We have been reading to Madeline since she was born. Before even. From her first days she heard the cadence of our voices, rhythmically saying words on a page as we showed her pictures that her unfocused eyes surely couldn’t make out. Then when she was about three weeks old, her “Nana” and “Pop Pop” gave her Goodnight Moon and our first reading routine began. Now, at nine months, Madeline’s book collection has grown significantly and we try to provide a lot of variety with frequent visits to the library.
There are many board books she enjoys looking at on her own. Others we always read to her. Some of her books have few or no words, and others are much too long for her to sit through at this point. However, we just want to expose her to as many books as we can, hoping to instill a value of reading at an early age. As a former teacher, I want my daughter to develop a love of reading and books. And with so many wonderful stories to read and illustrations to see, why not start early?
While her favorites have changed over time, and her preferences vary from day to day, these are some of the first books we read to Madeline that she enjoyed from early on and still loves now:
1. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
We read Goodnight Moon every night before listening to a lullaby and putting Madeline down for the night. It’s her favorite part of our bedtime routine.
2. Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans
It’s probably obvious why we love the Madeline books. When we received this book (thanks Melissa!), I didn’t plan on reading it until Madley was much older, but we were looking at the pictures one day and she was really into it, so we gave it a try and she loves it! I think it’s because it’s a rhyming book and there is very little text on each page.
3. First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
This is a short book with colorful and captivating pictures that draw little ones in. The repeating format makes it enjoyable for even the smallest readers (or listeners).
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has always been a favorite of mine to read aloud. It’s silly and the layout is fun.
5. Photo Look Book, by Sassy
So, this one isn’t technically a book you read to your child. But it was an early favorite because you put your own pictures in and babies love to look at faces-especially real ones and other babies. Since we live so far from almost all of our family, we filled this foam photo book with pictures of our loved ones and show them to Madeline often, naming each relative.
By introducing books early, I hope Madeline will appreciate them and find joy in reading as she grows. There’s no guarantee by reading to her now that will happen, but we both love story time and we’re sure having fun in the meantime.
What are your must-have books for babies and young children? Any favorites from your own childhood that has lasted through the years?