My sister-in-law recently asked me what my process is for selecting books for my children. I did not think that I had a formal process, but after talking to her I realize I do. Here’s my process and some of our favorite books. My boys are three and one, so our gender neutral library is most appropriate for children under five.
1. I take my boys to libraries and book stores. We read together there and bring home the titles they find most interesting, the ones they want to read again, that make them smile, and that they are willing to sit and listen to.
2. When I find authors we all like, I regularly check for new titles and titles we don’t own.
3. I look for titles that teach valuable life skills like manners, kindness and overcoming bullying.
4. I also look for titles that teach art appreciation, cultural competence, environmental responsibility, social responsibility, and spiritual competence.
5. Finally, I look for titles about family and about the love between family members.
A list of our favorite titles, authors and collections are below.
In My Ocean, Jungle, Den, Nest, Pond…by Sara Gillingham. These books have a predictable pattern to the text and are great for children learning to read. They also have a puppet in the center of the book. The puppet intrigues the littlest readers. These books are also full of science content. They teach children about animal habits and behaviors.
That’s Not My Frog, Tractor, Dinosaur, Airplane…by Fiona Watt. These books are touch and feel books. They also repeat the same pattern and support early pre-reading skills. These books teach children about texture and improves their ability to use words to describe their surroundings.
Eric Carle. These are also great books with repetitive simple text. The illustrations intrigue children and parents alike. Our favorites are Polar Bear, Polar Bear; Panda Bear, Panda Bear; Above Us in the Sky, Below Us, Under the Earth and Sea; and With Us on the Earth and Sea.
Mini Masters Boxed Sets by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober. These sets are art history and appreciation in a box for little people. They are board books so children can be children with them. The simple poetry that accompanies them make the classic art inside them accessible and fun.
Max Lucado. This Christian author has a wonderful ability to point children to God and Jesus for solutions to some of childhood’s challenges. The stories are both beautifully told and illustrated. The Tallest of Smalls and Your Are Special are our favorite titles, but there are many more.
Other authors I like:
Il Sung Na
This is not a comprehensive list, but if you are just starting a library or looking for a gift, these are a great place to start.