Some of my fondest memories with my kids are late nights spent snuggled up reading. There is something magical about the perfect bedtime story, a book that combines magical rhythm, a fanciful storyline and captivating pictures. Books, however, are much more than just a way to unwind at the end of the day. The very best books are a tool parents can use to instill morality, healthy self-confidence and consistency in their children.
Here are 10 books with a great message suitable for even the youngest reader. Grab the kids, wrap up in a blanket and check out these 10 perfect read-alouds.
1. The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
We're starting strong with a Dr. Seuss classic. On the surface, this book appears to teach children environmentalism, but the more important message here is making conscientious decisions and living a life free from apathy.
2. One (Kathryn Otoshi)
This unique book features minimalist illustrations that encourage parents and children to expand upon the dialogue. If you want to raise bully proof children, this book is a must-read.
3. Giraffes Can't Dance (Giles Andreae)
Gerald the giraffe is a loveable character that children will instantly connect with and come to love. This rhyming book with great flow teaches kids to celebrate all the things that make them unique, even when others fail to see their beauty.
4. I Like Myself (Karen Beaumont)
Helping kids develop healthy self-esteem is a tricky task. Parents have to balance praising kids for every little thing with creating a real sense of self. This cute book teaches kids to have pride in the right things while still acknowledging honest mistakes and the potential for growth.
5. Is There Really a Human Race? (Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Connell)
Jamie Lee Curtis, although best known for her acting, has a real talent for children's books. All her books are fun to read out loud and inspire kids to greater social awareness and responsibility.
6. The Kissing Hand (Audrey Penn)
One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is a sense of family. Let your kids know that your love will follow them everywhere with the help of this touching book.
7. The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper)
An old but good book, this timeless classic still appeals to modern children, and it's always fun to share childhood favorites with our kids.
8. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Voirst)
This one may be a little long for toddlers, but the message is an important one for kids to learn. We all have bad days, and we all have to keep on going. Even in Australia.
9. Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
Hold on tight for a journey through some of the most amazing illustrations to ever grace a children's book. A great read that reminds kids there really is no place like home, and they can always receive forgiveness at the end of the day.
10. A Color of His Own (Leo Lionni)
This visually stunning book features graphic, brightly covered animals, and the message does not disappoint. This book emphasizes good friends and accepting oneself.
Editing this list down to 10 books was a near impossibility. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of wonderful children's books awaiting discovery by you and your children. Take a family field trip to your local library, grab whatever peaks your interest, and dive in head first. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "Oh the places you'll go..."