Favorite Books for Little Ones

In celebration of Reading Marathon Month, we asked the teachers at West Side Nursery School to share their favorite books for our littlest family members.

Joan Pawlowski’s Favorite:
The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague
Why she likes it: It’s suspenseful and keeps them engaged.
One of my favorite books is The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teaque.  This books always keeps the children on the edge of their chair, no matter what age.  It’s even good for the older ones, but my 2 ½ – 3 year olds love it also.  It’s about two little boys with great imaginations. They are always late for school, because they decide to take a secret shortcut that brings them through a jungle, crocodiles, monkeys and quick sand.  The illustrations are very colorful and large.  He makes it easy for even my young class to sit quietly for this story and visualize the adventure.


Kathy Dickerson’s Favorite: 
Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman
Why she likes it: Katie so desperately wants to make friends and learns that sometimes you have to step back a bit and not come on too strong.
One of my favorite books is called Katie Loves the Kittens, written and illustrated by John Himmelman.  It is an endearing story about a dog, named Katie, who has a hard time when three kittens move into her house. The children sit and listen so quietly whenever I read it at circle time because the story and the illustrations are so cute!


Michelle Kane’s Favorites:
Family Book by Todd Parr
Why she likes it:
 It addresses tolerance and diversity in a humorous, thought-provoking manner.
It is so hard for me to come up with one or two of my favorite books when in reality I have dozens of favorite books! However, immediately the author Todd Parr comes to mind – his books are amazing. In The Family Book, Todd Parr manages to address both tolerance and diversity in a humorous, thought-provoking manner. He presents all types of families, encourages inclusivity and focuses on both commonalities and differences in families. The book sends the message that differences make every family unique and we should celebrates the love we have for our families because that’s what really matters.


Koala Lou by Mem Fox
Why she likes it: It reminds us you don’t always have to be a winner.
I can’t talk about my favorite books without including Mem Fox’s Koala Lou. It is a delightful book that is sure to capture anyone’s heart. It focuses on a mothers love as well as how unimportant it is to always be first or the winner. “Koala Lou” is a wonderful, funny and warm reminder that life gets busy and at times parents forget to say I love you but that doesn’t mean they don’t.


French teacher, Kristen Miller’s Favorite:
Emma’s Journey and Emma in Paris by Claire Frossard
Why she likes them: The combination of illustrations and photos make the experience very unique.
Emma’s Journey and Emma in Paris are my favorite children’s books to read to Elodie. Both written and illustrated by Claire Frossard they combine beautiful illustrations and photographs, which create a truly unique experience for the reader.  Emma’s Journey takes place in NYC where Emma (a little sparrow) spends time with her Uncle Bob learning about her French ancestry. This sparks her dream to visit Paris, which leads the reader to the second book in the series Emma in Paris. Both books explore these famous cities through the eyes of a curious, adventurous little sparrow that finds friendship along the way.


Diana Cha’s Favorite:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Why she likes it: The sense os adventure and curiosity in every day experiences.
I think The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is one of my favorite children’s books.  Not only is the use of collage in illustrating this book beautiful, but the simple story of a young boy enjoying the wonders of a snowy day embodies the powerful need for the human spirit to explore curiosity, experience adventure, have friendship and always live with hope.


Tish Patterson’s Favorite:
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Why she likes it: It reinforces the idea that even when parents leave, they always come back!
I always read Owl Babies at the beginning of the school year because for so many 2 1/2 year olds it is often the first time they are separated from their parents. Three baby owls named Sarah, Percy and Bill wake up one night to discover their mommy is gone! It is dark in the woods and they must be brave as they wait for her return. In class we discuss what being scared feels like and how the owl siblings stick close together to keep safe and secure. My favorite line in the story is from Owl Mother who upon her return asks, “What’s all the fuss?”  This is an ideal story for anxious preschoolers because the idea that their own mommies always come back!

Lori Garrity’s Favorite
I Will Make Miracles by Susie Morgenstern
Why she likes it: Big dreams start small.
On our final day of class I love to read I Will Make Miracles. This breathtaking picture book follows an inspiring child who hopes to reshape the world in wonderful ways. In the end, he realizes that even the biggest dreams need to start small. “To change the world from dark to bright, First I should learn to read and write.” It’s the perfect year end message that implores all of us to always keep learning!


Nancy Toner’s Favorite:
May I Bring a Friend by Beatrice de Regniers
Why she likes it: Children and adults will enjoy the humor.
I have fond memories of May I Bring a Friend? being read to me as a child after it was given to me by my great-grandmother.  A young boy is invited by the King and Queen to bring a friend to tea at the castle every day for a week.  The boy chooses guests that will keep everyone guessing and best of all, the King and Queen are most tolerant of his choices!  Along with the engaging illustrations, children and adults alike will enjoy the humor, rhyming text and repetition throughout the story.


To learn more about West Side Nursery School and their programs for children ages 2 to 6,
check out their website.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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