The number of children’s books in bookstores today may make any new mom’s head spin. There is a book now for everything that happens in our child’s life – a new sibling, potty training and transition to preschool. But in this sea of books which look more like instruction manuals, there are a few gems, tested by time. Classic children’s books are magical and whimsical and make any child’s eye sparkle.
In this article, I present a list of the best classic children’s books to make your choice easier. So whether you’re buying or borrowing from your library, make sure to check them out as they might just become your child’s favorites, too.
Beskow is a Swedish household name, a globally loved author for almost a century and the creator of iconic characters.
Written in the first half of the 20th century, Beskow’s books are charming and whimsical, thoughtful and full of wisdom. Mostly set in magical fairylands, they immediately capture a child’s imagination and remain cherished for years. The illustrations in her books deserve their own separate praise as they are superb, exquisite and refined.
My personal favorite is The Sun Egg – the story of a fairy that found a mysterious orange egg which she believes has fallen from the sky and belongs to the sun. Will it hatch another little sun? Her forest friends of birds, elves and gnomes help her on her journey to find out.
This book takes several unexpected turns, inspiring play, and creativity. Children may want to act out this book or have toys act it out. Any activities around a book you’ve just read will ensure your child’s love for reading and storytelling.
Other great books by Elsa Beskow are Peter in Blueberry Land, Children of the forest, The Curious Fish, The Land of Long Ago, Princess Sylvie and many others.
First published in 1950, this book is as fresh as ever today. It tells the story of a goose named Petunia, who is searching for the greenest and most delicious grass, which she believes to be somewhere else, out of her reach.. only to find out that it was always right there, on her own home field.
A very engaging book, with some suspense and a tiny bit of danger, it is an invitation to dialogue about gratitude, abundance and doing the best with one’s resources.
A classic 1970s book by one of the best Japanese children’s authors. Like everything Japanese, this book stands separate to other books.
At first, I felt a bit comprehensive as there is so little text – just one sentence per page. I thought my 3-year-old may get bored and wonder where is the action? By I was so wrong! This book is elegant, simple and very meditative. You can’t rush it as you might do with other action-packed books. When you read each sentence, a pause comes naturally, and you and your child revel in the echo of the words and the beautiful images.
The child’s creativity is invited to join in as there are many open-ended questions and possibilities on every page. Over the Ocean teaches us to wonder, ponder and daydream. Just as the book asks What is over the ocean, we become inquisitive about everything around us and transform any routine task into a magical quest.
This is a perfect book if you want to bring some mindfulness into your child’s life.
Taro Gomi is the author of many children’s books as well as amazing activity books to inspire creativity.
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