Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
I’ve heard it said that reading together is the single most important thing parents can do for the intellectual development of their child. But let’s face it, it’s good snuggling time too! We try to end each day with a bedtime story at our house. Sometimes we’re successful; sometimes we’re not. We’ve found it completely depends on the energy level of the parents (never the kids, right?)!
The other day I was watching one of my favorite movies, The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy never fails to inspire me. In the movie, Leigh Anne’s children prompt her to read The Story of Ferdinand the bull. Not only does the book trigger positive early memories, but it provides the family with a lens through which to better understand a new person in their life.
This example illustrates what separates a good book from books in general; a good book performs more than one function. It’s not simply entertainment. Perhaps it sparks our own creativity, connects to us emotionally, or gives us valuable insight. Picking it up can transport us – whether that’s to another world (like Harry Potter), to a safe place (like our mother’s lap), or to a perspective above our circumstances.
What follows are some favorites from our house to yours. Keep in mind that I have two boys, ages four and seven, though I adore these too.
Books we love that transport us to another world or time:
The Magic Tree House series
Star Wars I Can Read series
The Adventure Bible I Can Read series
Scholastic’s Character Counts series on famous people
Books perfect for memory-making (silly ones included):
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
NO-BOT: The Robot with No Bottom! by Sue Hendra
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Curious George anthologies
My Truck Is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and other pigeon books by Mo Willems
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Books that lift our perspective and teach us something:
One by Kathryn Otoshi – This book empowers children against bullying.
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado – This faith-based book portrays the value of every child.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – Even adults love this children’s Bible.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss – My children love “What was I Scared of?”
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
This post was for the recent TODAY Show Parenting Team challenge on reading to our children. Please take a minute to click here and vote for it by clicking the "VOTE UP" button! Thank you!