Building a home library

Apr 19, 2011

I may not be able to remember the title of the first book that was read to me, but I sure do remember the process. Brush teeth, jammies, pull out two books (three on the weekends) and snuggle in for my favorite bed-time routine. Now, as an adult and parent, I get to relive my childhood memories through my kids. My husband and I have taken time to build their libraries, acknowledging that quantity doesn’t always mean quality. We’ve embraced our local library and scoured the shelves at discount book stores to fill in the blanks. Now, my kids have a library that has brought countless hours of giggles, dreams, fairytales and magical holiday stories. We’ve even used books to help when life’s thrown us a curve ball, like a family pet dying or a best friend moving.

With today’s Web resources, it’s not hard at all to identify age-appropriate books that experts certify to be the best. As a Kiwanis club, consider donating a book or two—maybe 12—to a family in need. Or fund or stock a special Kiwanis Reads section at your local library. A study conducted by Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program (Seattle, Washington) states that “Children with books at home are eight times more likely to list reading as one of their favorite activities.” Even more significant, “lack of basic literacy skills is linked with academic failure, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, delinquency, unemployment, low productivity and welfare dependence.” Discounted books can be purchased online from Circle K’s own service partner, Better World Books. For instance, a used copy of Goodnight Moon is available for $3.48 (free shipping).

The American Library Association provides lists of age-appropriate books for children 0–14. Here is the list for children under three years of age:

Close Your Eyes, Kate Banks
Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Eileen Christelow
Do Your Ears Hang Low, Caroline Jayne Church
Gossie, Olivier Dunrea
In the Tall, Tall Grass, Denise Fleming
Is Your Mama a Llama?, Deborah Guarino
Kitten’s First Full Moon, Kevin Henkes
Peek-a-boo!, Roberta Grobel Intrater
Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
Emergency!, Margaret Mayo
My Very First Mother Goose, Edited by Iona Opie, Illus. by Rosemary Wells
Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling, Tracey Campbell Pearson
Wheels on the Bus, Raffi
Time to Get Dressed!, Elivia Savadier
Busy Penguins, John Schindel and Jonathan Chester
Spicy Hot Colors/Colores Picantes, Sherry Shahan
Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga, Rebecca Whitford
“More More More,” Said the Baby: 3 Love Stories, Vera B. Williams

What was your favorite childhood book? As a parent or grandparent, what are some of your favorite bedtime story time memories?

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