Mem Fox

Let’s Read Three: Children’s Picture Books for Bedtime

Welcome to Friday! And welcome to an exciting new series that I’m going to start until I run out of ideas. Being very fond of lists, especially for books, I think it high time that I make some short lists for reading books together. “Together” as in with someone else if you feel so inclined, but more especially “together” as in books that fit well when read in combination.

The main factor in this series, is of course my blog name. When people hear about or first encounter this blog, sometimes they get it immediately. But most of the time they either don’t care enough to wonder or they end up asking what’s up with the name. In short, it is a generally common practice to read to your kids before bed. And a lot of parents find it helpful to limit the number of books and crack down on stalling, at least with the books. Three is a number that comes up a lot, at least in my experience, and I happen to be particularly fond of that number for no reason that I can explain. So three books a night is a good idea and something I encourage. Three books also work well in a number of circumstances: naptime, storytime, quick reading break, etc…. And so begins my Let’s Read Three series!


In the future, these posts will be short, quick summaries of the three books and why I put them together. I hope they are fun, but I also hope they are helpful. I’ve been formulating this series for a while and as I prepared to post it this week, I was also struck and challenged by a couple of articles which appeared recently. First off is this one in the New York Times called “I’m Tired of Reading Out Loud to My Son, O.K.?” While I sympathize with the mom and her tired state at the end of the day, I also felt frustrated at the books that she mentioned disdaining. Instead of sorting out my own reasons why, I would much rather point you to the other article which was posted as a response to this one. Jules said it all very eloquently in her Kirkus post, “Reading Aloud.” One of her question really struck me: “How can those of us who write about new children’s books better get the word out to parents, especially those looking for read-alouds?” This series is a part of my tackling that issue. I’m not an expert at combining books, nor is it always necessary; but I do think reading books that compliment each other in some way can make the experience much more enjoyable and rewarding (even if you end up reading them together often).

So let’s begin combo number one: three picture books to read aloud for bedtime, most especially for babies and toddlers.


This was an easy one for me to start with, considering these are a current nighttime routine in our home. It took a bit to find this sweet spot, but if I get a say in the three books, this is it. Read the full post…

Best Baby Picture Books: Great Gift Ideas for Baby Showers and More


Spring is in full swing and often it brings baby showers and first birthdays, as well as other random celebrations for little ones. If you know me well, then you know my philosophy is that books are the best gifts. A book is a way to give again and again; something that develops the child; plants memories; and introduces joy, silliness, beauty and so much more. To quote a favorite movie, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”

It is a big responsibility to choose a book for a child; one that too many people take lightly. If you know the family well, you can choose books that you think will fit their personality. But often, you just need some quality books to choose from. Being the kind person I am, I’m letting you in on my secret list – well, at least sixteen from it. There are lots of books that people consider a must for a baby library, many I like and some I really don’t. I have not included the most familiar ones as I find that the parents probably already have those, someone else will gift them, or I just want to give an even more unique one. Here is my top sixteen list of children’s picture books that are excellent baby shower gifts, first birthday gifts, or just because you are cute gifts. Read the full post…