Now that my four girls are all reading (voraciously) on their own, I often find them curled up on the couch with their noses in a book. They frequently also read to their younger brother, if he’ll sit still long enough. At night, we snuggle together in his bed while I read a bedtime story to him. One night, I tried turning on a story on tape for him, thinking he’d enjoy the extra sound effects and character voices. Instead, he began wailing and demanded that I read to him instead. And so we curled up with an old-fashioned book and Mommy’s not-so-interesting voice impressions.
If you’re also reading aloud to a preschooler, here are some of our favourite books for preschoolers (the sort that won’t bore the parent who is reading it aloud over and over and over again!).
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Board Books for Preschoolers
All You Holy Men and Women
All You Holy Men and Women features a rhyming story about each saint along with attractive, toddler-friendly drawings. It’s the perfect way to introduce our youngest children to the amazing saints praying for them in heaven. Little girls will love to learn about St. Cecilia, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Joan of Arc and other women in the sturdy boards of All You Holy Women, Pray for Us. This book has the beautiful pictures and “meaty” stories that we look for in our favourite reading materials. Each little rhyming story has a lesson or thought-provoking tidbit.
We are a sucker for any Sandra Boyton book, but this might just be our favourite. Hippos Go Berserk is a fun counting book in which one hippo calls two hippos on the phone, and then… hilarity ensues. With Sandra’s signature rhyming story and adorable pictures, this is a book that we’ve read over and over again without anyone getting bored. (We read it so much that Lily memorized it without trying to and recited it for a talent show!) We have a sizeable Sandra Boynton collection of our own and usually also have half (or more) of the library’s Sandra Boynton books for preschoolers at our place too.
Picture Books for Preschoolers
Who doesn’t know Emily Dickinson? A beloved poet born in Massachusetts in the 1800’s, she pushed the boundaries of poetry. She has been loved ever since. A new generation of children are waiting to meet her in Emily Writes. Jane Yolen shows us a day in the life of a delightful young Emily Dickinson. Forty pages of engaging art work were provided by Christine Davenier. These delight the senses as we wander through Emily’s early days. Children aged 4-8 are invited to follow Emily as she discovers her own love of poetry.
10 Hidden Heroes
My kids love search-and-find books, and 10 Hidden Heroes has fun illustrations along with a good message about community and helping others. Each page in the book features a little rhyme about a certain type of hero in our community. For example, the first page focuses on healthcare workers. The illustration shows a variety of people offering care to hurting people, such as doctors and nurses in a hospital, a mom caring for a sick child at home, and a girl taking care of a hurt pet. 10 Hidden Heroes really is a book where the pictures say as much as the words. There is so much on each page that you can discuss with your children.
My Friend Earth
My Friend Earth helps youngsters see all that the earth is and serves as an inspiration in caring for our world. The colours are so bright and inviting! The cut outs help create action and movement, drawing kids in to learn more. See birds flit, fish dart, and water flow. The lines aren’t poetic in nature but just fit. Easy words to read the help you delight a child with the turn of page.
Shhh… God Is in the Silence encourages children to take a moment, quiet their minds, and look around for signs of God in the every day. With repetitive, soothing words written by Fiona Basile and warm illustrations by Alice Mount, children are invited into a space of quiet to meditate and connect with the Divine. Through the gentle repetition of simple yet profound truths, Shhh… God Is in the Silence promises to help children and their families realize that silence is itself a form of prayer—the part of the prayer conversation when we quiet our minds to listen to God in our hearts.
Let’s Get Sleepy
Let’s Get Sleepy is a rollicking ride with a bunch of kittens. Getting sleepy is a tough thing to do when you are young. Join these youngsters as they spend busy days trying to catch Sleepy. Can they find him? I love how the colours changed throughout the 32 pages of this lovely picture book. Starting all bright and sunny, and then as the day progresses, showing the falling of night. The action gradually slows as well. Little cats are starting to get tired… There is tons to see on each page, providing lots of talking points between reader and readee.
Me & My Pet: How We First Met
In the Book is a publishing company that puts your child in their favourite stories—or a special new story! Me & My Pet is one of their titles that can be customized to fit your child and her pet (including imaginary pets such as unicorns and dragons!). I chose a unicorn for Jade as she loves these mythical animals. Besides personalizing the book with Jade’s name, her pet, and her pet’s name, I was also able to make the girl in the story look like her. Me and My Pet: How We First Met is a fun story about getting a new pet… and having to learn how to take care of it. Unicorns need to be fed and walked and played with, just like any other pet. It’s a great way to talk with your child about the responsibility of owning a pet (even if that pet is imaginary!).
Brooke Smith wrote a fun book playing with unique words, sparking a child’s imagination into going on a hunt. In The Keeper of Wild Words you will find a gramma and grandchild reveling in the wonder of words. You will delight in the variety in font size, helping you to easily pick out wild words to make your own. As you meander through the pages you’ll marvel in the variety of language. How a duck is more than a duck… it might be a drake, and flowers have variety such as poppies, lavender and more and how water could be a pond, or a brook. At the close of the book you’ll find an envelope with an invitation. Find wild words to make your own.
Don’t Forget Me is an adorable book about a baby’s time in mommy’s womb. This picture book is written as a conversation between God and the baby. It’s a good reminder that God is the author and giver of life. I had fun reading this with my daughters when their little brother was only a few months old, so they still remembered my pregnancy. They were very excited to have a baby sibling and eagerly anticipated his arrival. That same sense of anticipation is found in the pages of this book. The delightful illustrations by Piper Miru show the baby growing in the mother’s womb.
Run Salmon Run is a hardcover picture book written by Vancouver children’s entertainers Bobs & Lolo. This book covers the life-cycle of the wild Pacific Salmon from tiny egg to returning adult. It’s short and sweet, a great primer to learning the basics of the salmon and their life-cycle. The colourful pages fill the eye with delight, and the numerous items to look at on the page give additional conversation-starters. A lovely book indeed, especially for any family living on the West Coast near a stream with salmon in it.
Sam the Guardian Angel helps explain the Mass to children—in a way they can understand. This book is written as a conversation between Angie and her guardian angel, Sam. On the first page, they introduce themselves. In the next pages, Sam and Angie go to Mass together. Angie comments on various parts of the Mass, and Sam adds his perspective to her questions or thoughts. Sam the Guardian Angel is written for a child who hasn’t yet received First Holy Communion, and mentions Holy Communion. It’s been a great book to read and discuss with my youngest two (almost 6 and 4), and I’ve appreciated some of the questions and comments they’ve made as we read together.
Did you know that the New York Public Library is guarded by two lions? Their names are Patience and Fortitude. Where Is Our Library? is about those two lions and their love for children’s literature. The lion wake up and roam through the library, then they move out of the library and onto the city streets. As they move along they’ll meet characters and solve a mystery… that of lost books! Rhyming couplets fill the pages, with a large font making it an easy to read book.
Our Lady’s Picture Book
Our Lady’s Picture Book by Anthony DeStefano is like a heavenly photo album for our Mama Mary. The beautiful images by Juliana Kolesova portray different scenes from Mary’s life, both before and after her assumption into heaven. DeStefano tells the story with his signature rhymes, making this a lyrical book to read aloud. Our Lady’s Picture Book includes Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady Mother of Mercy, Our Lady Queen of Peace, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The stories draw children into each event from Mary’s life and why Mary was given this title.
No Matter What
Do we truly understand what it means to be in the foster care system? No Matter What: A foster care tale gives us a personal look into the life of a foster care child, speaking into the pain and loss and then into the determination of a child. This is a sweet book that opens to the eyes of parents and shows hope to children. Tenderly written, No Matter What tells a true-to-life story of a young squirrel in the hands of the foster care system, trying to find a home to call his own.
What are your favourite books for preschoolers?
Check out my other book lists for the whole family: