One by one, along with toys, they are taking over my home. I do my best to purge and share and stow away when appropriate but gee-willakers, it’s a job. That, along with looking for lost toys, is basically my life. (And now you’re getting a glimpse as to why I would write to no one in particular in random spurts with little feedback…) 🙂
We are so fortunate to have this problem with books. It never occurred to me until I 1) had children 2) visited some of our neighbors’ homes and 3) learned from some of early childhood education friends that having books around, even being given books as baby shower gifts, was not something to be taken for granted in our country. I remember visiting the home of a family who has since moved away and realizing that the kids didn’t all have pillows or dressers/hangers let alone books of their own. Coupled with the sad state of Los Angeles Public Schools in densely populated communities (as in, no toilet paper, torn books, etc.), was it any wonder why school didn’t seem like it was all that important to these kids?
Children’s books are a luxury and much more than a way to entertain and spend time with your babies. They truly are a stepping stone. I recently read that while middle-income neighborhoods boast an average of 13 books per child, low-income areas have a ratio of about one book per 300 children. I find this fact about our country embarrassing. The absence of books and other literacy-stimuli contributes to these kids entering kindergarten 12-14 months below the national language and pre-reading skill average. First Book is one non-profit seeking to close the discrepancy. I look forward to learning more about what our LA libraries are doing for these statistics and seeing how I can help. Ownership is big though; I am even more motivated to give books over toys now! If you have some extras you would like to relocate to a community like ours, I’d be happy to facilitate that!
As gift lists are constructed I thought it would be timely to suggest just a handful of our favorite (young) children’s books. These are books that Dante has returned to over and over at different ages and that Asher is now enjoying. There are so many books out there and, well, some of them stink. We don’t think these ones stink…
Don’t Touch, It’s Hot by Algrim – this really worked to help him understand HOT!
Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings, by Van Fleet – not your average texture book. Shapes meet animals meet texture meet flaps. Yeah, flaps!
What Do You See? by Krensky – very neat illustrations, made with recycled materials, about endangered animals. Also with flaps. 🙂
Ten Little Ladybugs by Gerth – 3D counting book with rhyming.
I’m a Big Brother by Cole – this truly helped Dante prepare for and understand Asher’s arrival. Girl equivalents exist. 🙂
Global Babies – unfortunately this book was left on the top of our car at one point and was relocated accidentally (I’m sure to a loving family…). Nonetheless, we remember it fondly and it was Dante’s fave. Fun exposure to different emotions and cultural dress.
Let’s Learn Our First Colors by Priddy Books – a magnetic learning book, this one is part game part book with picture magnets of common objects.
Happy gift giving, book sharing and, of course, reading. 🙂