Memorable children's books -- and their characters and settings -- inspire our imaginations when we are young. The familiar memories are there for us as we grow, too. There are lots of benefits to kids' books that we only see as time passes, after many bedtime readings and quiet story times.
- They touch deep places where our creativity is growing.
- As we mature, bits of kids' books return in our thoughts.
- We notice them in movie and song references, or even in books we read as adults.
- We see themes from our favorite books, repeating throughout life.
- They are a burst of the familiar when we see them on bookshelves.
- Reminders of kids' books may return us to memories of childhood toys or a bedroom theme, too.
The seeds we plant as parents from books like these will open young minds. Each story brings news of possibilities, ideas, and creatures and characters that children get to know.
Here are few ways to plant the seeds of imagination in your kid's mind. For a second visit to many of the books listed, your child can often read them in a foreign language when she or he starts to study one -- a few available versions are noted.
How to Train Your Dragon / Cressida Cowell
Inspiring the minds of adults to create movies, games, and creative toys, this book and the rest of the related series take children to a new world. Playful and creative ideas keep expanding, book to book, giving plenty to look forward to on the subject of dragons!
Bear Snores On / Karma Wilson
A comforting, cyclical tale that brings a variety of animals to visit bear, with a touch of humor because -- you guessed it -- bear snores on through it all.
The Monster at the End of This Book / Jon Stone
A classic "Little Golden Book" based on a Sesame Street character. Both Grover and your child can enjoy the suspense as the end of the book approaches.
Magic Tree House Series / Mary Pope Osborne
Following the travels of two young children, their adventures in this series carry us through diverse educational themes, from mummies to King Arthur.
Where the Sidewalk Ends / Shel Silverstein
A beloved book of poetry that speaks to children about their lives, and tells creative stories as well.
The Secret Garden / Frances Hodgson Burnett
An older classic, this is an engrossing tale that revolves around a garden, spinning the tale wider over time as a young girl visits it on her own terms.
Where the Wild Things Are / Maurice Sendak (German, French, Spanish)
Max goes to bed without his supper for his mischief, but what dreams he has! A great way to show kids they can be the center of their own magical world.
Harold and the Purple Crayon / Crockett Johnson
A four year old boy with his magical purple crayon, and the power to create what he dreams of.
The Little Prince / Antoine de Saint Exupery (French original)
Full of philosophy, presented simply, this tale of a little prince on his tiny world and the rose who shares it with him explores emotions and relationships in a gentle way.
Charlotte’s Web / E. B. White (35 languages!)
Delicious writing, lovable characters, and a story which can be read over and over again, set on a farm where even the spiders play their role with a sense of community as joys and tragedies unfold.
Kids' books become part of our lives, staying with us until we're old. They are gateways to creative worlds for children, and even adults!