Our Favorite Children’s Books

My wife and I have probably read 500 different books to our young children during their short time on this planet. The tomes run the gamut from the well-known to the obscure, from the bizarre to the classic.

Here are some of our favorites and why we love them.

“Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!” by Mo Willems. Any of Mo Willems’ books could make our list for the humor, surprises and punch each of them contain. They are simple, concise and, no matter how many times we read them, our children never tire of them. These books follow the antics of a pigeon who is constantly getting in trouble or wanting to drive a bus or figure out how a chick got a free cookie. They’re great fun, easy to follow and laugh-out-loud funny.

“And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street” by Dr. Seuss. Truly, we love every Dr. Seuss book but this one stands out because of its’ theme of using your limitless imagination to conjure vivid images and wild scenes. The young boy in this story one-ups each fantastic image with another in order to try and impress his father of his walk home from school. Each page gets more outlandish but also more fun. After we read this book, we ask our sons what they would see on Mulberry Street and let their minds run wild.

“Out of This World” by Amy Sklansky. This is a book for preschool age kids that tapped into my oldest son’s love of space, planets, stars and the galaxy. This book contains short poems that focus on all aspects of space but the best parts are the side notes that take large topics and condense them into child-size facts. This book has taught my son about black holes, the layers of the atmosphere and more. (Don’t tell my science teachers but it’s also taught me those things, too!)

“The Scrambled States of America” by Laurie Keller. This book will not only teach your children the geography of the United States but it will have them discovering new things each time they read it. In this book the states decide to switch places because they’re bored where they are. They quickly discover how good they had it and want to return to their original spot. Our children love discovering each state’s unique personality and learning interesting facts about each state, disguised in the book’s constant humor.

“Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney. I love things that are simple — a melody, a perfectly cooked fried egg, a neatly ironed crease in a pair of pants (Yeah, I’m a little weird). That might be one of the reasons I adore this book along with the fact that the main adult character is a father.  (Go dads!). If you haven’t read it, treat yourself. If you have read it, treat yourself again. The book shines a spotlight on a son who wants to outdo his father’s love but soon realizes that his father’s capacity for love is always just a little bit bigger.

Bonus book — “Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth,” published by The Smithsonian. Do your kids love animals? Rocks? Plants? Flowers? You MUST get this book. It contains pictures and facts on all living things on earth. This book will teach something to every member of the family and it’s also a great way to keep your kids entertained when they’re bored. The only downside — DO NOT drop this book on your foot. It’s huge and weighs as much as an African Saharan Elephant. (See page 522.)

(COVER PHOTO SOURCE: http://blogs.slj.com/touchandgo/files/2012/02/photo-15.png)


The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

I got a fever and the cure? More…

When I was a full-time teacher, in my classroom, … [Read Article]

My Least Favorite Parenting Chore…

Like every parent, I've dealt with a plethora of … [Read Article]

State of Social III - Offline Relationships

State of Social Part III – Offline…

This is the last of three posts regarding social … [Read Article]


  1. kapgar says:

    The Mo Willems books took a little getting used to for us. You just have to keep reading them until you imagine the other half of the conversation and develop a voice for the pigeon that remains consistent across the series and through multiple readings. I’ve often considered doing a YouTube tutorial on how to do this with either Stay Up Late or Drive the Bus. Both are favorites here as well.

    • Happiest Daddy says:

      That is very valid point and one of the things I like about his books — that it encourages children to fill in that space with their own imaginary responses. I would love to see your video tutorial – awesome idea.

This is what I think...