Radio Host Yukon Jack: 12 Great Kids’ Books to Read Together

Yukon Jack is a radio host on 100.3 FM The Bear. He’s also the father of two boys and host of Daddy Boot Camp at the Edmonton Public Library.

It's never too early to start reading to your kids. A book called Bear Snores On first clued me into that. Long before my son Mac knew what the book was about, he was enjoying it. 

Mac's four and a half years old now and cannot get enough of dinosaurs. His current favourite read is National Geographic Angry Birds. It has so much advanced information to learn, but in small digestible doses. And it has Angry Birds and all the fun they bring.

My two-and-a-half-year-old son Jones is really into information-based books too, but he loves ones about machines and heavy equipment. 

Some on the books on this list are my faves. Some of them are my sons’ favorites. Some are great for learning and some are just silly fun. They're all best enjoyed together.

I'll warn you: if you were to ask me next week, I'd bet that this list has already changed as we're constantly reading new books and are always finding new material that we love­—there's so much quality children's literature out there!

1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good,
Very Bad Day

Hands-down, without a doubt my favourite book—not just children's book—of all time.

My grade two librarian, Mr. McGregor, first read this to me and it's been my staple to read to kids at READ IN Week for the past 15 years.

2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

My friend, Sandra Woitas, put me on to the works of Eric Carle.

Sometimes it's the artwork in children's lit that makes the difference. Carle's books could hang in a museum.

3. A Promise is a Promise

We’ve been big fans of Robert Munsch since pretty much day one. We even listen to his books on CD when driving. Mac calls them “car stories.”

Boo, A Promise is a Promise and More Pies are his tops.

4. The Story of Ferdinand

This one is about a bull that would rather smell flowers than fight. It's another one that resonated with me as a child.

"I'm free to make my own decisions and always stop and smell the flowers." Sound life advice if I ever heard any.

5. I Love You, Stinky Face

This is one of the first books I read to my son, Mac.

It’s a beautiful, reassuring book about a mother's unwavering love for her son, no matter what... even if he were a one-eyed monster or a great big skunk.

6. Where's Waldo? 

Mac’s really into search books, which at first you may think have a pretty short shelf life, but can be easily reinvented with a game of "I spy..."

There's more than just Waldo to look for.

7. Guess How Much I Love You

This is another one of the first books I read to my son. In it, Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare try to one up each other about who loves the other more.

As parents, we know there's no love greater than that of a parent to a child. Big Nutbrown Hare gets his point across in the end.

8. Darth Vader and Son

This one sticks out because it was given as a gift from a friend with a note written inside. I think all books given as a gift should have a note from the giver.

It's a simple, comic-per-page book about Darth Vader and a young Luke Skywalker. It's wonderfully awkward and a must-read for any Star Wars nerd trying to educate their young Jedi on the classics.

9. The Gruffalo

When it comes to narrative stories, Mac loves books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. We started with The Gruffalo and have moved onto the rest.

10. Moo, Baa, La La La!

Moo, Baa, La La La! is a great poem that is lots of fun to follow along and sing along to. It's a great book that your little one can get involved with.

We're big fans of Sandra Boynton in my house.

11. Llama, Llama, Red Pajama

This is a fun one for dad to show off his reading-out-loud skills. It’s a tongue twisting challenge about a young, lonely llama who misses his mamma. You can see where it goes from there.

It always gets a laugh.

12. To Market, To Market 

This book is another special one that was given as a gift and, because the gift-giver looks like the main character in the book, I will never forget where it came from.

It’s a clever poem about a woman's kitchen and her creative solutions. My son likes it because the lady has a duck on her head. Sometimes it's the little things.

Get Seriously Silly with Your Kids at Daddy Boot Camp

Whether reading stories or playing games, it’s important for dads to engage with their kids. That’s why Yukon Jack hosts Daddy Boot Camp, an Edmonton Public Library program that gives dads a chance to get seriously silly with their kids.

“Daddy Boot Camp has shown me what an incredible place the Edmonton Public Library is for dads and their kids to spend time together,” Yukon Jack explains. “The wealth of resources makes it impossible not to find something they’re both interested in, can learn about together and connect over.”

Learn about storytelling, sing karaoke, get some Jedi training and have a blast with your children every Saturday this fall. Enjoy a different fun theme every week!

Daddy Boot Camp Details

Saturdays at 11 a.m. from September 9 to 30 at Whitemud Crossing.

Saturdays at 11 a.m. from October 28 to November 25 at Mill Woods.

Learn More

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Edmonton Public Library