We believe that books have the power to build empathy in children, introducing them to new perspectives and ideas. Through stories, children come to understand others’ hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows. We’re committed to offering diverse stories and voices to our readers. Books of Excellence and Notable books are selected annually by a panel of Bright Horizons early childhood experts and represent some of the best new writing in children’s literature.
December 2022 Book of Excellence: Infant & Toddler
On the Go, Written and Illustrated by Ailie Busby
Babies and toddlers will love lifting the flaps to discover a beetle, bear, duck, and other animals who crawl, stretch, and waddle just like they do. Bright illustrations and a cheerful text are sure to engage the youngest readers.
- Create suspense. Babies love cause and effect, and enjoy the surprise behind every flap. Build this suspense as you turn each page with a comment like, “Oh, there’s a bear. I wonder what’s next?”
- Act it out. Encourage your baby or toddler to join in the fun. Act out each action. Make each animal’s sound.
Extend the Learning
- Make a play scene. Gather stuffed or plastic animals related to the story. Use the animals to act out the story, and then move beyond it. Ask, “What else do these animals do?” Make the play realistic or even silly. For example, build a nest for a duck and talk about what the duck eats. Or introduce something that’s completely ridiculous, like a bear who not only stretches, but tap dances or makes spaghetti.
- Get moving. This book is all about how our bodies move. After you read the story, label body parts and ask, “What else can our toes do?” or “Can you crawl backwards and forward?”
Notable Books: Preschool
Mel Fell, Written and Illustrated by Corey R. Tabor
A little kingfisher knows it’s time to leave the nest. She feels scared, and yes, it’s a long drop, but she tries anyway. As she drops, other woodland animals try to help her – often with hilarious results. A charming story of courage and resilience that kids will find entirely relatable.
- Turn it sideways. This book has an unusual format. Turn it sideways to read it.
- Use silly voices. Mel Fell is full of interesting animal characters. Bring them to life by giving them distinct voices. The squirrels seem rushed and chaotic. The bees might have high-pitched buzzing voices. The slug needs a deep, slow voice.
Extend the Learning
- Measure it. The squirrels missed Mel “by a whisker.” Exactly how much is a whisker, you might be wondering? Find the measurements for squirrels and other favorite animals online. Then grab a ruler or tape measurer and see exactly how big each animal is. What other animals do you wonder about? How long is a blue whale, for example (hint: you might have to go outside and down the block with your tape measure to figure this out).
- Make an “I’m Scared” Journal. Mel was scared, and it was a long drop, but she flew anyway. Talk about the things you and your child have done that felt scary. What did you do to prepare? What challenges did you experience? What rewards did you find?