I did not realize how powerful books are in helping children move more until I saw my very own son copying the poses in his book I Can by Helen Oxenbury.
From then on, I’ve enjoyed scouting for books that encourage a lot of movement for children, and my son really enjoys them, so I’m sharing here our favorites!
First things first: we buy international books either from www.BookDepository.com or local bookstores (if they are available), or through Amazon when we have a box to be shipped here. There is NO NEED to buy from online bookstores on Instagram if you don’t have access to Amazon — you can buy directly from Book Depository! They have free shipping WORLDWIDE, so you can source from them directly.
I want to be completely honest and say that I am starting to feel really off about how we keep sharing all these things (like book finds, materials, etc) for parents who would appreciate the help, but the downside of online today is there will also always be people who will wait for these things only for their own profit. We share valuable finds without charging people, yet these people would just keep waiting for the free advice, buy whatever is recommended (and worse, hoard), and sell at much more premium to fellow parents. It’s one thing to make your own discoveries and earn from them, and another to literally make profit from others’ discoveries.
So I encourage you to just go direct, or through authorized resellers. Also, you can call our local bookstores. IF they have the titles we are looking for (and not on special request), they usually come out cheaper than rates in the US. For example, we got The Story Orchestra from Power Books for only PHP 600++, while it retails for more than USD 20 in the US [EDIT: They’ve increased their local price. It’s now being sold triple the price!]. Our local bookstores’ bulk orders plus our tax laws on books might be the one making it possible to sell books cheaper here.
For the Filipino books, you may shop from the websites of the publishers, from our local bookstores, or from Pumple Pie (if you want an online store that carries many different publishers and sells books for the same price).
So anyway, thank you for reading that bit. I would also appreciate what you think about it.
Now, moving on to our recommendations!
1. GOOD MORNING YOGA and GOOD NIGHT YOGA by Mariam Gates – definitely a favorite here in our home! Our son loves doing the poses, and I love how you can read the short sing-song type of words for toddlers like my son, but give longer, more in-depth descriptions for older children. There are other yoga books or yoga pose cards for children that may be worth checking out.
As I breathe in, as I breathe out,
My arms reach out to the sides,
Lift up to the sky,
And then relax back down.
My first breath is long and deep.
2. FROM HEAD TO TOE by Eric Carle – probably my favorite Eric Carle book! This is available in our local bookstores (I see many of these from Fully Booked). Lovely illustrations, and simple words that children love!
I am a penguin, and I turn my head.
Can you do it?
3. MY HANDS CAN by Jean Holzenthaler – our toddler loves this one, but it’s not that easy to find anymore. I hardly found an image on google. It starts by showing one’s left hand and right hand. And then it simply describes what hands can do: my hands can button buttons, zip zippers, hold a brush or comb, etc. And then it moves to My hands can even say things like STOP. Wonderful words and illustrations, and I think my son feels empowered whenever he reads this book. It’s also where he learned about left and right, and sometimes, I would just catch him looking at his hands and saying “left hand. right hand.”. I found it from a second-hand bookstore, that’s where you’ll have your best chances of finding one. A similar book that is more likely accessible would be Hands Are Not For Hitting by Martine Agassi. My son also likes this one.
4. I CAN by Helen Oxenbury – beautiful illustrations, lovely book size for traveling anywhere, and very easy-to-follow, everyday life actions (I can crawl. I can dance. I can jump.) by toddlers. This will most probably be a hit for your toddler, too. I think our local bookstores are now carrying this. You might also find this from second-hand bookstores.
5. SONG BOOKS – If You’re Happy and You Know It is a hit for our toddler. You may also try Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Or even Wheels On The Bus. You’ll find a lot of these from second-hand bookstores like Booksale and Books For Less.
6. SILLY SUZY GOOSE by Petr Horáček – Another second-hand bookstore find with actions like swim, run, jump, stretch, slide. Lovely illustrations and cute story!
7. HUG by Jez Alborough – Not much actions here, no words, too, except for HUG. So lots of opportunities for your own storytelling. Cute illustrations of jungle animals. Lots of hugging in the books by different species. And we love this because my son loves hugging me whenever he sees it in books. Win-win for us mommies! Haha. Second-hand bookstore find.
8. KUMILOS TAYO ATE and KUMILOS TAYO KUYA (two separate books) by Ompong Remigio – Ngumanga, ibuka, sumilong, tumakbo, lumukso, etc – lots of lovely Filipino words here. Highly recommended.
9. TAKBO, MGA PANDIWA by Auri Ascunsion Yambao – sipsip, hilik, palakpak, dulas, pukpok, kuskos, etc – also lovely Filipinos words here with lovely illustrations. Also highly recommended.
10. MAGHAPON NAMIN NI NANAY by Genaro Gojo Cruz – such a beautiful storytelling of a mother and child, and a touch of Filipino culture. This book not only has lovely illustrations, story, and words for your child, but it might easily transport you back to your own childhood, too. Dilig, dilig. Walis, walis. Tahip, tahip. Ligo, ligo. Hele, hele. Kain, kain. Duyan, duyan. Yakap, yakap. Just some words for you and your toddler.
11. AY NAKU! by Reni Roxas – I don’t like the title, because it often has a negative connotation, although I understand — it’s such a Filipino phrase. But go beyond the title (I actually change it to SI PABLO when I read it to me son) and you’ll be treated with beautiful illustration and lots of opportunities for storytelling! Bangon, bihis, takbo, tago, ligpit are just some of the words you child can learn here.
12. KARA AT PLAY by Lara Saguisag- This one’s a bonus. We have not read this to Pablo. I have only read it for myself, haven’t even bought it yet. Haha. But there are lots of opportunities for actions here as the main character Kara loves to play! The text is in English, FYI.
That’s it for our list. Would love to hear yours, too. 🙂