These are a few of my favorite things: 3 books I recommend for your Brooklyn baby
I've spent the last two years reading & re-reading some of my favorite (& just a few not so favorite) children's books with Darcy's daughter Nadia. During our time together, bedtime quickly became a favorite time because it meant we could read 2, 3, even 4 books before she dozed off. It is enjoyable for me because I've always loved to read, & also because it gives me the chance to introduce Nadia to some of my childhood favorites. It's equally enjoyable for Nadia because she also loves to read, & to learn, & I think also because it prolongs bedtime for at least a few more minutes :)
So, over the past few years I have maintained my love of some of my favorite kid's books, & also been introduced to some brand new ones. Some I love for the illustrations, some for the memories they awaken in me, and some simply because they make me happy.
I believe getting kids excited about reading is such an important thing because it's a habit that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, books can teach them so much before they even realize that they are learning. As a child, I read every night before bed with my mom & now it's something that I continue to do as an adult on my own. Whether it's before naptime, before bed, or during your own special quiet time, I hope you can find a few minutes a day to flip through a book or two with your little one.
For my first post, I am going to feature a few of my absolute favorite kid's books. There's no theme other than that I would call these classic books that will hopefully never go out of style, or print. I loved them as a kid, I love them now, & I look forward to one day reading them with my own kids.
First on the list is a book that most of you probably already know & love, but it will always be one of my favorites: Eric Carle's A Very Hungry Caterpillar. Nothing says spring & rebirth like the life cycle of a butterfly! Carl is widely known for his beautiful illustrations & The Very Hungry Caterpillar is just one example of this. The book follows a hungry caterpillar through a week of eating. When he finally gets full he builds a cocoon & later emerges as a beautiful butterfly.
I mean, who can't relate to a little guy who eats through this much food & then takes a nap?
I think adults & kids alike fall in love with this book because it is short, easy to read, has beautiful images, & has a happy ending. It has inspired countless numbers of craft projects, birthday parties, & has been published in more than 40 languages. If you haven't yet, go check this hungry caterpillar out of your local library. Or if you already own it, now seems like the perfect time to re-read it as we hope for spring!
The next book on my list is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I love this one for so many reasons. It tells the story of a little boy's relationship with a tree & how it changes as he ages. When he is young, the love is innocent & mutual, but as the boy ages he takes more & more from the tree, giving her nothing in return. The tree's love is selfless & unconditional & she gives the boy all that she has, until she is no more than a stump. In the end, the boy who is now an old man decides that all he needs a place to sit & rest. So he finally sits, rests, and in doing so gives her what she treasured all along: his company. "And the tree was happy."
Despite the different ways you can interpret the message of this story, what I like is that it ends on a positive note with the line "And the tree was happy." Either way you look at it, it seems to be an important one for kids to read. The minimalistic illustrations are pleasing to the eye but also leave a lot of room for imagining and interpreting. If you haven't yet, be sure to check this one out! Also, here is a link to The Giving Tree movie, read aloud by Shel Silverstein : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TZCP6OqRlE.
If you have already read this one, or have older kids, Silverstein is also the author of Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, & Falling Up, which are collections of children's poetry that inspire lots of laughter & lots of thinking.
Last on my favorites list is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Another classic. In this book Sendak pairs lovely illustrations with meaningful words to bring every reader along on Max's journey. The story follows "wild thing" Max who causes just enough mischief to be sent to his bedroom by his mother. Max's imagination transforms his bedroom into an island full of other wild things who he is able to tame with little effort. But after he is crowned king of all of the wild things & they enjoy a wild rumpus, Max decides that he just wants to be "where someone loved him best of all." By the times he travels home from his fantasy, his supper is still warm.
Although this is a story based largely in a fantasy world, Max's very real mischief as well as his fantasies are all very realistic. Most kids can identify with Max. They can identify with both the way he misbehaves, and also the way he escapes the situation by creating his own world of wild things. Max's story shows us just how much we all can learn when we let our imaginations run wild. I hope you can enjoy this story with the wild one in your life.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer,
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin