…A bookshelf full of age appropriate books for all members of the household.
This one takes a bit of background so please bear with me! I am an only child. I read and read and read all throughout my childhood. Books were my escape from hours of endless boredom. I always told people that I would have a dozen or so children so that no one would ever be bored at my house. Fast forward to my present situation: stay-at-home mom of two children. I’m trying to figure out the whole sibling relationship thing right along side my daughters.
Whenever there are squabbles that don’t die down or when the girls are so emotionally charged, my coping skill is to scoop them up and read them a book. Books have become a neutral ground for us. The girls always come together over a book. I can read them a book, sometimes two, and they are ready to play together again. When my mom was here, she used the same coping skill! It cracked me up to hear her over crying girls, “Come here and I’ll read you a book.” And it works like a charm.
The benefits of early exposure to books is astounding to me. Literature is such a powerful way for parents to connect with children, for children to connect with each other and for families to come together. To help each family secure the benefits of literacy and reading habits, I’d like to see each family have a bookshelf in their home full of books just right for the ages of all members of the family.
My Book Picks By Age
Five Little Ducks illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
We love this book because it takes the familiar song and changed up each of the verses so ti’s not so redundant. My favorite is the ending because the mother duck goes out to look for her ducklings and they all come back to her. Sometimes when we sing the song we sing this ending instead of the daddy duck version. Makes me feel better 🙂 I love Dan Yaccarino’s illustrations and have enjoyed any book I’ve seen illustrated by him.
Love and Kisses by Sarah Wilson, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
We love this book. We bought it from the library a couple of years ago and the girls have read it completely to pieces. I’m actually buying it again because we’ve enjoyed it so much. It’s all about the circle of giving love and how that love always comes back around to you. It has cute illustrations and lots of animals. We practice our animal sounds as we read it so it’s interactive. Elli is currently enthralled with the little frog and stops on that page every time we read it!
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
This is such a cute bedtime book. The gorilla has so much personality and the ending is adorable. We love the zoo so this book is a great way to remember and revisit the zoo as often as we like. For the longest time, Sammi said “granilla” instead of “gorilla.” I tried to explain it to her, but she was determined she was saying it correctly. It was pretty cute and we got lots of great smiles whenever she told people how much she liked the granillas at the zoo.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maruice Sendak
This book took us a little bit to fall in love with. But once Sammi let me read it all the way through, she was hooked. My favorite part is when Max is lonely and wants to go where someone loves him best of all. I asked Sammi who would love Max best of all and she shouted, “His Mommy!” We include that in every reading now. I just love the imagery of Sendak’s language because it is beautiful but still accessible to little ones. We also loved the movie. Sammi wasn’t scared at all. In fact, it helped her resolve some of her own fears and emotional outbursts. I think it’s just about time to see it again!
Ages: Elementary School
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
Sammi and I read this book when she was two. I read it to her every morning at breakfast. It took us a few months to finish, but she stuck with it. She really enjoyed what she got out of it. We saw a real baby white pig, just like Wilbur and that was very exciting to her. I remember reading this book with my mom when I was in elementary school and just loved it, too. It’s a great read-aloud book as well as an individual read.
Ages: Junior High/Middle School
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
This book was a Newberry Award honor book in 2008. I really enjoyed the flow of the book as well as the storyline. It covers a lot of issues experienced by junior high/middle school students with humor and depth. It’s the story of a boy and his journey of self-discovery. I think it appeals to boys because of the main character and his boyish interests, but it’s well written and would still be a good read for a girl.
Ages High School
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
I love Robin McKinley’s ability to retell classic stories. She is an amazing storyteller and can weave the very essence of the characters, plot, twists and triumphs into the pages the book is printed on. I never fail to lose myself in one of her books. My all time favorite is Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. But I chose The Outlaws of Sherwood because it has such appeal to both males and females. It’s a fun retelling of the Robin Hood story. She gives the characters so much background and depth that it’s impossible not to feel their experiences right along with them. I read this book and Beauty again every couple of years and enjoy them all over again each time.
For Grown Ups
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
This book is an inspiration for reading with your family. Aside from outlining the benefits of reading aloud, he gives great examples of how to make it work for different ages and different situations. I love that he encourages all people, whatever their level to start today to read with their family members. I had a cool experience with this idea one day at the library. There was a mom sitting on the floor with her two children, one of whom was on her lap. She was reading them a book. She was stumbling over some of the words and I could tell she was out of her comfort zone to be reading aloud to her little ones, especially in public. But, her children were so engrossed in what she was reading, it didn’t even matter. It was obvious they loved listening to their mom read out loud to them. As parents, we have a connection with our children that enables us to step outside our comfort zones and do things with and for our little ones because they have no judgment. They are 100% accepting and embracing. I so appreciate that!
So that’s my list! The books I’d love to see every family be able to own and a bookshelf to put them on. Sorry it was so long. I hope you made it this far 🙂 This post is part of Adventure Mom Janna’s Feed Me Books Friday. Check out the other books moms are sharing.
Thanks for this list – these books are some of our favorites too! We are avid readers at our house – when somebody wants to get a gift for the kids, we suggest books instead of toys, as they are much more likely to be “played” with! I’m always on the lookout for new books to add to our library!
I cannot agree with you more on how reading a book is a solution to behavior problems (when Toby gets upset, we read to him, too!). It always amazes me how much progress he has made (he’s practically reading now!). And whenever he wants to spend time with me, he brings me a stack of books to read to him. It’s worth it to take the time to sit and read them to him, even if it’s not a convenient time.
A couple of notes: a bookshelf full of books can be exceptionally expensive. To do things on the cheap, public libraries are indispensable! You’re paying for them already, anyway, might as well make good use of them!
Another good way to get access to lots of good books on the cheap, though perhaps not appropriate for children below the age of 10 or so is this:
There are various versions and various companies that make these devices (in our tech age!). You can check out ebooks to download to these devices from your local library. (based on this, I would advocate for a national public library, but this is neither the place nor the time). Want to buy a book? You can get the titles less expensively than a printed book…typically $10 for just about any book. Except for the hundreds of thousands of public domain books (think: classics)…they’re free.
Does the reader seem a bit pricey? Perhaps, it may take some time for it to “pay for itself”. Here’s a cheap solution: clubbing.com currently has one of these suckers as a prize for playing games (42,450 tickets). At 1,000 tickets per day, you can “earn” one of these in six weeks.
I won’t talk about what happens if it breaks and you have to replace it. But how about having a bookcase full (or perhaps several) right in your book bag…with the size and weight of a single paperback?!!
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I agree completely. Toys and music/musical instruments can be improvised, but good books are irreplaceable.
We love books in our house too. Not only is it important to have age appropriate books in the house for your kiddos, but it’s important for your kiddos to see you reading as well. My husband and I are both avid readers and we have books in every room of the house.
My wish for every house is to have less plastic toys and more natural toys. The best natural toy out there is a book!
What a great post! I couldn’t agree more about the importance of books and reading, and your age-appropriate recommendations are fantastic.
I, too, would love to see a bookshelf (bookcases, even!) of books in every home. Rather than post our favorite books here in my comment, I’ll invite you over to our blog at http://blog.refrigeratorartist.com to check them out!
So glad I found you through Feed Me Books Friday. I’m now subscribing to your feed, so I will definitely be back!
-Jennifer, from RefrigeratorArtist.com
I think every home should include a copy of an illustrated mother goose book. We featured Love and Kisses last week on our Feed me books Friday post. You have several great books listed here.
@ Maryanne: Well said. Good book are irreplaceable!
@Heidi: I totally agree that it’s important they see us reading too. I usually do my reading after they are in bed or when I’m at the gym alone. But since I’ve taken to reading in the bathroom, they see that a lot more often, he he he!
@Janelle: I love Mother Goose books. We actually have several and I love them all.
@Greg: Digital readers are an ultra convenient way to keep books on hand. I use my iPhone for reading my scriptures when the kids are playing at the park and such. I also load all their favorite songs on it to entertain them when we wait places.
@Ashley: That’s a great way to describe it, that the books’ll be more played with.
Beth @ In Good Cents says
We have a bookshelf in every kids’ room and our own! It’s crazy, but we are a bit addicted to books here. Wonderful post and it was wonderful meeting you at Blissdom. Very cute blog!
Adventure Mom Janna says
Thanks for linking up. I share your passion and sentiment.
Jim Trelease’s book really fueled the desire and love for reading to children that was already in me. Although I think a mom might find it a bit strange at first it would make a great baby shower gift!
I hope you get to see more of you on Feed Me Books Fridays!