In light of this week being the National Young Readers Week, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite story books growing up. My grandmother was an elementary school teacher who won Teacher of the Year. As a direct consequence, her grandchild had access to a variety of superb children’s books that she had passed down from her classroom. Here’s a list of some of the most crucial children’s books from my childhood.
“Cranberry Thanksgiving” by Wede and Harry Devlín
Since Thanksgiving break is in the near future, it is only fitting that I share a Thanksgiving children’s book. It was a tradition in my household that this book be read to my brother and me either the night of Thanksgiving or the weeks leading up to it. The story is about a grandmother who invites a guest to her house every Thanksgiving and lets her granddaughter do the same. Her granddaughter, however, invited Mr. Whiskers, who did not appear to be to the grandmother’s liking because of his appearance. The question is whether grandma’s secret cranberry bread recipe is safe while Mr. Whisker’s is in the house. The story emphasizes the importance of not judging a book by its cover.
“Babushka’s Doll” by Patricia Polacco
“Babushka’s Doll” is about a Russian grandmother who lets her granddaughter Natasha play with a doll that lives on her shelf. The doll comes to life while Babushka is away and her granddaughter is there to witness all of the shenanigans that the doll gets into when it comes alive. The doll is meant to teach Natasha about obedience since she doesn’t listen very well to her grandmother and acts very selfish and impatient towards her. Natasha learns what it’s like to try to tame the doll similar to how her babushka has to tame her.
“Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs” by Tomie de Paola
“Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs” is about a little boy named Tommy who has two grandmothers. The story compares his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, to his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs. They both live in the same household together. Nana Downstairs takes care of Nana Upstairs because Nana Upstairs can’t do most things on her own. Tommy has to face the challenge of saying goodbye to his great-grandmother after his mother tells him that she won’t be in the house anymore.
“Bea and Mr. Jones” by Amy Schwartz
“Bea and Mr. Jones” is my favorite story. Bea lives with her father, Mr. Jones. Bea doesn’t want to go to school but her dad would much rather be in school than have to go to work. The two, therefore, decide to switch places; Mr. Jones goes to Bea’s school and Bea goes to Mr. Jone’s job. A little spoiler: both are much more successful in their new roles. I thought as a child that this was an exceptionally good idea and tried to get my father to switch roles with me so I didn’t have to go to school. He said no.
Reading is especially important for young people, not just for young kids. Reading gives us new perspectives and teaches us valuable lessons in life. There are so many good books out there for all ages, but I think that we can all agree that the old books we read as kids bring back a good amount of nostalgia. Afterall, a good book is a good book regardless of who it was written for.