We’re about two weeks away from our big family vacation to Lake Keowee, and I can’t wait. The kids are getting excited to swim and see their little cousin Ruby. We’ve gone here the last few summers, and we’re starting to get a groove for this sort of vacation – lots of boat + pool time, meals with my family, date nights down on the dock after the kids are tucked in, endless sunscreen applications, and some really good books. I’ve already spelled out our lake + pool essentials and how we road trip with kids, which are still chock full of my favorite ideas for this type of trip. With a 9 hour drive, it pays to be prepared.
One of my favorite things to do is load up the car with about 30 new library books since this ensures us a few hours of quiet activity while the kids study the pictures. Something new is exciting (especially when it’s free too, win-win!), and over the years we have bought fewer and fewer books – saving up our pennies for the ones we know the kids will love their very own copy of. Relying on the library also helps with keeping a simple home and reducing the “twaddle” that Zach and I don’t enjoy reading aloud.
So this year, I thought I’d share the dear favorites that are SO good, they are worth a spot on your bookshelf. My kids have studied and studied these books. The pages have been turned repeatedly, they are practically memorized, but still they find something new to discover.
This book is BIG (about half the size of my toddler) and beautiful. The map of each country in the world is overlayed with illustrations showing the wildlife, customs, foods, architecture, cities, and people of each country. It’s stunning. When the kids get bigger, you could always add the companion activity book to help them learn even more about different cultures.
This book is super entertaining with absurd types of cars, a pig family heading on a beach vacation, a high speed chase to catch a criminal dog, and tiny Goldbug hiding on every page.
The large, colorful pages of this book have loads to study in the cross-sections of buildings throughout the seasons. There’s no real written story or words, so the point is for kids to look at the pictures and find the stories themselves.
This was one of my favorite books as a kid, with actual letters tucked into envelopes in the book, documenting correspondence between the characters of nursery rhymes – like the Three Bears and the Big Bad Wolf- delivered by a Jolly Postman on his mail route. Definitely save this for older kids who know how to be careful with books.
This iconic yellow book is about $10 and is chunky – full of stories. It keeps kids hopping from one page to the next.
We bought this for our daughter, and while I admit some of the rhetoric and storylines are a bit 1950s house-wifey, Evie loves the sweet illustrations, which are nostalgic and memorable.
If you were only going to purchase one book from this list, make it this one. I think my kids have looked at this book hundreds of times now, and still keep going back. Follow the Bunny family through a full day in the town, then on the farm, and finally at the port. There are about 6 pages for each location, showing multiple storylines for the animal characters. Each page has some questions for kids to answer and they always hunt for that “Sneaky Benny Badger,” who is always up to no good. Five stars, for sure.
I love that these books will be ingrained in my kids’ memories. We’ll be tucking all of them in the car with us for the drive down to South Carolina, and they’re as good as old friends, in my opinion. I’d love to hear a book or two you think is worth owning!