My daughters love books! Some books they have read with us so many times, they can recite them perfectly. Some books they love so much we have borrowed them from the library a dozen times. Some books were their favorites as a toddler, and once in a while they pull them out again, like a snuggly lovey they forgot about.As for the books they don’t have memorized? They may not know the story very well, but they will make up their own, and pretend to read it. I love it when they do this! The girls will walk around the house with an open book, just chatting, chatting, chatting away. They bring books into the grocery store, to a restaurant, and always with them in the car. They make up full stories to go with the pictures, and very often they do it side-by-side. It’s my favorite thing that they do.I’m happy my girls love books so much. Although my oldest (age 6) is learning to read, she still likes for Mom or Dad to read to her. She asks questions throughout the story, and now my youngest (3) has begun to do that as well.
There are so many reasons to read with your child. It fosters the development of their verbal skills, engages their imagination, it’s sweet bonding time, and above all else, it’s just plain fun! Admittedly, there are some books I find ridiculous and wish I could remove from the house, but if my daughter is engaged by it…that’s what matters.
So what are our favorite books so far? I am eager to recommend the following:
This one I discovered at the library, and after checking it out 3 times, I finally purchased a copy. It is a creative story about a baby counting sheep to go to sleep. 10 sheep, that is. Hence, it is a learning-to-count book, but also just a sweet rhyme with adorable illustrations. It is intended for toddler-preschoolers, but I think it also serves well as an early reader.
Last summer I was in search of books about going to Kindergarten. There are many cute ones out there, but this is definitely our favorite one. It rhymes, and shares the most familiar things about getting ready for the first day of school. Packing lunch, choosing clothes, driving to the school, etc. Very entertaining for parents, as well as your new Kinder student. I also bought a copy for our Kindergarten teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week, and wrote her a personal note on the inside.
This children’s book is my all-time favorite at the moment! How to Be a Baby, by Me the Big Sister. It’s geared toward school-age kids (maybe 6-8), but I actually bought a copy for my 30-something year old sister last year since she is a big sister! Although it’s intended for children, there are subtle details in the illustrations and narration that aims to impress we parents as well. Young girls who are new big sisters (or soon-to-be) will love it. Favorite quote from this book (it’s narrated by the big sister, who is teaching the baby): “When you’re a baby you don’t read books. You eat them. You don’t know how old you are, or even if you’re a boy or a girl. And you have to keep a special plug in your mouth to stop your scream from coming out.”
Are You My Mother, by Dr. Seuss
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Fancy Nancy, by Jane O’Connor (we like the whole series of Fancy books, but the first book that introduces her is by far our favorite one).
Here is a fantastic website which lists the 100 most popular children’s books of all time, as well as a the top 100 chapter books (we haven’t started chapter books, yet, but I think we’re almost ready).
THE LIBRARY: So where are the best places to acquire new books, without overspending at a fancy bookstore? Well, first I recommend visiting your library on a regular basis. Membership is free, it’s fun for the kids, and there’s no limit to how many books you can take home! My girls usually run straight for the books they already know and love, such as Strawberry Shortcake or the Princess book section. Meanwhile, I peruse all the aisles in search of fun, new finds, such as a few of those I mentioned earlier. We have had mostly success, but a few duds as well that no one was interested in. If I don’t try to introduce new books to the kids, they will always choose the same series over and over. My library allows you to renew your checkouts after 2 weeks (via their website), and then again a second time if no one is waiting for the book. So we often get to keep our favorite books for 6 weeks, if we really are enjoying them. Usually we are visiting the library more often than that, and we’re ready for something new.
PURCHASING: For purchasing books, I am a big fan of Amazon.com and Half.com. Amazon offers both new and used books, and if you’re buying several, you may find that you’re eligible for free shipping. Half.com is ebay’s bookstore, and they are all used books, sold mostly by bookstores around the country. In most cases, there are “like new” or “excellent” copies available, and significantly cheaper than a bookstore. You will have to pay a few bucks for shipping, however, so depending on the base price, in some cases it might be the same as running to the bookstore. If you have a Half-Price Books in your area, head there. Great prices, great Children’s book section. Many of them are brand new.
What are your kids’ favorite books? What were your favorites as a child?