Remember that picture book you asked for every night before bed?  The one you knew by heart?  The one that makes your heart leap whenever you see it?

The one your child couldn’t care less about?

It hurts, but that’s a good thing.  We all get to experience the world and find ourselves in the nooks and crannies.

As you may remember from a previous blog post, reading and being read to affects EVERY ASPECT of a child’s development and inspires them to read more on their own.  Michael Kahn, one of the giants of Shakespearian theatre, recalls his immigrant mother reading Shakespeare in broken English while he fell asleep.  Dr. Ben Carson credits his love of learning to his mother reading aloud from the Bible.

This fall, Growing Upwards asked our 600+ providers which books their classes loved to hear over and over again.  The recommendations that came back inspire kindness, empathy, and love.  They inspire the listener (and reader) to be transported to another world.  They inspire a love of storytelling, art and words.

Allison Stinson of The Gan Preschool recommends:

The Leaf Man by Lois Elhert

Elhert creates a man out of fall leaves. We use this book as a springboard for creativity. The children are eager to make people and objects out of leaves after hearing this story.

 Fletcher’s Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

Fletcher is a fox who is worried about his favorite tree when it begins to lose its leaves. Rawlinson creates a very lovable character with Fletcher, and the story is a sweet introduction to the fall season.

 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Mo Willems used to write for Sesame Street. All of his books are great, but this one is our favorite because the pigeon is such a wacky, lovable character with a one track mind (kind of like some toddlers we know!)

Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet

Our students love this book because it is so interactive. We love it because children learn about color!

 The Frog and Toad Series by Arnold Lobel

Frog and Toad are passionately and relentlessly loved by every preschool-aged child I’ve ever taught. Arnold Lobel’s storytelling is light-hearted, warm, and has the simple sense of humor that children find irresistible. The stories are short enough that you can read one in five minutes, or you could read several and fill a half an hour.

Darling Ducklings Daycare’s Ashley Mespelt says:

 Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

It’s about a witch and a cat who keep dropping things and go searching. They meet other friends along the way who help find the objects.

My son enjoys the Scholastic Pokemon chapter books. He’s three but loves the adventures and the different kinds of Pokémon species.

Brittany at Mighty Oaks Preschool recommends:

 Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

My kids love reading and they LOVE this book.  It’s so much fun.

 Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires

If you are interested in a kind of graphic novel, this is great for the 4-5 year-olds.  It’s a series so they really get to know the characters.

Emily at Olive Branch Schools says:

 The Geronimo Stilton series!  

Definitely check those out.

Phil Bieber of Growing Upwards highly recommends:

 Wings by Christopher A. Myers

A beautiful story about acceptance, graciousness, and how “weaknesses” are anything but!  Visually striking with endlessly interesting illustrations.

Ryan Gallagher of Growing Upwards is inspired by:

 Have You Filled A Bucket Today by Carol McCloud

This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love.

David Keyes of Growing Upwards has been reading:

 My Life As a Chicken by Ellen A. Kelley

It’s super funny and the language is way above my kids’ heads, but at 6 months, everything is!  Or maybe their first words will be something like, “Quit talking to me like a baby. I know what’s up!”

Note: If you click on any of the books above, you will be taken to Powell’s where you can purchase them. Growing Upwards receives a commission for any sales made that come from this blog post. 


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