A Mom-Author Picks Her Favorite Children’s Books
Friends are great, but sometimes their book suggestions are a bit off course. If you're looking for some good book recommendations for your little one's bookshelf, Elyssa Friedland — author of Love and Miss Communication (out May 12) — is here to help.
I'm a mother of three small children — ages 7 (big guy), 5 (middle girl), and 20 months (little guy) — and an author. I'm often asked if I would ever attempt a children's book, given that I have a big crew of little people at home and I obviously love to write. The answer is no, even though my oldest suggested we coauthor a book (he ditched me three pages in for an episode of The Haunted Hathaways).
The respect I have for children's authors is infinite. My forthcoming novel is 370 pages, while the average length of what I read to my kids at night is probably 25. That said, the ability of these writers to tap into their curious, developing brains and make them laugh and ask questions about the world within a short space and with such simple phrases is more than I could easily accomplish any day. Of course the illustrations are key as well, and I'm often amazed by the way the barest sketches set my brood's imaginations in motion. When a children's book is done well, the reader can't help but smile along and feel like a kid again.
I won't name names, but not all books for young ones are created equal, and we all know a bad book when we see it. Old stereotypes, clichés, bad grammar, a rehashed storyline: these are things that make me cringe, and those books have a way of "going missing" from our shelves, leading my kids to believe somewhere in our neighborhood resides a very sneaky book thief.
Kids love repetition and often want to hear the same book night after night. If this is the case in your house, I'm here to make your bedtime routine much more entertaining with a roundup of my favorite children's books. Some old, some new, some short, some long – but all winners! This list is geared for ages 0-8ish (actually more like 0-80, because they are so good).