Growing up my mom would always tell me that reading expands your vocabulary. She preferred for me to spend hours reading a book than a few minutes watching TV. To motivate me she would let me go with my dad to Bookmark or Goodwill every Sunday to pick out a book. Because of this I love to read to this day. I need to read (even if just a little bit) before going to sleep. I’ve also come to realise that reading is what helped spark my imagination and get my grammar and vocabulary to where it is today. For that, I am eternally grateful to my parents for encouraging me to read at a very young age.
I began my daughter on her journey with reading while she was in the womb. We went through many books since she was born and we had our favorites together. However, as she goes through her toddler years, she has developed her own set of reading favorites. Sharing with you the books that we’ve been reading over and over again.
1. We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
When I first read this book to my baby girl, she was scared of it. Then I started singing it to her (yes, it has a tune which you can find on youtube) and she started loving it. The story follows five children and a dog as they go on, as the title suggests, a bear hunt and the many obstacles they have to go through before they reach their goal. A definite classic!
2. Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton
For some reason, my daughter developed an obsession over belly buttons so this book instantly caught her attention. It’s all about hippos, their belly buttons, things that look like they have belly buttons, and a little baby hippo who only says, “Bee-bo!” It also ends in a song with a really cute rhyme, which was enough to make it to my little girl’s list of favorites.
3. Tickle Time by Sandra Boynton
“There’s nothing like a TICKLE TIME to make you feel like new!” And what toddler doesn’t love a tickle! This book simply bursts with fun rhymes and tickles that it brings out the giggles in my baby girl. “It’s the gitchy-gitchy-goo that makes everything worthwhile.”
4. The Crayon Book of Colors and The Crayon Book of Numbers by Drew Daywalt
These books are a spin off from the originals “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “The Day the Crayons Came Home”. While my little girl doesn’t quite appreciate the original two just yet, she simply loves these two. It indulges her fascination with coloring, naming the colors, and naming things that the crayons have colored, as well as counting them. These are two books that she insists we “have to” read everyday.
5. Don’t Touch This Book! by Bill Cotter
You know how it is when you tell kids not to touch something, the more they do it? And that is exactly why my little girl loves this book. Larry the monster begins by being selfish and saying, “Don’t touch this book!” and that he decides who gets to play with him. The idea is for the child to teach him how to share by being creative. And so as the story progresses it becomes more interactive until he is happy to play anytime. Win Win for Larry and Baby!
6. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
I first tried reading this to my daughter when she was around nine months old. She didn’t care for it much. But after reading it to her again (and singing it) at around one year and four months, she began to like it. The book is all about the letters of the alphabet climbing a coconut tree until it bends and falls. More than the meeting, I think my little girl was more interested in what happens to the letters, A B and C need help getting up, D has a skinned knee, E has a stubbed toe, and so on, as well as the tune that comes with it.
7. Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
Following my little girl’s fascination with colors, I took her on a tour of the life of Little Blue and Little Yellow by introducing her to this book. She was thrilled to know that her little color friends had many other little color friends and that when Little Blue and Little Yellow hug, they turn into Little Green. It's the like the most amazing thing ever!
8. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Lucille Colandro
This was a rhyme I learned as a kid (which I absolutely loved) so I was more than excited to get this book for my daughter. It may sound a little morbid, an old lady swallows a cow, a goat, a dog, a cat, a bird, a spider that wiggles and jiggles and tickles inside her, a fly… Until she realizes that they are all her friends so she coughs them out. Why this book is one of her favorites is because it comes with a song that tickles her when I sing it to her.
I learned how fun it was to let my little girl discover books she loves on her own. It's really interesting to see what excites and interests her. At the same time, it develops her love for reading without having to force it on her. Happy Mommy, Happy Baby!