15 "Must Have" Books For The Perfect Childhood!

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The other day my 22-year old daughter attended her first baby shower for a friend. When she asked me for some gift suggestions; having absolutely no idea that a sippy cup was not something found at a college frat party, it made me realize how long it had been since I'd been to a baby shower.  It got me to thinking about my "go to" baby gifts from years ago and it made me nostalgic for my own babies.

children's books

Looking through the registries in shock and awe at all of the gadgets we somehow raised our children without benefit of, I am reminded just how much I miss holding, rocking, singing and most pleasing to me, reading to an infant.

Recalling those joyous hours spent reading to my babies, convinced my daughter to purchase my "go to" baby shower gift; a very carefully chosen, very well-loved collection of "must have" baby books.

Here are our family favorites; and in our opinion, prerequisites for the perfect childhood:  (And maybe I can start reading them to the next generation soon?  Hopefully?)

1.  Pat The Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt:  A perfectly lovely interactive book for kids.  Scratch daddy's beard and pat the bunny!

2.  Babies, by Gyo Fujikawa:  Shows us all the sweet and the not so perfect life of babies.  My older kids loved to read this one to their younger siblings.

3. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown:  The one book my third child insisted upon every night for 4 years straight.  To say it was "read by heart" has multiple meanings...

4.  We Were Tired Of Living In A House, by Liesel Moak Skorpen:  I quoted from this book for my eldest son's 8th grade yearbook.  It's a sentimental and visually stunning look at the adventure and the joy of childhood.

5.  Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, by Dr. Seuss:  Ah the poetry.  It's funny, fantastic and a lesson about gratitude.  I chose this book several times when asked to read to my kids' classes.

Eloise and The Monster at the End of This Book

6.  The Monster At The End Of This Book, by Jon Stone:  The thrill!  The mystery!  The laughs!  What is Grover so afraid of?

7.  Eloise At The Plaza, by Kay Thompson:  Iconic, and oh so girly.  When you have read it over and over again, go to the Plaza, have tea and see Eloise herself!

8.  Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans:  All those lovely girls all in rows.  The illustrations are imprinted in my memory.  Later, head to The Carlyle Hotel in NYC to Bemelmans Bar and see the drawings all over the walls.  It's awesome.

9. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak:  The imaginings of childhood redemption; sent to bed without dinner and made a king, all without leaving your bedroom.  Good show!

10.  Are You My Mother, by P.D. Eastman:  A simple book about the simplest, truest thing on earth.  A mother knows her child no matter what and will find her no matter what.  True love.

11.  Make Way For Ducklings, by Robert McClosky: The story of parental love and family with illustrations that warm the heart.  A classic for all ages.

12.  Winnie-The-Pooh, by A. A. Milne:  The introduction to Winnie The Pooh , Piglet, Christopher Robin et al.  The poetry of childhood.  No need to say more, except to say, you should read all the rest in the series as well...

13.  The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein: Unconditional love and the beauty of giving; all taught through stunning illustrations.

14.  Robert The Rose Horse, by Joan Heilbroner:  The story about the horse with allergies who saves the day. It made my little sister cry every time.  Achoo.

15.  Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss:  Never, ever, ever give up! You'll never know unless you try!  Lessons for a lifetime all taught in a wildy fun way.

What are your favorite family books?  Are some of the same on your lists?

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