I have always been a self-confessed bibliophile. And I have been collecting children’s books long before I even had my first child. Time and again, parents ask me for book suggestions on how to start building their children’s libraries. And I always mention these three authors for good measure. You must, must, must have the books written by these children’s literature modern heroes in your bookshelves.
If you want to see my Book Recommendations for the Top 100 Books for Preschoolers, please see this post.
What can I say? If there is any collection that I will be very sad to part with, it is our Eric Carle books. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was the very first book I purchased while carrying my firstborn into what became a weekly trip to the nearby bookstore. Happy times indeed!
Brown Bear became the first book that my second child adored. It was repeated endlessly. This book means so much because it has also taught my son to string words together at 25 months. That’s when I first realized the magical rewards of homeschooling. I remember all the words by heart, much the same with The Little Hungry Caterpillar. The big surprise in the end never fails to make us smile.
Mister Seahorse and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me also stole our affections. I love that Eric Carle emphasized a father’s loving relationship with the children in both these books.
My children and I adore Eric Carle books, and I’m sure your family will too.
Margaret Wise Brown
Margaret Wise Brown is a wonderful writer. The words laid out in her books are short and sweet, and it rolls out gently in the tongue. Big Red Barn became a quick favorite in our home. Finding the field mice in every page of the book is always a treat! Goodnight Moon is another classic that you need to have in your library. The repetition in that book will help your toddler gather vocabulary.
We also love The Runaway Bunny which speaks of how a mother loves her child and that she would do anything for him. And who could forget the odd and quirky story of the Little Fur Family. This is my personal favorite.
I created a lot of activities based on Brown’s books. And my children’s childhood will not be the same without her captivating tales.
I used to think that Dr. Seuss would take the third spot for my children’s literature Triumvirate. But no, I choose Julia Donaldson. Dr. Seuss’ rhymes are fun and quirky, but Julia Donaldson writes effortlessly. And oh how she engages my children and catches their fancies in just a few masterful lines from her books!
The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child will always be in our favorite book list. So much so that it became the theme of my son’s first birthday party. Nobody knew who the Gruffalo was back then, but now they do. We spread good cheer, good times, and good books!
The Snail and the Whale is a modern tale of selfless snail who travelled the world with a big, huge humpback whale. See what I did there?
Zog became our new St. George and the Dragon, but not really. Donaldson’s rhymes are delightful, and are actually best read with a British accent. You should try it sometime. Her stories will make you laugh or chuckle, or perhaps beam with pride as it is speaks of virtue all the same time.
“Why didn’t you know? There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo!” will forever be etched my children’s memories of good bedtimes—a good sign of a great book.
Eric Carle, Margaret Wise Brown, and Julia Donaldson are my top three favorite book authors for younger aged children. You won’t regret buying their books for your babies and preschoolers.
But for children who are bit more older, I would say that A. A. Milne who is behind the loveable Winnie the Pooh and Edith Nesbit who wrote the Five Children and It and The Railway Children comes very close. Nesbit’s Beautiful Stories of Shakespeare come highly recommended by homeschoolers. And of course, who could forget the literary giant that is C. S. Lewis, who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia. He is a genius!
However, my firstborn daughter will have to say that J. K. Rowling is the best because of the wizarding world Harry Potter and Newt Scamander. And who could argue with something as magical?