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Children's Early Learning Books

Posted on October 28 2021

Girl in a cool hat sitting on a couch in a book shop reading

Kids need books. They need books to read, and they need books that can be read to them by their parents. Reading is a vital step in a child’s education, and books provide things that other mediums just cannot.

Reading to your child or helping your child to read before they enter school will give them a leg up in many ways. For example, reading helps a child develop basic language skills and increases their vocabulary. Fiction and non-fiction books can widen a child’s consciousness, offering the reader new ways to think and see the world, as well as expanding their universe beyond time and space while inspiring original thought.

And reading books can help develop critical thinking skills in a child. When a child reads, it is a singular event of rhythm. There is no laugh track or musical cues to inform them how they should think and feel about situations or characters. The reader alone decides what to think, feel and what to take away from the story.

Two kids sitting on chair outside reading

That’s just scratching the surface. As children, books help us expand our imagination, try the world out before jumping into it, help children understand themselves, and chart their own moral and ethical course through life.

The benefits of reading to your child and helping your child appreciate and love reading have an immeasurable effect on the rest of their lives. From answering questions to understanding why it’s essential to ask them and beyond, starting your child on a reading life is one of the greatest gifts you could give them.

To help get you started, here are twelve outstanding children’s books that will engage, enlighten and become favorites for your kids.

Monster Mama

Monster mama

Liz Rosenberg pens this delightful story about Patrick Edward, whose mama is a monster; Patrick loves her to the moon despite this fact. One day, Patrick is attacked by three bullies, and he discovers he might be more like his mama than he once thought.

Monster Mama is great for readers ages 2-6 and will open the world up to your child and start some great discussions about what your kids may face at school.

If you love this one, we know you will check out this lovely story, Momma Loves Her Little Son, by John Carter Cash.

Love You Forever 

Since its publication in 1986, Love You Forever has sold over 30 million copies in English alone. Add to those hundreds of thousands of copies in Spanish and French.

The story veins with a young mother holding her newborn son and singing to him:
I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby, you’ll be.

Thus begins this sweet tale written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw. Love You Forever is perfect for ages 1-6.

Here’s another suggestion if you loved this one. Read I’m Just Like My Mom and keep the connection going.

A island in the ocean

Where the Wild Things Are

This Caldecott-winning book by Maurice Sendak is a classic for any reader at any age. It inspired movies, an opera. And best of all, the imaginations of kids all over the world.

When Max, dressed in his wolf costume, is sent to bed for being rambunctious, his imagination kicks in, and off he goes to an island inhabited by the Wild Things. Here, he lets his wild side run free. His tantrum finds its freedom but, he is pulled back by a supper that’s still hot and parental love that cannot be measured.

Sendak’s words and thrilling illustrations make this a must-read for any kid. Where the Wild Things Are is great for kids 4-8 years old.

Once you’ve read that, look at this classic, The Jungle Book, full of tales of Mowgli and the jungle he lives in.

Goodnight Moon

Margaret Wise Brown has given us an undisputed classic starter for the tots. The story of a little rabbit at bedtime. Woven with incredible language; In the great green room/There was a telephone/And a red balloon/And a picture of/ The cow jumping over the moon.

Wondrous drawings by Clement Hurd will delight your child. This is a book great for ages up to 2 years old. Goodnight Moon is available almost everywhere, and no child should be without this simple poetic masterpiece.

Check out this title, Good Night, Sleep Tight, by Claire Freedman for more sweet tales of bedtime.

The Ugly Duckling 

Hans Christen Anderson’s tale of a little duckling who is ostracised by the others because he doesn’t seem right. He struggles, he stays true to himself, and he grows to be a beautiful swan. This is a classic story that has delighted generations. The details in the illustrations are peerless, and the positive message is one that all kids can use these days.

The Ugly Duckling is timeless and will delight your child, and is just right for ages 1-6.

Being different can be challenging for kids; reinforce the belief in themselves with this great read, You’re Not Ugly, Duckling! Keep the positive messages going.

a cat looking straight into the camera

The Cat in the Hat 

This beginning reader by the unmatched Dr. Seuss finds Dick and Sally moping about on a dreary rainy day when the Cat in the Hat appears and delightfully turns their world upside down.
Add Thing 1 and Thing 2 and a prickly, overprotective fish, and you’re in for one great afternoon.

Filled with that wonderful Seuss language of poetry and fun, plus larger-than-life characters, this is a book your kids will return to again and again. The Cat in the Hat is available at Marissa’s Books, and it will delight all readers; I’m sure you will see, from ages 3 up to 73.

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh 

Who could pass up the wondrous tales of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Rabbit as they lived and frolicked in the Hundred Acre Wood? In poem and story, A.A. Milne gives us these wonderful characters with their quirks and foibles and their deep love and respect for each other.

Later the characters were made even more famous by Disney but, this book is where it all began. Once you get a taste for these sweet characters, you’ll want to follow up with The House on Pooh Corner. This classic is great for readers of all ages as it grows and deepens as you do. You can find Pooh and pals in the hundred-acre wood or read about their adventures in The Complete Tales.

And, if your craving for stories about The Hundred Acre Wood is not satisfied, look at the Winnie-The-Pooh Complete Collection and keep the adventure going.

My Very First Mother Goose 

This is a journey through 60 nursery rhymes, some very familiar, some new to the ears. Iona Opie has gathered these classic rhymes, and together with watercolors by Rosemary Wells, you have a collection of absolute perfection.

Your child will delight in the sing-sing language of these tales as they learn about life, love, and friendship. You can get this treasure chest full of delights such as “Little Jack Horner,” “Hey Diddle Diddle,” and “Pat-a-cake” and start your child’s adventure today with their introduction to Mother Goose.

The stories never end with this wise ol’ Goose. Your child will want more of her poems and stories, and they can find them in Mother Goose, Old Nursery Rhymes.

Guess How Much I Love You 

This is an utterly delightful tale of unconditional love. A young bunny and his father try to one-up the other with how big their love for the other is. A lovely story that is beautifully illustrated in rich watercolors by Anita Jeram. You love this one to the moon and back, and you can find Guess How Much I Love You and start your child on this wonderfully warm journey.

The warmth and fun continue with this tale of nose rubbing, always hugging bears. Read More about the love between parent and child in the wondrous I Love You to the Moon and Back.

a small boy feedeing deer at the zoo

Dear Zoo 

A lift the flap classic. Interactive and so much fun. A child writes to the zoo seeking a pet. The zoo sends back a whole parade of animals, all of them wrong for various reasons, until the crate arrives with the perfect pet!

Rod Campbell’s fun book is celebrating 25 years in publication. The story and illustrations are just as engaging and joyful today as they were 25 years ago. Just right for ages baby to four. You can take your child on a visit to the zoo with Dear Zoo and create a lifelong fan of reading and the zoo!

Kids love the zoo, and it is a great place for stories and adventures. If your child loves the zoo, keep reading and enjoy One Night in the Zoo for more fun.

Are You My Mother? 

A product of Beginner Books, founded by Dr. Seuss and his wife as an alternative to the dull primers that most kids were exposed to before 1957. P.D. Eastman’s story of a baby bird that has fallen from its nest and seeks its mother is timeless.

In Are You My Mother?, the bird asks a dog, a kitten, a cow, a steam shovel, and an airplane, if any is his mother. The tale ends happily as the bird is returned to the nest and united with mom. Again 1-3 will love this story.

Here’s a twist on the story, a Young Panda wakes to find he’s lost his bottom. He goes on a search through striped bums, pink butts to find his. It all ends well in this delightful tale Are You My Bottom?

Red boot in snow

The Snowy Day 

This Caldecott Medal-winning picture book tells the story of the wonder that abounds when the world is covered with a blanket of snow. This book has universal appeal as it shows the wonder of life through a child’s eyes.

Ezra Jack Keats gives us a charming tale of a boy in the city that is suddenly covered in snow. Perfect for ages newborn to 3, watch them see the wonder of the world and all its possibilities come to life. When the weather outside is frightful, or you just want to connect with your child, The Snowy Day is the perfect place to start.

A snow day can be the start of so many adventures and stories. Here’s another one that you kids will love. See what the snow does to Thomas the Train in Thomas’ Snowy Day.

Girl sitting on the floor in a book store reading

More Baby and Kids Books 

That’s just a dozen, and it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. The best way to find your new favorites is to ask friends who have kids, ask school teachers or just shop online at Marissa’s Books and prepare yourself for a lifetime of stories, poems, images, and delight.

More Dr. Seuss and A.A. Milne will always be asked for, but new authors and illustrators surprise the world daily. As long as there are kids, there are going to be books aimed at helping them read, understand the world, make friends, enjoy life, and how to love and be loved.

If you want to know more or just feel like expanding your books collection, talk to the folks at Marissa’s Books. They’ll send you to the stacks, where you’ll find a world that is just waiting for you to come long for the ride. Get your kids reading, read to them, create that ever-lasting bond through stories and books.