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Are your children old enough yet that you are starting to stockpile things for your future grandkids? I kept a few of my daughters’ and son’s clothes, a few favorite toys (including an old toy barn that probably every American kid in existence has had at one time or another), and even a few teething toys and rattles they all loved when they were babies.
Then, there are the books. I’ve got a collection that I can’t wait (well, okay, I can wait) to read to my grandkids someday.
There are those that my grandmother read to me, those that my mom read to me, and new ones that my kids and I discovered.
I’ve narrowed it down to 15 (or maybe a few more than 15) of my favorites for this list…and I’m sure there are plenty I’m forgetting.
NOTE: This article was originally published in September of 2013 by Kris, the previous owner/found of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. I, Wendy, updated and republished it in July of 2022. Something I love about that is the fact that many of the picture books Kris included when this was originally published are still popular and beloved favorite picture books almost 10 years later!
The Seven Silly Eaters – I started the list with The Seven Silly Eaters because, when I asked my adult daughter to name her favorite picture book that we read together when she was little, this is the book she immediately named. ♥ It’s a fun story (with beautiful illustrations) about 7 young children who are picky eaters.
Alexander, the Red Horse with Green Stripes– This is one of Kris’s favorite books of all time. Her mom sold her copy in a yard sale before her kids were born. She snatched up a replacement copy when she found it at a used bookstore. All of her kids have had it read to them dozens of times.
Officer Buckle and Gloria – This is another of my kids’ favorite picture books of all time! The illustrations make the book. Check out our suggestions for activities to do with Officer Buckle and Gloria.
The Monster at the End of This Book – I discovered this book at a friend’s house when we went for a play date when my kids were little. I used to read it to my kids and nieces and nephews all. the. time. It got to the point where I didn’t even need to look at the words. If you ever run into me somewhere, just ask. I can probably recite it to you. My kids probably can, too.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – This circular tale is about a mouse and a little boy who gives the mouse a cookie. When the mouse eats the cookie, of course he needs a glass of milk to go with it. Then he has to look in the mirror to be sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache. One thing leads to another (and another) until the story comes full circle. There are other books in this series, but this was always my kids’ favorite. I love that the text is short (which is perfect for the short attention spans of young children) and the pictures and story are so much fun!
The Poky Little Puppy – This was one of my very favorite books as a young child. I loved it. A lot. I also read it quite often to my children when they were small.
It’s about a poky little puppy who digs holes under fences and ends up having to go to bed without any dessert. Definitely a family favorite!
I Am a Bunny – I think if I had to pick one single favorite kids’ book of all time, this would be it! It’s a simple book about a bunny who watches the seasons change until he hibernates for winter and dreams about spring. The pictures are colorful and beautiful–which is probably why I loved this book so much as a small child. There are two other similar books: I Am a Mouse and I Am a Kitten.
Bread and Jam for Frances – To be honest, I had several favorite Frances books! And I loved every single one. My girls also loved them. Bedtime for Frances was probably my second favorite, followed very closely by A Baby Sister for Frances.
The Story of Ferdinand – I have to admit my kids didn’t love this book like I did, but I hope my grandkids will. The black & white illustrations are absolutely beautiful!
Caps for Sale – I never read this book as a child, but I read it often to my own kids, and one day I’ll read it to my grandkids! It’s a fun story about a peddler trying to outwit some monkeys. It includes repetition and rhymes kids love.
Library Lion – This is another book I loved as a child, and my children loved it too. (Yes, you’re right. I do say that about every book on the list! But it’s true!) It’s about…you guessed it…a lion who goes to the library.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel – This book is a little bit long for kids, but my son loved it!
Madeline – When I was a little older, I read (and loved) all of the Madeline books. My girls never loved them as much as I did, but they did enjoy reading them sometimes. And I always enjoyed reading the books to them since I enjoyed them so much as a child.
So many people recognize the familiar lines at the beginning of the book, “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”
Just for You – My kids read this book so many times it completely fell apart! I was happy to read it to them because it had been a favorite of mine as a kid too.
It’s a sweet story about Little Critter trying to help his mom. Since he’s so little, though, it turns out he’s the one who sometimes needs help. We also loved many of the other Little Critter books.
Some of our other favorites were Just Me and My Dad and I Was So Mad.
Ladybug on the Move – This book is a favorite of Kris and her daughter, Brianna. They discovered it at story time at their local library. Their favorite feature of the book is that it comes with a little die-cut ladybug that goes in and out of the pages. (If you decide to buy this book, double-check that the version you’ve chosen comes with the die-cut ladybug.)
Harry the Dirty Dog – My mom read this book to my twin sister and me about a million times when we were too young to read it for ourselves. I read it about a million times to my own kids when they were too young to read it for themselves. I have so many fond memories of this book! It’s about a dog who gets so dirty that his family doesn’t recognize him, so he finally has to give in and take a bath. It’s a super cute story!
This book was republished in 2002, but the original was written in 1956. There are several more Harry books you might love including Harry and the Lady Next Door and Harry by the Sea.
Too Much Noise – This is another recommendation from Kris (who originally wrote this article, and I updated it in 2022). It’s a fun book about Peter, who thinks his house is noisy until the village wise man teaches him a lesson in perspective.
Remember back in the day when we brought home those Scholastic book order forms and begged our parents to buy every book in the flyer? That’s how Kris got her very own copy of this book.
Rosie’s Walk – Remember this one? Very few words. Great illustrations.
Harold and the Purple Crayon – My children absolutely loved this book! I think it had to do with the fact that the story is simple and leaves lots of room for the imagination.
I hope, when I have grandkids, that they all live close enough for me to read picture books (and other kinds of books) to them in person. If they don’t, though, I’ve tucked away an idea from a magazine for how to share books with grandkids who live far away.
A Comprehensive Book List for Kids Who Love Percy Jackson
The Homeschooler’s Guide to Starting a Book Club
Ten Living Books for Preschoolers
10 Reasons You Should Use Audiobooks in Your Homeschool
100 Books Made to Movies You Can Watch on Amazon Prime
Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 31 years ago, and they live in the South. They have three adult children. Hannah, age 27, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 25, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 19, was the last homeschool graduate. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow a garden every summer with limited success. (But she's learning!)
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