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Our Story Begins: Ten Books You Should Be Reading to Your Kids!

dave manoucheri mother

Our Story Begins:
Ten Books You Should Be Reading to Your Kids!

I’ve made no secret that I both have read and continue to read to my kids.  It dawned on me, though, that while I’ve told you that I read and you should read yourself that I gave no recommendations.  None at all.  That will stop here.  I’ve had a good 19 years to choose from books for my oldest daughter down to my twin sons.  The humor, choices, and recommendations all started with the woman you see up there reading to my boys: my Mom, Kathy Manoucheri.  She loves kids books, even today, and finds the most oddball, funny, quirky books to read.  If she likes it, she knows the kids will.  Given that, here are ten great books you should all read to your kids.  I guarantee they’ll love them.

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#10: MISS NELSON IS MISSING,
BY HARRY G. ALLARD, JR.

Miss Nelson

The story of how a grade school teacher disappears and is replaced by a horrible, terrible, nasty woman – Miss Viola Swamp – who does nothing but reprimand Miss Nelson’s class is a classic.  It also seems to resonate with kids.  All four of mine have read this book and between the humor, the pictures, the story and twist at the end it holds their attention.

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#9: DEWEY: THERE’S A CAT IN THE LIBRARY

Dewey

Dewey, by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter is based on a true story.  Librarians in a small town found a kitten in the book return box one day and brought him into the library.  Dewey Readmore Books (named after the decimal system of the same name) lived there until he passed not long ago.  He entranced kids and helped pick books and captured my son, Noah’s, heart.

Read more: Bringing Up Baby: Are You Giving Your Kids (And YOU) The Most Important Gift?

#8: DUCK FOR PRESIDENT

Duck

The writers also did “Click, Clack, Moo. Cows That Type.”  This book about a barnyard duck with delusions of grandeur is simply hilarious.  It’s clever, teaches about government, and gives kids a perspective that saying “I want to be president” may not necessarily be a job you aspire toward if you don’t want headaches and foreign policy nightmares.

Read more: Single Mom Slice Of Life: Teaching Our Children How To Fall

#7: WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A SHOE?

Shoe

It’s a silly rhyme, teaches a simple lesson, and you find yourself, years after your mother read it to you, saying “on your beery-leery-ear” over and over again.  The fun words, silly scenarios, and pictures by the great Maurice Sendak make this an old one, but it’s been reissued and I’m glad it has.

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#6: THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES
AND THE BIG BAD PIG

Wolves

My Mom actually found this great book.  In this one it’s the wolves who are simple, happy canines who like to drink tea and dance the tarantella.  The evil, mean, bully of a pig disturbs and makes their lives miserable.  It’s a fun twist on an old story.

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#5: THE MONSTER AT THE
END OF THIS BOOK

Monster

Yeah, it’s a Sesame Street book.  But I love it.  My Mom read it to me . . . and I read it to my kids in Grover’s voice.  They still laugh and use the line “do you know that you are very strong?!” when something falls over in the house.  It’s a great book that breaks down the mythical “4th wall” where you are interacting with the book’s character.  There’s even an iPhone app for the book now!

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#4: AND TO THINK THAT I SAW
IT ON MULBERRY STREET

Mulberry

Most people go to Cat in the Hat or even Green Eggs and Ham when they choose a Dr. Seuss book.  Not me.  Mulberry Street is what I lived on in my head: the car going by turned into a parade and a zoo and a whole slew of other things that seem to be impossible.  But when asked what happened, like all kids, I just said “not much.”

Read more: What Matters Most: Expectation vs. Reality…This Is NOT What I Signed Up For!

#3: DRUMMER HOFF

 

Drummer Hoff

Drummer Hoff is an old story about the battalion of people it takes to get a cannon up and running in jolly old England.  I read this to my kids and had a different voice for every character.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Teach Your Kids Compassion

#2: DON’T LET THE PIGEON
DRIVE THE BUS!

 

Pigeon

Ah, Mo Willems.  Alum of the cartoon “Codename Kids Next Door” and writer of some of the most amazing books like Knuffle Bunny and Elephant and Piggie is an amazing kids’ author.  But the Pigeon started it all for me, so much so that my Mom bought this book for me when I said how funny it was.  When the pigeon degenerates into every 4-year-old who wants something it’s just magical.

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#1: CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE

Chicken

 Okay, I’m biased on this one, and it’s not just because people say I look like the little kid in the book.  Maurice Sendak‘s Chicken Soup with Rice is catchy, fun, and I made my Mom read it a million times.  I read it to all four kids, I give it as a baby gift . . . it’s just an amazingly clever book that teaches months without you knowing it and gives you some lovely visuals with it.  He was, after all, a genius of kids literature who proved that if you treat kids like they’re not smart they won’t listen.  They’re smarter than we give them credit for.

Read more: Our Story Begins: The Wonder Of Words…Why I STILL Read To My Kids

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My ten, for what it’s worth.  I have hundreds – literally hundreds – more.  It was hard to choose just ten, and I’ll give you some older kid books in the near future.  Hopefully I’ve given you some alternates to the old standards that will make you laugh, smile and read more and more without getting bored.

What about you?  Do you have favorites?  Share them!  I want to know and I know other parents do, too!

Dave Manoucheri

Dave Manoucheri is a writer, journalist and musician based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan

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