- Courtesy of Tony Robbins
Reading to your kids does far more for them than simply keep them occupied.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, reading aloud to your children and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development, and parent-child relationships.
What’s more, a study conducted this year by a number of pediatricians shows children with more home-reading exposure have greater activity in the parts of the brain that help with mental imagery and narrative comprehension.
So what are the best books to read to your kids?
As part of their Storybook Project, NPR asked a number of authors, actors, politicians, philanthropists, scientists, and musicians to reveal their five all-time favorite books they’ve read to their children. It’s a great resource for parents hoping to prime their kids for success, as well as adults who want to revisit the lessons of their childhood.
Author, motivational speaker, and executive coach Tony Robbins shares not five, but six of his favorite children’s books. The father of four says author Shel Silverstein had a profound effect on him.
For more favorite books, head to NPR’s ongoing Storybook Project.
Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”
- Harper & Row
“The secret to living is giving,” Robbins tells NPR. “No one so purely evokes emotions of the heart and soul as giving, receiving, rejection, expectation, love, and sorrow like Shel Silverstein.”
Marcus Pfister’s “The Rainbow Fish”
- North-South Books
“Another similar tale about conscience, respect, and true beauty is ‘The Rainbow Fish,’ which is a little more like the kid’s version of Shallow Hal,” Robbins tells NPR.
Marcia Brown’s “Stone Soup”
Robbins tells NPR this classic folktale proves that our problem is never about lack of resources, but rather our lack of resourcefulness.
“In this one, the clever French soldiers get creative and drive keenly toward the outcome; I’ve always told people that the key ingredient to success is hunger!”
Jon Stone’s “The Monster at the End of this Book”
- Golden Books
“Just thinking about this one still makes me laugh,” Robbins tells NPR.
“Everything I teach about breakthroughs, overcoming our deepest fears, anxiety, and owning your identity starts right here … with braving each hysterical page of Grover the most lovable, furry, Muppet on Sesame Street,” he says.
Patrice Karst’s “The Invisible String”
- Devorss & Co.
Robbins tells NPR this book is “a beautiful way to begin to try, as parents, to instill in children the impenetrable power of the heart, the energy of love, and the flow that can be felt from the grace in every moment.”
Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”
- Square Fish
Anyone who has ever wondered about the real story of their parents will love this book, Robbins tells NPR.
“It’s a must-read for those magically awkward adolescent years when curiosity and confusion calls into question the strength of our family ties,” he says.