Books every parent should read to their kids before kindergarten

School-age kids have headed back to the classroom — but those too young for kindergarten aren’t off the hook. They’ve got some homework to do as well.

The nationwide 1,000 Books Before kindergarten initiative urges parents to read 1,000 books to their children before they start their academic careers.

Various libraries across Long Island are participating in the movement, offering incentives...

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School-age kids have headed back to the classroom — but those too young for kindergarten aren’t off the hook. They’ve got some homework to do as well.

The nationwide 1,000 Books Before kindergarten initiative urges parents to read 1,000 books to their children before they start their academic careers.

Various libraries across Long Island are participating in the movement, offering incentives such as stickers or free books to children as they tick off 100, 200, 300 books and more. (If a child has a favorite book, each time it is read counts.) And if the local library isn’t officially working on the program, parents can find charts and more at

We asked 10 Long Island librarians for their favorite books for parents to read to their kids before Kindergarten. Many of the books can be found in your local library or you can purchase them on

"Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni" by Marilyn Sadler

Photo Credit: Blue Apple Books

Tony will only eat macaroni--but this picky eater is about to find that there's more to eating noodles than simply sticking with a single style.

“The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt

Photo Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

Imagine if your box of crayons end up arguing and fighting so much that you can't color! That's what Duncan has to deal with--can he get all the crayons to make up and do what they do best?

"Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" by Eileen Christelow

Photo Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Jumping on the bed can be a tricky thing, and this quintet of primates prove that to be true as one by one they bounce off the mattress and land painfully.


"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr.

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster

Can all the letters of the alphabet fit at the top of a coconut tree? Read on to find out what happens when the vowels and consonants challenge each other to make the climb.

"Monsters Love Colors" by Mike Austin

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

This picture book uses dancing, drawing and waggling monsters to demonstrate colors and how they mix to make more colors.

"Everywhere Babies" by Susan Meyers

Photo Credit: Harcourt

Take a trip through the baby-sphere: meet some very young tots and watch how they entertain themselves, as well as how their parents do their crucial part.

Photo Credit: Random House Books for Young Readers

The classic 1961 children's book, offering a fun look at how some dogs get around and have a good time.

"Guess How Much I Love You'" by Sam McBratney

Photo Credit: Candlewick

A tale between mother hare and child, a pair who love each other so much that they're not sure how to describe their feelings--but their deep bond in never in doubt.

"Big Little" by Leslie Patricelli

Photo Credit: Candlewick

Follow a very expressive toddler as he acts out each pair of opposites, i.e. "Ladies are big, but ladybugs are little."

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

It's a story about a mouse named Mouse: he's cute but hungry, and if you give him a cookie, he'll want a drink. Of course, if you give him a drink, he'll start asking for more things, and more, and even more.

"Goodnight Moon" By Margaret Wise Brown

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

Since its release in 1947, this simple story based on nothing but a series of evening greetings offered to things and creatures found around the house has become one of the most-recognized children's books ever to come from the United States.

"Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

Recently celebrating its 60th-anniversary, the 1955 story of Harold and his imagination is told by way of the main character's king-size crayon and the even bigger world it helps the young hero create.

"Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans

Photo Credit: Puffin Books

A classic 1939 tale of a pint-size Parisian with lots of spunk -- as well as an ailing appendix!

"Kitten’s First Full Moon" by Kevin Henkes

Photo Credit: Greenwillow Books

When Kitten sees her first full moon, she wants it--as she thinks it's a big bowl of milk! Could she possibly get that bowl of milk in the sky? Perhaps...

"Hooray for Fish" by Lucy Cousins

Photo Credit: Candlewick

Journey along with a crew of small fry who like doing what they do best: be fish!

"Wiggle" by Doreen Cronin

Photo Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Parents know getting a toddler to hit the hay can be tough--so instead of discouraging their wiggly nature, let them read this book that encourages them to shake it up and bust a move (and hopefully, expend enough energy that they'll actually want to go to bed).

"Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" by Mo Willems

Photo Credit: Disney Publishing Worldwide

Can a driving-obsessed pigeon possibly handle a bus route of his own? Readers can answer back and help him decide if he should take the wheel.

"Rhyming Dust Bunnies" by Jan Thomas

Photo Credit: Beach Lane Books

Hang with Hug, Mug, Rug and Bug as the fuzzy four--a group of dust bunnies--who like to spend some time rhyming (as well as keeping clear of their enemy, a broom).

"Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt

Photo Credit: Western Publishing

The iconic touch-and-feel book born in 1940 still holds potential to entertain modern readers by connecting the printed word with sensory perception.

"Chu's Day" by Neil Gaiman

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

When Chu says "a-choo," bad things happen. His sneezes are big trouble, but will anyone in his family even notice his mighty sniffles when exploring the world around them?

"Puddles!!" by Kevan Atteberry

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

Declan loves to splash around in the rain! His bunny friends, on the other hand, don't see the fun.

"Color Zoo" by Lois Ehlert

Photo Credit: HarperFestival

Watch animals transform from one species into another in this colorful journey through the Color Zoo.

"You Are (Not) Small" by Anna Kang

Photo Credit: Two Lions

When it's just a pair of creatures on the scene, it's hard to agree on who's big and who's small. However, some new guests arrive, and they make it clear what's large and what's not-so-large.

"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Photo Credit: Harper Collins

Author Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book remains a cultural phenomenon, so much so that it's been animated and turned into a major motion picture--but the beloved story of Max and the island where he rules the "Wild Things" all started here.

"Mama, Do You Love Me?" by Barbara M. Joosse

Photo Credit: Chronicle Books

A story of a child exploring independence, supported by a parent who shows unconditional love and understanding.

"Come Along, Daisy!" by Jane Simmons

Photo Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Daisy the duck is a curious bird, and her mother has to spend a lot of time keeping her safe--but Daisy is so easily distracted...until a scary sound makes it clear that mom knows best.

"Monkey and Me" by Emily Gravett

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

When a little girl and her best buddy/ toy monkey pretend to be animals, readers can either try and figure out what animal they're portraying, or just join in on the fun and play too.

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr.

Photo Credit: Henry Holt and Co

Children and parents can expect rhythmic reading and strangely hued but familiar animals in this story illustrated by Eric Carle.

"Maisy Big, Maisy Small: A book of Opposites" by Lucy Cousins

Photo Credit: Candlewick

It doesn't matter if your young ones are dedicated Maisy fans or not, as she spends this story exploring different looks and investigating various human traits in colorful, direct fashion.

"Little Blue Truck" by Alice Schertle

Photo Credit: HMH Books

He's a tough little pick-up--but even he's no match for country mud. Good thing his farm animal friends are around to help get his wheels back on the road.

"You are My Sunshine" by Jimmie Davis

Photo Credit: Cartwheel Books

An illustrated version of the classic American song.

"Dear Zoo" by Rod Campbell

Photo Credit: Little Simon

A lift-flap book, this tale tells of a child looking for a new pet.

"I Say, You Say Animal Sounds!" by Tad Carpenter

Photo Credit: LB Kids

Little readers can learn about the barnyard as new words, animals and sounds await to be found under lift-flaps throughout the book.

"Bear Counts" by Karma Wilson

Photo Credit: Margaret K. McElderry Books

It's one thing to count--but have you tried counting with a bear? Explore the world with the bruin and see the quantities that lie at every turn.

"The Deep Blue Sea: A book of Colors" by Audrey Wood

Photo Credit: The Blue Sky Press

A lesson in colors awaits, as exploring a tropical setting provides bright reds, blues and more.

"The Family Book" by Todd Parr

Photo Credit: Little, Brown and Company

What is a family? "The Family Book" shows that while there are many varieties, all are special and important.

"I Can Do It Too!" by Karen Baicker

Photo Credit: Chronicle Books

When reading this story of a girl who enjoys living life to the fullest, you'll see that it's much easier to sample the world when you know you're loved.

"Wind" by Carol Thompson

Photo Credit: Child's Play International

Ever play outside on a windy day? This book recalls all the fun and experiences that can take place alongside a breezy stretch of weather.

"Orange Pear Apple Bear" by Emily Gravett

Photo Credit: Little Simon

It's not so much the story told in this book but how it's told, as the author only uses five words--which get rearranged and combined with colorful illustrations to create a creative account.

"Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton

Photo Credit: Workman Publishing Company

Crafted for the youngest readers out there, this book entertains by introducing the party-loving critters found dancing and playing in the barnyard.

"Hamsters Holding Hands" by Kass Reich

Photo Credit: Orca

Rhymes and thorough illustrations are the hallmarks of this counting book aimed at young children.

"Where's My Sweetie Pie?" by Ed Emberly

Photo Credit: LB Kids

A lift-flap book, readers will find all sorts of animals hiding within the pages--right up until the special ending that reveals the "Sweetie Pie" to be more familiar than first expected.

"My Nose, Your Nose" by Melanie Walsh

Photo Credit: HMH Books for Young Readers

Through art based on the facial and physical features human beings share, the author demonstrates human similarities while simultaneously celebrating diversity.

"Peekaboo Morning" by Rachel Isadora

Photo Credit: Putnam Juvenile

Join a toddler as he plays peekaboo with his family members, while introducing words to readers that share the subject's age.

"I Like It When…" by Mary Murphy

Photo Credit: Red Wagon Books

A simple account of a penguin and what sort of daily activities make the bird's day a happy one.

"Toes, Ears and Nose" by Marion Dane Bauer

Photo Credit: Little Simon

With a lift of flaps, the reader can learn about what feature of their face or body is hidden under clothing.

"Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes" by Mem Fox

Photo Credit: HMH Books

By reminding readers that babies from around the globe share several physical features, this portrait of baby-hood is a tribute to people around the world--and a reminder that no matter where you're from, humans are all from the same world, and in many ways we're not all that different.

"Peek-a-Boo" by Roberta Grobel Intrater

Photo Credit: Cartwheel

Toddlers, their feelings and the expressions they make are the body of this book intended to grab the focus of beginning readers.

"Daddy Hugs" by Nancy Tafuri

Photo Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Papa creatures get a chance to show off their hugging skills as a variety of animals appear along with their babies, locked in embrace.

"Where's Spot?" by Eric Hill

Photo Credit: Warne

A popular book ever since its 1980 release, the main attraction is the lifting of flaps in order to find the subject of the story.