As our children were growing up, I could never find it in myself to just get rid of my favorite outfits of theirs, books and yes, even toys. I have a very nostalgic side and yet I hope that perhaps Im not the only mom who is like this. I'll admit, it felt a little awkward holding onto all these items, especially as we moved from Arizona to Texas and then back to Arizona. My husband would always ask, "are you sure we still need all this!?" And, of course my answer was always the same...."YES!"
Over the years, I would go through our son and daughters items and re-fold them, and also flip through the pages of their favorite books. I would remind myself that one day I would pull all their items out and share them with their children and our grandchildren one day. And that's exactly what I've done. Our son is now 31yrs old and when they had their first of three little boys, I remember going into the spare bedroom closet, which is now the grandchildren's room, and getting out the baby outfits and all the books we loved reading together. That day finally arrived for me!! I couldn't wait to hang a few baby outfits in the closet and set their books on the bookshelves my husband and I had installed together one rainy afternoon.
Whenever our children received a new book, I would write their name on the inside cover along with the date and a special little note to them. Fast forward five and a half years and we now have four amazing grandsons and one beautiful grand daughter who is our youngest at 7 months old. We've shared so many of theses books with our grandchildren, but honestly the joy I get from watching our son or daughter read the books from their childhood to their kiddos, is a dream come true. Hearing our daughter, as she flips through the pages, reminiscing about where she was or how she felt when reading a particular book, as she reads it to her son, who is listening intently to the story, creates a smile and bond for both of us. It's a tender memory I treasure to this day and honestly always will.
The first five books Im sharing are hands down our favorites! Next, I've listed a few books that are newer which I've purchased for our grand babies. And lastly, I threw in two more of our favorite books that most everyone is familiar with and were purchased for our kids when they were toddlers.
1. Papa, please get the moon for me by Eric Carle. This book has been re-read so many times, we've had to tape the pages, especially the ones the literally open up and unfold throughout! It’s a positive message of a father's deep love and a child's imagination.
2. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. We purchased this book for our daughter when she was five years old and wrote the inscribed message to her: You can do anything you want to do, too! We love how the book introduces zoo animals and invites you to join in with their actions, and oh boy, do they ever! It’s so cute to watch!! The children in the book come from a range of ethnic backgrounds and every illustration is beautiful.
3. Another long time favorite of ours is this book, It looked like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw. Our grandsons, just like their parents did, laugh at the story line and love to read it over and over again. Whenever we're driving in the car together, as they're sitting in their car seat, I'll ask them what the shape of the clouds look like in the sky or if they think it’s spilt milk! This has been a fun book for us over the years and helps little ones use their imagination! I found this free worksheet you can download and print. It's an easy to use writing worksheet or you could download this free worksheet as well.
4. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I actually remember loving to read this book as a child and I still do to our grandchildren. It’s a sweet story of a young boy who shares his joy, wonder, disappointment and excitement over the adventures of the first day of snow. It’s a simple, quiet story that’s calming to read and teaches that we all share similar feelings.
5. I Love You, Good Night by Jon Buller and Susan Schade. We bought this book 27 years ago in 1993 and it's been read hundreds of times over! This is a classic bedtime story and the perfect choice for little ones. The 1990's original has a yellow cover with people rather than mice in the artwork but the storyline is the same.... "I love you like I love blueberry pancakes",..... "I love you like the moon at night: big and round and warm and bright! I love you, good night!"
Here are three of the newer books that we are loving to read together:
1. When I pray for you by Matthew Paul Turner. Oh how this book touched my heart and because of that I love sharing it with the grand babies. In this story the parent prays for the child’s joy, achievements, fears and dreams and it will bring you a few tears and inspiration as you read to your little one!! This book makes a beautiful baby shower or baptism gift as it truly speaks to the hearts and minds of every parent!
2. When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner. He is the same author that wrote When I pray for you! This book will also touch your heart as it explains how God made light for all living things to grow, how light can inspire us, how it can chase away our fears and that God made a light to shine within every child. It’s the perfect bedtime story!
3. The Wonderful Things You will Be by Emily Winfield Martin. We love the pictures in the book as much as we love the story! The book focuses on being kind, loving, adventurous, creative, unique and the love that parents feel for their children, no matter who they grow up to be. At the end of the book it says to go be everything you were created to be and I’ll love you, whoever you’ve grown up to be!! There’s nothing better, or more true than that.
Lastly, I’m pretty sure most of us have purchased the following two books, as they are that good! I began reading them to our children when they were toddlers and very much enjoy reading them today to our grand babies.
1. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. If you don’t own this book, you MUST! The sweet song the mother sings to her son is one you’ll find yourself singing to your little ones. The baby goes through the stages of growing up and become an adult and then takes care of his aging mother and sings the same sweet song back to her! I love how the book crosses generations and would again make the perfect gift.
2. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Every parent can relate to this book and how simple and sweet the story is. It's the story of a deep love and bond between a child and parent. I would also highly recommend this as the perfect gift to give.
There are many other books, as you know, that are worth the money, have a positive, loving outlook and that will offer endless entertainment for generations to come! I'd love to hear what you and your grandchildren's favorite story books are, especially if you have grandchildren that are five years or older. It's bittersweet how fast the little ones grow!
Let's cherish this Grand season of life together as we share our favorite books from one generation to another. Happy reading friends!!