This section includes books for children from birth through kindergarten age (roughly 0-5 years old), and even in utero reading. Books are grouped into deliberately broad subcategories: In Utero, Babies through Toddlers, and Toddlers through Kindergarten. See my note about age-appropriateness on Reading page. Also see other reviewers at bottom of this page. Happy Reading!
My Three Chosen Books for Reading In Utero:
Yes, we read to our Little Bean in utero. I am that lady — I think reading is SO important that it should be part of in utero bonding. Why read to your child while s/he is still in utero? Because they can actually hear you and it is never too early to begin reading! These books were chosen before I had much knowledge of children’s literature but I still recommend these.
- Oh Baby, The Places You’ll Go! by Trish Rabe
- On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier
- I Love You, Little One by Nancy Tafuri
Babies through Toddlers
- Animals Everywhere by IKids
- A Cuddle for Little Duck by Claire Freedman
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
- The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems
- The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
- Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
- I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jayne Church
- The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
- ¡Pío Peep! Rimas Tradicionales en Español by Alma Flor Ada y F. Isabel Campoy — Bilingual book
- Stella Luna by Janell Cannon
- Also see “In Utero” list above
Toddlers through Kindergarten
- Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham — See my complete review from March 2, 2016
- A Gift For Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead/Un regalo para abuelita: En celebracion del Dia del Los Muertos by Nancy Luenn — Bilingual book
- Happy by Pharrell Williams — See my book review here
- Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss — Another Dr. Seuss classic. The rhyming lyrics are fun to read and the story line has many teachable moments. This is good example of what is or is not “age appropriate”: Some might say this is for older kids; indeed the publisher’s suggestion is for ages 5-9 years old, thus my placement in the toddler through kindergarten group. Nevertheless, we started reading it to our daughter when she was 1-2 years old. She clearly enjoyed it, as indicated by her repeated requests to read the book again and again. By age 3, she had could recite big chunks of it from memory (without looking at the book) and could “read” much more while looking at the book.
- How the Moon Regained Her Shape by Janet Ruth Heller — Found this one at a museum of natural history. Lovely Native American tale and nice explanations about the science of the moon and earth.
- The Last Resort by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Roberto Innocenti — We only have the Spanish version: El Último Refugio, that we picked up in a posh Puerto Vallarta children’s store when our daughter was two. It is really long and definitely way over the head of many adults. We’ve never even read the whole thing straight through! But who cares? Our child loves the pictures, and the stories, and asks lots of questions. She requests it often, and one day we will read it all in one sitting.
- Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen — We’ve only read the Spanish version: Un Léon en la Biblioteca
- Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani
- My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter
- New Shoes for Silvia by Johanna Hurwitz
- The Nutmeg Princess by Richardo Keens-Douglas — Lovely tale from the Isle of Spice, Grenada, it encourages beauty of the heart and mind, and a love of reading, and discourages blindly following stereotypes. Creative and lovely illustrations by Annouchka Galouchko.
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss — Classic!
- One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey — A Caldecott Honor Book! Beautiful and sweet story. Great illustrations and simple story line. We stumbled upon our first Robert McCloskey book at the library: Blueberries for Sal/Arrándanos para Sal, and liked it so much that we subsequently checked out everything he had written. This one quickly became a family favorite and after two months, our 4-year old has almost the whole thing memorized.
- The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson — This is on my Required Reading list!
- Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch — Also available in Spanish: La princess vestida con una bolsa de papel
- Rabbit Plants the Forest by Deborah L. Duval with paintings by Murk Jacob
- The Rain by Michael Laser — Simple, sweet story
- Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen
- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
- Ruby Sings the Blues by Niki Daly
- See the Ocean by Estelle Condra
- Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning by Laurence Anholt
- Tia’s Tamales by Ana Baca — Bilingual book
- The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse one of Aesop’s Fables retold by Helen Ward — We’ve only read Spanish version
- Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
- Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Other Reviewers and Reviews
Megan Daley is a librarian in Australia who maintains this excellent site: Children’s Books Daily
A Mighty Girl provides “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls”. The link included here is to their book reviews. Their Facebook page also provides excellent little blurbs of past and present Mighty Women, with fascinating and inspiring info for adults and children alike.