Infant Book Pick & Tip
Book: The Usborne Book Series called, “That’s Not My….“ were books that my little girls loved when they were infants. The simplicity, fun illustrations, bright colors, bouncy, fun text and texture in the fabric on the pages captivated them! I love giving these books as baby shower gifts and love how they help promote reading with your kids from Day #1.
Tip: As soon as you can, start helping your baby learn that reading with her parents is a loving, beautiful, relaxing bonding time. You don’t have to stick with books that have “feels” or “flaps” to them. I would even read long Dr. Suess books to them and long books of poetry. That helped them learn to sit for a long time and just listen to our soft voice reading to them for a while.
Toddler Book Pick & Tip
Book: As you know, there are thousands of ABC books out there. ABC, by Alison Jay is one of our favorites. The pictures are beautiful. Each picture that goes along with a letter even has a story on its own…if you look closely. Alison Jay is famous as a children’s book illustrator but this book is one of the few for which she was both the author and illustrator. It is a great book to help you start teaching your child their ABCs!
Tip: To find a new set of books you will like, start paying attention to the illustrator of your children’s books. You may find an illustrator’s style you love. Then, look up books with their name. Most of the time a wonderful illustrator is paired with a wonderful author. By doing this, you can find a whole new set of authors you enjoy just from one illustrator!
Preschool Book Pick & Tip
Book: The Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers. Oliver Jeffers is one our favorite artists. He is an author AND artist in Ireland and has the most unique, fun children’s books that really talk to…well children! I often feel that authors don’t connect with the kids, Oliver Jeffers does such a superb job at getting that connection. These books are very unique and appeal to both genders. The Paper Caper teaches kids about the importance of not wasting materials and actually taking accountability for the harm we do to the Earth. It does this in a very soft and fun way; in a way that environmentalists and even not-so-much environmentalists will agree.
Tip: Using the right kind of children’s books even at a young age of two, three or four can start to form your child’s personal opinions on the world and world issues. If you grab some books on religions, different cultures, adoption, etc., it can help them open up their mind and learn more about different people. This is a great tool to help them put themselves in someone else’s shoes and be aware of the world around them.
Beginner Chapter Book Pick & Tip
Book: Charlotte’s Web is a classic that is great to start with when you dive into the chapter book realm. Your child doesn’t have to be reading on his own to start enjoying chapter books. We started with Charlotte’s Web when my oldest was 2 1/2 and it was a great bonding time. We would stay up late and listen to it on tape or read for a good 30 minutes.
Tip: Lots of chapter books are written from the point of view of a four or five year old but many of our children are not able to read chapter books on their own at that age. Then, by the time they can read chapter books, they aren’t really into reading about a child that is so much younger than them. Be sure to pull out some chapter books to read together as a family long before your child begins to read on their own.
Intermediate Chapter Book Pick & Tip
Tip: My brother in law is an English teacher turned principal who tries very hard to instill a love of reading in each of his four children. When I first met him, I noticed he would come home after working and going to school and read his son to sleep. I automatically knew I really liked this soon to be brother in law of mine. He gives the advice of making sure your children have access to reading materials of all kinds- comic books, how to manuals, non fiction, different kinds of fiction, field guides, etc. Every child is different and will be drawn to different types of reading material at different times in their lives. Don’t get stuck on one kind and get frustrated when they don’t enjoy it. Give them some room to pick and choose!
Tween Book Pick & Tip
Tip: Poetry is a great tool to give to your tween aged children to help them cope through the hard awkward years of early middle school (we all remember those!) for boys and girls. It helps them learn to sort through their feelings and express themselves.
Teen Book Pick & Tip
Book: My Abnormal Life by Lee McClain is about a character named Rose who finds herself in foster care, trying to conform to high school life while trying to reunite her birth family.
Tip: My mother had me read books on teens in other walks of life, other parts of the country and world, and those who had to go through very hard times. She didn’t do it to shove in my face, “Look at how good YOU have it,” but to remind me that life is different for everyone, to help be more sensitive to others I might meet, and to learn more about others from different walks of life.