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Published on March 17, 2021

father and son reading book laying on floor

Favorite Books for Reading with Kids

Making time to read with kids is a great way to celebrate March, which is recognized as National Reading Month.

Family Life Educators at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center offered their suggestions for the following books, ones they’ve shared with many children – including their own – over the years.

Recommendations from Twila Perkinson

  • Round Like a Ball, by Lisa Campbell, ages 4 to 8
    This books makes it easy to play a guessing game. It uses concepts such as color, shape and size, and it makes it easy to spark a conversation with kids.
  • Sheep in a Jeep, by Nancy E. Shaw, ages 2 and older
    There are LOTS of rhymes in this book, and the wild antics that namesake sheep, in their jeep, are fun to talk about. Nancy Shaw has written a number of adventures about these sheep.
  • Duck! Rabbit!, by Amy K. Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, ages 4 and older
    Sometimes things are not what they appear to be at first glance. This book asks the question, “What animal is it?” and it’s a fun way to discuss differences with children.
  • Press Here, by Herve Tullett, ages 3 and older
    This super-interactive book has colored dots that seem to change during the story. It’s one that always makes the kids smile when it’s read with a loved one.
  • The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, ages 2 and older
    Peter has fun playing alone, and with friends, and along the way, he discovers a bit of science.

Recommendations from Patricia Bates

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, ages 2 and older
    The repetition in this book, and its humor, make it a favorite.
  • Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes, by Eric Litwin and James Dean, ages 2 and older
    There’s a great message in this book, and it can help kids realize you can be positive in the face of disappointment.
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty with illustrations by David Roberts, ages 5 and older
    I love the language in this book, it’s playful and helps build vocabulary. It also can encourage kids to keep trying even if they fail.
  • The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn with illustrations by Ruth Harper, ages 3 and older
    Parents and kids alike will fall in love with the amazing artwork in this one. The illustrations make it a must-read for any youngsters.
  • Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, ages 7 and older
    This timeless classic packs a lot of emotion, and it’s a great for older kids to read together with mom and dad.

“Reading with kids can be a fun way to spend time, and there’s a lot of good nonfiction and comic books that are good options for kids, too,” Bates added.

Recommendations from Karen Rieck

  • Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone, by Frieda Wishinsky with illustrations by Neal Layton, ages 2 to 6
    This is a great book about a young girl who just loves her male classmate. He on the other hand doesn’t share the same feelings, until Jennifer Jones moves and he realizes how much he misses her.

  • The Chicken of the Family, by Mary Amato with illustrations by Delphine Durand, ages 4 to 8
    This book is full of laughs for everyone. Henrietta’s sisters are trying to convince her that she’s a chicken. As they play silly tricks on her, Henrietta begins to believe her sisters. She decides to move to the farm down the street to live with real chickens.

  • Spoon, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ages 3 to 5
    This delightful book about a spoon who is unhappy with who he is. Spoon longs to be more like the fork, knife and other flatware. He comes to realize that other flatware think he’s pretty cool, too. It’s a heartwarming story reminds us all that we are worthy and that we belong.

  • The Very Cranky Bear, by Nick Bland, ages 3 and older
    Many parents might recognize something in this main character – he just wants some rest. In this book, you’ll follow the trail of four friends who are trying hard to cheer up the Cranky Bear. The conclusion includes a delightful twist, when the sheep has the right answer and Bear is able to get some sleep.

  • Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown with illustrations by Clement Hurd, ages 2 to 5
    It’s our family favorite, and I have read it to each four of my children. I always will cherish those bedtime stories. It’s a well-known story, and one that helps children say good night to everything in the room with adorable rhyming. It’s soothing and calming, all the way to the end.

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