Building Your Child's Library
As children's books take up more and more space on the shelves at the library and the neighborhood bookseller, the choices can be overwhelming. A little planning can save time, money and worry.
1. Know your child. Take note of your child's interests—like trucks, bugs or other "favorite things"—and consider what's most of concern at any given moment. There are many titles that can help kids through major transitions and other real-life experiences like potty training, difficulty sleeping, going to the doctor, the birth of a sibling, the death of a pet, and separation. Some examples: * P.D. Eastman, Are You My Mother? (separation) * Taro Gomi, Everyone Poops (potty training) * Kevin Henkes, Owen (going to school) * Russell Hoban, Bed Time for Frances (sleep) * Rosemary Wells, McDuff and the Baby (new baby)
2. Make it an outing. As you become acquainted with children's books, you'll find many advantages to visiting the local library or bookstore over shopping online. For one thing, you'll be able to determine the suitability and durability of a book only by perusing it in person. You're likely to find titles that have won awards on the same shelf or aisle—an almost fail-safe way to get started building your own collection. Many families find going to the library makes a perfect weekly outing; besides the wide selection, there's free advice to be had from the children's librarian and access to out-of-print titles that are considered classics of children's literature.
3. Keep a reading list, just as you'd do when shopping for school supplies. It's not necessary to look for specific titles; the most respected authors can be relied on year-in, year-out for well-conceived, beautifully illustrated books. In addition to well-recognized, time-tested names like Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose, the following writers have written books ideally suited to toddlers:
* Janet and Allan Ahlberg * Frank Asch * Margaret Wise Brown * John Burningham * Eric Carle * Donald Crews * Don Freeman * Gail Gibbons * Kevin Henkes * Eric Hill * Lillian or Tana Hobans-Russell * Ezra Jacks Keats * Ruth Kraus * Leo Lionni * Elise Minarik * H.A. Rey * Richard Scarry * Marjorie Sharmut * Rosemary Wells * Harriet Ziefert * Gene Zion