B and I are both big readers (we have…4 full sized bookshelves plus Gracie’s in our home, and boxes more books in the basement…) and when I was pregnant we hoped our child loved books as much as we do. We read to Gracie from day one (although in the early foggy days, I remember having a panic attack THAT I HADN’T READ TO HER IN A FEW DAYS, TERRIBLE MOM, SHE WON’T DEVELOP PROPERLY….) and now, at 17 months, she loves books something fierce. She can easily entertain herself for up to 20 to 25 minutes “reading” her books. She has a group of select favorites she often brings to us to read outloud (Doggies, Dear Zoo, Baby Beep Beep, Is Your Mama a Llama, Sheep Share) and I’m always working on growing her collection. (Heads up, Amazon links are affiliate)
Right now she has a huge plethora of board books, so I’m trying to buy some longer stories in anticipation of growing into the books a little bit more. Some recent additions:
One by Kathryn Otoshi
My friend Meghan recommended this book to me and I love it. The actual storyline is a little over Gracie’s head right now, but she likes colors and numbers so she sits and listens. This book, with colors and numbers as the characters, is about bullying and the power of a group sticking up for someone. I know it sounds deep, but honestly, it is just a great story about feelings and being nice to others, sticking up when you see bad behavior and treating everyone with kindness. It doesn’t hurt that it is really well written. A must for any kid in today’s “modern” word where bullying might be an issue. She has a few more books that I’m ordering soon with equally good messages about acceptance, individuality and being nice.
Flora & the Flamingo by Molly Idle
This book doesn’t have any words, and although being a more grown up “hardback” it is a lift-the-flap book, so we keep this up high and get it down for parent-Gracie reading time (since it is printed on “regular” paper rather than sturdy board). It is a really neat story of a Flora, wearing a bathing costume and flippers, and the flamingo doing a little ballet. The story is easy enough to follow along – very sweet- and the pictures are gorgeous. Recommend if you have a kiddo that loves pink, ballet, or lift-the-flap books.
Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Confession: we don’t actually own this book. But I keep giving it to people for baby gifts or first birthday presents and I’m baffled as to why I haven’t also bought a copy for us yet. Happening soon! A really neat going to bed book about a train filled with animals (a tiny bit reminiscent of the train in Dumbo without circus cruelty or what not) with fantastic pictures. Gracie is really into animals and animal sounds so I think this would be a hit. I don’t think any parent can have enough books encourgaing wee ones to go to bed either.
In non-Gracie books, last year I bought my superhero obsessed nephew a Superman book aimed at the youngest superhero loving crowd. I’ve been told he wants to read it every night before bed. It gives the basic overview of the origins and story of Superman with really great illustrations. (The author has a few other books about other superheroes too). So if you have a superhero crazy kid who isn’t quite ready for the real-deal, I highly recommend Superman: The Story of the Man of Steel.
Speaking of books and gifts, growing up my Mom had a basket of Christmas books she pulled out every December. My brother and I loved reading them (Polar Express was the front runner for most years) and I would love to have the same basket for Gracie and our family. That said, if you buy all the books you want for just December in one fell swoop, you are talking about big bucks. I’ve been trying to order a book every month or so, so come December I’ll have a nice little pile to wrap up and make part of our advent calendar. In future years the books will just go in the Christmas book pile (and I don’t have to buy all the books this year) – I’m not crafy enough to re-wrap every year for a Christmas countdown ala Pinterest- but I am happy I’m collecting them for years to come. Last year we grabbed a board book version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Olivia Helps with Christmas. Last month I ordered The Christmas Wish. The pictures in it are truly gorgeous. I’ve really enjoyed this guide to helping me find some good Christmas stories. Next up I’m ordering Polar Express & Room for a Little One.
I know Christmas planning this far in advance is a little….Type A….but it is nice to have at least something checked off the list come December. Besides, throwing in a book (Christmas or otherwise) with my Amazon orders has a two fold effect: sometimes I see the price of it all together and go “eh, I don’t really need any of this” thus saving me money, and when I do throw it into the package I have a little bit of knowledge delivered to our door. I recently read the terrible statistic that less than half of America’s children under the age of 5 are read to on a daily basis and I’m determined to make sure books are a huge part of our life. No better way to foster creativity and imagination!