There’s nothing better than feeling your little one crawl into your lap, snuggle their sticky hands under your arm, and sigh sweetly as you read together. And there are so many ways to read picture books to kids! You can point at the pictures and make up your own story, or ask tons of questions. Books with repeated refrains invite kids to read along. But my favorite way to read to kids is using super silly voices. So brush up on your Daffy Duck and dust off your British/Australian/Southern accent (they don’t care which it is, or how accurate!). It’s time to channel your inner LeVar Burton, and read aloud some fabulous picture books.
The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
In this charming sequel to The Day the Crayons Quit, Duncan must rescue his crayons from terrible fates—like being stuck in the sofa, or landing in his stinky socks. Of course, just like in the first book, each crayon has a different tale of woe. The magic comes when they are reunited back in their box home, where they belong.
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, by Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney
Sometimes the trippiest books are the most fun to read aloud. If you find it silly, kids will too, and this book is sure to make you smile. Life is sweet in the refrigerator until Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast discover there’s only one drop of syrup left. To resolve their differences, they have at it in the world’s stickiest food fight. You’ll want to practice your best Lady Pancake voice for this one!
Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
If you’ve ever wondered what to serve the dragons that may one day visit your family, this book is helpful for both you and your children to understand their unique needs—and their monstrous love for tacos! Chicken tacos. Beef tacos. Tiny tacos: They are taco maniacs! Just keep them away from the salsa. Dragons and spicy red sauce do not mix. Repeat! They do not mix. But reading and dragons? They’re always a crowd favorite!
What Pet Should I Get?, by Dr Seuss
Dr. Seuss is the king of readalouds. That classic rhyme scheme helps build momentum and interest, and this new-to-you book is as irresistible as the rest of his books. The recently discovered manuscript is set in a pet store and features a brother and sister who can’t seem to make up their minds. It’s a relatable topic, but with the Dr. Seuss touch, you’ll have kids excited to give their own ideas and talk about the book after reading it.
The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
The cover of this book doesn’t scream readaloud. But if you’ve seen this video, you know kids go cray-cray over this book. And Novak designed this book to be read aloud. The are silly songs and sound effects that no grown up should ever have to make. And that’s the point. Stumble your way through “Blork,” “Blurff,” and “Blaggity Blaggity,” and you’ll have your kids in hysterics.
Press Here, by Herve Tullet
Tullet is one of my personal heroes. Every book he touches (and he is absurdly prolific) feels fresh and meaningful. This book instructs kids to “press the yellow dot” or “clap” and somehow, with a little Herve magic, the book does exactly what kids tell it do. It’s a new kind of interactive book (many have compared it to an app), and when the book asks “Do you want to do it all over again?” kids will enthusiastically say yes!
Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown
Some readalouds are timeless, but some are just right for fall. Creepy Carrots balances funny with creepy and quirky with cute. Jasper Rabbit is obsessed with carrots, until he starts to think they’re obsessed with him! When Jasper sees carrots everywhere (The bathtub! The bedroom! The tool shed!), he enters The Carrot Zone. There’s drama in this text, and lots of silly sound effects that are sure to have kids begging for more.
The Storm Whale, by Benji Davies
When Noi, a lonely boy, rescues a washed up whale, he forms a friendship, keeping the whale wet in his bathtub, playing whale songs for him, and sharing secrets. But it’s a friendship that cannot last. Noi and his father return the whale to the water together with just the right touch of sadness and exhilaration. The dreamy details will bond you and your reading partner with sweet memories of the world Davies has created.
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
Some readalouds are perfect for energizing your audience. Others are a good fit for a rainy afternoon. At the end of the day, though, you want a book that mesmerizes and soothes your little one, and this book is a classic for a reason. The story follows a familiar pattern that kids can understand: saying “Goodnight,” to every object in the room. It’s a lovely bedtime ritual for you to share.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
Again! Again! If one book isn’t enough to get your kiddos to fall asleep, try this modern classic. As the sun sets, hard-working trucks get ready for bed. Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator are tough, but not so tough that they don’t need sleep like the rest of us. If the trucks don’t do it, the rhyming text will keep kids engaged until they are transported to dreamland.
What books do you love to read aloud to kids?