Best Kids books

Parents magazine rounds of the best children's books of 2014 in their Dcember issuProvided

As study after study has shown, reading to your kids has benefits that extend past childhood and into the adult years. (Click here for five reasons why you should read to your infant.) Besides contributing to brain development and increasing vocabulary, books are also teaching tools when it comes to sharing, potty training and making friends, to name just a few. But with thousands of children's books being published each year, it can be tough to know which ones are truly worth buying. Parents magazine enlisted librarians, families and their editors to narrow it down to 10. Here, we share five of their picks. (Click here to see the full list or check it out in the magazine's new, December issue.)

1. "Have You Seen My Dragon?" by Steve Light
This book makes learning to count interactive by incorporating a game of hide-and-seek into the pages. Some counting books lack a strong narrative, but not this one. Counting is incorporated into the story when a little boy loses his dragon and must count up to 20 lanterns while searching for him all over the city. Visually, the book's basic colored pencil drawings help set it apart. $11.39, Barnes and Noble

2. "I'm My Own Dog" by David Ezra Stein
The tables are turned in this comical picture book, in which a bulldog teaches its owners how to sit and throw. Told from the dog's point of view, this pooch does whatever he wants and ends up adopting a human, who despite all the work of training and cleaning up after, is worth keeping as a "pet." Kids and adults can appreciate this playful story. $9.65, Amazon

3. "The Mitten: A Classic Pop-Up Folktale" by Jessica Southwick, Pippa Cornick and Yevgeniya Yereyskaya
The beautiful visuals, both in the form of pop-ups and colorful illustrations, make this book a winner - and a great holiday gift if you are currently hunting for one. In the book, a bevy of woodland creatures find a little boy's lost mitten. The pull-outs with their wheels and other actionable traits give your little one something to do as you recount this old Ukrainian folktale. $14.36, Amazon


4. "Space Taxi" by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer, illustrated by Elise Gravel
The newest chapter book series for children ages five to eight is about an 8-year-old named Archie who learns that his taxi-cab driving dad has a secret. He's no ordinary cab driver. In reality, he shuttles aliens around the universe. Each book is a new adventure with plenty of real facts about the solar system snuck in. $5.49, Barnes & Noble

5. "A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd
Being a kid should be a magical time and author Natalie Lloyd really lets readers' imaginations go wild with this chapter book for kids ages eight and older. In it, a 12-year-old named Felicity moves to a town that has lost its magic and is now living under a curse. Felicity is a "word collector," who sees words everywhere, and in her new town, she encounters the word "home" for the first time. A bonus to the story being entertaining: your pre-teen will learn loads of new words. There are also extra activities related to the book at $10.74, Amazon

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