Harlow loves her books so much. She loves reading them, flipping through the pages to point at familiar animals and objects, and of course ripping them off the shelves to pile on the floor. A new favorite game is piling them all in her Everywhere Chair and then attempting to sit in said chair and inevitably growing frustrated when she slips off the pile. It really is fascinating watching a toddler use systems and spatial relationships to educate themselves on the world and how things work.
We read to Harlow at least three times a day, before each nap and bedtime. Incorporating a book into our bedtime routine has worked wonders in transitioning Harlow from play time to period of rest, and really helped me when I started weaning her from breastfeeding. She's grown to love story time so much that she'll choose a book and come sit in my lap for me to read it to her. Sometimes we don't even make it through the story because she's too excited and has to go choose something else for us to read together.
Given how often we read to Harlow, we add to her library on a consistent basis. While we love simple books on numbers, colors, and shapes for play time, we prefer books with a plot and some length to it for when we read to her before she goes to sleep. It's actually kinda tricky finding books that meet all the criteria for her age: not too long that she loses interest, a good balance of text and pictures, and a good message or "lesson" to take away.
After personally searching through the bookstore shelves (both in-person and on Amazon), here are eight of our favorite books that we've added to Harlow's collection.
1 | Chrysanthemum. Harlow's first nanny gifted her this book about finding confidence and learning to love yourself. I think we can all relate to little Chrysanthemum and how we shrink from mean people using mean words in our direction. Luckily, just like her, we rediscover our worth with the love and support of those around us to remind us of what's real and what really counts in life. Available here.
2 | The Family Book. Recently discovered at Mother Goose story time, the vividly colorful drawings illustrate this sweet book describing the many ways to be a family. Though families can look different from the outside, they're all alike in how they love and support one another. I couldn't love or agree with the message more. Available here.
3 | Goodnight Carolina. Many cities and destinations now sell their own versions of a goodnight book, and obviously I had to add this one written about UNC and Chapel Hill to our library. Carolina considers itself a family and this book touches on that special bond my family and I (and hopefully, one day, Harlow) share with our alma mater. Available here.
4 | You're Here For A Reason. Nancy Tillman's books elicit mama tears unlike all others. (You probably know her from On The Night You Were Born and Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You.) This book uses rhyme and her famous illustrations of children playing with animals to convey how one act of kindness can create a ripple effect of kindness in the world. We parents know our own individual "worlds" wouldn't be the same without our children, and this book does a lovely job expanding that into how the world and the people in it would be so different if we weren't here to spread joy in it. Available here.
5 | Rosie Revere, Engineer. A choice inspired by Mike's education and career in engineering, this book celebrates the successes we can find even in our failures. We also like it because the main character is a little girl interested in building, inventing, and thinking outside the box. Other books in this series, like Ada Twist, Scientist, are also adorable and on our wish list. Available here.
6 | If You Ever Want To Bring A Piano To The Beach, Don't! A hilarious and heart warming tale on how a change in perspective can bring happiness and joy. The Rolling Stones lyrics "you can't always get what you want, but you get what you need" come to mind when trying to describe this book. Everything about this book is charming and it makes me laugh out loud. Highly recommend this to share a good laugh and lesson with your kids. Available here.
7 | Paris-Chien. One of the most beautifully illustrated books we own, this delightful tale of a stranger in a village follows Hudson the ex-pat terrier as he learns a new language on his determined quest to find friends in his new home. It even includes some introductory French words and phrases, with a handy pronunciation and translation guide included in an index. We're hoping to get Hudson in Provence soon! Available here.
8 | Take Heart My Child. Another book with gorgeous illustrations, this "lyrical lullaby" from a mom to her baby is an ode to a mother's eternal love and hopeful wishes for her children. It begins with the idea of a song that forms in a mother's heart while carrying her baby, a beautiful thought that really resonates with me. It continues with a mother's dream of helping her child to spread their wings while reassuring them that she'll always be there when they fall...or when they fly back home. Available here.
What are some of your favorite books to read to your children? Have you introduced any books you liked as a child to your own kids? It's so fun rediscovering old stories you haven't thought about since elementary school!
Hope you have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! Oh -- happy Cinco de Mayo!!! 💜 Brooke