The List – Children’s Literature We Love!

booksLast month, I asked you – the Simple Kids community – to share some of your unsung favorites of children’s literature.  The overwhelming response resulted in a list of more than one hundred literature recommendations for children from birth through upper elementary.  What an amazing resource!  But not as useful – or simple – as it had the potential to be while still in the format of a comments section.

I asked for volunteers to help sort through and organize the book recommendations and several of you offered your help right away.  Life picked up its pace and before I knew it, weeks had gone by without me having time to organize the volunteers.  You can only imagine my utter shock and surprise when someone in our community emailed to let me know she had taken up the task of organizing that list all on her own!

Emily of The Pilot’s Wife is an absolutely wonderful, sweet, funny, and helpful woman I met at the Tulsa Mom’s Night Out for Oklahoma Women Bloggers.  As a former elementary school teacher, she is well-practiced in the work of organizing learning material – even when that material lives in a virtual context.  In just a matter of a few days, she had broken that massive list of recommendations into three age groups and then alphabetized within by author’s last name.  What follows is the result of her magnanimous gesture for this community.

After you review this outstanding resource, please take a moment to offer a word of gratitude to Emily for her hard work on this project!  (And if your recommendation inadvertently got left off of this list, please do let me know!)

Books for Babies & Toddlers

Aigner, Julie.  Mimi’s Toes
Barton, Byron.  My Car
Bauer, Marion Dane. Toes, Ears & Nose! A Lift the Flap Book
Benjamen, A.H.  Baa! Moo! What Will We Do?
Boynton, Sandra.  Belly Button Book
Boynton, Sandra.  Snuggle Puppy
Cyrus, Kurt.  Slow Train to Oxmox
Fox, Mem.  It’s Time for Bed
Freedman, Claire.  Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones
Joel, Billy.  Goodnight My Angel
Katz, Karen.  Ten Tiny Tickles
Kent, Jack.  Socks for Supper
Lindgren, Barbro.  Sam’s Potty
Maccarone, Grace.  Bless Me: A Child’s Goodnight Prayer
Maccourt, Lisa.  I Love You Stinky Face
McCue, Dick.  Bunny’s Numbers
Perkins, Al. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
Rathmann, Peggy.  Goodnight Gorilla
Shustak, Bernadette Rossetti.  I Love You Through and Through
Tankard, Jeremy.  Grumpy Bird
Waddell, Martin.  Owl Babies
Whybrow, Ian.  Say Hello to the Animals

Books for Preschool thru Elementary-Aged Children

Adler, David A.  Cam Jansen series
Ahlberg, Allan and Janet.  Each Peach Pear Plum
Alborough, Jez.  Fix-it Duck
Allard, Harry.  Miss Nelson is Missing
Anderson, C.W. Billy and Blaze Series
Asch, Frank.  Happy Birthday Moon
Aylesworth, Jim.  The Full Belly Bowl
Barklem, Jill.  The Brambly Hedge books
Barrett, Judi and Ron.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Bemelmans, Ludwig.  Madeline
Beskow, Elsa.  The Children of the Forest
Beskow, Elsa.  Aunt Green, Aunt Brown, and Aunt Lavender
Beskow, Elsa.  Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip
Bland, Nick.  The Very Cranky Bear
Bond, Michael.  Paddington
Bradfield, Jolly Roger.  Pickle-Chiffon Pie
Brett, Jan.  Annie and the Wild Animals
Brett, Jan.  The Mitten
Broach, Elise.  Wet Dog
Brown, Margaret Wise.  Big Red Barn
Bunting, Eve.  Riding the Tiger
Burton, Virginia Lee.  Katy and the Big Snow
Burton, Virginia Lee.  The Little House
Burton, Virginia Lee.  Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Cannon, Janell.  Stellaluna
Carle, Eric.  The Very Busy Spider
Cosgrove, Stephen.  Leo the Lop
Crews, Donald.  Freight Trane
Cronin, Doreen.  Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type
Curtis, Carolyn.  I Took the Moon for a Walk
Cusimano, Maryann. You Are My I Love You
Degen, Bruce.  Jamberry
Demi.  The Empty Pot
dePaola, Tomie.  Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs
deVarennes, Monique.  The Sugar Child
Devlin, Harry.  Cranberry Thanksgiving
Dewdney, Anna.  Llama llama Mad at Mama
Eastman, P.D. Are You My Mother?
Flack, Marjorie.  Angus and the Cat
Fox, Mem.  Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild
Freedman, Clair.  Aliens Love Underpants
Gilman, Pheobe.  The Balloon Tree
Gilman, Pheobe.  Something From Nothing
Godden, Rumer.  The Story of Holly and Ivy
Gollub, Mathew.  The Jazz Fly
Guarino, Deborah.  Is Your Mama a Llama?
Gurney, Nancy.  The King, the Mice, and the Cheese
Hargreaves, Roger.  Little Miss Bossy
Hefter, Richard.  Sweet Pickle Series
Henkes, Kevin.  Sheila Rae, the Brave
Hennessy, B.G.  The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Hest, Amy.  Kiss Goodnight
Hoban, Rusell.  Bedtime for Frances
Hoberman, Mary Ann.  The Seven Silly Eaters
Hoberman, Mary Ann.  Mary Had a Little Lamb
Hobbie, Hollie.  Toot & Puddle
Hutchins, Pat.  Ten Red Apples
Isaacs, Anne.  Swamp Angel
Jeffers, Oliver.  The Incredible Book Eating Boy
Jeffers, Susan.  The Three Jovial Huntsmen
Johnson, Crockett.  Harold and the Purple Crayon
Johnson, Paul Brett.  On Top of Spaghetti
Kahl, Virginia.  The Duchess Bakes a Cake
Klein, Abby.  Ready, Freddy! Series
Kleven, Elisa.  The Paper Princess
Kuskin, Karla.  James and the Rain
Krause, Robert.  Leo the Late Bloomer
Lamarche, Jim.  The Raft
Lasky, Kathryn.  Humphrey, Albert, and the Flying Machine
Lawler, Janet.  If Kisses Were Colors
Lear, Edward.  The Owl and the Pussy Cat
Lester, Helen.  Tacky the Penguin
Lillegard, Dee.  The Big Bug Ball
Lindvall, Ella K.  Read Aloud Bible Stories
Lithgow, John.  The Remarkable Farkle McBride
Lobel, Arnold.  The Frog and Toad Collection
Long, Melinda and Shannon, David.  How I Became a Pirate
Loyd-Jones, Sally.  The Jesus Storybook Bible
Lucado, Max.  You Are Special
Lucado, Max.  You Are Mine
Marshall, James. George and Martha books
Martin, Bill Jr.  A Beasty Story
Martin, Bill Jr.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Martin, Bill Jr. Chicka Chicka 1 2 3
McBratney, Sam. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
McCloskey, Robert.  Blueberries for Sal
McMullan, Kate and Jim.  I’m Dirty
McMullan, Kate and Jim.  I Stink
Milne, A.A. Winnie the Pooh and the Pebble Hunt
Morgan, Stacy.  The Cuddlers
Munsch, Robert.  Andrew’s Loose Tooth
Munsch, Robert.  Mmmm… Cookies
Muth, Jon J.  Zen Shorts
Napoli, Donna Jo.  Albert
Numeroff, Laura.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Oakley, Graham.  The Church Mice Chronicles
Osborne, Mary Pope. The Magic Tree House Series
Palatini, Margie.  Stinky, Smelly Feet: A Love Story
Park, Barbara.  Junie B. Jones books
Pfister, Marcus.  The Rainbow Fish
Pfister, Marcus.  The Happy Hedgehog
Polacco, Patricia.  Thunder Cake
Portis, Antoinette. Not a Box
Portis, Antoinette.  Not a Stick
Potter, Beatrix.  The Tale of Samuel Whiskers
Relf, Adam.  Fox Makes Friends
Rey, H.A. Curious George
Reynolds, Peter.  Ish
Reynolds, Peter. The Dot
Risom, Ole.  I Am a Bunny
Rohmann, Eric.  My Friend Rabbit
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Cookies: Bite Sized Life Lessons
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Little Pea
Rylant, Cynthia.  Tulip See America
Scarry, Richard.  A Day at the Airport
Schachner, Judy.  Skippyjon Jones
Seuss, Dr.  Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Schwartz, Amy.  A Teeny Tiny Baby
Sierra, Judy.  Wild About Books
Silverstein, Shel.  The Giving Tree
Smath, Jerry.  But No Elephants
Smith, Maggie.  Counting Our Way to Maine
Seuss, Dr.  Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Tudor, Tasha.  A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays
Tunnell, Michael O.  Halloween Pie
Tunnell, Michael O.  Mailing May
Van Allsburg, Chris.  The Wretched Stone
Viorst, Judith.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Von Olfers, Sibylle.  Mother Earth and Her Children
Weeks, Sarah.  If I Were a Lion
Wiesner, David.  Sector 7
Wiesner, David.  Tuesday
Willems, Mo.  Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Willems, Mo.  Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
Williams, Vera B.  A Chair for My Mother
Wood, Audrey.  The Napping House
Wood, Audrey.  Quick as a Cricket
Wood, Don.  The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Yashima, Taro.  Umbrella
Yolen, Jane.  The Flying Witch
Yolen, Jane.  Owl Moon
Zion, Gene.  Harry the Dirty Dog

Books for Upper Elementary Children and Beyond

Birney, Betty.  The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs
Blyton, Enid.  Adventure’s of the Wishing Chair
Blyton, Enid.  The Magic Faraway Tree
Brooks, Walter.  Freddy the Detective
Cleary, Beverly.  Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Dahl, Roald.  James and the Giant Peach
DiCamillo, Kate.  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Edwards, Julie Andrews.  The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Gannett, Ruth Stiles.  My Father’s Dragon
Jansson, Tove.  Moomintrolls books
Lindgren, Astrid.  The Children of Noisy Village
Lindgren, Astrid.  Happy Times in Noisy Village
Peck, Richard.  A Long Way From Chicago
Wells, Rosemary.  A Voyage to Bunny Planet
White, E.B. Stuart Little

Is there another book you would like to see added to the list? Leave a comment and I will get it added!

photo by kennymatic

Connecting with Nature: Challenge #1

pomegranate Many evenings when the girls and I go for a walk, we cannot help but to be captivated by the brilliant hot pink blooms cascading down from the dense, impressive bushes along the fence line of our neighbor’s back yard.  Dacey, my four year old, had asked me several times what kind of flowers those were, but I had no idea.

Late last week our neighbors pulled into their driveway just as Dacey stopped to pick a bloom off of one of the lower branches.  Their gracious response eased my embarrassment as they assured us it was perfectly fine with them if the girls wanted to take home a pretty pink flower.

“Hey, do y’all like pomegranates?” they asked as we started to walk away.  When I told them, yes! I do, they told me those magnificent bushes were growing pomegranates and that when the fruit started to fall, we were welcome to take all we wanted.

I was so delighted!  Pomegranates are such a fun and, well, challenging fruit.  It occurred to me that evening that as many times as I have enjoyed cutting into a pomegranate and unearthing the sweet seeds for snacking, I had no idea where or how a pomegranate grew!  To be able to put a name to these beautiful flowering bushes that grow throughout our neighborhood and to connect that bush to the somewhat exotic fruit (that no longer seemed quite so foreign) was a highlight of my week.

I’m going to sneak into Last Child in the Woods for a minute to draw out one of the points Richard Louv addresses early in the book on our collective ignorance of the things of nature.  He shares the wisdom of teacher Elaine Brooks who had stayed intentionally connected with nature wherever she could find it – even if that meant seeking it out in what essentially amounted to a vacant, overgrown lot.  On speaking of the bulldozer destruction of parts of the land, she says

“Much of this destruction comes is done out of expediency and ignorance,” she said.  She believed people are unlikely to value what they cannot name.  “One of my students told me that every time she learns the name of a plant, she feels as if she is meeting someone new.  Giving a name to something is a way of knowing it” (p. 41).

As I read, I was convicted of this truth.  I have never invested much time in learning the names of the plants and wildlife of the nature with which I am surrounded.  How can I teach my children that which I do not know myself?

I wonder if anyone shares my newly kindled desire to learn and know the names of what we come across in nature.  I’m issuing a challenge to myself this week – find five objects outdoors that I don’t the know the name of and learn them!  Would you care to join me in this?  Maybe you already know the common names of the plants and wildlife in your area, and so perhaps your challenge would be to learn the scientific names of some of your favorite objects.

Let’s go outdoors this week – whether to your backyard, your patio, your local park . . . wherever nature waits to be discovered and let’s learn all meet someone new this week!  We’ll meet back on Saturday to share what we’ve learned.  Happy learning!

photo by ZeePack

June 5th: SK Showcase and Weekend Links

Even though we are talking about spending time outdoors this month, I was reminded this week (when it rained for three days straight) that even though it is summer, there are still days when indoor activities are required.

A few weeks ago when I shared one of our favorite rainy day activities, several of you provided other fantastic ideas for when the weather keeps kids indoors.  Tif suggested cotton ball races and stuffed animal picnics, Katy suggested an indoor ball pit, and Jamie uses masking tape on the floor to make roads and tracks for matchbox cars.  I’ll be sharing more of those rainy day suggestion in coming weeks.  Isn’t it amazing to parent as part of a community?

Speaking of community, our showcase this week features another favorite indoor activity – building forts!

Jennifer of Gill Gazette submitted these pictures of her family constructing a living room fort:






Look at those happy faces!  So fun, Jennifer!  Thanks for sharing with us.  Don’t forget you can send your Showcase submissions to me any time at simplekidsblog at gmail dot com.

Now for your weekend reading . . .

Simply Practical

Ever wonder how you can have a picture of yourself show up next to your comments instead of the geometric graphic?  Go to to register and upload your picture.  It will remember you at any site that uses the Gravatar service!

We Are THAT Family: Works For Me Wednesday “Mom, I’m Bored” Edition
Family Hack:  5 Ways to Get 90% OFF Designer Kid’s Clothes
National Wildlife Federation: Get Ready to Camp! (Thank you to my friend Jeanine for this link.  Lots of practical and fun ways to prepare for the Great American Backyard Campout on June 27th!)

Simply Delicious:

Small Notebook: Hopelessly Devoted to You, Broccoli
Dalai Mama Dishes: Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Nature Moms Blog: The Easiest Summer Snack Ever
The Creative Mama: Farmer’s Market – a Seasonal Wonderland

Inspired Projects:

Art Projects for Kids: Chalk Pastel Flowers (link via The Crafty Crow)
The Artful Parent: Doorway Into Summer
This Vintage Chica: Easy Teacher Gifts

Inspired Images:

Studio Xanadeux: Monday in the Park

Inspired Words:

Not-Ever-Still-Life with Girls: An Evening Walk Addressed To A Young Lady

What were your favorites this week?  Feel free to share links to your own blog as well!

Classic Outdoor Games


Throughout the month of June, we’ll be focusing on the outdoors to complement our reading and discussion of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.

Here in the States, the school year is drawing to a close and many children are beginning summer break.  Freedom from school work and structured days can quickly turn to “Mom, I’m bored!”  This is the perfect opprotunity to teach your children (and their friends) some of the games that filled the summer days of your own childhood with out-of-breath running, skinned knees, sweaty water breaks, and beloved memories.

Here are some reminders:

* Sandlot baseball (or soccer or football or other “organized” sports) – all they need is a little open space and a few pieces of equipment.  Maybe they’ll keep score, maybe they won’t.  Just make sure no one loses a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.

* Kick The Can – there are a few variations to the rules of this game.  Basically, all you need is three or more players, a can (or box or even a ball), and a little space to run and hide.  This article has a clear set of instructions.

* King of the Hill – find or construct a “hill.”  Use eeny-meeny-miny-mo to choose the first “king.”  Ultimate goal is to overthrow the reigning king sometimes using whatever means necessary.  Fun for kids in Arlen, Texas, or anywhere around the world.

I discovered an amazing, comprehensive list of games at a site simply called Kids Games – such a wonderful resource! also has a section for games, and I found a lovely listing of “vintage” outdoor games in the About.Com: Grandparents section.

Share your favorite outdoor game from childhood!

Photo by broma

Becoming Backyardigans

Good Monday morning!

I wanted to make mention of two things on this first of June:

1) The Sound Mind, Sound Mom book club hosted by Simple Mom originally scheduled the reading of Last Child in the Woods to begin this week on June 3rd.  In case you missed this note at Simple Mom, there has been a schedule change and discussion on this book will not begin until June 11th.  There is still time to find a copy of this book and dig in!  I am so looking forward to discussing this with the Simple Kids community.

backyardtent2) Are you making plans for the Great American Backyard Campout on June 27th?  My family will be participating for the first time, and I invite all of you to join in the fun, too!  I think it would be so neat for all of us to share pictures and stories from our backyard campouts.  Let’s see how many in the SK community can join with families across the nation in celebrating the outdoors together!

Comments on this post are closed.  Have a joyful and productive Monday!

photo courtesy of zetrules