Judging from the comments on Facebook and Twitter, when The Berenstain Bears co-creator Jan Berenstain died, I wasn’t the only one who was saddened. The Berenstain Bears books were one of my favorites growing up. In fact, I’m pretty sure I read every single one of them at my local public library. Those books reinforced good lessons my parents taught me: tell the truth, don’t watch too much TV, stranger danger and clean up your room, gosh darn-it (okay, that might have been an improv line from my mom—and it might have been a bit more PG-13 rated)! And, once I have little ones of my one, I hope that they’ll enjoy them as much as I did.
I’ve always been a book worm; as a kid, nothing thrilled me more than when the book fair came to school. And I’d constantly bug my mom to take me to the library. (Not surprisingly, she’s a fan of books, too.) There’s just something magical about books—especially the ones you love when you’re a kid. They take you to new places, expose you to new cultures, dare you to dream bigger and sometimes make you a better person (see The Berenstain Bears book on telling the truth above). While there are about a million kids’ books out there (that makes me SO happy!), we thought we’d round up a few titles that touched our hearts over the years. Books that we fell in love with and think should be recommended reading for the next generation, too!
7 Best Kids’ Books
1. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shell Silverstein. This collection of poems still inspires me. “If you are a dreamer, come in, If you are a dreamer, A wisher, a liar, A hope-er, a pray-er, A magic bean buyer…” It just doesn’t get much better than that.
2. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell. I’m not sure what it is about a giant red dog, but pretty much every kid I know loves Clifford. Maybe it’s the idea of snuggling with a puppy that big that just sounds amazing…While all of the Clifford titles are good, the original is always a good place to start.
3. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. While you really can’t go wrong with any Dr. Seuss title (The Lorax does run a close second to this one, for the record—and not just because the movie is out!), this one about navigating the maze that is life is one that applies to you no matter how old you are. Dr. Seuss was a wise one.
4. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. To this day, if I see a lone tree off in the distance, I imagine Ferdinand the bull below it, peacefully chilling. Besides having beautiful illustrations, this book has one of the sweetest messages and endings of any book I’ve ever read. A definite must-have kids’ book.
5. Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton. All kids’ books should have an element of silliness, and all of Sandra’s Boynton’s books have that! Funny, rhyming and with enough animal noises to keep kids and parents engaged, this book is a must for the small ones. I love it so much that it’s now my standard kids’ book gift at any shower or kid’s birthday party!
6. Just So Thankful (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer. The Little Critter books are all super endearing, but this one that teaches that real happiness comes from gratitude and the less tangible things? Well, it’s a good lesson for all of us.
7. Any title of The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Sentimental? Yes. But they’re good. And you can get five for less than $10. ‘Nuff said.
Alright, I know there are TONS more good kids’ books out there. So tell us, what best kids’ book would you add to this list? —Jenn