I grew up immersed in books. Even now as an adult I could (and want) to read all day, every day, and know I’d never be bored.
It’s something I really thank my parents for, because I know not every child grows up to love literature. E, for example, was surely given a lot of books as a child as well, but for whatever reason he now REFUSES to read. Hates books, thinks reading is boring, etc, etc, etc and (love you, E) his writing skills show it. He is absolutely fantastic at motion graphics and can make ‘things look pretty’ for TV, but I hope the boys like books a bit more.
As the boys get older (and more mobile), however, I’m finding it harder to get them interested in books, partly because I can’t sit both of them on my lap AND turn pages. Last night I was reading Lady and the Tramp to them before dinner and the whole house fell apart. Oliver was trying desperately to turn the pages and open/close the cover and didn’t like it when I went back to the page I was reading from. Eli just sat there and alternated screaming and singing every time I started reading out loud; the second I stopped, he stopped too. It was headache inducing, to say the least. I still refuse to give up.
Therefore, today I hunted around online for ways to help get them interested in reading. I think part of the problem is that the library I have for them is full of books I saved from my childhood, and are mainly for kids at least 3 or older. I found a few great lists at Parents.com broken down by age group, subject or popularity. I noticed, however, that a lot of the classics were left out. Oh sure, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt made it (both of which were very thoughtfully gifted to the boys by friends and family), but so many were missing. You know the books I’m talking about. The ones with simple, well-drawn illustrations and usually a lesson thrown in. I hate the Dora the Explorer commercial crap; God help them if the boys ever ask for something Sponge Bob related.
I grew up on Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Legos, Polly Pockets, and I want them to love the same simple pleasures. I’m sure I used it enough growing up, but I now hate the phrase “I’m bored” (read a great quote the other day that said, “Only boring people get bored” and it’s true), and refuse to let that join the boys’ vocabulary. I think at the end of the day, forgetting the ‘braniac’ advantage of them, books are a great escape to a world away – one that invites kids to play and invent and stretch their imaginations.
So, keeping all of this in mind, I decided to make my own list of classic books for toddlers/early childhood and those which I hope to slowly add to the boys’ collection. If anything, I know (once we get past the book eating, page ripping state we’re in now) these would be the books that make them love reading.
And then I realized once again, that the majority relate to kids at least two years old or likely even older. So I did some MORE research and came up with a group of newer books, aimed at 1-2 year old tots, to fill their shelves. Hopefully these will help me connect the boys to books now (especially as they’re about to reach their first birthday!).
What do you guys think? Am I on the right track to raising two awesome little book worms? Any of your favorites I left off the list? I’d love suggestions.
FYI – goodreads is another amazing site; search book lists for adults, babies and every age in between.
Classic Book List:
The Giving Tree, The Snowy Day, Blueberries for Sal, Caps For Sale, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Go, Dog. Go!, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Charlotte’s Web, Are You My Mother?, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales, Tikki Tikki Tembo, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Green Eggs and Ham, Wheels on the Bus.
New Book List:
The Napping House, Mouse Paint, Moo, Baa, La La La!, Pat the Bunny, Dear Zoo, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Jamberry, Duck and Goose, Harry the Dirty Dog, Silly Sally, Little Blue Truck, First 100 Words, Sheep in a Jeep, Good Night, Gorilla.
All images found via Google.