Sarah's Picks: A Children's Book Guide

My days are often filled with mom-duties, housework, blogging, recipe creating and of course meal planning and prepping for my family, but at the end of each day we when we are ready to slow down and settle in for the evening, I have made a habit of reading to my kids for as long as they will listen, and interact, before they brush their teeth and go to bed for the night. I started this sometime within the first month they were born (if you are new here, I have preschool age twins!). At that time it was because I had no idea how to get two babies to sleep at one time, and nursing both of them to sleep at once was not an option for me, so I turned to what has comforted me my whole life, books. At that time I would sit between their two cribs in my rocking chair, with a star projector on the ceiling as we read calming books for about 10-30 minutes each evening to settle them, which of course didn't always work, but over time it became a routine for both them and me, and our book collection grew to longer stories. Now, at 6:30 every night, I cuddle up with my kids and read for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. They know that mom will always read them however many books they ask for, whichever ones they choose, and it's become our special thing. Something they can always depend on, something I can always use as a tool to calm my family down after a busy day. Sometimes my husband joins in and reads a few too, and we all laugh together as a way to end our day. A friend of mine was surprised to hear how long I spent reading to the kids each night, but then said "you can do that because you love to read as much or more than they do" and this is exactly right. You can find my other post here on the blog Sarah's Picks: Favorite Novels for my personal favorite reads, the list grows pretty quickly, just as this one will over time. You can shop these books by simply clicking the titles which will bring you directly to my affiliate link, for this I thank you for the support ♥ I hope you find some stories here you will enjoy with little ones in your life, or to gift at holidays, because to me there really isn't much better than a good book shared with friends.

This silly story reads like a fun poem that will capture the attention of a small baby as well as grown kids. Listen as this grumpy fish learns from his sea creature friends to see things in a different light that will make everyone smile. This one has been a favorite of our since the day I got it as a gift at my baby shower right up to now, we actually read it twice again last night! You will read this so many times you will know it by heart, I'm sure of it. 

 I Am Peace

I consider this book to be a tool to help calm my kids while helping them feel grounded and more in tune to what is happening around them. I Am Peace is a beautiful exploration of mindfulness for children of all ages as well as busy parents who could use a little quiet time themselves. I read this book in a calm voice as a sort of meditation for all of us, and encourage my kids to take deep breaths, comment and talk about how the book makes them feel as we read. An absolute gift to parents and kids alike from this wonderful author.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

This one is a classic, my mom read it to me and my sister, I now read it to my kids, I'm sure this is something you can relate to as well. Maybe you already have this one on your shelf, but in case you don't here it is. The repetition makes it a great book for small kids to learn to memorize, with a little bit of suspense and excitement. There is a reason so many love it, it is just lovely.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Another favorite of ours by Sherri Duskey and Tom Lichtenheld, this one is near and dear to my husbands heart as it created bonding time for him and our son. This book is another one kids can grow with and highlights different construction vehicles as they wind down from a day of hard work on the construction site. If you have a child who loves heavy equipment vehicles as much as ours, this would make a lovely gift to enjoy and cherish for a long time. 

Steam Train Dream Train  

A great book to read in bed as they fall asleep, Steam Train Dream Train is beautifully written in a soothing way, but what I think the kids will enjoy most is the dark, night-like, illustrations full of cute details and fun themes. The last sentence of the book is like magic and I have often watched my kids eyes close as I make the hissing sound to say the train has come to a stop. Just brilliant.

Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch

I couldn't possibly have a book list without highlighting some of our favorites by Robert Munsch. Purple, Green and Yellow is perfectly silly and totally relatable for parents and kids alike. My kids eyes were wide listening as she drew all over her body with "Super-indelible-never-come-off-until-your-dead-or-maybe-even-later Coloring Markers" and the end is just as much a hoot! 

Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch

I love how this book highlights the importance of simple everyday items to kids. These socks are just so wonderful she can not take them off, I mean we have all been through this right?! This character is clever and relatable while still teaching little lessons the kids don't even recognize as lessons. It's worth your while to see what happens to this little girls smelly socks!

Swamp Water by Robert Munsch

Swamp Water?? What could that be? Don't worry this one isn't too rude for the littles. It's perfectly hilarious and highlights a young girl who doesn't understand why her favorite burger take-out place isn't fancy enough for her Grandmother's birthday lunch. Her interactions with the restaurant staff will have the kids giggling and wanting a tall glass of "swamp water". A flock of ducks shows up too, so I mean, what more could you possibly want as a child?!

How Full is Your Bucket for Kids

In my opinion, this book should be on the bookshelves of every home with a kid living in it, and I don't say that lightly. Teaching empathy for yourself and those around you, this book grows with the reader and teaches lessons in a unique way. I noticed quickly how my children's attitude changed towards themselves, one another, those around them and even me, dear old mom. A great tool for your child in social situations and aid in our main goal as parents; to raise good humans.

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

The message of this sweet, light and humorous read: we can be whoever we choose to be, we just have to follow what is within our heart and find our place in the world. Living with narwhals proves to be difficult for the main character who is clearly a unicorn but is unaware of it. This book shows acceptance, love, kindness and growth in a way children can relate to and understand. Just lovely.

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

Simple and Indulgent. This book allows children to live in their imagination and think, how do you catch a star? The sky is the limit, we can have fun and play and pretend. This book feels like a dream land and reads as a bedtime story for littles.

This one is nostalgic for me. I remember this book being in the kindergarten classroom and I just LOVED the illustrations so much I wanted to jump in and devour every last berry. Magical and whimsical, and a definite love for children who like to berry pick in the summer months like we do here in our home province Newfoundland. I also love that the author added a little note at the end to explain why he wrote the book.

This book hit close to home, collecting sea glass is a love of so many that live near the coast and this local Atlantic Canadian author creates a beautiful story of a young girl and her grandmothers love for each other and days spent on the beach. Heart warming and homey, with lots of emotion and beautiful illustrations. Kids will be running to their grandmas arms after reading this one.

Stella Star of the Sea by Marie-Louise Gay

Maybe you have seen Stella and Sam on their cute tv show, but you will love them even more in these cute stories as they explore nature together. We are big fans of these fun brother and sister characters that share fun views of everyday things. You might also love Stella Princess of the Sky or my daughters favorite Stella Fairy of the Forest .

A lovely book to show children how something as small as a seed can grow to be something beautiful like a flower, sheltering like a tree or as delicious food the comes right from the earth. With simple but pretty illustrations that showcase how every single seed looks different and does magnificent things, and a reference to seeds within emotions, this is a great addition to the book shelf!

This book makes me want to lay on the grass and watch the clouds, which is exactly how it reads. The illustrations are simple as well as the minimal amount of writing, but the two together leave the child with their own thoughts which is what I love most about this book. 

Oh Edie, they mean well but sometimes when trying to be helpful we actually make a bit of a mess of things don't we? Edie is a sweet, quirky character who can bring the child out in all of us.  My kids often discuss whether or not this character is a boy or a girl, it's not quite certain which brings up great conversation in a natural way. We also get to have a good laugh as this character "helps" with everyday tasks and makes what could have been a boring day quite a lot of fun. 

My daughter is so fascinated by water, the beach, sea creatures and exploring it all. She was in awe with the illustrations in this book as I read it to her and the story of this little girl beach combing  with her grandparent is humbling and so sweet. A new favorite for us for sure, I will likely have it memorized by the end of this month!

Another beautifully illustrated book by this author which gives children of any age a great start to understanding where we are, what we are as people and how big, beautiful and magnificent our mother earth truly is. An excellent addition to book shelves to help answer some of those big questions when the kids start asking!  

➤Want more book recommendations? I have other posts dedicated to this as well, you can follow these links:
For more inspiration be sure to check out my Instagram page @grace.and.jack !


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