Getting children interested in books

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Here is a list of books loved by toddlers world-wide to start you on your journey with your child.


Go Away, Big Green Monster!

By Ed Emberley

Caldecott Award-winning author-artist Ed Emberley has created an ingenious way for children to chase away their night-time fears. Kids can turn the pages of this die-cut book and watch the Big Green Monster grow. Then, when they’re ready to show him who’s in charge, they’ll turn the remaining pages and watch him disappear. This lavish reissue features dramatic die-cut eyes and sparkling foil on the cover.


Harold and the Purple Crayon

By Crockett Johnson

“One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” So begins this story that shows just how far your imagination can take you. Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of beauty and excitement. But this is no hare-brained, impulsive flight of fantasy. Cherubic, round-headed Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost prudence, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him. He takes the necessary purple-crayon precautions.


Heather Has Two Mommies

By Leslea Newman

Heather’s favourite number is two. She has two arms, two legs and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another”.


Where the Wild Things Are

By Maurice Sendak

The story of Max, who is so naughty when he wears his wolf suit that he’s sent to bed without any supper. In the night, a fantastic world of forests and seas appears in Max’s bedroom, and he sails away to the land where the Wild Things are and becomes their king. The story of Max’s adventures has become an acknowledged classic of children’s books. It dares to lead kids to their wilder sides and then back to the sweet safety of their own bedrooms where a dinner of soup – still hot, no less – awaits them.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle

The idea of writing a book for kids that manages to cover colors, counting, days of the week, healthy eating and the process of metamorphosis sounds impossible. All the more reason to admire what might well be the world’s most perfect picture book. As Carle himself once said of his work, it’s a book of hope for any child who feels small and helpless and wonders if they’ll ever grow up. In other words, it’s for the future butterflies of the world.


The Cat in the Hat

By Dr. Seuss

Poor Dick and Sally. It’s cold and wet and they’re stuck in the house with nothing to do . . . until a giant cat in a hat shows up, transforming the dull day into a madcap adventure and almost wrecking the place in the process! Seuss was charged with making a story out of the 348 words every six-year-old should know. What he produced was a 1 629-word tale that didn’t just use most of the words but also produced a famous character, a hugely amusing story, and a classic to be read, shared and loved. This, the first Random House Beginner Book, changed the way children learn how to read.


Goodnight Moon

By Margaret Wise Brown

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room – to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one – the little bunny says goodnight. In this classic of children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.


The Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg

On Christmas Eve in the middle of the night, a train magically appears outside a little boy’s home, and it’s headed to the North Pole. What adventure is in store? Who will meet Santa and receive the first gift of Christmas? This book is easy to fall in love with, and the masses agree. After its release in 1985, The Polar Express soon became a Caldecott Medal winner (and a Christmas classic).


The Tale of Peter Rabbit

By Beatrix Potter

Just the right size for tiny hands, this tale of naughty Peter and his escapades has lasted more than 100 years because it just doesn’t age. Potter was the first picture-book author-illustrator to draw realistic animals in human clothing, and she’s inspired a century’s worth of imitators ever since.




By Ludwig Bemelmans

Madeline is one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature. Set in picturesque Paris, this tale of a brave little girl’s trip to the hospital was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1940 and has as much appeal today as it did then. The combination of a spirited heroine, timelessly appealing art, cheerful humour and rhythmic text makes Madeline a perennial favourite with children of all ages.


The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh

By A. A. Milne

In 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh, a collection of stories about a rather stout, somewhat confused bear, was published in England and America. The enchanting tales of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Christopher Robin and the others were an immediate success, and firmly established A.A. Milne, already an acclaimed dramatist, as a major author of children’s books. Winnie-the-Pooh was followed in 1928 by a second collection, The House At Pooh Corner, which continued the adventures from the Hundred Acre Wood and introduced bouncy, lovable Tigger. It takes us on a new adventure, whether hunting for a Woozle with Piglet in the Hundred Acre Wood or celebrating Eeyore’s birthday with the rest of the crew.


A Bear Called Paddington

By Michael Bond

Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington, a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru, on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” So that is just what they did. From the very first night when he attempted his first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house, Paddington was seldom far from imminent disaster. Jonathan and Judy were delighted with this havoc and even Mr and Mrs Brown had to admit that life seemed to be more filled with adventure when there was a bear in the house.


The Complete Adventures of Curious George

By H.A. and Margret Rey

Curiosity may have killed the cat but for this simian it has only led to some pretty wacky adventures. George is the perfect stand-in for any antsy three-year-old, which may account for why his popularity only continues to rise.



The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant

By Jean De Brunhoff

After his mother is killed by a hunter, Babar avoids capture by escaping to the city, where he is befriended by the kindly Old Lady. Later, with cousins Celeste and Arthur, he returns to the great forest to be crowned King of the Elephants. With the original illustrations from Jean de Brunhoff’s 1931 classic, this first Babar story has enchanted generations.


The Little Engine That Could

By Watty Piper

The virtues of this classic children’s tale live on, more than 80 years after it was first published. When a winding train needs help making its way over a high mountain, it tries enlisting help from large engines nearby. The only one willing to help is very small, but with a bit of effort and lots of conviction, it might be able to get the job done. Ages 3 to 5.



By Janell Cannon

When a baby fruit bat is separated from her mother during an owl attack, she finds herself in a bird’s nest alongside feathered youngsters Pop, Flitter and Flap. As Stellaluna tries to coexist with the birds, she’ll discover all the ways she’s different, while readers learn about the interesting characteristics they have.



By Ian Falconer

Bound to please the aesthetics of parents and the wild imaginings of their kids, Olivia is a one-of-a-kind piggy. Have fun with Olivia… dressing up, singing songs, building sand castles, napping (maybe), dancing, painting on walls and – whew! – going to sleep at last. No doubt the book’s elegant palette of black, red and white will be a welcome relief to those seeking something that isn’t sparkly, pink or dipped in glitter.


The Salamander Room

By Anne Mazer

When a little boy brings home a salamander from the woods, his mother asks, “Where will he sleep?” and “Where will he play?” Determined to make his room the ultimate salamander home, he imagines his room as a beautiful forest.


Knuffle Bunny

By Mo Willems

Trixie, Daddy, and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realises that her Knuffle Bunny was left behind. Her attempts to alert Dad all the way home are unsuccessful, until Mom points out that Knuffle Bunny is missing and the family hotfoot it back to the Laundromat. Fortunately, KB is safe, if a little wet. Using a combination of muted black-and-white photographs and expressive illustrations, this stunning book tells a brilliantly true-to-life tale about what happens when Daddy’s in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong.


Strega Nona

By Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona cures many ails for the townspeople with her magic, and she can even whip up tons of pasta at once in her enchanted pot. When she puts her helper, Big Anthony, in charge, he almost accidentally envelops the town in noodles. Tomie dePaola’s magnificent illustrations make this story about an Italian “Grandma Witch” extremely memorable.

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