We’ve spent more time inside this year than any of us have ever imagined and it looks like we’re not quite out of the woods yet. I know we’re all scratching at the walls and anxious for a return to normalcy but this year also provides us with some much-needed quality time with our loved ones. Our schedules and days are normally packed and filled with multi-tasking. We forget that it’s good to slow down and enjoy peace and quiet from time to time.
So instead of rushing back to our lives – let’s take this opportunity to cherish the ones we love. There are lots of ways to spend quality time with your toddler. One of the best ways to stimulate your little one and promote bonding is the same as it has been for years and years – reading a book!
Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of my parents reading to me. My mom would read a Christmas book to us and we drove across the state to my grandmother’s for the holidays. I can still picture her holding a flashlight in the front seat to read as the street lights whizzed by my backseat window. Nothing feels cozier than making hot chocolate, snuggling under a favorite blanket and sharing a story. Here are my five favorite stories for young families to read this winter season!
- Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel, $19.99 for the 4-Book Set
Frog and Toad were my absolute favorite books to hear as a child. There isn’t a better example of true friendship than Frog and Toad. My favorite story in this collection is The Letter. After Frog sees how sad Toad feels after waiting by his mailbox and never receiving a letter he rushes home to write to his friend. These stories present simple life lessons in being good and kind and stopping to enjoy the beautiful world around us.
Kids love to see other kids doing big things. So much of childhood is being told to wait until you’re older so I love this story by Meena Harris where the protagonists Kamala and Maya take a community project into their own hands. Kamala and Maya think that the big open space needs a playground for the kids of the building to play. They organize their friends and neighbors to help make their dream a reality. No one can do everything but everyone can do something! The story is based on Kamala Harris’ life – and her historic Vice-Presidential win makes it even more exciting!
My Shadow is Pink was written by dad Scott Stuart. Scott’s son loves the movie Frozen and is especially drawn to Elsa. When his son wanted to wear an Elsa dress to the movie theatre instead of saying ‘absolutely not’ – Scott got a dress in his size and the two went dressed as Elsa together. Scott’s love for his son inspired him to write a picture about a little boy whose shadow is pink. He’s worried that since his dad’s shadow is blue his dad won’t love him but the little boy learns that all of our shadows are different – and that’s a good thing.
- Frederick by Leo Lionni, $7.99
All of Leo Lionni’s books are gorgeous but my favorite is Frederick. Frederick tells the tale of a small mouse who instead of collecting food for winter collects colors and stories to share with his friends to help them through the cold winter. This book beautifully shows how important individuality, heart, and self-love are for every mouse.
I can still recite the opening lines of this book from memory:
Funny Miss Twiggley lived in a tree,
With a dog named Puss and a color TV.
She did what she liked, and she liked what she did,
But when company came, Miss Twiggley hid.
“It’s not that I do not like people,” said she.
“But one gets a bit shy when one lives in a tree.”
My number one pick is my number one pick from when I was a little boy – Miss Twiggley’s Tree by Dorothea Warren Fox. This book was out of print for a while but luckily it’s back! I would beg to hear this story over and over and the lessons in this book hold up so well today.
Miss Twiggley lives with her dog in a tree and mostly keeps to herself. The people of the town think she’s strange and don’t like her ways. One day, a great flood comes to the town and Miss Twiggley saves the day by offering her neighbors her home, her kindness and her care.
Photo Credits: Brina Blum on Unsplash, Robyn Budlender on Unsplash
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