How to Choose The Best Children's Books

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“What makes the best children’s book? “The best children’s books have the same combination of factors that make any good book ñ is it original, well written and with the intended reader in mind?

Of course, unlike adult books, children’s books must have illustrations. But if children’s books are going to have problems, the problem will more likely be the words than the pictures.

The best Children’s books are those offering a learning experience or message. If the book also develops a love of reading and art and challenges the child to grow by including new words, it is even better.

The quality of the pictures is crucial. The pictures will stick in the child’s mind more than the words and provide the scenes he envisions based on the storyline. Colorful, active illustrations bring life and movement to the story. Pictures can evoke feelings.

Let’s look at some factors that adults should look for when buying a book for a child.

1. Don’t be swayed by hype. The best books for children are not always found on the big flashy displays in the bookstores.

2. The best children’s books have a good story. Good questions to ask yourself first:

Is it fun to read?
Is the plot well constructed with a good beginning, middle and end?
Are the characters engaging and realistic?
Does the plot line deal with emotional issues without being too sappy?
Does it dare to be daring and make you think?
Does it avoid preachiness? This applies to any book with a message; not just a Christian message. The moral should be subtle.

3. Look for Quality illustrations and an original concept and presentation

4. Make sure the store is age appropriate. Some topics will go over the heads of toddlers. However, be careful of your own bias or discomfort when deciding what topics are appropriate. Do some research and start with the classics or books that have be recognized or have received awards.

All together, the best children’s books should have characters that are inspiring and show leadership, that can overcome hardships and have the courage to live and act according to healthy principles.

Kids want to read books that are fun, make them laugh, or arouse their curiosity.

You want them reading books with role models, heroes to imitate and with messages of hope and love.

Here are some classics that are some of my favorites for you to consider:

“The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams
“The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper and George and Doris Hauman
“Swimmy” by Leo Lionni
“Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey
“Corduroy” by Don Freeman
“Love you Forever” by Robert Munsh and Sheila McGraw
“On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman

What were your favorite children’s books as a child? What books have become your child’s favorites? Please share your favorites by commenting on my blog at


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