One of the first things I bought my first son (other than the necessary essentials) after he was born were books, and I still have some of them almost 23 years later. Books are an important part of my life, and I have tried to instill that love in all of my boys (to varying degrees of success). Children’s books are a door to learning, imagination, and fantasy. Although there are many children’s books I love and enjoy, I have my favourites that I consider “must-haves”, books that I can’t live without, that are timeless, and that I believe inspire young readers.
Children’s Books I Think Every Child Needs
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore
This is my favourite Children’s book of all time. This was the first book I purchased for Travis after he was born, and it is important enough that we have two copies. My favourite will always be the one illustrated by Kathy Wilburn (which is the copy I purchased back in 1994).
- The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
This was the second book I purchased for Travis (the same day I bought The Night Before Christmas). This was one of my favourite books as a child and one that I had to “replace” for my own children.
When the sequel was published in 1996, I immediately purchased that as well, and at some point in the last decade I managed to find a board book as well.
- Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton (and every other book by Sandra Boynton)
Moo Baa La La La was Travis very first favourite book when he was a toddler. By the time he was 2 he could recite the words himself by memory. I’ve kept the same copy I bought for him back in 1996, and over the years I have added to our collection. Sandra Boynton books were favourites of my youngest three and she’s become one of my favourite Children’s authors of all time.
- Dr. Seuss (pretty much anything and everything written by Dr Seuss)
Anything by Dr. Seuss is a MUST HAVE. Not only do these books inspire a child’s (and adult’s) imagination, they provide a great platform for learning to read and show excellent examples of creative thinking.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (and the rest of the books in the series)
I LOVE this book. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I bought it for my second son and we read it often. I had to replace it after one of my cat’s ATE it when he was a kitten, and over the years we have collected most of the books in the series as they have been released.
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
This was my second son’s favourite childhood book. I think we read this every night for almost 3 years! Somehow we have acquired more copies over the years (and I know I’m missing one).
- Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois (and other Franklin books)
I’ve always loved Franklin, and I think the books are timeless, and relatable with characters we can connect with. Best of all, Paulette Bourgeois is a Canadian author.
- Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBratney
Pretty much self-explanatory. This has quickly become a classic story, and deserves a spot in every home. It is also the same age as my oldest son!
- Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I don’t think there is another book out there that epitomizes the bedtime story the way Good Night Moon does.
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Classic story telling at its finest, with beautiful come to life illustrations, Where the Wild Things Are has been a staple bedtime story in my home for the last two decades. My kids especially like when the wild rumpus starts!
- The Poky Little Puppy
I loved this book growing up, and my 9 year old STILL loves it. Every time he sees it he gets excited (which is the exact reaction I want my kids to have when they are around books).
- And last, but not least, one of my all time favourites: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M Schultz
Although not well-known, or “classics” I have a handful of books that I bought for Travis that I have read to all my kids, and that I absolutely love. They are perfect bed-time stories, with vivid descriptions and beautiful illustrations.
- Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson
- There’s a Cow in the Road! by Reeve Lindbergh
- I Know a Place by Karen Ackerman
- Am I Beautiful? by Else Holmeland Minarik
What children’s books are on YOUR must-have list? I’d love to know! Please leave me a comment (as I’m always looking for more books to add to our shelves)!
Andrea resides in Calgary, Alberta, and is the mom to five boys between the ages of 7-22. Running mainly on coffee and sarcasm, in her spare time she enjoys listening to Canadian Rock, watching Calgary Flames hockey, reading YA Dystopian novels, binge watching 90s television on Netflix, and entering contests.
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