Talk about killing two birds with one stone! When you’re retired, it’s important to keep your brain active and stretch your mind in a different direction – what better way than to share time with your littlest loved ones? You can engage your mind, help the kids with their literacy, and give the parents a break in the day. With this in mind, here’s a compiled list of some of the most enjoyable and readily available children’s books to help you get started.
A study from the University of Waterloo in 2017 explored what is called the “production effect,” which is the difference people experience when words are read aloud, as opposed to reading them silently. Researchers analyzed four types of learning from a set text with a hundred participants who were asked to read silently, listen to someone else read aloud, read aloud themselves, and finally listen to a recording of themselves reading. The greatest benefit for memory was found to be when the participants read aloud.
So whether it’s in person at an assisted living Chicago facility or over a video link, reading to your grandchildren will benefit everyone involved. Try the following if you want some suggestions.
The Little Prince by – A Famous Classic by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This whimsical and wise storybook has captivated children and adults for decades. A simple fable of imagination and compassion, it has been a treasure handed from parent to child for generations. Lightly written and simply illustrated, this will set your fantasies off on wonderful flights of fancy.
The Tunnel – by Anthony Browne
Browne’s beautifully illustrated and sensitively written books certainly suit small children, but the themes he discusses are relatable to all. In this book, a young girl follows her brother down a dark tunnel to emerge into a dark forest, where she finds that Jack has been turned to stone.
We’re Going On a Bear Hunt – A Story by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This is a book that is often started over again as soon as it is finished. Expect to hear “again, again!” a lot from the kids. Best enjoyed with lots of actions, you can even add your own elements and incidents to the story for even more creative fun.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle
Especially fun for little kids who love to put their fingers in and out of the holes in the book, this is a colorful, informative journey through food, texture, and life, told in the simplest possible way.
The Arrival – by Shaun Tan
A stunning “silent” picture book for children and adults, expressing so much without words. A man leaves his homeland in search of a better life. Readers follow him and other immigrants as they try to communicate, settle, and find work.
Peepo! – by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Any list would be enhanced by anything at all from the Ahlbergs. This book is a particular gem for reading to your young grandchildren since it focuses on life through generations. Each scene is first glimpsed through a little hole as readers see this world through the child’s eyes: ‘Here’s a little baby. One, two, three…’ Nostalgic yet timelessly lovely.
The Gruffalo – by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The Gruffalo is a fun and deceptively complex narrative that little ones enjoy reading over and over again. A little mouse outsmarts a hungry forest’s worth of predators. It’s lyrical, intelligent, and enjoyable, and there’s even a fun version to read in Scots!
Where the Wild Things Are – by Maurice Sendak
A book that children everywhere can relate to! Max is too rowdy and wild and gets sent to his room to cool down. Instead of staying, however, he sets sail in his boat to where the wild things are and becomes their king. As a heart-breaking and heart-warming tale, it is a justified classic.
The Cat in the Hat – by Dr. Seuss
Everyone knows this tale of two children stuck in a house on a rainy day and the agent of absolute chaos that comes to visit them. The rhymes are delightful and plentiful, and when this book was published, it instantly became the bar by which all others are measured and routinely tops the list of the best children’s books of all time!