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10 Board Books That I Will Hand Down to My Kids for Their Children

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

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
One of the most popular children’s books on Earth, from the brilliant Eric Carle.

The Very Lonely Firefly

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

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

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
One of my favorites, with super-cute rhyming text and illustrations.

Blue Hat, Green Hat

Blue Hat, Green Hat
I love Sandra Boynton’s quirky books and music. In fact, I devoted a whole post to her work.

The Napping House

The Napping House
A delightful book, full of fun and joy, from the always-terrific team of Audrey Wood and Don Wood.

Jamberry

Jamberry
If you and your kids like berries (we go blueberry-picking every summer), this is the book for you!

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo
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.

Hug

Hug
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

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.

How about you? What board books do (did) you read often to your kids? Share your favorites below.

Do you really have enough books in the minority language? See…

How Many Books Do You Have in Your Home?

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Welcome to Bilingual Monkeys!

I’m Adam Beck, the founder of this blog and The Bilingual Zoo, a lively worldwide forum for parents raising bilingual or multilingual kids. I’m also the author of the widely-read book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability. I’ve been an educator and writer in this field for over 20 years as well as the parent of two bilingual children, now 16 and 13. I hope my work can help empower the success of your bilingual journey.

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