Wednesday, March 28, 2012

children's books

I was looking through our well loved collection of children's books the other day. We have a large bookshelf in the dining room (really our dining room functions more as a library). We have spent years filling the shelves with mostly thrifted books. When my kids were really little and I needed to give them incentive to join in on one of Mama's treasure hunting trips, I would offer to let them pick out a book. A house full of books was easier for me to rationalize than a house full of toys and trinkets. As the children are getting older, and all reading on their own,  I mourn those days a little bit. Many of our picture books sit untouched. In an effort to muster some picture book love, I suggested that we choose a few books per night and read our way through our entire collection. It did get their attention for a few days.
Because I simply cannot resist, I keep bringing home picture books from the library. I love them. The kids all want "chapter books". If it has chapters, they want to read it. As the shelves fill with chapter books and novels, my practical side tells me to weed through the picture books and let some of them go. There are powerful memories attached to some of these books. I have a particular weakness in keeping them because I do not have a single book from my childhood. I do have a very sentimental grandma though, that saved a few of my Dad's books for me.

{As always, when I write like this, I am working things out in my head.}

I fully admit that the picture books at this point are mostly for me, in a feeble attempt to keep the kiddos little for a bit longer. There I said it.

I honestly believe that when they are grown they will be happy that we kept their favorites. This would have been my wish for my childhood books.
This is what I will do. I will keep these books for my children, and the most loved, I will keep for my grandchildren. I need not be in a rush to weed through them. I like them there, even if they are untouched. It reminds my children that we are a family that loves books. It reminds me of when they were littler, and want to hold onto that too. Perhaps some time soon, we will pass on a few of our lesser favorites to make room for the new (new-to-us). Maybe tonight we'll continue our way through them, you never know when a new favorite will be discovered.

In the spirit of picture books, here is our list of absolute favorites.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
Any of the original Arthur books by Marc Brown
So Many Bunnies by Rick Walton/Paige Miglio
The entire Brambly Hedge collection by Jill Barklem
Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
My First Little House Books
The Little Bear series by Else Holmlund Minarik
Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest
The Elves and the Shoemaker illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
The entire James Herriot collection of animal stories
Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn
Any of the Corduroy books by Don Freeman
Niccolini's Song by Chuck Wilcoxen
Shawnee Bill's Enchanted Five-Ride Carousel by Cooper Edens/Daniel Lane
The Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold
The Mitten, The Hat, Hedgie's Surprise (anything) by Jan Brett
No, David by David Shannon
Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward/TJ Marsh
Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Marsh/J. Otto Seibold
Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child
Wolf Watch by Kay Winters

As a read aloud The Little House on the Prairie books have been our favorite.

There are so many more that we have loved. We really like using the library. The books listed are the ones we own, that have been read so many times, they are practically memorized.
Reading to my children has been one of my greatest pleasures in parenting. I figure that I have a few more years until they don't ask anymore. I will enjoy every moment until then.

Have a blessed day, Tami


  1. I have kept all of the favorites from each child. I have a ton of children's books and for some reason continue to pick up ones that I see.

  2. Lovely memories those books do hold. Trust your instincts and SAVE them! We had some of the very same family favorites that are on your list ~ our children that are now in their 20's (two are parents themselves.) The gift for us has been four beautiful grands ~ all under 4! note to all we are very young grandparents! ;) Those beloved favorites are making their way out of hibernation and into the hands of this newest generation. I love to bring the oldest two to the library ~ ahh, the wonder ~ but nothing beats having them pull the worn and well-loved books from our own shelves, climbing up on nana or papa's lap for a cuddly read! Thanks for sharing as you work through your thoughts!