11 Books For Children That Parents Can Read To Preschoolers

During these difficult and isolating times, books can be constant companions for your children. It’s even better when you read them to your little ones. Here is a collection of titles they will enjoy.

By Sahana Charan  • 13 min read

11 Books For Children That Parents Can Read To Preschoolers

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown is especially hard on children, who are still in their preschool years. Parents may struggle to explain to their little ones, why they cannot meet their best friends or go play a game of football. But, there are other ways in which parents can prevent their children from getting restless and frustrated indoors, and books can definitely play an important role in keeping them engaged productively.

Apart from just handing a book to your child, read aloud to her, share stories, sing along and look at pictures together. This can have a lasting effect on your child’s development.

Here is why reading to children is good for them:

• It helps them learn to read.

• It helps them learn about different sounds and words

• It develops their language skills.

• It sparks their imagination and creativity

• It serves as a great bonding exercise for parents and children

• It improves their communication skills

• It helps them learn about the world beyond their own

• It encourages them to explore different emotions.

Here are 11 books that you can read to and enjoy with your children:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

First published in 1969, this amazing picture book is a must-read for every toddler and preschooler. As the name suggests, the book is about a hungry caterpillar that eats a variety of foods including fruits and even a slice of cake. This beautifully illustrated and colourful book follows the transformation of the caterpillar from an egg to a beautiful butterfly.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

Reading this book is a lot of fun for both parents and children, as they can enjoy talking about the different foods that the caterpillar munches on. Parents can also discuss with their children about the metamorphosis of a butterfly.

2. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This classic children’s book has been a favourite across generations and even now, does not fail to enamour children. It tells the story of a little boy called Max, who is sent to bed without supper by his mother for being naughty and throwing tantrums. Max wears his wolf costume in the night and magically steps into a land inhabited by wild creatures, who crown the little boy their king.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

The thought-provoking story book was written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, who drew from his own childhood experiences. It explores the themes of adventure, imagination, independence, parental love and forgiveness, and reading this book can be a good bonding exercise for parents and children.

3. The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

Who doesn’t love books by Dr.Seuss? The Cat in the Hat is often one of the first books children pick up when they are beginning to read on their own. First published in 1957, the book tells the story of two children, Sally and Conrad sitting at home on a rainy day when their mother is away. They are visited by a tall cat in a red bow-tie and wearing a striped, red and white hat, which seems to have human characteristics. The Cat insists on showing them some tricks and while doing so, he and his two companions mess up the house. But, just before the children’s mother comes in, the Cat cleans up and disappears.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

The book can be quite engaging for children, as they get engrossed in the antics of the Cat. As parents read it aloud, the little ones can also join in and learn a lot of new words.

4. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

A simple but deeply-moving story, The Velveteen Rabbit can make a lasting impression on both children and adults. Written by British author Margery Williams and illustrated beautifully by William Nicholson, the book is about a stuffed rabbit made of velveteen material that is given as a Christmas present to a little boy. The rabbit secretly wishes that the boy’s true love for the toy would transform him into a real rabbit. The much-loved book has been awarded the IRA/CBC Children’s Choice award.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

Reading this book together will be a heart-warming experience for both parent and child. As the book talks about unconditional love and how true love can transform a person to be his real self, it carries a great message for children.

5. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

This charming little American classic has eye-catching illustrations by George and Doris Hauman and talks about important values. The book tells the story of a group of toys that want to carry themselves and some food up a mountain, so that they can deliver the stuff to children living on the other side. They use a little engine for this purpose. The toys meet many obstacles but are determined to succeed.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

This picture book will appeal to children and will make them root for the toys. Parents can convey the importance of hard work and persistence to their little ones through this book.

6. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

We vouch that this award-winning book with its animal characters and a monster to match will soon become your little one’s favourite bedtime story. In this story, a clever mouse goes deep into the woods and encounters many creatures that all want to eat him up. The mouse invents the character of a monster called Gruffalo to save himself. The popular book has appeared in different versions including an audio book, and was followed by a sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

One of the most appealing features of this book is its simple text with rhyming words, which children will love to repeat when parents read aloud to them. The colourful illustrations will also keep the young ones engaged.

7. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Want to give a message to your child about throwing tantrums and being unreasonable? Then, this is the book to read to your child. In this simple but delightful story, the bus driver takes a break from driving and asks the reader to take charge. He asks the reader not to let the pigeon drive the bus. But the pigeon immediately comes and insists of driving the bus giving all kinds of reasons and excuses.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

While there are some important lessons to be learnt from this book, the messages are conveyed in a light and humorous manner. The book addresses the reader directly so, when you read it aloud with your little one, she will be able to connect to the characters of the story.

8. Gajapati Kulapati by Ashok Rajagopalan

This charming little Indian picture book, written and illustrated by author Ashok Rajagopalan, is set in a small village where everyone loves the gentle temple elephant Gajapati Kulapati. What happens when the big elephant with the big nose gets drenched in the rain and catches a cold? That forms the crux of this entertaining story. This book won the Best of Indian Children’s Writing (BICW) Award in 2018.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

The large font and colourful pictures make it a fun read for both parents and children. The book is interspersed with repetitive sounds and words that children will find appealing. It is a great book to have a laugh with your little ones.

9. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Once in a while, it is nice to engage children with books that are not just striking and colourful, but also make a strong statement. Extra Yarn, which has received the Caldecott Honor with stunning illustrations by Jon Klassen that change from monochrome to a burst of colours, is one such book that preschoolers will enjoy. It is about a girl who finds a magical box of yarn and decides to help her community.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

The striking illustrations make this book an engaging one for children. Apart from the beautiful drawings and story, the book also conveys an important message about selflessness and generosity that parents can discuss with their children.

10. My Mother’s Sari by Sandhya Rao

This is a lovely little book that preschoolers will identify with, as it is about a little girl who explores her mother’s closet full of saris. In a child’s vibrant imagination, her mother’s sari can be so many things — a river, a train, a hiding place and myriad other things. The simple text, which is woven around the photographs and acrylic artwork in the book, give wings to the little girl’s thoughts.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

Children will love the beautiful depiction of the sari in different ways. While reading this award-winning book, parents can encourage their little ones to imagine everyday objects as something magical.

11. I Am Not (Very) Afraid of the Dark by Anna Milbourne

This book is a stunning interpretation of how a child depicts the darkness of night. In the story, a little boy talks about his fear of the dark and how it covers everything as night falls. The illustrations create a perfect mood through tiny holes that show shadows; through dark corners and a sky full of stars.

Why parents should read it to preschoolers

The book, I Am Not (Very) Afraid of the Dark is a perfect bedtime companion for young ones, and parents can read it aloud to their children. Many toddlers and preschoolers wonder about the darkness and what happens when the lights are switched off. They will definitely identify with the boy in the story.

So, which book are you planning to read to your little one today? 

Also read: Baby's first library 20 books you should include

About the author:

Written by Sahana Charan on 15 August 2020.

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