Last week, I shared about why we value reading and why read. I also had mummy friends who asked “how do you know what books to buy?” My answer is Google (for reviews), and preferably find some chance to see the book and read the contents first. YouTube also has videos of read-along for a preview of story content and illustrations so that’s a pretty good pace to start for busy mamas. However the process of sifting through so much information on the Internet can be pretty overwhelming. There are various recommendations available online (such as the recommended list on Good Read and various reviews on blogs) but I am going to share with you 10 titles that C and I enjoy during her first 2 years.
1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
We love all of Eric Carl’s books. If you can only buy one of his, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has to be! Besides the simple story line, you can also use this book to teach about colours, maths (numbers 1-5), science (life cycle of a butterfly) and healthy eating.
2. Hop Hop Bunny by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin
This is one of C’s favourites when we first started reading. This is an interactive book that allows your little human to develop hand-eye coordination. When we read the book at 1yo (or younger), C enjoys putting the bunny cut out (guided by a string) into the cut out holes on each page as the bunny travels through the garden and into the carrot patch. Now I’m using it to teach about colours, and prepositions (over, under etc) probably at an older age. There is also a farm edition with Run, Run Piglet.
3. That’s Not My… Series by Fiona Watt
This is a series of texture books. I am very particular when it comes to texture books. The texture needs to be authentic, and match its description. I have also came across textured books that aren’t exactly textured, just bumps here and there. Besides authenticity, I also particularly like the variety of textures featured in each book and the entire series.
4. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
This is an excellent read to introduce your little humans to animals and their characteristics. Graphics are simple, colourful and attractive. Text are very easy to follow for young readers. We read it over 2 weeknights before our first trip to the zoo! There are also a few versions to this book: lift the flap, buggy, pop up, noisy book, and animal shapes.
5.”Hello, World” Series by Ashley Evanson
I am pretty bored and overwhelmed by the many selections of books on colours, shapes, opposites and numbers but this collection of 4 board books definitely catches my attention. I love it that the themes are packaged around a ‘city’ – definitely attracting the attention of parents who are travel bugs like myself. The illustrations are colourful which also happens to feature a common hue in each city. It is definitely a series of books to start with to inspire a little travel bug.
6. A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
I was initially attracted by the beautifully unusual illustration and fell in love with the simplicity of the text and storyline after. It is very easy to read for young readers with one line of text on most pages. It talks about the nocturnal owl and sleep patterns of other animals, which makes a great bedtime animal story. For children who loves owl, I would definitely recommend this.
7. Goodnight I Love You by Caroline Jayne Church
I bought this book with the intention to teach and introduce C on our bedtime routine to help her sleep earlier. She was sleeping between 10pm-12am and we were trying to bring forward her bedtime. I also particularly like the one line text that accompanies the cute graphics, which also features both a girl and a boy.
8. All Creatures Great and Small, Illustrated by Naoko Stoop
In fact, any book with illustrations by Naoko Stoop. This book is based on a classic hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful” that talks about God’s creations. For Christian parents, this makes one good first book. Naoko illustrated other bible stories such as Noah’s Ark, and Jonah and the Big Fish. She also has illustrated a non-biblical title under the Red Knit Cap Girl Series.
9. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers is another of our favourite author/illustrator. His books explore various themes in the story and all his books are very beautifully illustrated. This particular title is about the friendship between a boy and a penguin that appears at his doorstep one fine day. It also introduces a little on the life and habitat of a penguin, which you can use as a stepping stone to introduce the topic of arctic.
10. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
We love The Rainbow Fish! It is a beautiful book about how a fish who never played with others before, made friends with other fishes. It teaches about selfishness and sharing. The rainbow colours and watercolour illustrations are attractive. I would highly recommend this book for children who love fishes, a title to add to your reading list of any fish-themed activity, or a starter to teach about sharing.
All of these 10 titles are available in board book versions!
Where can I find these books?
I usually buy books from BookDepository. Books are usually cheaper than retail and they offer free shipping to Singapore. Double bonus! However, as much as I would love to buy and keep all these books, we visit the library very often.
I would highly recommend going to our public library. Membership is free for all Singaporean Citizens and PR (a $10.50 registration is required for PRs). You will need to bring along your child’s birth certificate and one parent’s NRIC for registration. You can borrow up to 8 items (including 3 audio-visual materials) for 21 days per membership. If you are also a member, that is 16 books for 3 weeks! Our local public library has quite an impressive collection of books for all ages. Be surprised!