The Best Non-Classic Books For Your Child’s Bookshelfby Elizabeth MacDonald
My five kids range in age from 3 months old to 8 years. You can imagine that our bookshelves have a bit of variety to them. We also homeschool. So go ahead and re-imagine those bookshelves. That’s the problem actually, overflowing bookshelves. I recently decided to tackle the book situation in our home. My husband and I believe that children should be surrounded by books, and see us reading as often as possible. So far, we have succeeded in both aspects; however, it was time for a clean out. I elected to sort through what we owned and categorize it all: Donations, Homeschool Read-Alouds for all kids, Homeschool by age, Independent Learning to Read, Classics, Daytime Books, Nighttime Books, Baby and Toddler Books. Once I had my piles, I started taping ripped pages and covers back together and let go of books that had been chewed to bits. I realized that somehow we had collected a lot of random books that were “One-Time-Reads.” Frustrating. You know the ones – those thin picture-style, four-words-on-a-page kind of books. Even if they are read more than once, they are not (what I consider) fun to read. I did keep them – in the “Independent Reading” category – because I’m done reading them! Ha. Then I started perusing blogs and Usborne parties and bookstores and Amazon for the highest recommended books to add to our shelves! I took the plunge and purchased a bunch. Want to know which ones? Of course you do…
Remember that we like hand-me-downs here. I did get a few specific books for my daughter because we are really working on reading, and I want her to love what’s on her shelf. But other than that, these are pretty gender neutral, and most can be loved for years and years (and will turn in to independent reading books down the road.)
Best Books for Your Child’s Bookshelf
I’m not including the classics (Paddington Bear, Corduroy Bear, Goodnight Moon, Charlotte’s Web etc) because there are 10,000 blogs out there with those on the list. Instead, I’m sticking with the ‘non-classics;’ the books that you will love to read as much as your kids will love to hear them! Another Tip: Audio books are WONDERFUL!!! I use them for my emerging reader and my kindergartener who is learning letters (and my preschooler loves to listen in too!). I set up a CD player and headphones as a station to our homeschool day!
Books Written by or with Illustrations by Eric Carle: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (and the Baby Bear version!), The Mixed Up Chameleon - These are just a few of our favorites.
Pinkalicious Series by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann
Llama Llama Series by Anna Dewdy (I love all EXCEPT the Red Pajamas because I feel like a scared llama needed his llama mama!!)
Shine-a-Light On It Books: Oh, Usborne, how you strip me of my money. These are fantastic books – my kids are currently obsessed with the Rainforest and Human Body books in this series.
I Miss My Monster by Amanda Noll
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Mercer Mayer Series: All of the Little Critter books are fun.
Peep/Look/See Inside Books: Usborne books are the best – this series of "Inside Things" books is just great! We are addicted to them. See Inside Your Body is just one of our favorites, along with Look Inside Space, Peep Inside a Fairytale (all of them!), See Inside Fairyland, See Inside General Knowledge, See Inside Science, See Inside London, See Inside Ancient Rome, See Inside Planet Earth, See Inside How Things Work, and See Under the Sea
That’s Not My… Series by Usborne Books: Not my Squirrel, Penguin, Princess, etc…
Muddle and Match Books: Create your own adventure! Another great idea by Usborne.
Lift-the-Flap How Do Flowers Grow (Usborne): As a gardening family, I love that my kids will understand how things grow!
Mo Willems Books: You cannot go wrong with any of his books. Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus! Piggy and Gerald
The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
My Truck Is Stuck by Lewis and Kirk
Pete The Cat Series by James Dean
Splat the Cat Series by Rob Scotton
The Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett
The Day the Crayons Quit (and The Day the Crayons Came Home) by Daywalt and Jeffers
The Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
The Book With No Pictures by Novak
The Berenstein Bears Series by the Berensteins
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell
Sandra Boyton Board Books: (ALL.OF.THEM.) Little ears love these books.
Books by Don and Audrey Wood: The Napping House, Silly Sally, Heckedy Peg, etc - all are wonderful!
Good Night, Good Night Construction Site by Rinker and Lichtenheld
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashlety Spires
Andrea Beaty Books: Iggy Peck, Architect Ada Twist, Scientist Rosie Revere, Engineer
Curious George Series by H.A. Ray
Big Plans by Bob Shea --- This has become a motto in our home -- "BIG PLANS I SAY!"
Gordy and the Magic Diet by Kim Diersen
**A lot of our favorite books are from Usborne – if you haven’t shopped the 1600 book selection yet (or feel overwhelmed by it), click HERE for some insight! (My kids are obsessed with their sticker books too – just an FYI)
Chapter Books (to Read Aloud, Together, or Independently)
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (ANYTHING by Roald Dahl)
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Rainbow Magic Fairy Series by Daisy Meadows
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Completely Cassidy-Accidental Genius by Tamsyn Murray
Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair by Williamson
The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne
Fly Guy by Ted Arnold
Junie B Jones by Barbara Park
Minnie and Moo by Denys Cazet (The entire series is fun!)
Our Followers’ Favorites
Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman Little Golden Books Pete’s Dragon by Landry Walker Skulduggary Pleasant by Derek Landy Dr. Suess Books: The Cat in the Hat Learning Library, I Can Read with my Eyes Shut, One Fish, Two Fish, The Foot Book The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry The Tickle Tree by Chae Strathie Peanut Butter Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Captain Underpants by Dave Pikley Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman If Kisses Were Colors by Janet Lawler The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel When the Word was Waiting for You by Shields and Currey Harry the Dirty Dog – Glen Zion (The whole "Harry" series!) Snowmen at Night -Caralyn Buchner Bear and Friends – Wilson and Chapman Car Goes Fast - Michael Garland