According to my mom, I started reading when I was three years old. She must be right, because I attended Montessori school from age three to five, and most of my memories are being curled up in the reading loft with a pile of books. When I was very little, at bedtime Mom would squeeze into bed with my brother and me and we would read book after book. The Sweet Pickle series was our favorite. As I got older, I would take a flashlight to bed and read under the covers, well past my bedtime. I read every Laura Ingalls Wilder multiple time, the entire Nancy Drew series, and every biography in my elementary school library. By the fourth grade, I graduated to reading through the series of hard cover classics in my parents’ library, starting with Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. You get the picture. Reading was a way to travel to other places and other times, to live in someone else’s shoes. I loved it.
I started reading to Theo the first week he was born, when all he could do was lay in my arms and listen to the sound of my voice telling the story. Now, he loves books. Especially if he’s tired or needing quiet time, he’ll lay in my lap as we read book after book. Even as a one-year old, he has opinions on which books he likes and doesn’t. If we sit down with a pile of books, he picks up his favorites and hands them to me. Or, if I start reading one, he’ll reach down and grab another. He especially likes books that rhyme or have a distinct rhythm to the story, especially if the subject includes trucks or animals.
Up until a few months ago, we were only reading board books, because inevitably every book go chewed on. And Theo loves to turn the pages, so board books prevented torn books and paper cuts. Now that he’s one, he has a whole new set of favorites (some board books, some not), which I will share in another post. But here were Theo’s 10 favorite board books, for the first year of his life. I can recite them all by heart.
Goodnight Moon. This classic is one of his favorites, and is also great for learning colors.
Guess How Much I Love You. Another classic. We used to read this one every night before bed.
Little Blue Truck. This book lives in the car because it keeps him happy during long drives as I read it over and over and over. I can recite those whole book by heart.
Red Truck. Another truck book with a simple story, but Theo loves it. I think he’s particularly drawn to the brightly colored illustrations.
On the Night You Were Born. Nancy Tillman’s books are beautifully written and illustrated, ones parents love reading as much as kids love listening. We have several of her books, but I think he especially likes On the Night You were Born because I insert his name into each page of the story. This is another we read before bed every night. We have four other Nancy Tillman books, and we love them all.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Another classic, and one that Theo loves. He points to the holes on every page.
Dear Zoo. We actually found this book because it was in one of our rental homes in France. It’s a peek-a-book book and Theo loves opening the doors to see each animal. It’s amazing to see how quickly they learn.
Big Red Barn. This is another book by Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote Goodnight Moon. The rhythmic story is soothing and perfect for winding down before sleep. This book also teaches about animals, sizes, colors and counting.
Since we’re always looking for new books to read, what are your favorite books?
These photos were taken by Matthew Land Studios, during our recent trip to Palm Springs. We didn’t travel with any toys (pots and pans are just as good for entertainment), but we always travel with a pile of books.