I collect children’s books, many of my recommendations come from my home library. I scour thrift stores, garage sales and library discard piles for books. When I find a Kevin Henkes book I grab it! I have never been let down with any of his books, there is something magical about the way he captures kids feelings. Here are my favorites. There are many many more books to choose from check out his website for a full listing.
Julius, the Baby of the World is such a funny book that I actually called my mom the day I bought it to read it to her over the phone. The book is about Lily who is adjusting to her new role as a big sister. The thing is Lily isn’t adjusting well, and it’s hilarious because it’s so true! So often books depict older siblings happily welcoming babies into their lives and that just isn’t always the case. Lily is not happy, she unlike her parents do not think this baby is special and she is openly hostile to Julius.
I laugh out loud every time I read this book, I particularly love when Lily tells a passing pregnant mouse that she will regret being pregnant. I think this book opens the floor for a real talk about feelings when a new baby comes, it’s important to remember just because the big people are excited doesn’t mean the little ones are too!
Owen This book warms my heart. Owen is attached to his fuzzy blanket. However, some people think Owen is too big for a blanket and it’s time to grow up. He goes everywhere and needs his blanket. And his parents are getting pressure from a nosy neighbor to take it away. I think this is an amazing book about parenting. I know that as a mom who is still nursing her 2 year old that I have been told many times the same things that Owen’s parent’s are told. “He can’t be a baby forever, can’t you just say no etc”.
Like Owen’s parent’s I know what my child is ready for. I don’t give into nosy neighbors but instead do the best thing for my child. No matter what your child’s lovey is, whether it’s a plush animal, blanket, pacifier or you. You’ll relate to this book. Oh and kids love it too, my son often asks for this one before bed.
Shelia Rae, The Brave In this story Sheila is a brave little mouse, he even taunts her little sister Louise calling her names when she isn’t as brave as her. However soon the tables are turned. When Shelia gets lost it’s her very own scaredy cat sister who shows the bravery. I think a lot of younger siblings can relate to this story, I know I can. Having an older sister who very much like Shelia is the natural leader among the two of us. It’s nice to see the little sister saving the day for once.
Wemberly Worried This book is about a little mouse who is about as anxious as possible. She worries about everything, and it makes her family worried too. This is a fantastic book to read before starting anything new! I read it for the children’s time at my church right before school started in the fall. It was a great opener for a talk about anxiety. We all have worries and even though we may not worry as often or as fiercely as Wemberly this book makes it seem okay and normal to feel those feelings.
The way the author illustrates both through words and pictures the intensity of her feelings really creates compassion in the reader for this little mouse. And that ability to understand what another is feeling is something that I desperately want to instill in my son.