny book. ( was published in 1988?  I guess that’s why I missed it.  I was in college.)  Maya and I read this together, and then she went back and read it again, and maybe has read it even again since then.  Good for any child who thinks they are bored, with nothing to do.

13. Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen – A survival story for the older reader (4th grade up maybe?), of a boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash in a desolate region of Canada.  He has to survive using only his wits and a gift from his mother – a little hatchet, which proves useful in more ways than one would expect. 

14. Honorable Mention goes to the Warriors series of books, by a trio of authors writing under the pseudonym of Erin Hunter.   These books get an honorable mention from me, because I haven’t read them myself, so I don’t know the stories or the writing style.  What I do know is that they captured Maya’s imagination far more than any Harry Potter, Series of Unfortunate Events, or Little House have managed to do.  She turned her best friend onto them, who wasn’t much of a reader, but is now hooked.  Her mom says her reading level has shot up because of these books…because they were slightly above her reading level, and she stuck with them, because she loves them so much.  What higher praise can a book get, than to inspire a non-reader to read?

1. Take Gen to the vet for a checkup and shots.  Poor doggie. She hates that place almost as much as the groomers.  What a week she’s having!

21 thoughts on “Children’s Book Week

  1. I’ll have to find So Much, by Cooke And Oxenbury.
    That’s a great little collection you have there for Maya. I’m trying to find some age appropriate books for Connor now so I’ll have to visit Scribbit next.

  2. These are GREAT suggestions,I can’t wait to go to the library next week with my littles! 🙂

    The Phantom Tollbooth,though, was originally published in 1961. It was my ex’s favorite book as a kid, and we graduated in 1988.

    My thirteen’s 13 ‘Kings’ (since I did ‘Queens’ last week!)

  3. Hatchet is one of my favorite books!

    Other Childrens books I enjoyed and would reccomend are:
    “The Chalk Box Kid” by Clyde Robert Bulla a boy makes friends because of a burnt out factory and a box of chalk.
    “Little Toot” by Hardie Gramatky – Little Toot the tugboat conquers his fear of rough seas when he single-handedly rescues an ocean liner during a storm.

    and “Beauty” by Bill Wallace about a boy who falls in love with an old horse named Beauty, refusing younger horses better suited to a young boy.

    Another Bill Wallace book I really loved was “A Dog Called Kitty.” Actually, I recommend ALL of Bill Wallace’s books. -smile-

    I don’t have kids myself, but I love reading from the childrens section when I want something quick and fun to read.

  4. Sheliza, I think you and Conner will really enjoy So Much. It’s a cute picture book.

    Country Dawn, I did think that the Phantom Tollbooth read like a book written well before 1988, but of course Amazon has the most recent publication date or something like that. Now I wonder how I missed it for all of those years!

    YummY, I LOVED Little Toot as a child. LOVED it. Almost named my dog Little Toot, actually. Good thing I had an older brother who wouldn’t allow it. 😉

  5. Great suggestions, we just read Sylvester this week and my boys loved Gary Paulsen’s books. I haven’t found this to be true yet, my kids aren’t really old enough, but I hear from moms that it’s easier to get kids to read at a young age but harder to encourage it when they’re in high school. If anyone had experience that way I’d welcome the suggestions.

  6. My book list to check out keeps growing!
    Thanks for the list!
    Terrific Thursday Thirteen!
    My TT is posted.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Happy TT’ing!
    (“)_ (“)Å 

  7. Cool list. Zoe and her friends are really into the Twilight series. We tried her with the Warriors last year, but she didn’t get into it. Maybe she should try it again.

  8. Vieve, well she is getting all the hard stuff out of the way. I totally misread yesterdays, and though she was going to the groomers next week. I have to come over and tell her she looks Beau-teee-ful.

    Nice selection of books. Maya always loved being read to at night before bed.

  9. Fabulous post, J! Right up my alley! I majored in English Lit (Minored in Linguistics) and one of my favourite classes was my Children’s Lit class. We got to meet a few of the authors and hear them read some of their books. Robert Munsch is one of my favourites. You should hear him read “Love You Forever”. Has Maya ever read “The Paperbag Princess”?

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