Reading to T as he rests his head on my shoulder is a joyful way to unwind.
We’ve been reading at night with T since we adopted him at 14 months.
As noted by the American Library Association, young kids that are frequently read to are more likely to recognize letters, have word-sight recognition, and understand words in context.
More recently, it’s nice to see T becoming more active in asking questions, retelling bits of the story and occasionally asking to read along.
In the last year, we are focusing hard on building his reading and decoding skills.
We’re thankful his teacher gives daily reading homework. Combined with bedtime reading – where there is no expectation other than to listen – we will slowly grow his skills.
It’s Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr
Todd Parr’s books are filled with positive messages that celebrate diversity and his joyful art reminds me of Keith Haring’s work.
This book was one of the weekly books T borrowed from his school library. I love the message that affirms to kids – with images of kids of all ages, sizes and abilities, from different backgrounds and family compositions – that it’s okay to be different!
The last time we read this, T asked to read. With the exception of a few words, he read it cover to cover on his own. The best part? One page stated: “It’s okay to be adopted.”
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
As a horror enthusiast, I love that T is discovering a love of scary things.
This book is more funny than scary and is about Jasper Rabbit who loves devouring wild carrots, until they start stalking him. Is he losing his mind or is he being gaslit?
Beautiful illustrations bring this comical story – and its twist ending – to life!
Clifford’s Good Deeds by Norman Bridwell
I discovered Clifford books when my family immigrated to Canada when I was eight and it’s been fun introducing them to T.
T owns a collection of the first six Clifford books. He loves the idea of having a big red dog. The story about Clifford doing good deeds that go awry was particularly amusing to him.
Bon Voyage Mister Rodriguez by Christiane Duchesne
As T gets older, he is naturally asking bigger questions about life, such as death.
Books provide kids with safe spaces to explore hard topics. This story of Mister Rodriguez, who is only visible to children and sickly animals, is a surrealistic story that leaves things open ended for kids to interpret what happens after life.
Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
T and I discovered the charming work of Irish writer and illustrator Oliver Jeffers through one of my dearest friends, who gifts T a new Jeffers book on every birthday.
Gifted to T for his 6th birthday, this story is narrated by a dad to his newborn about what they need to know about life.
As a parent, it made me realize just how much info there is to unpack for a little child. For T, he loved the quirky illustrations and the fun facts about space, deep ocean animals, and different cultures.
Happy Birthday, Big Bad Wolf by Frank Asch
Reading inspirations come from all places. This little book came with a McDonald’s Happy Meal, so it’s literally a tiny sized book.
It tells the story of the Little Pig who wants to throw a surprise party for the Big Bad Wolf, despite his parents’ hesitation. It provides a lesson about giving people a fair chance to prove themselves to others.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
The best children’s books are the ones that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults.
This wonderfully-illustrated book is about a boy named Duncan who receives letters from the crayons in his crayon box, either lavishing appreciation or complaints about his use of them. Duncan’s response is truly inspired.
Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco
The newest addition to T’s collection was gifted to him by his recently-departed CYW.
Books are great tools to educate kids about important social issues in relatable and non preachy ways. This story highlights the plight of Indigenous communities in Canada that do not have access to clean drinking water.
T loves to play at the sink – at home and school – for prolonged times, because he enjoys the sensory input of water. I try to balance indulging his play while guiding him to not be wasteful.