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Let’s Build Some Words!
Greetings parents and caregivers of young children! My son has always been a fan of numbers and letters. In fact, he named his cat Numbers and Letters when he was three. One of my most cherished memories (which I captured on my phone and listen to every once in awhile when I’m feeling nostalgic) includes my then-two-year old son sleepily reciting his ABCs and 123s while falling asleep. It’s pretty much the most wonderful thing in the history of everything. Take a listen below and you'll be convinced.
When I let my mind meander back six years when Kiddo was so enamored with this newfound world of numbers and letters I have to think that the library played a big role in helping foster his curiosity and hunger for these basic building blocks of communication. And before you accuse me of being a homer, let me come to my own defense: this was before I became a library employee! We loved coming to the library because there were lots of materials to supplement what we were discovering in the outside world on street signs, in the supermarket, on billboards, etc. Kiddo was naturally curious about these weird symbols that seemed to communicate something bigger and the library was instrumental in helping cultivate that inquisitiveness. Okay, I guess I am a library homer after all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The following list contains some of the ABC and 123 books I shared with my son on our many trips to the library all those years ago. It also contains a few I’ve discovered since then and have shared with my almost-two-year-old twins. I hope that you’ll find some time to share these books with your own emerging readers. May your little ones whisper their ABCs as they fall asleep and until next time, keep reading together!
1 2 3: A Child's First Counting Book by Allison Jay
Allison Jay’s style is totally unique among illustrators. I’ve checked out her books for my children many times and continue to be blown away by the beauty of her work.
10 Little Fingers, Two Small Hands by Kristy Dempsey (illustrated by Jane Massey)
Perfect for an after-lunch or after-dinner read while you’re washing little hands, this counting book encourages young children to begin counting by using their fingers.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
My 18-month-old has fallen in love with this book. If you use your hands to count down the monkeys falling off the bed, you’re guaranteed to get your toddler’s attention.
10 Black Dots by Donald Crews
My little guy got this as his very first-ever Summer Reading prize. He just recently passed it along to his baby brother and sister and I’m really excited it’s now in our family’s regular rotation once again.
Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett
Pretty much everything Mac Barnett has done impresses me. If you decide to check this one out be prepared for an all out giggle-fest and subsequent guffaw-a-thon.
Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
I thought I had read all the Dr. Seuss books until I stumbled on this one while cleaning out my parent’s attic a few years ago. It had apparently belonged to my brother when he was a child but I snagged it and passed it on to my son who loved it. This is another one that is on its second life (well, third really) as a book that now belongs to my little bitties.
20 Hungry Piggies by Trudy Harris
I really love this book because it teaches kiddos cardinal (1, 2, 3) and ordinal (first, second, third) numbers. The story is fun to follow and there are even some hidden items in the pictures which makes this book fun to read again and again.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss
Guaranteed to be the only book on this planet that includes four fluffy feathers on a fiffer feffer feff and Verna Vera Vinn and her violet violin!
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham (illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky)
Zebra has his ABC book all planned out: A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat, and D is for…moose? Find out what happens when Zebra’s antlered friend waits for his turn to star in one of my all-time favorite ABC books. This one has a lot of humor, the perfect dash of tenderheartedness, and awesome re-readability.
Augie to Zebra by Caspar Babypants (illustrated by Kate Endle)
Whether as a President of the United States or as Mr. Babypants himself, Chris Ballew has created music both for my adolescence and for my son’s childhood. I’m sure you’ll love this kid-inspired (his son’s name is Augie) quirky romp through all 26 letters. Bonus: all the artwork is done by Ballew’s wife Kate Endle! You can pick up the free MP3 version of the book here.
LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
There’s nothing to complain about in this cuteness-infused rhymer. If you love legumes and you love letters, then you’re bound to enjoy this silly little picture book with your young reader!