They're not just for children

I have a confession to make...
my secret addiction is children's books.

In elementary school, I loved hearing my mom read the Chronicles of Narnia to my brothers and me while we waited for the schoolbus to come. (The faster we got dressed and ready, the sooner and longer we got to hear another chapter.) In college, my favorite class was Children's Literature.

So now I am a mom, with three children who want me to read to them/whom I get to read to (the line blurs at this point). In the (ample) time we have while she checks out our small library of children's books, I've told our children's librarian the truth... that I don't know who I'm getting these for, the kids or myself.

Fair enough, it's not my love for reading alone that has us hitting the books. On her own initiative, Catherine asks to be read to, picks out books, and is spotted "reading" alone. Camille simply says, "Boook!!" with a pleading look in her eyes. Jack gets in on the girls' reading and likes to play with boardbooks while sitting on my lap.

In Camille's last playtime, I went in thinking she must have fallen asleep. She had been quiet for so long. She was thrilled to see me, holding up a book she had been looking at, ready to point out pictures and concepts to me so that we could "discuss" them together. The books we read are often a great starting point or reference point for later, "unrelated" conversation.

To me, there is something almost sacred about truth, virtue, and value being expressed in vocabulary and story so "simple" a child can understand. Top that with artwork to further develop the experience. Erik and I had to read through a number of books to find the few that stand head and shoulders above the rest... it's worth it.

We're just begun discovering excellent books with our toddlers, but some treasures we've unearthed already are below.

The Little Red Train Storybook by Benedict Blathwayt: detailed pictures set in England
Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock: lovely artwork set in Paris

In the Town All Year 'Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner: a brilliant book set in Germany

Read-aloud Bible Stories by Ella Lindvall: crisp, clear communication and bold pictures

Stories Jesus Told by Nick Butterworth: lovely stories and charming art

Would you share with me?
What book was significant to you when you were a child?

or What books are sought after by your kids?


  1. Anonymous27.3.10

    I have to agree with you about children's books! One of my favorite things to do as a teacher is to read books to my class. I still enjoy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Indian in the cupboard, and the Box Car Children (all books that were read to me by my teachers:). I take such joy in sharing these stories, and watching other children taking pleasure in them as well.
    I will have to check out your recommendations! There is a series of picture books based on a cartoon on the Disney Channel that I adore: Lola and Charlie. I normally am not fond of books based off a television show or movie, but when my friend Marie recommended them (Marie is a teacher, has a fondness for books, and her mother was an English and literature teacher), I had to check it out, and they are wonderful!!! The artist is Lauren Child. She has also done the illustrations for an edition of Pippy Longstocking.
    Oh, I just wanted to comment what lovely views you have from your home. I could see why members of your family would enjoy curling up by a window with a good book. What scope for the imagination on page, and in reality!
    Have a good day reading:)

  2. I see why you love being a librarian, Kelley!