Great Book Options for Bedtime Stories

If you've hung around my blog for any amount of time, you know that I LOVE to read...

as in...

I love it so much, I make my hubby put on CLOSED CAPTIONING while watching a movie just so I can READ while watching!

My love affair with books began in 5th grade when my teacher, Mrs. Stefanopolous, challenged us to read 50 novels throughout the school year. I felt it was an impossible challenge because 1) our school didn't have a library, and being just outside of Detroit, there weren't any libraries necessarily close by either 2) we only had 1 car, so my mom couldn't get somewhere before dinner to find me books

But somehow, we did it...

My teacher brought in boxes of books for us to choose from and I don't know where else I found them...I remember asking neighbors or people from church if they had any books...and boy did I get a plethera of genres that year!

My love continued into adulthood and I did everything I could to pass it onto my children.  

I started "reading" to them while I was pregnant...I'd just read outloud whatever book I happened to be reading...and from the moment I brought them home, I began reading books to them every morning and every night...and in those first years, all throughout the day as well.

While pregnant with my second daughter, I started recording myself reading some of my eldest's favorite books...(this was the era of the tape recorder) So, I taught my 2 year old how to work my old boom box and put my recorded cassette tapes into baggies with the books. So during the times that I would be busy with baby, she could choose a book and have "mommy" read it aloud to her. 

As my girls got older, and the age spans started to spread out, sometimes A and I would take turns and/or split up the reading duties, especially if the older girls were into a particular novel, but my youngest just wanted her same familiar stories...

Once my eldest reached high school, I have to admit that the bedtime read alouds finally started to come to a close with her...but were replaced with conversation and sharing...

However, just last year, we all read through The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane together again. It's just FUN to get lost in a story...I just have a hard time stopping at the chapters and putting it away until the next night...Too often, I'm found hiding in a corner after having stole the book because I couldn't wait to read to the end...

I understand that finding a novel that fits all age categories is difficult...

So, for a while and especially during the holiday times when theme & topical books are all around our home, it's rather fun to go back to those old "PICTURE BOOKS"...

They are quick reads, and though they "seem" to be for "babies", sometimes the content, vocabulary and flow of the book actually hits the mark for all my girls' age groups. 

Reading together with our kids does some pretty amazing things...

1. It's TIME with YOU that they really crave...And, now having a teenager, I can tell you that all that time spent together translates into conversation and mom/daughter time that just evolved naturally.

2. Have I mentioned the app OVERDRIVE  It's AHHHmazing!  You can listen to books all the time...and as a former teacher AND a mom, I can guarantee that, by listening to others read aloud, a child's reading skills improve.  They hear the language and fluency from your mouth...they start to make connections between books and real life.  It's really quite remarkable!

3. It gives them new perspectives. As a parent while reading, I sometimes interject my own comments or thoughts or exclamations to the novel...in turn, my girls learn how to compare & contrast...they learn how to pull out the important "stuff" and focus on character development. They've learned about different cultures and historical events through fictional stories...they've learned about alliteration and even sarcasm :)


And so...

I thought I'd share some of my tried and true favorite PICTURE books titles...

These are super short reads for perhaps more of the preschool to upper elementary aged kids.  These are some of our favorites...ones they asked me to read over and over again...sometimes because of the illustrations...sometimes because the humor...often because of the "voices" I did to make a story come alive...

Title and author are listed below...

I'd LOVE to hear if YOU have any favorites that I should try as well...
leave a comment below!!! 

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle dude: If you want to be deemed the COOLEST elementary parent read aloud person in school, you MUST get this book!  It's ridiculously funny and appeals to adults & children alike! And you also must use "valley girl" voices :)

Chester: I'm not sure why I like this so much...maybe it's that subtle sarcasm and sass from a cat...I think it just makes me giggly!

The Gruffalo: THIS is my all time favorite!  Because after you read the book you can actually watch a little video  of it too!!! I love the repetition of this book.  I actually photocopied the pages and adhered them to felt for a felt board story when my youngest was little.  She memorized the entire book and could retell it on the flannel board :) You can watch here :) It is precious and again, you MUST do the voices to make it totally worthwhile!

Big Week for Little Mouse I got lost in the illustrations of this book...it's all made from clay and 3D materials...It's a quaint little read and one my girls all loved.

Llama, Llama Red Pajama: Repetition is so key at a young age...they not only learn to retell stories, but they start to recognize letters and sounds...I love how my girls related to the stories I read to them, how they made connections to their own lives and also recognized good choices & poor choices...even with silly story books!

Bedtime for Bear: oh goodness, this one comes a close 2nd to the Gruffalo...and you've got to do the voices too..I loved this story of a bear and a mouse.  It's one of those stories that adults will love too! I love all of Bonny Becker's bear books...they are must reads for sure!

Bear Snores On: Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman are a dynamic duo with this Bear series...it's not only a wonderful, feel good read, but the illustrations hit a home run too!

Elephant and Piggie: Mo Willems is just fantastic!  I love the Pigeon books too..but Elephant & Piggie quickly became a favorite for my youngest because she was able to start picking out words and reading these at a very young age and STILL able to grasp the story line.  These are great books that won't get boring to read over and over again.

Falling for Rapunzel:  This is another elementary classroom type read aloud...it's one where the subtle sarcasm and "cool funny" is actually hilarious...and it makes the kids feel super awesome because they figured out the "joke"

Blueberries for Sal: this book is very old...and illustrations are in black and white...and it would seem at first glance, perhaps not worth the effort...but, I tell you, as a former teacher...the higher level language and story line, with age appropriate content is wonderful...it holds the attention of little ones while still going "longer" in the read...This is an oldie but a goody!






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