By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com March 03 2014 7:53 PM ET
If there’s one thing I have learned from being a parent, it’s that reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to aid their development. Apparently just 15 minutes a day can benefit their cognitive skills tremendously. Nicely enough, it’s also the perfect close to a crazy day and becomes a special time to bond with your little one.
Today is National Read Across America Day, and for drag queens that means throwing shade all day long, but for parents it means reading a book to their kid/kids. I have compiled a list of all of my favorites to read with my son. A few of them are LGBT-family themed, but all of them have become the books that I am completely over because we have read them to death.
10. The Mitten by Jan Brett This is a board book, meant for kids 1-3. The story is simple and cute, about a kid who wants white mittens and then loses one in the snow. Subsequently, every animal in the forest moves into the mitten and chaos ensues.
9. The Family Book by Todd Parr This is an all-inclusive diversity book that depicts different types of families, among them a family with same-sex parents. It’s brilliant because it nonchalantly throws in gay parents and doesn’t necessarily focus on them. The colors are a little LSD-inspired, but kids will love it.
8. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch Hands down the best book if you want to cry uncontrollably in front of your kid. The message is basically about a mother and child getting older and eventually the child becomes the parent. Parts of it get a little weird, but I can’t go 10 pages in without bawling.
7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown Even if you’re not a parent, you’ve heard of this easy little board book. It rhymes, it has bright colors, and it tells kids to shut it down.
6. Tickle Monster Laughter Kit by Josie Bissett If you buy this book, you have to get the kit, which includes two paw-like mittens that you put on and tickle your kid with. It’s interactive and kids go crazy for it. Not recommended for bedtime as it will inevitably wind up your child and make them pee their pants.
5. A Tale of Two Daddies/Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager In a perfect world, all parents, straight or gay, would read these to their kids. They shows a child of gay parents being asked a lot of questions by another kid. The questions revolve around the gay parents and the answers are surprisingly simple.
4. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle I can’t even stand to type the words “little blue truck” because I’ve read this book so many times it drives me bat-shit crazy. It has a great rhyme and rhythm, though, and at times I would find myself actually rapping it to my little man.
3. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson An absolutely adorable book based on a true story of gay penguins and their "adopted" chick. What more could you ask for? This is the book I actually sent to my kid’s preschool because it subtly introduces the notion of same-sex parenting in the cutest way possible.
2. What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss My favorite Dr. Seuss book, which I was obsessed with as a kid. It has spooky undertones, but it teaches how to conquer fears, which is an invaluable life lesson. I was thrilled when my son kept asking me to read this to him, and it’s one of the few I don’t get sick to death of.
1. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach Although I don’t recommend ever reading this to your child, it’s essential for all parents. It parodies children’s books and really hits home. Best accompanied by a glass of wine or something stronger.
What are your favorites to read to your child?
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.