As an author, writing in the children's books genre is new to me. As a reader, it's not. I started reading to my daughter when she was a little things. It was part of our bedtime ritual. Reading to her every night slowed things down and really instilled in her a love of reading. Even now, even though she runs her own business, she makes time to read.
My favorite books for her were Corduroy, the story of a stuffed bear stuck on the shelf in a toy store. A little girl named Lisa wants to buy him but her mother says no and points out that he's missing a button. When the store closes, he goes in search of the button but fails to find it. Instead, he's found and placed back on the shelf. To his great fortune, Lisa returns to buy him.
She also loved The Illustrated Bible. "Noah and the Ark" and "Jonah and the Whale" were stories she loved to hear.
My personal favorite (and a favorite of hers) was The Stinky Cheeseman. The illustrations were outstanding and the stories were a retelling of popular children's stories like "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Gingerbread Man." The stories were humorous and a little subversive parodies of the tales. I loved them, my daughter loved them.
I have my own book memories from my own childhood. My all-time favorite was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I loved the story of a brother and sister running away from home and taking up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Since I've been working on my own children's book, I've been reading a few recent ones. There are some that have lovely illustrations and some that are just plain fun. My two new favorites are Who Cares by Barbara Steinitz and Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin / Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. Who Cares cleverly delivers a message about being yourself. Dragons Love Tacos is just a fun tale about how to attract dragons with a delicious combination of spicy ground beef, salsa, and tortillas.
What I've learned, what I know is that it's important to read. Find fun books for your kids and fun books for yourself. Not only is it wholesome (and cheap) entertainment, it opens your and your child's world to whimsical, educational and creative ideas and experiences.