Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: My Favorite Children’s Books
Thanks for welcoming our celebrity blogger — Elisabeth Röhm!
The actress, 37, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy 2011 ahead of her.
She can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, and plans to continue her role as spokesmom for Juno Baby.
In her latest blog, Röhm — who is mom to 2½-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — looks back on her own love of the written word, shares her and Easton’s favorite books to read together, and asks for your picks.
I’ll be honest — it was by the grace of God that I finished high school. I was what you might call a terrible student. Things got so out of control with my studies — or lack thereof — that I was even sent to a juvie hall to get straightened out. Dare I say a little tough love went a long way with me. Although I did improve academically, college became another challenge. It was an absolute miracle that I finished my degree. But miracles do happen!
My poor mother was a saint in her handling of her unconventional daughter. My one saving grace in all of those years of learning was that I loved to read and write. This was a gift my mom was able to hand down — she was a writer herself and therefore was able to translate her passion to me. Even when I rejected more formal ways of study, we always managed to enjoy reading a good book together.
I still have a great love of reading and during my pregnancy I started Easton on what I hope will be a life-long love of books. I would read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis out loud to my big belly while I would luxuriate in a warm bath on a nightly basis. She seemed to enjoy those sessions by swimming around with each word that I let trip off my tongue.
Words, tales and great storytelling are something we love to share together. Considering that, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of Easton’s library, divided into different categories.
These are the books that have made us laugh out loud. Theatrical accents have helped get a good reaction out of Easton.
- Ten Little Elvi, by Laura J. Henson (Best read with an accent Elvis would be proud of)
- Please, Baby, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee (Pleading as you read generally gets a good response)
- Tickle Monster, by Josie Bissett (Tickling works very well with this one for a good raucous laugh from your little one)
We are one of those families that is obsessed with the zoo. Okay, okay, I know — some people are just against zoos all together. But we have enjoyed them and even have an annual membership. Truth is, they might even know us by name there. For this reason we have found hours of enjoyment reading The Encyclopedia of Animals.
Now that Easton is in school, I am ever so grateful to Madonna for writing The English Roses, where she promotes kindness. So important! Also, Grumpy Cat, by Britta Teckentrup manages to get that vital point across with good humor!
Of course, I’ll admit it, I cherish the books that nurture the values of love and home. Our picks in that category are:
- I Love You More, by Laura Duksta (It’s adorable and totally interactive)
- The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman (This book does the rhyming thing very well and is very fun to read out-loud)
- On The Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman (This book totally advocates the feeling of being loved and safe. We adore it!)
- All The World, by Liz Garton Scanlon (Just gorgeous)
If you, like our family, have struggled with the whole issue of sleep you’ll appreciate these top picks that make sleeping through the night a positive experience. I can’t promise anything but I am hopeful that all of us parents will get to sleep through the night one of these days soon. These books might help inspire our little ones to stay put!
- Go To Bed Monster, by Natasha Wing
- Your Own Big Bed, by Rita M. Bergstein
- Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, by Bob Shea
Of course I have to give a shout out to my favorite current children’s book writer. I love that she doesn’t dumb it down and plows right in to meaningful writing. Easton is thoroughly engaged by virtue of the books having a strong voice and message. Jamie Lee Curtis is the child whisperer!
- Is There Really A Human Race? (My personal favorite. We’ve read it so many times that the binding has broken down)
- Today I Feel Silly (Easton’s personal favorite)
- I’m Gonna Like Me (We both need to read this book from time to time!)
Then there are the ones that awaken color, taste and creativity (I hope).
- Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
- My Garden, by Kevin Henkes (All of his books are amazingly sweet)
- There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me, by Alice Walker (Poetry in motion)
- What Colour Is Your World?, by Bob Gill
- Imagine A Place, by Sarah L. Thomson
- The Zoo, by Suzy Lee
I don’t know about you moms, but as much as I love Play-doh and stickers in theory, I am not too fond of them being ground into the carpets or immovably stuck to the walls without peeling the paint. You’ll love Around The World with Mouk, by Albin Jeunesse. This book offers stickers that don’t really stick. You’ll see what I mean when you read it!
A few alphabet books that really worked for us:
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault
- Juno’s Musical ABC’s, by Belinda Takahashi
- Kipper’s A to Z: An Alphabet Adventure, by Mick Inkpen
There are a few we couldn’t live without but that aren’t easily categorized. All of Sabuda’s Pop-Up books. They are simply magical! Also, a really fun one is The Foggy Foggy Forest, by Nick Sharratt. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox is unforgettable. You’ll see why! We couldn’t do without a good horse book since we are girls who love our horses! Every Cowgirl Needs A Horse, by Rebecca Janni. Throw in a good ole’ southern accent here and it’s a charm!
There are a few classics that are worth mentioning, although I’m sure you moms already know and love these books from your own childhoods.
- The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
- The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf (I love that book!)
- Anything by the Little Golden Book (Aren’t those books timeless?!)
- The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
Last, but certainly not least, everything Janet Lawler touches turns to gold! We love the beauty of her books.
Let’s consider this the beginning of our own personal book club, PEOPLE.com readers. I’d love to hear your bullet list of the best books out there to keep our little one’s interest. Tell me all of your favorites so that Easton and I can learn from you! This could be better than the closet swapping we do with our best friends!
From our house to yours … with love.
— Elisabeth Röhm