For some fun books to read aloud try children's poetry as a way to introduce children to new words. It also makes a nice change of pace from picture books. Edward Lear's Complete Book of Nonsense features poems like "Calico Pie" and "The Jumblies." When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne, author of Winnie The Pooh, feature some of the best poetry written for children. Some of these great poems are "King John's Christmas", "Disobedience" "Busy" and "Us Two". Jack Prelutsky also writes some wonderful books of poetry for children. His poems are good short pieces for kids who are just learning how to read.
Good picture books to try are A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams, which has bold, bright colors, and When the Sun Rose by Barbara Helen Berger with softer, glowing paintings. The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley features pictures that are lively and detailed, with much of the story being discernible only through the pictures. Under the Greenwood Tree: Shakespeare for Young People by Pat and Robin DeWitt has short excerpts from Shakespeare, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. To Everything There Is a Season by Leo and Diane Dillon is a book featuring the verse from Ecclesiastes, with different styles of art on each page. The Girl in the Castle Inside The Museum by Kate Bernheimer is a great fairy tale story with unusual pictures.
For children's books to touch your heart try Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak, or Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, a book that inspires me to this day with it's seemingly simple task: do something to make the world more beautiful. The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein about a little boy who loves to fly kites gives a soul a second chance to do just that.
Other great books feature a Southwestern theme. Susan Lowell's The Three Little Javelinas, and The Bootmaker and the Elves give an imaginative and colorful twist on classic children's bedtime stories. Another wonderful and inspiring author is Byrd Baylor who lived in Arizona for years and wrote stories that were inspired by the Southwestern desert. Most feature beautiful drawings by Peter Parnall. Two Baylor/Parnall favorites are The Way to Start a Day, and The Desert is Theirs, a book to make you proud to live in the desert.
Children's books are fun to browse through and find your personal favorites. Let yourself get distracted by the pictures, by the words used again and again, by the end that comes too soon. And then, pick it up and read it again!