Toby Suggests 25 of his Favorite Books from Born To Read lick here for an easy-to-print version of this page]
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams. Morrow William & Co. 1984.
After a fire destroys their apartment, a mother, daughter, and grandmother save their coins to buy a new armchair. This story celebrates perseverance in the face of adversity, and depicts an urban setting which may be familiar to urban Maine children and new to rural children.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr., illus. by Eric Carle. Henry Holt, 1992.
Large, spare illustrations help toddlers and preschoolers learn colors while enjoying the simple and repetitive text.
Caps for Sale Esphyr Slobodkina. Harper Trophy, 1968.
Based on an old folk tale, this humorous book brings to life the troubles of a peddler with a very mischievous band of monkeys. Children will love the repetition of phrases and the peddler's exaggerated gestures. In fact, they might want to re-enact the story on the spot!
- Clap Hands, Tickle, Tickle, All Fall Down, Say
A set of board books by Helen Oxenbury. Aladdin, 1987.
Each of these oversized board books features toddlers at work and play, accompanied by a rhyming four-line text spread out over eight pages. The chubby bodies and busy hands of these children bring simple movements—such as brushing hair, clapping hands, and bouncing on a bed—to life. Babies will be fascinated by these glimpses of their own daily activities.
- Families by Debbie Bailey, illus. by Susan Huszar. Annick Press,
Plentiful photos of many kinds of family groupings, multicultural, intergenerational.
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. HarperTrophy,
No situation is too difficult for Harold to draw his way out of or into! Johnson's inventive illustrations reveal a book creating itself as Harold creates his world. Children will want to test their own purple crayons after seeing this story unfold.
- Here Comes Darrell by Leda Schubert, illus. by Mary Azarian. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
Darrell is so busy helping his neighbors in a rural Vermont town with their seasonal chores that he neglects his own barn. When the roof blows off, his neighbors return his kindness with a barn raising.
- Houses and Homes by Ann Morris, illus. by Ken Heyman. Mulberry, 1992.
Photographs and minimal text, which mostly describe actions, allow children to see and discuss different types of dwellings throughout the world. This story invites a rich discussion of the various types of homes Maine children live in.
by Inch, The Garden Song by David Mallett, illus. by Ora Eitan. HarperCollins, 1975.
Lighthearted watercolor drawings illustrate the words of the song by Maine songwriter and performer, David Mallett.
- It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw. HarperCollins, 1947.
Using white shapes on a blue background, the author creates simple, vivid images of the forms a cloud can take. After looking at this book, children may be inspired to watch the sky and come up with their own “cloud-pictures.”
- The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland, illus. by Tatsuro Kiuchi. Voyager Books, 1993.
A moving tale of a young girl who flees Vietnam and makes a new life in the United States. Passing down the memories and stories connect new members of the family to their history.
- Lunch by Denise Fleming. Henry Holt, 1992.
A mouse nibbles his way through a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Children have a chance to guess what he'll eat next before the food is named.
- Machines at Work by Byron Barton. HarperCollins, 1997.
Very simple text accompanies bright illustrations of a multicultural construction crew. Both men and women are depicted demolishing an old building and beginning a new one. Kids love the great pictures of construction machinery!
More More More Said the Baby by Vera Williams. Mulberry Books, 1996.
The playful babies in this book—Little Guy, Little Pumpkin, and Little Bird—all take turns playing, running away from, and being scooped up by their father, grandmother, or mother. The variety of skin tones and family types are highlighted by the illustrations and the soothing, repetitious text shows how all the families are alike.
Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Birmingham. Henry Holt, 1970.
Mr. Gumpy decides it's a perfect day for an outing in his little boat. Children ask to join him, then a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep...
- My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie, illus. by Rosemary Wells. Candlewick Press, 1996.
Large format book of over 100 pages with whimsical illustrations by Rosemary Wells. Quite comprehensive collection of the classic rhymes.
- Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go by John Langstaff, illus. by Nancy Winslow Parker. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1991.
Playing with words and rhyme, this old song (written music included) is given new life. Guaranteed to make all readers smile.
Owl Babies Martin Waddell, illus. by Patrick Benson. Candlewick,
In this charming board book, three baby owls wonder and worry about where their mother has gone, but are happily reassured when she returns. Listen to this book being read aloud on our Humanities on Demand podcast!
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illus. by John Schoenherr. Scholastic, 1987.
On a still winter night, a girl and her father go owling, knowing they may or may not see the owl. Yolen's lilting text captures the magic of being out after dark, in the cold, doing something very grown-up, while the play of light and shadow in Schoenherr's pictures brings the frozen field and forest to life. This is an excellent “lap book.”
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Viking, 1962.
With his distinctive collage-type illustrations, Keats shows the wonder of a child marveling at the first deep snow, and the ways he plays in it.
- A Somali Alphabet by Nadifo Ayanle, illus. by Rachel Chalila.
Maine Humanities Council, 2003.
This unique publication reflects collaboration with several groups, among them Portland Adult Education, the African Women's Literacy Project, creating an alphabet book about things in the Somali culture, described in both languages. An excellent marriage of cultures and skills, and an ideal tool for teaching English and Somali. Learn more about this book.
Can Do It! by Laura Dwight. Star Bright Books, 1997.
Individual photo-essays profile a multiracial group of young boys and girls leading interesting and independent lives. A book for disabled kids and their families and all classrooms where kids worry and wonder about being different.
- Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight, illus. by Anne Sibley O'Brien. Tilbury
Tender illustrations show love given to new babies all over the world, as different traditions inspire different customs.
- What A Wonderful World by George David Weiss & Bob Tiele, illus. by Ashley Bryan. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Ashley Bryan's bright illustrations give new meaning to the classic Louis Armstrong song. Children and adults of various cultures are shown creating props for and putting on a puppet show to act out the lyrics, with Satchmo himself as the main character.
- Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth.
Muth incorporates short tales from the Zen tradition into a book about three contemporary children. Stillwater the Panda shares an afternoon of relaxing fun with each child; he also shares stories that give the children new views about the world and about each other.
For more information, contact:
Born to Read
Maine Humanities Council
674 Brighton Avenue, Portland, ME 04102
Phone: (207) 773-5051
Fax: (207) 773-2416