As a nanny, I've discovered that reading is an essential way for both children and adults to bond and learn. Books can take you away to another world. Reading is my very favorite thing to do with children! I hope that you are able to enjoy some of my favorite stories with your children! If you can't find these titles at your local bookstore, be sure to check Amazon.com. My hope is that some of your personal favorites are on this list. Perhaps you will discover some new favorites for your family here! Look for an asterisk (*) next to the books that were the author of this article's favorites in her childhood.
The more interactive the book, the longer you'll keep this age entertained! Finger Puppet Books (Little Learners) by Parragon Books are a delightful way for kids to learn songs like Old McDonald Had A Farm, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Five Little Monkeys, and more - all the while keeping them fascinated by the puppets that are built into these cardboard books.
Disney Sound Books, with buttons to push for music and sounds, and Usborne touchy-feely books (such as 'That's not my plane...' and, 'That's not my tractor...') are also perfect for this age. My basic rule of thumb for this age is to try to pick books with few words on each page...and the more flaps to open, sounds to listen to, textures to feel, the better!
Little ones are CAPTIVATED by books by author Richard Fowler. This genius man wrote fun, interactive books about little animals that go on adventures. Most children spend ten to twenty minutes using the little paper animals and weaving them in and out of the slots on each page. These books (with titles like ' A Squirrel's Tale ' and, ' There's A Mouse About The House ') have been a huge hit with every child I've ever watched (in this age category).
The previously mentioned Usborne touchy-feely books are also popular for this age.
All of the Curious George books by Hans and Margret Rey are fun for littles.
At this age children are developing longer attention spans. Here are a few of my favorite titles for ages four to six:
- Wacky Wednesday by Doctor Seuss (writing as Theo. LeSieg)
- Go Dog, Go!* by P.D. Eastman
- Stephanies's Ponytail* by Robert Munsch
- All of the Berenstain Bears* books by Jan and Stan Berenstain
- Books about superheroes (Batman, Spiderman, etc) are also popular at this age.
As mentioned above, chapter books about superheroes are still popular at this age.
As a young girl, I fell in love with the fictional story of Sara Crew in the book A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. You can't help but be captivated by the story of sweet and clever little Sara who had been living in India, the daughter of a rich man, at a boarding home in London. This is a riches-to-rags story of a girl that chooses to make the best of her lot in life, no matter how fortunate or unfortunate. Sara brightens the lives of those around her and this wholesome book will leave young girls begging for more! Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish are also a hit with girls this age.
The Boxcar Children* books by Gertrude Chandler Warner are an exciting step into the world of four siblings that consistently solve mysteries.
This is the age where I began to really enjoy biographies and autobiographies (age-appropriate, of course). Read about Jim Elliot, George Washington Carver, and other historic figures, and you'll know why! Classic mysteries like Nancy Drew, by Carolyn Keene; and The Hardy Boys, by Franklin W. Dixon; are also popular for this age group. Another fun book for your adventurous young pre-teen or teen is Hatchet* by Gary Paulsen. Follow the fight for survival that the main character, thirteen year-old Brian Robeson, has after the private plane he is in crash-lands on a lake in isolated wilderness.