Books for Mothers to Read to Young Children
Children’s Book #1
Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury
Karen Kingsbury’s Let Me Hold You Longer takes a look at the life of a child from the eyes of a mother who is reminiscing about all of the moments she didn’t realize were ‘“lasts.” The mother wonders if she would have held on a little bit longer to all of the ordinary moments if she had known that it would be the last time she would get to witness them: the last time she fed her baby through a bottle; the last time he crawled across the carpet, unable to walk; that last time he ran to her from across the yard and was small enough to be held in her arms; the last time she tucked him in at night, and the last time he ran into bed with her; the last time she watched him play sports; the last time he asked for her help with homework. The book ends with the child going off to college, spurring on the mother’s trip down memory lane as she realizes just how fast the years flew by. She lovingly offers up a prayer, “Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.” By the end of this story, you are not likely to find a dry eye in the room.
Children’s Book #2
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
You would be hard-pressed to find a mother anywhere who hasn’t read Love You Forever and quietly (or loudly) wept throughout its entirety. This absolutely heartwarming book is a love letter from mothers to their children, with the very poignant and beautiful message of “I will love you forever, I will like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” The story follows a new mother as she watches her young son grow into an adult, all the while gently rocking him as he sleeps and whispering that poem to him. The reader witnesses the boy’s entire life – from a crying, slobbery infant, to a troublesome and terrorizing toddler, to a messy and aloof teenager, and finally a grown adult – as the mother is with him every step of the way, never faltering from those words, “As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Eventually, we see the mother grow old and weary, and soon she is unable to sing her son the poem as she did throughout his entire life. So instead, the man takes his mother in his arms, gently rocks her, and sings, “I will love you forever, I will like you for always. As long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be.” The story ends with the son returning to his own home, picking up his newborn baby, and quietly repeating the words he heard from his mother for all those years, this time to his own daughter.
Children’s Book #3
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
One of the most well-known and highly celebrated children’s books of all time, The Giving Tree explores the concept of true, selfless love. The main character first comes across the tree as a young boy, and the two develop a strong friendship, and the boy repeatedly returns to the tree throughout the many stages of his life. On each visit, the boy asks something of the tree: whether it be gathering her leaves to form a crown, an apple to enjoy as a snack, or simply a place to rest in the shade so he can nap. The interactions leave the reader with a hopeful mantra, “The boy loved the tree, and the tree was happy.” However, as time goes on, the boy grows older, and soon begins to ask things of the tree that she cannot give him. However, because of her selfless love and giving nature, she always offers the boy something to help him achieve what it is that he’s after. Eventually, the boy takes everything from the tree – all of her apples, all of her branches, and he even cuts down her truck until she is just a stump. When the boy returns a final time, the tree is sad to say that there is nothing else she can offer him except a place to sit and rest. And the boy does, and the tree is happy.
Books For Older Children to Read on Their Own
Children’s Book #4
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
A book that is typically reserved for when children get a little bit older, Where the Red Fern Grows is a beautifully heartwarming – and heartbreaking – book about the undying loyalty between a boy and his dogs. Billy Coleman is a young boy living in the Ozark Mountains who works tirelessly to save up enough money to buy a pair of Redbone Coonhound puppies. When he finally earns enough money, he brings them home and affectionately names them Old Dan and Little Ann. Working with his grandfather, Billy trains each of the dogs to hunt raccoons, and soon the trio becomes some of the best hunters in the Ozarks. Confident in young Billy and his dogs’ abilities, Billy’s grandfather enters them into a coon hunting competition. Due to Billy’s experience with braving the cold winters of the Ozarks, he and his dogs outlast the other hunters and ultimately walk away with the $300 prize. Not long after, while out hunting, Billy and his hounds are attacked by a mountain lion. Old Dan and Little Ann save Billy from the lion, but Old Dan eventually dies from his injuries. Unable to live with her grief over the loss of her best friend and partner, Little Ann dies atop of Old Dan’s grave. Billy buries them next to each other up in the Ozark mountains, and when he returns for a visit, notices a red fern growing between the two graves. Billy remembers an old legend that says only angels can plant red ferns, and finds comfort and solace that his best friends are together again forever.
Children’s Book #5
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
The widely adored classic Charlotte’s Web is the best-selling children’s paperback of all time, and it’s not hard to see why. Loved by adults and children alike, the story follows runt-turned-prize-winning pig Wilbur and his friendship with the amazing barnyard spider, Charlotte. Living on the farm of Homer Zuckerman, Wilbur struggles to make friends with any of the barnyard animals, until he meets Charlotte. A spider residing in the doorway above his enclosure, Charlotte is desperate to find a way to save Wilbur from being slaughtered. She hatches a plan to make him famous, sure that Zuckerman would not want to kill a pig that brings in tourists and money. Charlotte begins weaving words and phrases into her web that praise Wilbur, and soon enough word of the miraculous web and incredible pig spread far and wide. Wilbur is taken to the county fair, and when Charlotte hears of his success, she knows that he is forever safe from being slaughtered by Zuckerman. Charlotte opts to stay at the fair barns to die but gives Wilbur her sack of eggs to take back the farm. Wilbur does and is able to have new generations of friends for the rest of his life.
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