I was in our local library a few weeks ago and observed a mom with three children. She encouraged them to pick out a few books from the children’s section that they would enjoy reading. One little boy chose two books and showed them to his mom, but she didn’t like them and asked him to choose other ones. The little boy found a few other books, but the mom didn’t like them either. I was getting just as frustrated as the little boy. She was exasperating and wasn’t allowing her son to choose books that resonate with him, so he no longer wanted any books. She actually crushed any joy from being in the library and discouraged him from reading. Are you one of those parents?
We can offer our children some guidance on which section of the library would have interesting age-appropriate books for them to read, but not allowing them to choose their own books is disheartening and discourages independent thinking. Not every kid is going to like what their parents or siblings like, so allowing them to make the final decision on their own book choices is important.
Not having new or interesting books on hand at home can also discourage kids of all ages to read. I like to add a few new books each month and rotate them so they are fresh to young eyes. Here are some of the new books we enjoy reading.
Dude! is about two best friends, a beaver, and a platypus. They are at the beach and want to get aerial on some big kahuna waves. Each emotion expressed throughout the whole book by both characters is communicated with only one word ‘Dude!‘ Whether they are happy, concerned, excited, thrilled, annoyed, scared, perplexed, or dumbfounded, the beaver and platypus only say Dude! But their facial expressions and countenance help young readers to distinguish the meaning of that particular “Dude” word.
The two hit the water and paddle out to sea in search of a wave. They race a pelican who in turn poops on the platypus, making beaver super giggly. But then they see something that terrifies them, a shark! Yikes, they paddle like crazy to get to shore, but… you’ll never guess what happens! Dude! is a hilarious book that shows how far one word will go. The graphics are vibrant and fun and will get kids completely involved in the story. It’s ‘swell’ for our library. Dude!
Goodbye Brings Hello
Goodbye Brings Hello is a concept book that teaches kids about experiencing a variety of goodbyes and hellos they may deal with on a daily basis. Goodbye is also about letting go. On a swing, you use your legs to swing high in the air and say hello to the big blue sky. When you leave, you let go of the ropes and say goodbye. From letting go of a favorite sweater that is not too small, but fits someone else to say goodbye to your school and teacher and hello to a new school to say goodbye to your long hair and hello to a new hairstyle to saying goodbye to one month and hello to the next. It means having to say goodbye in the present moment in order to greet the next moment.
Change is hard for most of us, but especially for children. Goodbye Brings Hello warms them up to the idea that it’s okay for things to change whether they be big for small, happy or sad or serious or trivial. There are lots of cute illustrations that allow kids to add their own perceptions and conclusions.
I Need All Of It
I Need All Of It is a relatable book. How many times have our children found stuff (junk) in their travels, only to bring it home as a keepsake? Jim is a little boy who found three things and he really, really, really wants to keep them. Jim’s Dad is doing laundry and finds a key, button, and a stone in his son’s pocket. It’s only natural that dad would want to throw them out, but Jim is pretty adamant about keeping them.
Through his very vivid imagination, Jim explains to his father by these objects are crucial and must not be tossed away. You see, the key, even though it’s twisted and rusted, fits a huge suitcase that is the size of a large cupboard, made of metal and is on roller wheels. It belongs to a wizard-like magician who is lost without his wand, books, and props which are locked inside the massive suitcase.
I Need All Of It is a fantastic book that shows how wild an imagination can grow when having to defend why you need to keep something. All of Jim’s explanations made perfect sense to his dad. It has great illustrations and an unbeatable storyline. Kids will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Door is about a little boy who’s day started out like any other, but with a key in his hand. Things are humdrum as he observes people going about their day — and the illustrations are shown in muted blacks, greys, and whites. As he’s walking he spots a door, a mysterious old wooden door with cobwebs all over it. Clearly, it’s abandoned and hasn’t been opened in a long, long time. He ponders whether he should open the door, but he decides it’s worth the risk. He unlocks the door with the key he has in his hand and immediately runs into a weird-looking character that speaks a weird language. Scared, he runs away only find a weird-looking little girl who is kind and invites me to their family picnic.
As the little boy is enjoying himself, the illustration in the books become more colorful and striking. After the picnic is over, the family takes the little boy to another area where there are many other beings and a multitude of doors. Different beings are coming through the doors to attend a happy event, a wedding! Wow, he had so much fun, and all it took was an old key.