We moved in August and I’m now gradually organizing the many books and papers that I’ve amassed over the 22 years I’ve lived in Hiroshima. One box contains the early board books that I read to my kids—who are now 14 and 11—when they were just babies and toddlers. I’m in the process of repacking the box, to store safely away in a closet, but I thought I might stop and share with you the 10 board books that I read most often to my children (hundreds of times each!) and that I hope they will one day read to their own newborns and thus begin the journey of handing down the minority language to the next generation.
While these books were originally published in English, I’m sure many of them have been translated widely into other languages and may also be available as larger-sized picture books. And let me note, too, that while I naturally have a sentimental attachment to these books, I’m not suggesting that these are the “best” board books for small children. While I would certainly recommend each one, this is simply a humble list of the board books that I read most often to my kids during those early months and years. (In the comments below, please share your favorite board books, particularly newer titles that I’m not so familiar with.)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
One of the most popular children’s books on Earth, from the brilliant Eric Carle.
The Very Lonely Firefly
Another lovely book by Eric Carle. The last page contains tiny flickering lights, like fireflies.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
So much fun to read aloud. As my kids got a bit older, they would even act out the story as I read it.
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
One of my favorites, with super-cute rhyming text and illustrations.
The Napping House
A delightful book, full of fun and joy, from the always-terrific team of Audrey Wood and Don Wood.
If you and your kids like berries (we go blueberry-picking every summer), this is the book for you!
My son’s favorite book when he was a tiny tot. To give you an idea of how much progress can be made through daily persistence, now, at age 11, he’s reading the third book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The text in this wonderful book is basically limited to the word “hug” so it could be a favorite in any language. One of the cutest children’s books I’ve ever seen.
Mama Mama/Papa Papa
Two books in one: Mama Mama starts from the front cover, Papa Papa starts from the back cover. Sweet images of animal parents and babies, with smooth rhyming text.
Do you really have enough books in the minority language? See…