Children's StoryBooks - our ultimate favorites

Our Favourite Books for Pre-Schoolers

Age: 0 - 5 Years Old

I have a draft version of this blog post from around 3 years ago, when I first started writing about some of our favourite books to share, but when I started reading it, there was too much editing mainly as there was only one little baby who enjoyed them then. But on reflection I now get to write it from a much more experienced motherhood point of view as the majority of the books below have stood the test of time for over 5 years and been under scrutiny of two very different individual children.

From a personal point of view, I love books, from a very very early age I loved loved loved reading and it was something that grew with me throughout my childhood. As I got older and the bulk of my time had to be spent reading studying material this love did have to take a back seat, but the majority of my weight allowance when going on holiday as a teenager would normally be books. Our house is filled with books, our bookshelves bursting with them, as although buying books is an expensive habit to get into, the power of them is transformation. I do have a kindle too, both a physical one and a version on my phone, which I do use also, but the love of going into a bookstore or a library and physically choosing a book to hold in your hands is still a favorite. I am much more biased on the fiction side, but this gets balanced out my the husband who is much more a non-fiction guy.

Even when I was pregnant with my first, I started buying books for him in the same way I started buying baby clothes, I knew I wanted my children to be surrounded by books and hoped they would love them as much as me. One of my favourite books I read when pregnant was - On becoming a mother - a beautiful collection of stories about pregnancy, the birth and the months after are celebrated by different communities and cultures across the world. I much preferred this than the week by week vegetable growth comparison.

Back to children's books, we try to make the books as accessible as we can for them, so they are able to choose whichever one they want to, we also encourage them to buy books and if they show an interest in a particular area I will often get them a book on this too. A lot of the books are also gifts, which I think is perfect, books make the best presents, even for the ones we have doubles of, you can never ever have too many books. I purchase the majority from Amazon and Costco, some are from holidays and Tkmaxx also have great books in their collection especially the nonfiction ones. The library is also a great place to go to expose the children to books, unfortunately our local one closed recently but we still have others nearby which also offer story time mornings.

I have divided the books into age groups, but to be honest that is just a rough guideline, my oldest still loves going back and reading Spot, and my youngest loves having longer stories read to her at bedtime. A lot of the reason I have highlighted these books is because they are so accessible by children of all ages, I am not planning on taking any of these off the bookshelves just yet.

Like most things in our house, reading is very much child-led, you cannot force them to read, and apart from at bedtime we have no set time to read. At the moment since we are trying to home-school, I often pull out books around a topic to make the choices easier for them to choose and we try to end the school day with a read along. Non-fiction books are also great for encouraging them to learn more about a topic I will do a separate post of these that we have found useful during lockdown.

Finally, as much as I love receiving gifts as book, what I adore even more is personalised books, and the children have been lucky enough to get quite a few of these over the years too, when they were younger they did not really understand it, but now with a huge grasp of themselves, they love reading these stories about themselves and spotting their names in the book.

Babies - Age 0-1

You can read to your babies even before they are born, but definitely after, sometimes with a newborn you get a bit bored, when they do not do much, and reading a book together no matter how small they are, is a wonderful way to bond. One of my favorite newborn gifts is a black and white book, to help even young babies to focus their eyes on the patterns and colours.
Soft and textured books are another big favourite to encourage them to touch the book and interact, sound books are another good way to keep their attention when young. I love classics, a lot of the books I grew up reading so I have lots of these on my list for younger readers.

1)Black and White board books - a perfect first book or baby shower present.

2) Cloth and texture soft books - again make great first books, also had a few teething versions of these too, little ones also love the sounds they can make.

3)Classic stories - these stories include lifting flaps, rhyme, colourful bright pictures and have stood the test of time for generations, some of our favourites include

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Goodnight Moon

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

4)Textured board books - the That's not my range is my ultimate favourite

5)Sound books - some parents will not like these, but they are great way to keep little ones engaged throughout the whole story. At one time, when my first hated his car seat, the only way he would not cry the entire journey was my listening to the sounds on row row your boat constantly from this book, surprisingly it still works.

6.Large lift the flap books, babies love lifting, ripping and eating these flaps.
Excuse Me

Toddlers - Ages 1- 3

As your baby grows, so will their personality, they will start showing their own preferences such as character books, reading is also a great way to build their vocabulary and encourage conversation, they will often mimic reading books and stories they know well so repetitions is great for this. 

1) Repetition Books - There was an old lady

We're Going on a Bear Hunt - love this so much, even saw the musical.

2) Classic Story Books  - Longer stories with more details than some of the younger ones

The Tiger who Came to Tea

Fox's Socks - Love this Acorn Wood Range

Giraffes Can't Dance

3) Simple number stories Ten Little Dinosaurs

4)Character BooksPeppa Pig

5)Bedtime StoriesPapa please get the Moon for Me

Pre-Schoolers - Ages 3-5 years

Now the fun really starts going, the stories get a lot more interesting, you can start to introduce real chapter books for bedtime reading and they begin to start reading themselves also. Again, I find the classics work so well, in addition to Disney books, Julia Donaldson and interactive books where they get to tell the story back to you.

1)Box Sets - some great bargains out there to buy a bulk of books based on a topic or type.
Disney Treasure Cove - beautiful illustrations - would love to collect all of these

Ladybird Tales

Reading with Phonics - great for older children to practice phonic sounds - the stories are a spin on the classics which make them more fun as they will love to correct the book.

Story Time Collection 

Let's Read

Biff, Chip and Kipper First Experiences - Great talking points on some everyday experiences, going to the doctor, dentist, a new baby, recycling etc.

2)Bedtime Stories - just some of the favourites we read again and again and again....

All in One Piece and Kipper

Funny Bones
The Smeds and Smoos - anything by Julia Donaldson is always a big win

The Lion Inside - love the message and pictures in this range

3) Learning Books 
Starting School  - a great way for the months before they start to prepare them.

You Choose - a series of pictures that lets them make up there own story, great for encouraging independent reading from a young age as no words needed.

I hope these books are able to provide some inspiration for you all, not just during this testing time but forever as books are meant to be read over a lifetime. I have really enjoyed going back to some of my childhood favorites with the children, and also discovering new gems.