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 1000booksbeforekindergarten.org.
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 amazon.com.
"Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni" by Marilyn Sadler
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Journey along with a crew of small fry who like doing what they do best: be fish!
"Wiggle" by Doreen Cronin
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
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
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
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
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
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
Watch animals transform from one species into another in this colorful journey through the Color Zoo.
"You Are (Not) Small" by Anna Kang
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
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
A story of a child exploring independence, supported by a parent who shows unconditional love and understanding.
"Come Along, Daisy!" by Jane Simmons
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
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.
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
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
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
An illustrated version of the classic American song.
"Dear Zoo" by Rod Campbell
A lift-flap book, this tale tells of a child looking for a new pet.
"I Say, You Say Animal Sounds!" by Tad Carpenter
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
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
A lesson in colors awaits, as exploring a tropical setting provides bright reds, blues and more.
"The Family Book" by Todd Parr
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
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
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
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
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
Rhymes and thorough illustrations are the hallmarks of this counting book aimed at young children.
"Where's My Sweetie Pie?" by Ed Emberly
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
"Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree" by Eileen Christelow
Taking advantage of their mom's naptime, the five monkeys find out exactly why it's never wise to mess with Mr. Crocodile.
"Global Babies" by Global Fund for Children
Meet babies from around the world through photography that helps introduce different cultures and how families may look around the world.
"Tickle, Tickle'" by Helen Oxenbury
More than just a story about tickling, this book uses illustrations to show a multicultural cast engaging in daily life activities.
"Hello, Bugs!" by Smriti Prasadam-Halls
Using easy, early-reader wording, "Hello, Bugs!" introduces its audience to a troupe of fun bugs.
“Shark Versus Train” by Chris Barton
For a funny confrontation, check out how Shark and Train battle each other in contests that in involve burping challenges, pie eating, ping pong and other competitions.
"Yummy Yucky" by Leslie Patricelli
What tastes great? What's gross, maybe too gross to even imagine eating? The lead character of this tale reveals treats to eat and icky items better left off menus.
"I Kissed the Baby!" by Mary Murphy
An opportunity to take in the excitement of a collection of animals eager to discuss the baby they've recently met.
"Baby Faces" by Margaret Miller
A brief review of the many ways the youngest among us react and use their faces to show what's on their minds.
"Counting Kisses" by Karen Katz
Take a look at a book that suggests a potentially satisfying and proper number of smooches necessary for a sleepy baby.
"Mommies and Their Babies" by Guido Van Genechten
With striking illustrations, this book offers an education about animals and their offspring, including the proper identification of particular young creatures.
"A Book of Babies" by Il Sung Na
A review of newborn animals from around the globe.
"Moo, Baa, La La La!"' by Sandra Boynton
An introduction to animal sounds, it's also intended to inspire its reader to figure out what the pigs aren't doing correctly.
"I Love You Through and Through" by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak
A small child and a teddy bear demonstrate emotions and affection by way of illustrations and rhymes.
"On the Move: A Touch-and-Feel Book" by Little Bee Books
From boats to trucks to rocket ships, readers can touch and feel related surfaces as they get acquainted with various modes of transportation.
"White on Black" by Tana Hoban
An introduction to shapes intended for the youngest readers.
"Chilly Milly Moo" by Fiona Ross
Milly Moo wants to make great milk, but she's seemingly too hot to fill her bucket. To keep her farmer from sending her away, Milly sees a chilly day as a chance to produce some delicious milk--but will it work, and if so, will it work as she hopes it will?
"Baby Present" by Rachel Neumann
A visual introduction to an under-one-aged cast and the people that care for them--further aimed at a similarly-aged audience by being printed on non-toxic cardboard illustrated with soy inks and point-free corners.
"Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons" by James Dean
So what if he loses a button on his favorite shirt? Pete the Cat can handle that, and he keeps singing his song, still going strong with three groovy buttons...but will they last?
"Ten Tiny Tickles" by Karen Katz
From teeny to big tickles, from heads to toes, you'll get a chance to count along as the tickling goes and grows around the body and increasing in occurrence.
"Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site" by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
A rhyming, head-to-bed story that sees all the vehicles getting ready to rest as the sun sets, and gives the reader a chance to wish all the trucks an evening greeting.
"Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" by Annie Kubler
A book designed specifically for babies, interactive text, songs and nursery rhymes are in place with the intention of stimulating learning, muscle development and language development.
"Is Everyone Ready for Fun?" by Jan Thomas
When some cows drop in on Chicken and want to dance and jump on his couch, he doesn't exactly enjoy the visit.
"Night Owl" by Toni Yuly
The nocturnal Night Owl prefers nighttime--but when his mother falls from sight, he starts to focus on listening, in a story intended to reinforce listening skills and using sound words.
"First the Egg" by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
The question of "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" is the inspiration behind this examination of growth, explaining how certain examples of flora and fauna arrive at adulthood.
"Can you Make a Scary Face?" by Jan Thomas
If you've ever wondering what sort of face you'd make when face-to-face with a bug, this tale starring a frog and ladybug is intended to get its readers mugging and dancing.
"Bark, George" by Jules Feiffer
When a puppy says "meow" or "quack"--but won't bark--leave it to his mother to figure out what's cooking.
"A Busy Little Squirrel" by Nancy Tafuri
With autumn coming fast, Squirrel finds himself too busy to play with the mice or hop with the frogs...will he ever decide it's time to take a break?
"A Good Day" by Kevin Henkes
An exploration of ways to turn troubled days from bad to good.
"Vegetables In Underwear" by Jaren Chapman
A comical and rhyming story about veggies wearing undies of all sorts--and yes the fun of underwear is part of the message--as is why we need to wear such attire.
“Because Brian Hugged his Mother” by David Rice
A lesson about the ease of sharing joy, this is the story of a boy named Brian who ends up spreading happiness simply by giving his mom a hug.
“Big Bug” by Henry Cole
Introducing the concept of scale, "Big Bug" shows how size is relative and that what seems big can actually be very small when you change your perspective.
“Let George Do It!” by George Foreman
Authored by the famed pugilist, it's a tale of how five brothers named George, and Mrs. George, get ready to throw a party for Big George himself.
“From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle
An interactive story, this book offers instructions in fun movement, as well as how to pay attention and follow directions.
"Please Mr Panda" by Antony Steve
Armed with doughnuts, Mr. Panda wants to share them with those friends who are proper and polite...but do any of his chums make the grade?
"Creepy Carrots" by Aaron Reynolds
Jasper Rabbit is all about Crackenhopper Field brand carrots -- and he eats them all day -- until he begins to believe the carrots might be coming after him!
"The Pout-Pout Fish" by Deborah Diesen
His face may be stuck in a permanent state of glum, but the pout-pout fish learns having fun and being happy might really be his lot in life.
"My Little Sister Ate One Hare" by Bill Grossman
This counting book also aims for laughs as a hungry little girl eats more and more and more, starting with one hare.
"Where is the Green Sheep" by Mem Fox
Sure there are all kinds of sheep to see -- but where is the green one?
"Press Here" by Herve Tullet
The yellow dot on the cover leads to a journey of twisting, tilting and imagining what a simple push of a pretend button can do.
"Cock-a-Doodle-Moo!" by Bernard Most
When the rooster is too ill to crow in the morning, he leans on the cow to try waking up the rest of the animals on the farm.
"Strega Nona" by Tomie dePaola
Strega Nona (aka "Grandma Witch") serves up good magic in her Calabrian town, but when she leaves Big Anthony in charge while she's away, will the temptation to use magic prove to be a problem?
"Wemberly Worried" by Kevin Henkes
Watch as Wemberly worries about every little thing -- but upon meeting a fellow worrier, she learns that sometimes you need to put being nervous aside and have some fun.
"When Dinosaurs Came with Everything" by Elise Broach
Read about a little boy who finds fun when he gets a special prehistoric treat while shopping ... and will Mom understand?
"Go Away, Big Green Monster" by Ed Emberley
True, the Big Green Monster does grow in this book about dealing with nightmares, but it also puts the reader in charge, and together they can send that creepy guy away from the story.
"Birds and Their Nests" by Linda Tagliaferro
This photo book introduces birds and shows how they live and raise their chicks.
"A Perfectly Messed-Up Story" by Patrick McDonnell
Intended to be read aloud, this is a story about Little Louie and about how he learns to roll with imperfections and see that life can be good even when things don't go as planned.
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle
The 1969 children's picture book remains a fun read for all generations of this journey that starts with munching but moves to the main character's birth as a butterfly.
"Animals/Animales" by Eric Carle
More than just a meeting with creatures, this board book uses a sliding panel to teach the names of well-known animals in both English and Spanish.
"Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great" by Bob Shea
It's a tale of Unicorn and Goat--two magical creatures--who find themselves at odds over their differences but eventually become friends in the end.
"Zero" by Kathryn Otoshi
Poor Zero sees herself as just a big nothing--especially when the numbers around her have a value. However, by way of a lesson in self-value (as well as learning counting and numbers), she may realize that she's exactly who she's supposed to be.