Imagine you are snuggled on the couch with your little one, fully\u00a0immersed in their favorite\u00a0book. You might be\u00a0wondering: What\u00a0can\u00a0you\u00a0do now to capture the magic and spark a lifelong love of reading? Educators believe it\u2019s important to select books that spur a child\u2019s imagination and help teach important life lessons. \u201cBooks can be the perfect way to launch conversations with your child in ways that help them feel safe and secure,\u201d\u00a0says\u00a0Susan Michal, preschool director at\u00a0The Children\u2019s Museum of Indianapolis. \u201cExplain how we all fail sometimes and that the characters in the book never give up. \u201cBooks can also supplement conversations on how to handle our feelings\u00a0and emotions when navigating\u00a0social situations,\u201d Michal continues.\u00a0\u201cSeeing Mo Willems characters\u00a0handle their situations\u00a0allows our children to see that they are not alone,\u00a0and\u00a0that\u00a0others go through similar challenges.\u201d\u00a0 Consider these\u00a0questions\u00a0when looking for books that can help inspire children to begin reading, improve their reading, and\u00a0nurture a desire to read more.\u00a0 \tHow does the book connect with real-life situations? Growing up is tough. Books can help children understand and articulate new emotions and experiences as parents help them navigate the challenges that come with growing up.\u202f \tDoes the book describe healthy friendships?\u00a0How does it tackle feelings and social situations that all children experience? \tCan you read the book\u00a0over and over again? Educators stress that repetition is key to instilling a love of reading. \tAre the words simple enough for little ones to understand?\u00a0Depending on the age of your child, ask them what letters are in a certain word.\u00a0For example, point out how C-A-T spells cat. While words are important, so are pictures.\u00a0Pictures\u00a0help bring stories to life and can serve as inspiration for children to create their own art. Simple drawings make it easier for younger children to replicate and therefore find another outlet for their creativity. One series of books checks most of these boxes. Celebrated author Mo Willems has created a whimsical world full of humor that children love to visit through his picture books. A cast of lovable characters include best friend duo Elephant Gerald and\u00a0Piggie, faithful companion\u00a0Knuffle\u00a0Bunny\u00a0and The Pigeon, the wily city bird best known for his antics in Don\u2019t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!\u202f\u00a0 \u201cThese picture books navigate real-world experiences that can appear to be complex,\u00a0and explains them in easy-to-understand ways,\u201d Michal\u00a0says. \u201cThe challenges of growing up, like\u00a0learning to make yourself understood or figuring out what it means to be a good friend, are gentle themes throughout his stories.\u201d\u00a0 You can explore this memorable world in\u00a0The Pigeon and Pals! A Mo Willems Art and Play Exhibit\u00a0at The Children\u2019s Museum of Indianapolis, February 8 - May 10. From launching foam\u00a0hotdogs at The Pigeon to uncovering\u00a0Knuffle\u00a0Bunny in the laundromat, this immersive exhibit encourages hours of play. Throughout the space, you\u2019ll find spots where you can sit together and read Willems\u2019 award-winning picture books together.\u00a0 Educators say Willems\u2019\u00a0books contain many of the elements that serve as great\u00a0tools to help children love\u00a0reading. And by visiting an exhibit inspired by his books, grownups can help spark this\u00a0lifelong love of reading. Brought to you by The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.