Ever since Cam was very small, he has had a fascination with books.
At just a year old he would bring me book after book to read to him before bed. Even though he did not always sit still while I read, I still read out loud in hopes that one day he would cuddle up and listen.
Because I myself have always been fond of reading – I was happy to have this to share with him.
Now, at almost three years old we read books every night before bed. I ask him to pick two books and after those two are done, he asks me to read another and another and another.
His sister does not yet have the same love for books that we share. She will pick me a book, throw herself into my lap, and let me begin reading but a few pages later, she either gets up and leaves or tries to flip to the last page.
She has her fathers patience when it comes to reading. They both like to know what happens in the end without worrying about how they get to that point.
I am still hopeful she will eventually allow me to read her bedtime stories, maybe once she is a little older and can still sit for a longer time. But maybe not.
Last year I decided to start a Twelve Days of Christmas tradition. After searching for some ideas, envisioning these twelve nights in my mind – I went with books.
Twelve individually wrapped books that would be opened one at a time each night before bed giving us something new and exciting to read.
I chose to go with mostly regular everyday books, with two special Christmas books for the end of the twelve days. I did not put a lot of research into the books I chose last year, picking up a couple multi pack board books and whatever Christmas books I found at the store I happened to be at.
This year, we decided that because the kids are on much different levels – we would get twelve books for each child. Cam likes longer books, with actual stories. Lily is still in the stage of board books, a few words per page.
If you should anything about me, it is that I like to research things. In most cases, I will research and make sure that our purchases are the right ones. I do a lot of impulsive spending also, but when it means a lot to me – I put a lot of thought into it.
I wanted to make sure every single one of these books fit perfectly with my children, their interests, and where they are at developmentally.
I went to our local Barnes & Noble to hand picked each and every one. After two hours of sitting on the floor, spreading the books out again and again to see them all, and countless second guessing, I finally chose.
Below I have linked all twelve books that I purchased for each of my kids.
First up, Camden. As a very normal almost three year old boy – Camden loves all things dinosaurs, monsters, construction, trucks, pirates, etc. so you will see quite a theme with the books selected for him.
The Napping House – In the napping house is a cozy bed piled high with a snoring granny, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, and a slumbering mouse. All is at peace until the appearance of an unexpected visitor, and before you know it no one is sleeping!
How to Catch a Monster – Get ready to laugh as a young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that’s been so scary night after night! But what if things aren’t what they seem and our monster isn’t scary at all? What if our ninja hero is about to make a friend of strangest sort?
Mighty, Mighty Construction Site – All of our favorite trucks are back on the construction site—this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small!
How to Put Your Parents to Bed – No one likes going to bed. And you’re not even tired. You want to stay up and have all sorts of fun adventures! But take a look at your parents. They’re really tired. They’re exhausted. But they just won’t go to bed! Help them put down the cell phones, turn off the TV, stop cleaning the dishes, and go to bed!
Roo the Roaring Dinosaur – This is the story of Roo, a little dinosaur who one day meets a woolly mammoth in a hot-air balloon. The balloon has a hole and gradually deflates, floating down to the ground and leaving the little mammoth stranded.
The Flying Diggers – When Teddy’s grandpa makes Teddy and his best friend Ruby some toy diggers, they don’t quite realize how special they are. Once they start to play with them, the diggers transform into magic flying diggers!
Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car – The five little monkeys and Mama are eager to get a new car. The five little monkeys clean and paint their old car until it sparkles like new. But who will buy it? Perhaps those clever monkeys can convince their cranky crocodile neighbors that what they really need is . . . yes, a car!
The Pirate Who Said Please – Jump aboard the pirate ship! A little boy with a big imagination learns to be polite in this humorous rhyming story.
The Little Snowplow – On the Mighty Mountain Road Crew, the trucks come in one size: BIG. That is, until the little snowplow joins the crew. None of the other trucks think that the little snowplow can handle the big storms, but he knows that he can do it—and just to be sure, he trains hard, pushing loads of gravel, pulling blocks of concrete, and doing plow lifts to get ready.
A Loud Winter’s Nap – For Tortoise, winter is good for one thing: a nice long nap. Can friends open his eyes to a season full of surprises? Every year, Tortoise hibernates through winter. He assumes he isn’t missing much. However, his friends are determined to prove otherwise!
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Little Blue Truck is spreading cheer by delivering Christmas trees to his animal friends. Can you help count each green tree from one to five and back again? Don’t forget to save one for Blue! Beep! Beep!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas – From decorating the tree to wrapping presents, little dinosaurs love to celebrate Christmas-and everything about it. With ornaments on the branches and carolers singing at the door, the spirit of Christmas is finally here and filling the hearts of families everywhere. But when the stockings are hung on the chimney, and the cookies are left out for Santa, how can little dinosaurs go to sleep?
For Lily, I stuck with a neutral theme with some girly items thrown in. She isn’t exactly ‘into’ a lot of things at this point so it was not as easy to find books to suit her interests.
Belly Button Book – Shiny and sturdy, and featuring a great (navel-shaped, naturally) die-cut cover, the Belly Button Book provides enduring, giggly, read-aloud fun.
The Pout-Pout Fish – Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny.
Today I’ll be a Princess – Every little girl wants to be a princess, and every mom knows that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the castle walls.
Princess Baby – Poor baby, no one calls her by her real name! “I am not a buttercup, or a giggly goose. I am not a cupcake. Please don’t call me Little Lamb, and never ever Gum Drop,” she insists. With a curtsy and a twirl, again and again our protagonist makes it abundantly clear who she is.
Will You Be My Sunshine – Children need to know they are loved forever and always. The sweet, colorful scenes in this book reinforce a message of unconditional love. Make story time a time for one-on-one connection!
Olivia – Have fun with Olivia… dressing up, singing songs, building sand castles, napping (maybe), dancing, painting on walls, and — whew! — going to sleep at last.
Disguise-O-Saur – Meet Disguise-o-saur, a master of disguise! She can be anything she wants to be. What will Disguise-o-saur be today?
Ten Little Princesses – Ten little princesses, going to the ball, trotting on their ponies, passed the castle wall.
Everything is Mama – Take a lighthearted look at the world from your baby’s point of view as different animals try to teach their children that there are other words in addition to MAMA for familiar objects and activities.
Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? – Every inquisitive little girl wonders what it is really like to be a genuine princess. At the heart of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? lives an energetic, spirited, and contemporary child who has lots of important questions for her mom.
Llama Llama Holiday Drama – If there’s one thing Llama Llama doesn’t like, it’s waiting. He and Mama Llama rush around, shopping for presents, baking cookies, decorating the tree . . . but how long is it until Christmas?
The Not Very Merry Pout Pout Fish – Will Mr. Fish find perfect gifts for everyone on his list? Will he finish his shopping in time?
Do you have a twelve days of Christmas tradition? What is it? Do you buy your kids books for Christmas? If so, which ones were on your list?
I’d love to hear back from you!