Our Favorite Children’s Books: Inside WITS

Ana PortaBooks, Inside WITS

Favorite Children’s Books

What were your favorite children’s books? For many of us, these stories hold unique meaning because someone special in our lives read it to us, or maybe we read them so many times that the binding fell apart. In some of the best cases, these books brought us to fantastic new places in our imaginations! We treasure these memories and carry them in a special place in our hearts.

At WITS, our staff has one major thing in common – we all love to read! We recommend books to one another, talk about books we are reading simultaneously, and program staff are always suggesting titles to bring to our students. As adults, we all have a greatest hits list of children’s books. Read on to see how Team WITS’ favorites have evolved from childhood to the present day!

Kristen Strobbe, Chief Program Officer

“My favorite book when I was kid was A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester. Fluffy is a porcupine but he is definitely not fluffy. Sweet Fluffy has a hard time accepting that he is not fluffy and tries everything he can think of to become fluffy – including trying to be a cloud and eating lots of marshmallows. This all changes when Fluffy meets a friend who helps him embrace who he is and realize that he is so much more than his name. I made my Dad read this to me every night. Fluffy, even though he’s not fluffy, is such an endearing and relatable character. This story showed me how a new friend can change how you see yourself for the better.”

“One of my favorite children’s books now is Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems. I love this book so much because it resonates with me as an adult. I love ice cream and would struggle to share as well! I think it’s also a great lesson in trusting your gut and your feelings. Gerald’s first thought is to share and to want Piggy to have the same delicious experience. But Gerald starts to overthink and second-guess his decision leading to some sad melted ice cream. Piggy is there to save the day, though!”

Delaney Earley, Program Coordinator

“My favorite books growing up belonged to the Arthur series by Marc Brown – I loved reading them out loud with my parents and then comparing the stories to their counterpart episodes on TV!”

“My favorite children’s book now is Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker. I am a huge fan of superheroes and I love how this book discusses how to recognize your emotions and respond to various circumstances in ways that are healthy and appropriate. It also has terrific illustrations!”

Annie Kennedy, Community Manager

“My favorite book when I was younger was Annie’s Pet by Barbara Brenner. Annie has five whole birthday dollars to buy a pet, but she needs to get supplies for it first. When she reaches the pet store, she has no money left. Ack! What will she do?! Pick up a copy to find out!”

“One of my favorite children’s book now is Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski. Woolbur is different than other sheep, and all his parents want him to do is fit in. Instead of changing, though, he embraces who he is. Woolbur is a beautiful book for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t quite fit in.”

Ashley Bloom, Chief Development Officer

“My favorite book when I was a kid was The Polar Express  by Chris Van Allsburg. This was one of my favorite books to listen to! I loved it so much because my mom would put it under the Christmas tree with a bell. It was a special time of year, so the theme of ‘magic in Christmas’ resonated with me as a kid.”

“My favorite children’s book now is A is for Awesome! by Eva Chen. Reading this to my 1.5 year-old brings her so much joy! She loves when I read it to her, and this alphabet board book depicting feminist icons is something I can get into as an adult too!”

Ana Porta, Program Coordinator

“My favorite book when I was a kid was Thea the Yellow Tomato by Stephanie Brown. This was one of the first books I read all on my own, and I love how the story’s theme is about celebrating what makes us unique!”

“One of my favorite children’s books now is Throw Your Tooth on the Roof by Selby Beeler. I love how this book gives information about tooth traditions from all over the world. It gets great conversations going about cultural similarities and differences, and I love how it is a nonfiction book with creative illustrations!”

Sara Martinez, Program Coordinator

“My favorite book when I was younger was Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola. I remember my grandma reading it to my sisters and I on our weekly visits to her house. Also, it involves magical never-ending pasta which I desperately wished would actually happen to me whenever we read it.”

“My favorite children’s book to read now is Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. I love how this playful book celebrates individuality and reminds us to all let loose sometimes.”

Elizabeth Kristoff, Grants and Foundation Relations Manager

“I first fell in love with historical fiction with the American Doll series – specifically the Felicity books. Not only did I learn about the Revolutionary War, but I learned how books can transport you to another place. I imagined myself cooking in a colonial kitchen, riding horses, and reading books by candlelight. To this day, I enjoy getting wrapped up in the many worlds books offer.”

“My favorite children’s book now is Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming, which is one of my son’s favorite books to hear during mealtime. We love acting out the different ways the bunnies sneak into Mr. McGreely’s garden, naming vegetables, and learning the importance of sharing.”

Jesse Altman, Program Coordinator

“At some point when I was a kid, Harold and the Purple Crayon was my favorite book. I loved how imaginative it was and how Harold had to be creative to solve his problems and create his dream world.”

“One of my favorite children’s books now is The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. I appreciate how this book shows kids that anyone can be an artist and that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I think it does a great job of encouraging us to see the Picasso (or any other famous artist) in us all.”