You might ask why a mother of two teenage girls would be putting a list out there for children’s books…no, I’m not pregnant!  This time of year makes me nostalgic for when my girls were small and I could read to them.  If any of you out there have children that age, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT WHILE YOU CAN!  It sure did go by fast.  But I have so many wonderful memories of reading the following books, and if you buy them, or buy them for someone (as I have done over the years), you will share in the most intense joy your heart can handle.  No fancy bells or whistles, just the list:

1. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown…her name wasn’t ‘wise’ for nothing…

2. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown…we wore this book out, and I can not tell you how many times my daughters had me read this charming tale.

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle…every time I think of this book, I think of my daughter’s tiny fingers.  Read it with them and you’ll know what I mean.

4. Where’s Spot by Eric Hill…boy, do I love that silly puppy!  Another book we wore out.

5. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister…a great story about sharing.  See it from a child’s perspective.

6. Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie…my girls loved the contrast of the homebody and the wanderlust personalities of each pig (even at a young age, this story makes it clear that its o.k. to be different).

7. A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams…a poignant story about a family that lost everything in a fire and how they saved every penny (literally) to buy their mother a new chair.  Lovely, moving and easy for young readers to understand without scaring them.

8. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney…a beautiful story about how sowing seeds can reap a lovely harvest.  Please don’t let the title dissuade you!

9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein…I dare you to read this to your child and not tear up.  One of the most beautiful stories ever written.

10. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman.  Seek out ANYTHING she’s illustrated and you won’t be disappointed.  This is a wonderful mini-education for future musicians…lyrical and poetic to read.

11. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans…I read this to my oldest at a very tender age, and the genuine concern they feel when Madeline is sick is beyond touching.

12. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss…as relevant to a child as it is to a high school grad, college grad, etc.

13. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster…I read this to my girls when they were pretty young, and they loved it!  Great story for kids and adults alike.

And just to throw in one more, since most people don’t like the number 13, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall is a great book I read to my daughters in the evening before bedtime when they were in the ‘pre-tween’ phase when I could still read to them.  Thankfully, they are now both avid readers and I have wonderful memories of those days.  I hope you will too, with these books…