So. Valentine’s Day next week.
Do you do treats for your kids? Since International Book Giving Day is also on February 14th, it’s the perfect chance to share some book love.
These are the books I picked up for our two kiddos.
Not a heart or valentine in sight.
It wasn’t a deliberate move. I have nothing against Valentine’s Day books. But I also don’t limit myself to them. So these books may not be your typical Valentine’s Day reads, but they were picked with love. That’s what counts, right? And the nice thing is that we can leave these books out year round.
The two on the left are for Preschooler, who will be 4 in about 2 months. We’re just starting to get into the early chapter books at bedtime. The main character in these happens to have the same name, and the books are all about spinning and dancing and twirling, a popular activity in our house now (I’m pretty sure it goes hand in hand with the princess obsession).
The book on the right is a series most of you are probably already familiar with. Baby (who is now 14months) doesn’t sit for long periods of time, so he hasn’t really discovered Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs… books yet, but this board book version is a good place to start. Bonus: it’s a scratch ‘n’ sniff! It won’t be long before that does have appeal.
Anyone else doing books for Valentine’s Day? Do you go with the more traditional selections or have you veered off the path like I have?
Earlier in the week, I read this article in Publisher’s Weekly, “Influence of Bookstores and Libraries Eroding for Children.” Among other things, the article discusses the increased impact of friends and family (word-of-mouth) on book recommendations, over more traditional sources such as libraries and bookstores. If you take the time to read the article, there is some evidence that these findings are slightly skewed, but it did get me thinking:
I’m guilty of book gossip (and happy to admit it).
The fact that you’re here, reading this blog, suggests that maybe you are, too, right? You read about books, you chat about books, you have some social community (either online, in person, or both) that gossips about books right along with you.
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you what books are on the NYT Bestseller list right now. I have some guesses for the upcoming Newbery and Caldecott Awards (announcing on January 28th), but I guarantee I haven’t read all the contenders. Even though I consider myself moderately current in the children’s literacy trends, it would be impossible for me to read every book, even every good one.
So where do my recommendations come from? Mostly other kidlit bloggers whose tastes run somewhat similar to mine, or who feature a variety of titles. I keep an eye and ear out for the ones that are being discussed all over the Twitterverse. I follow particular authors that I’ve always enjoyed and are most likely to impress me again. I chat with friends who have children similar in age and say, “Oh, have you read _____?”
Even then, sometimes I’m disappointed by a book that everyone raves about. Or I find myself being the only one in love with a title that leaves other readers ambivalent.
Which is okay. Because the bottom line is, it comes down to personal taste.
So tell me, where do your book recommendations come from? Are you a list follower, or a book gossiper? Have you ever had the experience of being let down by a book that has taken the rest of the world by storm?
This is one time where gossip is a good thing.
See you Monday, friends!
One of the things about keeping an online journal of any kind is that, overtime, it becomes a place of reflection. Children grow, opinions change, we learn new things. And yet our words, unless we go back and delete old entries (which I don’t), are forever written on the walls of cyberspace.
I have not yet decided whether this is a good thing or not.
Recently, I (okay, my husband), completed the process of moving Once Upon A Story completely over to the self-hosted site. In the process, I rediscovered posts from the “old” site. One of my most popular posts, even today, was titled I Don’t “Read” to My Baby. If you’re a newer follower, here’s a brief excerpt:
I don’t read to Baby 20 minutes every day. At least, not officially. I have two degrees, one in elementary education, one in library science. I wholeheartedly support and believe in all the evidence that supports reading to children at an early age. What I don’t have is time set aside, or a baby who is interested in anything other than chewing his toes for more than 10 seconds at a time.
I did go on to explain ways that Baby is exposed to language, but it was one of those posts where I hit enter and wondered how many readers I had just lost with my “going against the grain” philosophy. As it turns out, the post received multiple hits, was shared many times, and, in general, I think said what alot of parents were thinking.
That was then.
I still stand by that post. Baby is now 13 months, and entering the stage of constant noise and babble. I can see that he understands alot more than he can verbalize, but those verbalized words are starting to pop out.
And we still don’t have a “cuddle and read before bed” type of routine. With my daughter, this didn’t come about till closer to her second birthday and it looks like my son will be the same way. For the first 10 months of his life, he consistently woke up 3-4 times a night. Sleep was hard for him. By the end of the day, he was too tired to cuddle, he wanted a bottle (which he typically fell asleep during) and bed. He has since started sleeping through the night, but is not a fantastic napper, so he’s still tired by the end of the day. His preference is still bath, jammies, straight into bed. And yet, he’s surrounded by chatter and learning and books throughout the day, and he’s picking up on it.
Kids are amazing learners.
It won’t be long before I have two constant chatterboxes in the house.
God help me.
I mentioned yesterday that we’re doing alot of holiday book reading at our house right now. But in the midst of this, Preschooler has discovered a collection of fairytales that has long since been on her shelf, but hasn’t gotten alot of use. There’s no reason for this, other than the fact that there’s always other books to read and this particular collection has fallen by the wayside.
Until about a week ago. She pulled it out and began flipping through it while she was playing in her room one afternoon, and that night she asked me to read one of the stories. We’ve since read from that book at every single nap and bedtime. She keeps the book tucked under her bed, so she always knows where it is, and we pull it out out every time I tuck her in.
There always seems to be a controversy around fairy tales. There are those who believe that many original (Brothers Grimm) versions are too scary/violent for children. There are some who believe that the versions with happily every after endings lead children to have unrealistic expectations. There are those who express concern that the princesses are too “weak” and always in need of rescue.
Personally? I believe they’re stories. My 3yo knows this, without my having to remind her. She knows that dragons aren’t real, that dogs don’t talk, and that the world outside her front door does not look like the “Once upon a time, far, far away…” land from her book. And even though she likes to think she is, Preschooler is well aware that she’s not actually a princess.
On the other hand…the stories were often originally told to scare children into proper behavior. And not all the content begs for a cuddly read with small children.
I do allow for some “read aloud editing.” The other night, Preschooler selected The Tinder Box as her bedtime story. To be honest, I’m not in love with the message in this story(it’s a little “cheat your way to the top” for me). But I rarely tell my daughter she can’t read something. Instead we talked about how the soldier in the story was not very nice, and why stealing is wrong. But beyond that, this particular story is a little, well, violent. In the collection we’re reading from, it’s actually included in the second half of the book, which contains “Stories for Older Children.” There’s a beheading. And some wild dogs that cause someHunger Games-like destruction. So…yes. Edited.
But her favorite story by far has been The Emperor’s New Clothes. She finds it hysterical that the Emperor would strut around naked (“He’d be too COLD!”), and there’s a good lesson in pride that comes from the telling of this story. No editing necessary, we thoroughly enjoy this one as is.
So tell me…are your children familiar with fairytales? Do you stick to the milder versions until a certain age? Do you do some age-appropriate editing? Are fairytales still an important part of a child’s literary upbringing?
Go ahead! Sound off!
You know what’s nice about maintaining your own blogging space? It’s something that can be controlled. Here, my space is clean and orderly. My thoughts are (for the most part) complete and understandable. I appear to be an organized, rational, individual. I confess, though, this week:
I (and my actual living space) are a chaotic mess.
You know those weeks? I overpaid the preschool tuition and underpaid the photographer. The house is in desperate need of a cleaning, but why bother when sticky little hands will have every surface messy again within 30 seconds? I’m trying to pin down our travel plans for the upcoming holiday season and can’t seem to make forward progress. I had a small (no damage, no injuries) kitchen fire. I have couple blogging deadlines to meet and the words are stuck. My daughter’s field trip, which I thought was next Wednesday is actually next Tuesday.
We’re fortunate to be enjoying beautiful fall weather. And tomorrow is our annual pumpkin patch pilgrimage, where we will (maybe) get pictures of the kids looking all clean and cute and fall-like.
And maybe when I get back on Monday, I’ll have taken some time to get my stuff together.
Or maybe not. What’s life without a little unpredictability?