“Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown I am trying to find the right way to say how much I dislike this book I know many love it but I just can’t get on board. A few years ago my assistant teacher and I used to call it “Run bunny run!” because this poor bunny is just trying to get some space from his mom. I know that some people adore this book and think that the sentiment of security is the one to focus on but I can’t write that I love it when I don’t.
“Stellaluna” by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who looses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she is happy. and likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book!
” Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother Too?” by Eric Carle is a educational and fun story for toddlers and preschoolers. Much like many of his other books, the story is simple, the text is short but the over all reading experience is great. This was a favorite to read at circle time because the whole book is the same question over and over, which is the perfect foundation for gathering your student’s or children’s opinions!
“Did I Tell You I Love You Today?” by Deloris Jordan is a very practical yet heartwarming look at all the ways parents show love to their children everyday, from feeding them healthy food to praying after they go to bed. My son loved all the big boy things in the book like, the school bus, basketball and the playground. I teared up reading the book, but I cry at American Idol so that may not be indicative of anything!
“I Love You With All My Heart!” by Noris Kern is the precursor to “Will you Still Love Me” the author is the illustrator in the other book. The characters are the same and the story is equally as sweet. It’s a slow but calming story about Polo’s quest to understand what mama bear means when she says she loves him with all her heart!
“Mama’s Saris” by Pooja Makhijani is a simple yet rich story about a little girl and her desire to dress in her mama’s clothes. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t remember watching in awe as her mom got dressed for a special event and wanting to dress just like mama. The narrator is Hindu and her mama wears a sari for special occasions and she is stubbornly trying to get her mom to let her wear one for her 7th birthday. The illustrations are beautiful, especially the jewel tones of the various saris. This book would be a great one to read before playing dress up or other pretend play. The story is touching and although it’s too long for toddlers, it’s a great book for preschoolers !
” I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt reminds me of “The Runaway Bunny” but less saccharine and creepy. Sorry if I have just called your favorite book creepy but I’ve never been a fan of “The Runaway Bunny”. Back to this book and why I like it, I love that the little boy in the book keeps trying to find ways to make him unlovable and the mom keeps finding ways to love unconditionally. There is a deeper meaning here and moms will see past the fun illustrations to the real heart of this book, which is no matter what we love our children. When I found this in a thrift store and read it quickly, I couldn’t look at my son in his stroller throwing puffs on the floor without tearing up!
” Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in his crib.
” The Mommy Book” by Todd Parr is a bright, funny and wonderfully random book. I love Todd Parr and his blunt and diverse books. In this one he once again reassures kids that mommies come in all different forms but all mommies want you to be who you are! Your kids will love the simple and vibrant pictures that are Todd Parr’s signature!
“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn is a beautiful story about a little raccoon afraid to go to school and leave his mother, but his mom knows a special trick for Chester to be brave and remember that his mommy loves him. This book has helped a number of former students get over separation anxiety although sometimes I think it’s more for us moms than our brave little guys!
“Hair for Mama” by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.
“My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins or Things.” by Judith Viorst is a lovely , touching but not saccharine book about how moms makes mistakes too. The litter boy narrating the book, continues to insist that there are monsters and such despite his mom saying there isn’t. He used the fact that he often catches his mom making little mistakes to prove that she must be wrong when she says those horrible creatures don’t exist. In the end though mama keeps him safe and is right after all.
” Piglet and Mama” by Margaret Wild is the only book in this list I would suggest for the under 3 crowd. My son loved it. Piglet is searching for his mom and even though all the other animal mommies offer for him to join them and their babies he wants his mom! The illustrations by Stephen Michael King capture the warmth between a mama and her baby beautifully . My son has the “Mama” scream perfected and quite enjoyed seeing the little piglet do the same thing for her mama. We had a nice chat after reading this about separation, something we have been struggling with for a while. Before nap today I reminded my son that just like piglet his mama will come get him when he wakes up. Even if separation anxiety isn’t something you are dealing with at your house this is a sweet book.