I still remember the day I got my first library card. In my wide eyes, that small laminated rectangle was a passport to so many enchanting places—Narnia, Marlinspike Hall, River Heights and Sweet Valley just to name a few. My love for children’s literature and armchair traveling has only grown since then, and I often get asked for recommendations. In celebration of International Children’s Book Day (and Hans Christian Andersen´s birthday), here are a few of my favorite books to inspire budding bookworms. And if you need ideas for baby shower or birthday gifts, they make a wonderful edition to any library.
My all-time favorite read aloud is "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen. After all, who can resist these opening lines?
We’re going on a bear hunt.
We’re going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We’re not scared.
Helen Oxenbury’s alternating black and white and color illustrations perfectly capture the excitement and drama of this family adventure. The lyrical text takes readers through “swishy swashy” grass, mud that makes “squelch squerch!” sounds and the careful “Tiptoe! Tiptoe! Tiptoe!” into the bear cave. If you haven’t read this gem for story time yet, put it on your list!
Another great read aloud is "Owl Moon," a story about a young girl who goes out owling with her father late one night. Unlike the noisy romp of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, this is a quiet adventure.
When you go owling
you don’t need words
or anything but hope.
The combination of Jane Yolen’s poetic prose and John Schoenherr’s award winning illustrations of the wintry scenery will cast a peaceful spell over readers young and old.
As children, my three siblings and I read and re-read "The Adventures of Tintin," a comic series featuring the famous boy reporter who does a shockingly small amount of reporting but a whole lot of stumbling into mysteries of every kind. Tintin fueled my love of mysteries, both as a young reader (I know I’m not the only one who wanted to be Nancy Drew!) and as an adult (I can’t get enough of Kate Atkinson, Tana French and Craig Johnson to name a few).
Looking over my choices I realize they all have one thing in common: adventure! Whether it’s another walk in the woods, romp through the grass or international mystery, I hope you will enjoy your stay as you flip through these storybook pages. And return often.