Stocking the Library: A Parent's Guide for Must-Have Kids' Books

Must-have kids' books instill a love of reading, awakening children's imaginations, and bringing out their creativity. Little ones love for you to read to them, and reading aloud with children helps them develop language and reading skills of their own. To encourage this, you'll want to stock your shelves with the best kids' books you can find, like classics from your own childhood and choices that help them discover the world around them.

Even if they aren't old enough yet to understand the words, they love to hear the rhythm of language, including rhyming poems, stories, and even just matching words with pictures. Pull out one of these children's books for story time and your little ones will begin their journey toward being active readers themselves.

Picture Books and Flip-Books

Before kids learn to read on their own, you can engage them with picture books during playtime. These may have few words but tell stories through vivid photos and illustrations that children will love to look at as you read the words and explain the images to them. Kids' picture books are a wonderful way to introduce little ones to the world around them through illustrations of nature, people, places, and animals that they will encounter in life. As they turn the pages of these kids' books, they will begin to learn the names of the things they see depicted, in addition to being engaged by the stories and the words that they hear from you.

Flip-books are good for little hands that want to join in on the stories as well. Young children love flipping the panels of these unique kids' books to reveal hidden pictures and words that bring the stories to life for them. Options with flaps to flip, pull, or move involve small children in the stories you're reading, even if they can't understand the words themselves quite yet.

As youngsters begin to understand more words and more advanced concepts, picture books can also become a good source for learning. Pick up one about a foreign country and introduce little ones to cultures from around the globe. Reading about how others live and seeing pictures of different people, animals, foods, and buildings than children see in their own neighborhoods helps them learn about the diversity they'll find in the world. It also helps as they begin to expand their horizons and foster interests in different topics and ideas. We think there's no better way than a unique kids' book to learn about foreign lands, scientific exploration, wild animals, dinosaurs, and so much more!

Classic Stories and Little Golden Books

As children get older and begin to have a greater understanding of stories, you can introduce them to some classic children's titles, including favorites from your own childhood. Reading a tale that you yourself loved as a youngster to a new generation is a wonderful way to connect them through the characters and the stories. Some of the best kids' book ideas are those that have been around for decades and never go out of style. As you build your kids' book collection, incorporating some classics along with new favorites gives your little ones a wide variety of choices to pick from.

Some of our favorite kids' books are from the Little Golden Books line, which are classics that have been delighting young people for generations. They teach a variety of lessons and skills from the alphabet and numbers to sharing and friendship. The vintage illustrations in many Little Golden Books will charm children and parents alike and the stories will remain relevant for years to come.

Activity and Coloring Kids' Books

If you want to inspire your child's creativity, we recommend picking up some coloring books and other activity books. Coloring within the lines is a good way to improve motor skills and is an easy introduction to other artistic endeavors. Pair a drawing book with some colored pencils for artful gifts for kids or get them doodling on a rainy day. If they want something more challenging than coloring, kids' arts and crafts come in many forms, from sticker books and paper crafts to full arts and crafts kits that help them create something on their own.

Ideal for school or home, arts and crafts kits are not only a fun way to spend a day inside, they also get kids engaged as readers as they follow the directions step by step. Coloring, drawing, and creating helps little ones stretch their imaginations in much the same ways that reading unique kids' books does, allowing them to invent tales on their own.

Whether you're picking up your child's first book or adding a few more selections to your bookshelf, there's a wide variety of must-have kids' books to choose from. Start with simple ones that the littlest children can enjoy, even if they can't understand the stories. From there, work up to more complex titles, sharing new and classic tales that kids love to hear read out loud and will eventually learn to read on their own. Reading with young children gives them a wonderful basis for later learning, helping them increase their vocabulary and recognize ideas and concepts that they will encounter in the real world. When you need to buy a little one gift, inspire their minds and their imaginations with a gift of a good kid's book.