Over the years, we have found quite a few books that my girls and I absolutely love. While I try to stay away from objectionable materials (magic, shirk, etc.) we still have found many nice books. In our home we read a huge variety of books – from board books (the kids still get a kick out of these) to rhyming books to more “serious” books like Little House on the Prairie.
Since we have also had a hard time finding these good books – we usually stumble upon them – I thought I’d share a list of our favorites with you to make your journey easier, insha’Allah. One problem with finding books is – if you don’t read through it before you get home – you might just end up with birthday parties – magic – shirk – it can be difficult. Sometimes when we are in the library the girls go wild and grab up books to take home. When we get home, we often have to set the books aside to return to the library because they are full of stories about magic and holidays we don’t celebrate.
While reading to the children, if I find a book that may have some mention about a party or something – but the rest of the book is nice, I will often tell the girls that they are having an Eid party (the girls get a kick out of this). As they are now getting a little older, I am able to explain to them that there are different religions – that some people have different celebrations than we do. However, I still do not want to glorify anything that we are not supposed to celebrate. So, I still stay away from those type of books. This has been an issue (sort-of) with the Little House on the Prairie Books because they often talk about their celebrations. However, I just use the opportunity to explain to the girls that the characters are not Muslim and they celebrate differently than we do – that’s it, no glorification and no in-depth details at this point. The cute thing is that my daughters are always wishing that Allah would make Laura and her family Muslim. They still do not have the understanding that she died quite some time ago (and that she grew up!) To her, Laura will always be a little girl.
Anyway, here are some of the books we recommend:
The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann
This is an absolutely adorable book (in my opinion). My daughters are still a bit “freaked out” that the pictures in the book are silhouettes (they don’t understand it) – but they do like this book. It is a cute, funny, rhyming book about a boy who chases several babies that crawl away while their parents are busy.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
This is another wonderful book by the above author. This one is a picture book with limited words – but the kids think it is cute. The zoo keeper says goodnight to all the animals in the zoo and goes home. Little does he know that the animals are following him home to sleep in his room! The kid think this one is really cute and request it often.
Hunwick’s Egg by Mem Fox
I thought this one was cute. Its about Hunwick (a bandicoot) who finds an “egg” and decides to take care of it. However, the egg never hatches. Hunwick isn’t worried though – because he has come to love the “egg” just as it is.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
This story is absolutely adorable and the kids love it because it is interactive. The bus driver asks your child not to let the pigeon drive the bus – and you (the reader) gets to whine and beg your child to let you drive it. Since getting this one from the library, my girls have begged me to read it to them every night. As they drift off to sleep, my youngest assures me “Mommy, I didn’t let the pigeon drive the bus.”
Since this book, Mo Willems has written several others. Most of his books are a hit with the kids. They didn’t like Knuffle Bunny though. His books are one of the few that my children never get enough of – they want you t read it again and again – alhumdulilah they are cute books or I would hate to have to read them so many times!
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
From the beginning, this has been a favorite in our household. When they were younger the girls just liked the rhyme of it. Before my oldest was learning to read, she used to sit there and “read” the book herself – we read it so many times that she remembered how the book went. This book also helped the girls learn color names.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
I absolutely love this book – as do the girls. It is usually read as a goodnight book. In our house – after nightly requests for this book, my girls always say goodnight by saying “I love you to the moon and back!” I especially loved this book as so many books tell the kids how much Mommy loves them – this one focuses on a father rabbit. The book calls the father “Big Nutbrown Hare” but instead I usually read it as Baba or Baba Rabbit to emphasize that it is the father they are talking about. Definitely recommend this one.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss
This is just one of our favorite Dr. Seuss books – the kids like it because I usually ask them to repeat the noises that Mr. Brown makes. Thus, this book is interactive and the kids love it when we get a chance to read it again.
The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin (Sesame Street Book)
My kids also like this one. I like it because I get to sound exhasperated and frustrated throughout this book – the kids find this funny while I beg them (as Grover) not to turn another page. They think its fun to go against his wishes! Another “interactive” book that the kids will adore.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Our all-time favorite goodnight book! Once again, I love this one because it gives you the opportunity to “act up” like the cute dinosaurs who don’t want to go to sleep. The kids find this hillarious – definitely a good read!
Bear Snores On. by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Another adorable book with cute rhymes. While a bear is hybernating, other animals gather in his lair to have some fun. When bear wakes up, he is upset he missed it. Really cute book – the kids loved it as well.
** More recommendations will be added as I have time, insha’Allah **