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16 Reasons to Love Reading to Kids (By Grownups)

This week we decided to celebrate the joy of reading by asking the staff at Next Generation to share their favorite children’s books – the ones their parents, grandparents, and siblings read to them as children. While it wasn’t easy to choose, here are some of our favorites we’d like to share with you.

For more information on this project, see our blog post and video at

1. Because reading is fun

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

"This book of poems encouraged me early on to use my imagination and to have fun with words." – Jamesine Rogers


2. To learn a new language

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

"Dr. Seuss made learning English fun." – Hong Van Pham


3. For self-confidence

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

"Having a unique family name myself, I totally related to Chrysanthemum’s worry of being different than her peers. In the end, it’s always your unique qualities that are the most admirable!" – Adele Axness


4. For something to hide behind

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

"Girl power personified!!!" – Pat McVeigh

5. To learn persistence

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

"The child in all of us likes a story about persistence, especially one with a memorable phrase that repeats like:  I think I can!" – Jeffrey Thomas 

6. To celebrate being different

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant by David McKee  

"Elmer is a celebration of being different, never blending in, and always being happy in your own (colorful!) skin." – James T McLean       

7. For the smell

The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka

"I was drawn in by the illustrations, and stayed for the vivid, descriptive language – I could almost smell the stinky cheese emanating from the pages." – James Barba

8. For fashion tips from fruit

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood  

"Who doesn't love a strawberry wearing Groucho glasses?" – Madelyn Gardner

9. For a companion to go exploring with

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

"Peter, the boy in the book, is the perfect companion to explore a wintry day in the city. He explores, he dreams, and he experiences disappointment-- all things that every young child feels as they grow up. Lovely book." – Anastasia Ordonez


10. For the dreamers

Frederick by Leo Lionni

"Frederick the field mouse is a dreamer." – Justine Hebron

11. To make memories

Corduroy by Don Freeman

"I chose Corduroy because I have great memories of my mom reading it to me every night, I really loved the illustrations, and I really believed my stuffed animals would come to life when I wasn't there, like Corduroy did." – Neda Habibi


12. Because books can be magical

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

"Where the Wild Things Are is so magical, I think of it less like a concrete book and more like a fantastic dream or memory from my childhood." – Liz Miller

13. For marvelous illustrations         

Busy Busy Town by Richard Scarry

"As a child, I used to sit with my mom in a rocking chair with this book and marvel at the illustrations covering each page, explaining to me all the everyday people, places, and technology I’d wonder about when I left my front door." – Stephen Dworkin

14. For moments kids will never forget

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

"As a kid I thought Amelia Bedelia was absolutely hilarious with how literally she would take everything. One moment in the book that I’ll never forget is when Amelia decides to make a date cake but does so by cutting out the different dates in a calendar. To this day, it’s still makes me laugh." – Betty Zong

15. For great life lessons

Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel

"Frog and Toad is great for learning life lessons at any age!" – Fiona Kinniburgh

16. For reminders of what matters

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

"I loved this book as a kid. As an adult, it reminds me that I should call my mom." – Cole Wheeler

For more on the power of reading to kids click here for a blog and video from Too Small To Fail.

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