Children’s Books

in Essential Ramblings

I am a children’s book freak.  I love them, I read them, and I only wish I could write them.  Maurice Sendak died today, and in him we mourn the hero of many parents the world over who used his books to get those extra snuggles or to calm those night-time fears.

In our house we use books to explain fears, to talk about issues, to snuggle that one extra minute, or to allow ourselves to experience new things or understand old.    I know that sounds crazy, but it’s just the way we function.  Over the years, I have found books that taught us to love to read, that talk about using the potty, wetting the bed, introducing new siblings, going to sleep, going to nursery school, starting kindergarten, bullies, middle school fears, how to be a friend, how to lose a family member, take care of the environment, or take a risk…it’s all there in books and ready to be discussed.  Sometimes it’s a chance comment, sometimes it sparks a bigger discussion, and sometimes it’s just affirmation that other kids go through the same things.  If it’s in a book, it must be real for at least one other person.

I still read to my kids at 12 and 9 years old — and some of the best nights are those when the three of us climb in my bed,  burrow way under the covers and fall into an imaginary place and time while we giggle or cry or just snuggle.  Kids are never too old to be read to, they never get tired of hearing your voice, and they certainly never complain when you read ONE MORE CHAPTER, PLEASE!  It’s the one time when the world outside, the world of your every day, can disappear — to turn off the electronics, ignore the phone, and just be together — it’s no wonder they like it.  It’s you, and it’s lovely.

Today in honor of one who wrote books so well, I say go make mischief of one kind – and another…or I’ll eat you up.  Find an old favorite, skip a chore you don’t care about doing, and read to them.
Oh, and if you didn’t think I was serious about the books for every occasion…try me…

On going to bed
Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Sweet Dream Pie by Audrey Wood & Mark Teague
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep by Joyce Dunbar and Debi Gliori
The Napping House by Audrey Wood

Being sick/going to the doctor
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
Felix Feels Better by Rosemary Wells

Clean up your room!
Pigsty by Mark Teague
Max Cleans Up by Rosemary Wells
Just A Mess by Mercer Mayer

Potty training
Do Little Mermaids Wet Their Beds? by Jeanne Willis
Potty! by Mylo Freeman
Underwear! by Mary Elise Monsell and Lynn Munsinger

Eat your vegetables!
Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Getting rid of blanket, etc
Owen by Kevin Henkes

New baby/Siblings
Ebb and Flo and the New Friend by Jane Simmons
Daisy and the Egg by Jane Simmons
No More Kissing by Emma Chichester Clark
I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse
Tell Me What It’s Like to Be Big by Joyce Dunbar and Debi Gliori
The New Baby by Mercer Mayer
Just Me and My Little Brother by Mercer Mayer

School Fears
I Am NOT Going To School Today by Robie H. Harris
My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards
Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis
It’s Hard to be Five by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell
Mrs Watson Wants Your Teeth by Alison McGhee
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt

Being different
The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward
Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
Porcupining, A Prickly Love Story by Lisa Wheeler
Gus and Button by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
Hector the Hermit Crab by Katie Boyce

Understanding Moods/Feelings/Grief
When Mommy Was Mad by Lynne Jonell
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Sad Isn’t Bad by Michaelene Mundy (Grief and loss)
What’s Heaven? by Maria Shriver
Mad Isn’t Bad by Michaelene Mundy
Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth by Douglas Wood (loss/grief)
The Worry Stone by Marianna Dengler
Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert
When Bad Things Happen by Ted O’Neal and R.W. Alley
I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer
I Love You Because You’re You by Liza Baker

Middle Readers
Flush, Scat, Hoot or Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (caring for the environment)
Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris Tibbetts
Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander (Bullying)
Bystander by James Preller (Bullying)
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass (grief)
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (grief/loss)
The Children Who Lived: Using Harry Potter and Other Fictional Characters to Help Grieving Children and Adolescents by Kathryn A. Markell (for parents)