Our Favorite Children's Books
To celebrate the launch of TELL ME ABOUT SEX, GRANDMA and to welcome this third installment of the Ordinary Terrible Things series into the wonderful world of children's books, the FP staff weighed in on our favorite titles from childhood. Here are the books that made us think, laugh, cry, and inspired a lifetime love of books.
You can order Anastasia Higginbotham's beautiful new book now via FeministPress.org.
Favorite book as a child: If You Give a Moose Muffin by Laura Numeroff
"I loved slippery slopes and anthropomorphic animals. I also had a best friend and when we played together our games often involved elaborate set ups and we would almost certainly be distracted before finishing."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
"I have really fond memories of reading this book with my mother and I remember being really excited that it was a book about a little black child without his race being central to the story. And while black stories are important its also sometimes just nice to see a black kid being a kid."
Favorite book as a child: The Big Tidy-Up by Norah Smaridge
"The protagonist was named Jennifer, she had a lollipop in her hair, and it was about decluttering—which I love to do!"
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
"It's beautiful and funny—like Shel Silverstein poems, but in color!"
Favorite book as a child: The Story of May by Mordicai Gerstein
"I loved the vivid illustrations and the balance of human silliness and mythical grandeur in the characters. Basically, May is a young girl, the daughter of April and December. She sets out to meet her absent father, who lives very far away from her mother because they’re so different, and along the way visits all of the months, who are various family members (Aunt September, etc). I found it completely randomly at my local library (I used to just be let loose in there) and loved it."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
"I rarely recommend children’s books and maybe this isn’t exactly a picture book, but I would (as of this past weekend) say the FROG AND TOAD series by Arnold Lobel. The stories are an unerringly sweet but not cloying picture of true friendship. They are written so beautifully. Plus, I am VERY Toad and I can relate to him so well."
Favorite book as a child: No Moon No Milk by Chris Babcock
"This book is basically The Feminine Mystique but with a cow and I LOVED it. One day a farmer comes to milk his cow but she won't budge, saying she's 'udderly' bored with life and wants to be the first bovine to land on the moon. Martha doesn't let anyone stand in her way, man or animal. You can definitely trace my feminist awakening and lifelong love of animals to this book."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: One Morning In Maine by Robert McCloskey
"I buy this book for every new baby in my life! As a Mainer, I feel it my duty to share the beauty and wonder of a Maine morning with young readers. No childhood is complete without a McCloskey book!"
Favorite book as a child: Little Bear, written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
"It captures the warmth and innocence of childhood through beautifully detailed illustrations and simple storylines."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
"The story is straightforward enough but there’s a life lesson to be learned at the end and a subtly dark humor that is reinforced through Klassen’s colorful, minimalist illustrations."
Favorite book as a child: The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
"As a child, all I wanted was to find eggs that grant wishes (specifically, that turn into fancy clothes) and live in a tangled forest. This book also has some of the most beautiful illustrations I've ever seen."
AND Dragons, Dragons by Eric Carle
"Dragons, Dragons was my first introduction to poetry! It inspired one of my first poems, "Cat Eyed Girl," and is probably the reason why I'm still writing about mythical creatures today."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
"Again with the fancy clothes! 10,000 Dress is a heart-tugging fairytale about a gender-nonconforming / trans kid that's also a perfect book for any child who feels like they don't belong (and don't we all feel that way at some point or another). It's one of the books I most wish had been around when I was a kid."
Favorite book as a child: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
"Maybe an obvious choice for the other Mainer on staff, but this was a favorite growing up. I loved the stark blue block-printed illustrations and felt an affinity the girl who absent-mindedly wanders off after a bear. Published in 1948, it remains a timeless read for the overly-curious child."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
"I have a distinct memory of my parents reading this book to me when I was little. It wasn’t until I was saw the book again as an adult that I realized that there were no stories written in the book—it’s a collection of 14 haunting black and white illustrations prefaced by titles and captions. One image shows a nun floating in a chair near the ceiling of a cathedral and is titled 'THE SEVEN CHAIRS: The fifth one ended up in France.' A fictitious editor’s note introduces the collection, telling of how Harris Burdick, the illustrator, disappeared before he could deliver the manuscripts that correspond with each illustration. The reader is left with an unsettling mystery they can only solve by creating their own stories."
Favorite book as a child: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
"I loved this story as a kid. Nothing put me at ease like seeing Ferdinand lazing about and smelling flowers all by his lonesome, while challenging normative views on masculinity and aggression. I related to him then, and I still do."
Favorite book to gift/recommend to kids: Go The Fuck To Sleep! by Adam Mansbach
"This tears off the rose-colored glasses so often used when discussing being a parent. I mean, it has to be frustrating at some point, right? Let’s acknowledge that, with humor!"