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9 Great-Looking Books for Kids (and Their Parents)

BY liz 12/03/2015

Aside from digging into your own memory bank and trying to remember which books you loved as a kid, it can be shockingly hard to figure out what stories to buy for the baby bookworms (bookhatchlings?) in your life. So we asked Annabel Inganni, Wolfum designer and mom to a spirited five year old named Birdie, for her top picks. They tackle things like poetry, complicated feelings, and, hey, the ABCs—and, thanks to Annabel’s stellar eye, they won’t look too shabs littering the coffee table.

BRUNO MUNARI'S ABC

 

“This graphic-driven book entertained Birdie when she was small with its bold colors and unique take on the classic ABCs. Very much reflecting the design sentiment of the 1960s (when it was originally published), it is quirky and  silly yet sophisticated and has a sweet dedication area so you can inscribe it when given as a gift.”

 

WONDER BEAR BY TAO NYEU

 

“This special story actually has no words! It is up to the reader to interpret the pictures and tell the story how they like. It is pure fantasy involving dreams, flying monkeys, polar bears, and sea creatures. I love how you can change the interpretation each time, personalizing the story for your child. Plus the illustrations are colorful, contemporary, and design-forward.”

 

THE FOURTEEN BEARS SUMMER AND WINTER BY EVELYN SCOTT AND VIRGINIA PARSONS

 

“This may be a bit hard to find, but it was my favorite book when I was little! This story of a family of bears has the sweetest, most detailed illustrations, including each bear's own little home that reflects its personality. I love watching Birdie explore this book with the same voracity I did at five.”

 

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THE QUIET BOOK BY DEBORAH UNDERWOOD AND RENATA LIWSKA

 

“This book explores the different ways we experience being quiet—happy-quiet, sad-quiet, curious-quiet. It reflects a broad range of emotions in a sweet, honest way and is perfect for setting a sleepy mood.”

 

MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS BY ROBERT MCCLOSKEY

 

“I adore this book—I grew up in Boston, and my parents read it to me often. Beyond reminding me of my childhood, the classic illustrations and touching story evoke a period in time that was more innocent. My father gave this book to Birdie for her first birthday, and we still read it four years later. She loves learning about where I grew up, and I love that we can share this story.”

 

ARE YOU MY FRIEND TODAY? BY GYO FUJIKAWA

 

“A collection of poems surrounding childhood—friendship, feelings, school, imagination. The illustrations are detailed, diverse, and honest. I feel it is important to introduce poetry at an early age and to have it express a wide range of emotions, not just all the happy ones.”

 

EVERYWHERE BABIES BY SUSAN MEYERS AND MARLA FRAZEE

 

“This was read probably every night for the first two to three years—we all loved it. Like all babies, Birdie loved seeing herself reflected in the stories and illustrations of this book. It shows various family types and is a touching, modern reflection on the first year of a baby's life.”

 

ELOISE BY KAY THOMPSON

 

“Of course I have to include this classic! Seeing how I have a precocious, energetic, and at times sassy five year old, this book is in heavy rotation. Eloise, with her messy hair and wild imagination, reminds me so much of myself and my daughter, and who can resist those wonderful illustrations by Hilary Knight?”

 

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