During this crazy season of life I know everyone is scrambling to find activities to do with their children while they're at home. As I sat in my design studio, thinking of how to give value to those around me, I realized spreading our staff's favorite children's books would be the perfect way to help struggling parents gain ideas on how to find some semblance of normalcy.
There are 2 great FREE resources that are available right now from Audible and Apple Books. Audible has free stories available to listen to on your phone, tablet, or computer (don't use the Audible app as they aren't available there) until schools are back in session. You don't even need to create an account. Apple Books also has free books and audiobooks available as well available directly through the app.
We've created links to all the books below on Amazon, but I highly recommend that if you can, you call up your local bookstore and see if they have them available for you. If you do purchase through our Amazon links, we will be donating 50% of our portion to No Kid Hungry and the BStrong Foundation to help kids who have been affected by the pandemic.
Full of heart and humor, these books shaped my childhood as much if not more than any others. Anne's grit and determination and ability to dream a better life for herself were way ahead of our more recent forays into manifestation. She believed in a better life so she worked hard and created it. As a child, I wouldn't have characterized it as entrepreneurial, but it a sense it was. Her quest to become a writer fueled my own urge to become an author which may happen sooner rather than later if this pandemic lasts!
I love mysteries to this day, which prompted me to make this genre it's own category on my list. I felt as if I was always at a race against the detective in the story to solve the crime. I also loved the sense of independence these characters embodied since that was something I never truly had as a kid. I'm still waiting for a mystery to land on my doorstep!
Here are a few of my Personal Favorites:
I love Ann Rinaldi, she is known for her popular historical young adult novels. This particular book is told from the point of view of Thomas Jefferson's slave daughter, Sally Hemmings. Rinaldi's books deal with difficult subject matter in a way that young readers can digest while never talking down to them. They are a wonderful launching point for interesting conversations about our nation's history.
This book has stayed with me over the years and probably has contributed to my lifelong love of Boston. I remember reading this and identifying deeply with the idea of being a part of something so much bigger than yourself. I liked the sense of creativity he had, constantly finding purpose in the midst of chaos. As you can tell, I have a thing for historical fiction and for a character who rose above there circumstances. There's a powerful lesson in that for us all during these times.
The Salem witchcraft trials were an obsession of mine. The idea of people who had come to a New World in search of religious freedom turning on their own families was fascinating to me. I read anything I could get my hands on that had to deal with the trials and eventually led me to read Arthur Miller's The Crucible. I think the sense of otherness is what led me to be attracted to these stories in addition to the mystery of it all. I wish I could figure out what caused these people to have so much fear and hysteria.
1. The Shadow!
This radio series was something Crystal always looked forward to listening to with her grandfather, whether it be on road trips or simply in the background of her weekly phone calls to him. Check out this series on audible if you want a taste of this criminal-turned-hero tale.
This book is a fan favorite for many people. It's peaceful tone and sweet pictures are sure to bring anyone back to their childhood.
This pre-Hunger Games series puts everything into perspective. This tale of a dystopian land sending children off to get plastic surgery in order to fit in was a series that constantly infiltrated Crystal's imagination as a teen.
Another series that has had several similar franchises modeled after it. This Twilight-esque series follows a girl stuck in a vampire/werewolf love triangle but includes 15 amazing books, rather than five.
This famous Russian author was known for his poems and fairytales. His work is traditional and has been passed down for centuries. They're full of magical creatures and super beings. Kate definitely recommends these books to play with your imagination.
These fairytales usually hold some sort of moral silver lining. These stories are not only cute, but hold a whole lot of truth. Kate loved reading these stories about hard work and motivation and has felt them playing a role in her life today.
This soviet union era writer utilized many animals and people as his characters. These lighthearted characters helped convey moral lessons to children, while simultaneously being funny and entertaining. This Russian writer is often compared to Dr. Suess in Russia.
When Kate was in 6th grade she felt a distain towards reading. In order to keep her motivated her aunt made her pick out books in exchange for ice cream. She vividly remembers picking this book and still loves it to this day.
5. Her mother's fictional stories about her cat
Whenever Kate was tired of the books her mother would constantly read to her, fictional stories of her favorite cat Kesha was thrown into the mix. She loved to imagine her beloved animal performing tasks only humans can do. If you run out of books, dig into your imagination!
This was Alyssa's favorite book as a child because of how much she adored the illustrations. Though she wasn't the biggest fan of reading, she somehow found herself immersed in this book several times.
Alyssa's grandmother used to read this book to her and her siblings when they were younger. One day after school she was surprised with a kitten and immediately decided to name the cat Smokey, after the kitten in this story.
These books were another series her grandmother introduced to her. Each short book was meant to teach wholesome lessons in an entertaining matter.
This book is a well-known collection of short stories and poems. Falling up is one of Alyssa's all-time favorites. She shamelessly still own this book as an adult!
The illustrations and easy to digest vocabulary were what made Alyssa love this book from the beginning. Her favorite memory of this book was when McDonald's did a line of happy meal toys inspired by Carle's books.
What are your favorite children's books? Let us know in the comments!
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