Expert Advice: Books for young children and young parents

“Reading with children early turns them into life-long learners – it’s a great way to engage their brains and help children develop.”
– Dr. Alison Bentley, Program Coordinator, Success By 6.

The holiday season is an important time for families: children come home for the holidays, brothers and sisters exchange gifts, and generations celebrate together.

Since it is the season of gift-giving, we asked our Success By 6 team of early childhood experts what books they would recommend as gifts for young children and young parents. These books can be a great gift for friends or a fun activity for you and your little ones.

Books for Children

  • Bear Snores On by Wilson Karma
    The whole Bear series is great, but this gem takes place in winter – a perfect match for holiday reading!
  • Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson (also Room on the Broom and The Snail and the Whale)
    These books are beautifully illustrated, introduce children to many different animals and use a wide range of vocabulary and rhyming words.
  • Over in the Meadow by Olive A. Wadsworth
    This book uses rhyming verses to introduce a variety of animals, their young and the numbers one through ten.
  • Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie CalmensonReading with Children Makes Austin Greater
    This book includes rhyming verses, a variety of animals and the numbers one through ten.
  • That’s What Friends Are For by Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Van Clief
    This is a wonderful story about friendship.
  • From Head To Toe by Eric Carle
    Any book by Eric Carle is a great choice. This one is especially fun because children can imitate the animals movements and poses.

Books for Parents

  • Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
    The American Academy of Pediatrics offers expert advice for parents and care providers. This easy-to-use book provides a wide scope of practical information on basic care from infancy through age 5. It provides guidelines for specific physical, cognitive, emotional, and social milestones throughout a child’s life.
  • Building Healthy Minds: The Six Experiences That Create Intelligence And Emotional Growth In Babies And Young Children by Stanley Greenspan
    Stanley Greenspan, an internationally recognized child psychiatrist, identifies six key experiences that enable children to reach their full potential based on moral, emotional, social, and cognitive development. Greenspan uses the results of his research to describe practical ways to enhance these areas of development. The book provides vital and effective information for parents.
  • Bringing Up Baby: Three Steps to Making Good Decisions in Your Child’s First Years by Claire Lerner and Amy Laura Dombro
    This book provides an easy 3-step approach to parenting that helps parents recognize their individual parenting style, gain an understanding of what their child is thinking, and how to use that information to make decisions. Each step is presented briefly with examples and questions. This easy-to-use guide approaches parenting with a sense of respect, allowing for differences in parenting style and child behavior.
  • Creating Caring Children: The First Three Years by Diane Carlebach and Beverly Tate
    This book provides parents with a guide to making the first three years of life a foundation that leads to successful relationships with caregivers, peers and others in the future. Presented with new parents in mind, each chapter identifies real life situations along with constructive advice.
  • The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children by Kimberly Clayton Blaine
    Kimberly Clayton Blaine, a licensed family and child therapist, presents a practical guide to parenting that incorporates empathy and emotion coaching. This book provides parents with ways to solve day-to-day problems that arise while raising children.

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