Watch this video on my Read Remark YouTube channel and get other book recommendations here.
This week’s video is all about books for kids.
I’m bringing in the kid for this one! (Even though the books we are discussing are for a younger demographic)
I have discussed before the heartbreaking fact that neither of my boys like books (heartbreaking, I tells ya!!)
But that’s not at all due to a lack of great children’s books. OK, I’m going on a tangent for a moment…
I don’t think children’s book authors get enough credit. They’re not necessarily under-respected, but I read once about the Goodnight Moon effect: someone reads Goodnight Moon, sees how simple it is, and foolheartedly thinks they can do that, too.
But there’s art in brevity.
It’s not easy to get a story across in concise words that will hold not only the kid’s attention, but also the poor adult who has to buy the book and read it 10 times in a row.
These are books that help shape a person’s childhood and set them up for life. There’s a lot of responsibility in that, and it’s not as easy to get right as people may think.
The other day, I was watching a retrospective of the 70s, and they talked about the premier of the Mr. Rogers show. I almost cried on the spot; it was a visceral reaction to his show and the calming, reassuring presence it had in my childhood. (Rest in peace, Mr. Rogers – you were wonderful)
The very best children’s books will have the same effect.
Reading them, no matter what age, is like going home. The words take you back to that cocoon, when you curled into your parents’ warm arms, listened to the cadence of their voices as they read the lyrical words, and the colors of the pictures swirled in front of your eyes and brought your imagination to life.
This is NOT an exhaustive list. It’s just three plus a bonus. I know I’m doing a disservice by not mentioning the hundreds of other gems out there for kiddos, but then I’d have a five-hour-long video. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak
This book took us by surprise. It’s so good!
True to the title, The Book with No Pictures indeed has no pictures. But that doesn’t make it any less entertaining than other kid books.
The fun resides within the words themselves. Sometimes it’s a trick of typography, sometimes it’s the sound effect. Every kid I;ve mentioned this book to immediately knows about it and immediately want me to read it to them.
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
This one’s a recommendation from the kid. He likes it for the exact opposite reason he likes The Book with No Pictures.
It has no words.
In his words:
â€œI like that it doesnâ€™t have words and you can make up the story from the pictures.â€
Fortunately by Remy Charlip
Holy moly, this is one of my personal favorites. It’s been years since I read this book to my boys at bedtime, but we still reference it all the time in real-life situations.
Unfortunately, we’re out of food.
Fortunately, we’re going to the grocery store!
Unfortunately, Mom’s on a health kick and we’re pretty much getting a bunch of salad and quinoa.
Fortunately, we’re also getting chocolate!
Nothing Ever Happens on My Block by Ellen Raskin
Another long-time favorite. My parents read this book to me when I was a kid, and I was so pleased to get to read the exact same book (same copy and all) to my own boys many years later.
How we held on to that book for so long is beyond me. In fact, I have several books like that, passed down from my mom to me, and eventually, they’ll go to my own book-hating kids.
This book showcases a boy who lives on an utterly boring block. But if you pay attention to the illustrations around him, it’s one of the most exciting places.
It’s fun to see the different subplots we all focus on when reading the book. I like to see the house struck by lightning. One kid likes the bank heist. There are lots of subplots.
I’d love to hear your recommended books for kids! Let me know your favorites in the comments. Thanks for watching!