Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: My Favorite Children’s Books

02/24/2011 at 11:00 AM ET
Adam Hendershot

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:


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!


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!


Then there are the ones that awaken color, taste and creativity (I hope).


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:


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.


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

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Showing 41 comments


Don’t forget books by Eric Carle.

mypiecesandbits on

“Each Peach Pear Plum” by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

marina on

My favorite was Switch on the Night by Ray Bradbury. I still own it and read it once in a while!

Stephanie on

“Llama, Llama Red Pajama” by Anne Dewdney. Great bedtime book!

Anonymous on

love you forever by robert munsch is my all time favorite!

alicejane on

Loved this post! My family always had tons of books and I was a complete bookworm as a kid. The only time I was ever grounded, it wasn’t that I couldn’t watch TV or talk on the phone or see friends; I still did all that, I just wasn’t allowed to read for X number of days.

I love Shel Silverstein and read a lot of Dr Seuss – mostly Horton Hears A Who, Horton Hatches the Egg (hilarious) and The Lorax when I was a bit older than Elisabeth’s daughter would be, and had the attention span for it.

Another one I love is Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman.

One author I really recommend is James Stevenson, he writes (and I believe illustrates?) really funny childrens books that are really easy, quick reads but very genuinely funny. That’s Exactly the Way It Wasn’t, Grandpa’s Too-Good Garden, and We Can’t Sleep are a few of his titles but he wrote quite a few.

ricki on

This is a very useful post. It’s always good to get (and share) book ideas from others!!!

Lorelai on

Love you Forever, by Robert Munsch, it’s a great book!

Lynn on

We love the Bing Bunny books by Ted Dewan! Very easy to read over, and over, and over…….

mks on

It’s already been mentioned by a few people, but “Love You Forever” is one of those books I remember reading with my parents growing up and now reading it as an adult it’s still as meaningful, if not more to me.

Some others I remember from my childhood:

– “Stellaluna” by Janell Cannon

– “Jillian Jiggs” by Phoebe Gilman (there are other books based on this character, but this one my mom read with me all the time because I literally was Jillian and my room looked like it had been lived in by pigs.)

-Eric Carle’s books were good, especially “The Hungry Caterpillar”

-I’m not sure how nationally popular she is, but Nancy Carlson is a Twin Cities children’s author (which is where I grew up) and I can still remember all of the characters from her books.

– “The Story of Holly and Ivy” by Rumer Godden (a good Christmas one)

– Dr. Seuss books (Especially “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” was a favorite)

– The Berestain Bear books by Stan and Jan Berenstain

– Arthur books by Marc Brown

– The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole

If you can’t tell, I loved to read as a kid and still do. My parents were like Elisabeth’s mom and instilled the love of reading in me at a very young age. I think it’s one of the best things a parent can give their child.

jessicad on

I’ll have to grab “Love You Forever” since it was mentioned so much!

We are major Seuss fans, trying to get the entire collection. My daughter loves “Hop on Pop” and “The foot book”. I have the cutest video of her around 2 years old reading some of the smaller hardback versions of Dr. Seuss, she has a great photographic memory and it definitely looks like she’s reading:)

My parents never read to me or my siblings so I make a point to read at least twice a day with my daughter, even when she was a colicky infant! It’s a great bonding experience and I can see her little imagination running wild, love it.

Tee on

Oh, books! One of my favorite subjects!

I always give a copy of “The Pokey Little Puppy” to a new Momma at a baby shower.

My favorite book as a child was “The Three Little Kittens” and my sister loved “Me Too, Iguania.” (All of the Pickle books are wonderful!)

Of course, “I Love You Forever” is awesome!

For an older child, I really love the Little House on the Prairie books, the Magic Attic books, the Saddle Club, and the Dear America series.

The Baking Fairy on

What a great post! My daughters (ages 4 years and 19 months) have an amazing collection of books thanks to my love of books and my mom being a school teacher (who gets great discounts on books).

Amazingly, we don’t have most of the books you listed. Here are some of my/their favorites:

-Any of the pigeon books by Mo Willems

-The Mini Masters series by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober (rhymes set to pictures of art masterpieces)

-Any Sandra Boynton books (the girls love her Pookie series and I love _But Not the Hippopotamus_)

-Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert (teaching my daughters fruits and vegetable recognition while teaching letter recognition and sounds)

-Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

-All of the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor (good lessons and great vocabulary builders)

-Go, Dog. Go! (our favorite Dr. Seuss)

-Sheep in a Shop; Sheep in a Jeep by Margot Apple

-A Potty for Me by Karen Katz (great potty training book)

-Rainbow Rob by Roger Priddy

-Ladybug Girl series by David Soman and Jacky Davis

-A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman

-Max and Ruby series by Rosemary Wells (our favorite is Bunny Cakes)

-Strawberry Shortcake: The Sweet Treats Carnival (we have several SS books because of my childhood playing with the dolls but my 4 year old reads this one the most)

-Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (I have two math degrees so I love the Sir Cumference series and bought all 6 books for the girls. We’ve been reading the Pi book to prepare for our upcoming Pi Day Party. Yes, I’m a big math nerd.)

Stef on

My favorite one growing up was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz. It always cracked me up!

dea on

I haved loved reading and so have read to my just turned 2 year old daughter since she was born. She loves books and our current favorites are:

The Ladybug Girl books by David Soman and Jacky Davis

Knuffle Bunny and Is there a Bird on my Head (part of the new Elephant and Piggy series) by Mo Willems

A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2011 Caldecott winner and a beautiful book) by Philip C. Stead

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Duck at the Door by Jackie Urbanovic

Bear series (Bear on a Bike, Bear About Town, etc) by Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter

Dear Zoo by Rob Campbell

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

ecl on

My 22 month LOVES The Circus Ship. The illustrations are amazing and it has a page where you can search for the hidden animals. He’s also obsessed with The Polar Express and Animalia.

Alli on

Some of the favorites in my house are:
-Harry the Dirty Dog
-Max and Ruby
-Stop that Ball


soccergrrl1427 on

“Monster Mama,” “The Napping House,” “King Biggood’s in the Bathtub and he won’t get out,” “The True story of the three little pigs (As told by the Wolf),” “The Little House,” “Time for school Nathan!,” “Midnight Farm (by Carly Simon),” “I love you the purplest,” “In the tall, tall grass” and “The Gruffalo” were among my favorites growing up.

Jen on

I cannot stress enough how important alphabet books are for young kids (and even past 2nd grade they can be beneficial).

“Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Williams is very cute

Any of the “Skippyjon Jones” books by Judy Schachner (read at the appropriate times with a spanish accent) are hilarious

“Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” can show kids that we all have bad days sometimes (even in Australia!)

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” is a great alphabet book

Anything by Dr. Seuss

“A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon encourages kids to be who they are (girl loves lima beans but won’t eat them because her friends hate them)

I could go on alllll day 😀

Rebecca on

GOODNIGHT MOON is one of our faves! My 16 month old daughter picks it off the shelf. Along with The Belly Button Book and The Going To Bed Book.

Kristin on

Love this post! One of my showers asked people to bring their favorite children’s book in lieu of a card, we got such an amazing collection!

My daughter is almost 3, current favorites are:

-Good Night, Moon (And My World)
-All Dr. Seuss
-Bob & Otto (by Robert & Nick Bruel, great story of the importance of friends)
-How does a dinosaur… (say good night, clean his room, etc.)
-any Sandra Boynton

We’ve always taken time to read with her, and she’s at an age now where she’ll pick up a book and “read” back to us, I just adore it, so sweet and I love that she loves her books so much. 🙂

ginny on

Love you Forever Absolutely and Good Night Moon!

Ellen on

My 7-yr old loves the Daisy Meadows’ Fairy books and the Magic Tree House books. My 2-yr old loves “The Little Engine That Could” and a book called “The Wild Little Horse.” Both enjoy “Goodnight Moon,” Our World,” and “The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown. “Mama, Do You Love Me?” is also a favorite. Thanks for sharing, everyone.

Megan on

My daughter loves to read. And I love reading to her still even though she is 8 now. Her absolute favorite books of all time are the Eric Carle books. She also likes all the Fancy Nancy books, the Pinkalicious books, and one of our favorites to read together is a book called Someday which is about a mom telling her daughter about all the things she is going to do someday…it is a little bit of a tearjerker. I buy it for all of my friends who are expecting little girls. ;o)

Leelee on

I love this post! You have got to check out:

– A-B-C My First French Lesson, Learning the Alphabet with Annabelle by France Frederic

It’s a picture book with a smart and innovative way of teaching young kids how to speak French.

I was expecting another humdrum French lesson book, but this one put the fun back in lesson. My kids and I had fun trying to memorize and recount the lessons taught in this book. The way it works, is that it teaches kids how to speak French with the help of English words.

Diva on

I teach second grade and have a few to add to your list that are guaranteed crowd pleasers with bright, engaging pictures:

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (illustrated by David Catrow for the goofiest looking kids and dogs ever) about a teensy girl starting a new school and combating all the names she’s called with her confidence.

Frederick by Leo Lionni (a mouse observes the colors of summer and fall while his friends gather food so when they are stuck inside for the long winter, his imagination sustains them…gorgeous ode to creativity)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (hilarious and interactive, your kiddo has to stand up to the mischievous pigeon’s pleas)

Kate on

We love Peggy Rathmann books, like “The Day the Babies Crawled Away” “Officer Buckle and Gloria” and “Good Night Gorilla”

Also, “A Color of His Own” by Leo Lionni

I am so excited to try some of your book suggestions! Thank you for starting this!

Sarah on

I have to do a shout out to our favorite author in the house right now Mo Willems. Any of his Gerald and Piggie books (Hilarious, I was laughing so hard I was crying when I read my son Can I Play Too?) and the Pigeon Books. My favorite growing up Chicken Soup with Rice and Pierre and a good alphabet book Alligators all Around!

Jaime on

We love the Pinkalicious books by Victoria Kann: Pinkalicious, Purplicious, Goldilicious and Silverlicious. Really cute books! I’ve recently been reading “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein to my 5yo. She loves it. And Dr. Seuss, and the Berenstain Bears, and on and on and on… 🙂

Alix on

I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought Love You Forever was creepy. I know many people who love it, but many who also find it disturbing. Just wanted to add that caveat : it’s not for everyone. But we do love another book by Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess.

As for recommendations, anything by Julia Donaldson! The Gruffalo and The Snail and the Whale are favorites at our house.

Jessica on

I would have to say the Mr. Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves are great. I’ve been reading them to my boys and they think they’re the funniest thing. Goodnight Moon is also fantastic, as are any Robert Munsch books.
I also have Disney’s Elegant Book of Manners, which puts a fun spin on things every child should learn (like the fact that you shouldn’t pick your nose!).

LP on

We have read most of all that are listed, which, of course are amazing books. One series of books that have not been mentioned that are really fun and written from a child’s perspective are the Junie B. Jones series. They are a hillarious! Also, any books by Beverly Cleary are timeless and they are great for parents to read to thier kiddos for some bonding time!

Anonymous on

I don’t think Love you Forever is creepy. It’s just sad because it makes you think of life and death by the end. It’s a tactful way to introduce the idea to a child while getting the point across of a mother’s love and it’s reciprocation throughout life till the end.

Evan on

PIXIE and TRIXIE BUG by Lauri B. Rosen, a longtime children’s bookstore owner. It is the first in a series and is the story of twin bugs, Pixie and Trixie and all their friends in the garden. It is beautiful rhyming book with gorgeous illustrations that celebrates inclusion and the uniquness in all of us. It is the story of “twinship” and friendship- from Lizzie the Ladybug, to Catrina the Caterpillar, to Deliah the Dragonfly to Wheelie the Walking Stick who uses a wheechair, the book is an absolute MUST!!

Lea on

These are our current top 3:

Wink – The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed

SuperDog: Heart of a Hero

and Punk Farm.

Kristina on

I have 8 year old twin boys who have always loved to read and most of all, be read to. We love many of the books mentioned here already. I would love to add a couple for you – The Franklin books series are great, and teach the kids so many valuable lessons, a lot like the Berenstain Bears books as well as The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn – it is such a sweet book and my kids love it.

Indira on

A chair for my mother

and Strega-nonna!

Eve Diana on

My mom started the tradition of slipping a book when we lost teeth. I still have many of them, inscribed with the date and which tooth it represented. They are all precious to me.
The phrase “a few favorites” is an oxymoron, but I’ll try:
-Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi (it’s 1 of our bathroom books; still being read)
-10 Minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann (we discover something new every time we read it)
-The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco (still makes me cry)
-The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet (anything by Bill Peet)
-Toestomper and the Caterpillars by Sharleen Collicott (classic story, mean grumpy Toestomper learns about himself from rescued caterpillars
-Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (even if you don’t read it, what a journey)
-Eloise by Kay Thompson (I always wanted to be Eloise)
-Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg (finding oneself “different” by accident)
-Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle (need I say more?)
-Our Granny by Margaret Wild (“My granny drives a truck, my granny goes on protest marches… )
AND, the most overlooked Dr. Seuss book, which I consider among his best:
-Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family by Dr. Seuss

Susan on

We LOVE Robert Munsch books. My personal favourite will always be The Paperbag Princess.

Guess How Much I Love You is also a good one. I always tell my girls that I love them to the moon and back again. :o)

Mimi on

Thanks for the great book suggestions! After reading your blog entry I ordered Ten Little Elvi, Tickle Monster, and Dinosaur vs Bedtime for my little guy … we got them today and they are all great!

Christine on

Such great books! Our favourites are: Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown (great to read before bed), An Apple to Eat or Cross the Street by Sam Q. Weissman, all the Richard Scarry books, and the Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer