True confession: I've never outgrown my love of kids' books. I always get a thrill every time one of the preschoolers in my class asks to be read to, or when one of my own children becomes engrossed in the pages of a new find. If you have a little book-lover in your own home — or if you're hoping to raise one — then you'll want to add some gifts for kids who love reading to your shopping list this year.
It's hard to imagine a childhood without such lifelong friends as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Llama Llama, Pete the Cat, Max and the Wild Things, Ramona Quimby, Charlotte the spider, the March sisters, Harry Potter, and so many others. Introducing your child to these favorite characters is a wonderful way to bond with them, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. According to the National Education Association, children who are read to every day are more likely to recognize all the letters of the alphabet, count to 20 or higher, and write their own names than kids who listen to stories less frequently. The NEA also quoted a stat from the Educational Testing Service saying that children who have a variety of reading materials in their home score higher in reading proficiency.
So when you're shopping for your children this holiday (or giving Santa a hand with his list), consider adding one or more of these book-related gifts to the pile. You'll be creating treasured memories and establishing a love of reading that will benefit them both in and out of school.
What child wouldn't want to read a book all about themselves? This bedtime book by Jennifer Dewing is personalizable with your child's name, which will appear not only on the cover, but also in the story and even within the illustrations. This is sure to become a cherished nightly read-aloud tradition.
Corduroy Hand Puppet
Don Freeman's tale of a teddy bear hoping for a forever home was first published 50 years ago, but it hasn't lost its ability to delight the youngest book-lovers. This newly released puppet will enhance your storytelling time as your child reattaches Corduroy's missing overalls button.
Nostalgia In A Box
Keep your kids' book collection organized with this stand-up display, similar to the ones teachers use in their classrooms. Even toddlers can put away their own books without having to keep them upright on a shelf, and finding the right bedtime story is a snap.
The marmalade-loving bear from Darkest Peru is now available in a playset that provides hours of imaginative adventures. The collection includes a 5" Paddington, his suitcase, a spare sandwich, a doughnut, a pigeon, a backdrop of London, and, of course, a good-sized jar of marmalade.
Rainbow Fish Playset
Literary Flash Cards
Your young toddler may not know the difference between a hungry caterpillar or a brown bear seeing a blue horse, but they'll love exploring this set of flash cards that attaches to a stroller or diaper bag for easy access. The cards feature materials of various textures (fuzzy, fluffy, shiny) that will keep your child occupied while introducing them to the artwork of children's-book icon Eric Carle.
A New Clue
Forget about Colonel Mustard in the conservatory: This updated version of the classic game has players roaming the halls of Hogwarts, trying to discover who made a fellow student disappear, where, and which spell was used to do the deed (hopefully not Avada Kedavra). Who will be the first to deliver the correct accusation to Dumbledore?
Goldilocks Science Kit
We all know the story of the little blonde girl who barged into someone else's house and helped herself to food and furniture. But can you rebuild Baby Bear's chair so that not even Goldilocks can break it? That's the challenge of this fun science/story mashup game.
The book "Wonder," which was recently made into a movie, is a beautiful lesson in acceptance and celebrating differences. Although the original book is geared toward middle-school readers, there's a new version for the elementary-school set, "We're All Wonders." There's also this doll of Auggie, the hero of the story. It includes Auggie's signature astronaut helmet, which can be removed to show his unique face.
Do you have a young writer in the house? Give them the thrill of being a published author. This kit includes pages for a child to write and illustrate their original story. Once they're done, mail the materials to the manufacturer, which will bind them into a softcover book, complete with an "About the Author" section showcasing your child's name and bio.
Everyone needs a special place to read, and this cozy nook is an open invitation for your child to curl up and lose themselves in the pages. The unit includes seat and back cushions for comfort, four shelves for books, and two storage bins for stuffed animals or other book accessories.
Everyone's favorite French schoolgirl is now available as a huggable doll companion. The details are spot-on, from Madeline's red hair to her spunky smile. If your child hasn't yet been introduced to the original book (which will turn 80 years old next year!), why not buy a copy and give both as a set?
Author Dav Pilkey is a favorite among elementary-school readers for his wacky graphic novels ("Captain Underpants" made him a household name). His latest bestselling series, about a superhero half-dog, half-human, is available in this gift set, including a handy tote and Dog Man toy.
Cat In The Hat Game
If your kids remind you of Thing 1 and Thing 2 sometimes, this game was tailor-made for them. Pick from the instruction cards to see which of the familiar Cat props (cake, rake, ball, fish, etc.) you have to use for balancing, twirling, and crawling. Then remind your children that the Cat in the Hat always cleans up after himself!
Best Friend Bookends
Gerald the Elephant and his best friend, Piggie, have taught children about such important topics as sharing, trying new things, being imaginative, and being prepared for a fancy costume swim party. Now the Mo Willems characters can help keep your child's library organized, too.
Elephant and Piggie are such fun that they get two mentions on our list. Here, they encourage little artists with coloring pages, drawing hacks, puzzles to follow, and more (watch for guest appearances by the Pigeon!). Parents reviewing the book recommend it for kids 5 and up, and rave about its ability to keep children entertained for long stretches.
Clifford the Big Red Dog was first introduced in 1963, so his earliest readers are now parents (and even grandparents) themselves. If your child is a fan of the books or TV series, they'll love having their own Clifford to cuddle with. At 15", it's not quite life-sized, but larger versions are available on the Scholastic site.
After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.