My daughter’s blind grabs at books on library shelves have turned up a few treasures.
Since we read three to six books a night for bedtime, variety is a good thing. At least one night this summer my daughter’s bedtime book picks were three different Calvin and Hobbes Collections (this is different from six months to a year ago, when it would have been two Peanuts collections).1 I love her relationship with her books, but we definitely need some new tales pumped into the rotation every now and then. Which is why I need the library.
I would love to say that our library time is spent poring over new stories and excitedly picking out new books, but it really goes like this:
My child: Can I play on the computer?
Me: Pick out some books first.
Child: Takes a chunk of books from the same shelf/section and hands them to me without looking at them.
Then I put most of the books back while my child mishandles the computer and whisper-shouts for me to help her play a game (though her mouse skills have increased tremendously in the last month, thanks to school).
My daughter does sometimes look at the book she’s getting and even asks me to read to her while we’re there–in between computer and water fountain times. I don’t ever have books in mind for her when we go; usually I’ll check out the selection from writers or series we already know. When my kid does her bulk extract of books from the shelf, there are some duds, but usually something interesting is in the pile (plus at least two books about snow…there are so many books about snow).
Richmond Public Library offers cool classes and events (and has more in the works), but we haven’t been able to explore much more than what’s in the stacks. That will keep us busy for a long time. Here are some of my favorite books we’ve discovered at our library.
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by Matthew Gollub
My daughter’s book collection doesn’t include many stories about other cultures (no offense, other cultures).2 It seems like one-in-three books at the library are about the non-Western experience, so it’s a great way to supplement the stories we have at home.
Ten Oni Drummers is a story about Japanese folk characters and also teaches how to count to ten in Japanese. I like the rhythm of the book, and it’s fun to read aloud.
Fun fact: when you get a book from the library and all the pages fall off the spine while you have it checked out, you have to pay for the book! So we own this one now. And now that we own it, our kid has never selected to read it. I love it though. There is some shouting at the end, which is always fun, and now I can count to four in Japanese.
by William Steig
I took out Shrek from William Steig, and I thought it was a cute book but kind of gruesome in language and imagery for a three-year-old. Pete’s A Pizza is a simpler, more interactive tale about a bored boy and his dad who makes him into a pizza. Plus it’s a dad-positive book; sometimes those guys are just straight up missing in kid’s stories. I’ve given this as a gift twice since getting it because my daughter had so much fun with it when we checked out.
Knuffle Bunny Trilogy
by Mo Willems
We love Mo Willems books at our house. I had a wait a while for the first Knuffle Bunny to be available at the library, and we’ve checked out most of his books that I’ve found. There are three books about Knuffle Bunny (a stuffed rabbit) and Trixie (a little girl), each documenting Trixie at a different stage in her life. I may have choked up at the end of Knuffle Bunny Free. The three books as a set would be a good addition to a home library.
Mo Willems books are simple and funny. They were among the first books my daughter would recite by memory when we read them, and they’ve been good tools as she learns how to recognize words and read. Plus it’s fun to find the Pigeon in the non-Pigeon books.
by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski
My daughter is now into puzzles and games, like those “Find the Difference” pictures and mazes, so Welcome to Momako fits in with this new favorite thing. It’s a cute concept: all of the characters are going to a carnival, and each set of a pages is a scene of occurrences that happen to them. It’s like a Where’s Waldo? but with a narrative and no Waldo. Or a dozen Waldos. Each time with the book is different depending on which characters you follow or which things you look for.
by Andrea Beaty
I’d heard of this book from a friend, but the day after she told me about it, I saw it on display at the library. It’s a sweet story about a girl rebuilding her confidence by building an airplane. The illustrations are cool, and I like the message in general: kid power, girl power, bandanas.
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