Celebrate Children’s Books With Us!

April 30- May 6 is the 99th consecutive celebration of Children’s Book Week, making this week the longest-running national literacy event in the country. Make sure you and your loved ones celebrate the joy of reading and books this year by celebrating Children’s Book Week.  `

As an elementary school librarian I am often asked, “How can I help my child learn to read?”  Believe me, this process starts well before a child enters school, but my response is always the same. Read!  Read aloud to and with your child every day! Parents play a vital role in their child’s reading development. Studies again and again have shown that reading aloud to children from birth helps them learn to speak, learn to read, bond with their caregivers, and learn to interact with others.

Once the commitment to reading aloud is made; the next question is often “What should I read?”  This one is easy! Think about how adults select books. We often look for the award winners, or books that top the New York Times Bestseller list each week.  We also tend to find a favorite author, and stick with him or her. Use the same techniques for selecting books to read as a family. The New York Times does in fact, keep a list of top selling children’s picture books, and the American Library Association awards the Caldecott Award each year to the best picture book. Anytime your child enjoys one book by an author, try another!  Teach them the author’s name. The more authors your child can name, the better! Look for some of these favorites, old and new.

Board Books-

Even infants and toddlers benefit from read aloud time with mom or dad, which provides snuggling and cuddling as an added benefit.  There are many board books out there perfect to read to the youngest children. Some board books are condensed versions of popular classics, while others have been designed particularly for the youngest listeners.

Goodnight Moon- by Margaret Wise Brown

Originally published in 1947, this is a condensed version of a classic, and probably one of the most recognizable bedtime stories around.  Share this with your babies and toddlers at bedtime and help the little rabbit say good night to everything in the room. 

Urban Babies Wear Black (series)- by Michelle Sinclair Colman

Bright colorful illustrations make this series fun for babies to look at, and fun for parents to read. This series has expanded to cover country babies, foodie babies, artsy babies, sporty babies, and even babies at the beach.  Look up this series and find one just right for your family.

A is for Activist –by  Innosanto Nagara

Give your little ones an early start in recognizing the importance of helping others and standing up for what is right.  While the message might not be completely understood by the littlest listeners, toddlers will still enjoy the bright, colorful, diverse illustrations.  Searching for the little cat on each page is an added bonus. Keep this book around to share with your children as they grow, and watch them change the world.

Picture Books-

Make this easy and fun.  Look for Award Winners, Chart Toppers, and favorite authors.  Head to the library and pick out a new stack of books every week.  Make a list of those you love, and check them out again!

Make Way for Ducklings  -Written and Illustrated by Robert McCloskey

Even though this book was originally published in 1941, and won the Caldecott Award in 1942, I still read this story to kindergartners each year.  The story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard searching for a home in Boston is delightful. The pair of ducks must be careful of turtles, bicycles, and traffic.  With help from Michael, the friendly policeman, the mallard family might just find a suitable home yet.

Sick Day for Amos McGee -Written by Philip C. Stead and Illustrated by Erin E. Stead 

A Sick Day for Amos McGee won the Caldecott Award in 2011, and has been charming readers ever since.  This is the story of a kind zookeeper and his animal friends. Amos checks on his friends each and every day at the zoo, sitting quietly with the penguin, and racing the tortoise.  What happens when Amos is sick and doesn’t show up for work? The story is simple and kind, and the pictures engaging.

If you plant a Seed- Written and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Beautiful illustrations tell the story of animals in a garden.  Seeds can be planted and plants will grow, but what happens if a seed of kindness is planted?  Or a seed of selfishness? You and your child will find yourself revisiting this book often, if not just for the illustrations by this award winning artist.

The Day the Crayons Quit– Written by Drew Daywalt and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

This comical book has found itself on the New York Times bestseller list for the last 231 weeks.  There is a reason kids from kindergarten through fourth grade ask me to read this book over and over.  It’s funny and they love finding something different in the illustrations each time through. Fed up with their treatment by Duncan, and even by their neighbors in the crayon box, the crayons simply decide to quit, outlining their complaints and demands in a set of letters addressed to Duncan.  Each color has its own problems, from being used too much (Blue Crayon) to not enough (Pink Crayon.) Fortunately the author/illustrator pair followed up with The Day the Crayons Came Home.  If your family enjoys the first, be sure to look for the sequel.

Chapter Books

Even the youngest members of the family can join in on family read aloud time with chapter books.  Many are classics that parents may have read as a child and might enjoy reading again. There are many new, wonderful, more diverse books out there to be discovered as well.

Charlottes Web– by E.B. White

This is the wonderful story of Fern and her love for a pig, Wilbur, and all of the other animals in the barn.  What happens when one of them is in danger and miracles happen? Be sure and read this classic to your children before they watch the movie.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory– by Roald Dahl

Another childhood classic, this is sure to please even the youngest listeners at home.  Down on his luck Charlie, finds a Golden Ticket to tour Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  Read to find out what excitement awaits him on his tour!

The Birchbark House (series)- by Louise Erdrich

This series tells the story of Omakayas and her family, members of an Ojibwa tribe living around Lake Superior in the late 1800s.  The story tells about the daily life of the family from the comical exploits of the children to the struggles brought about by Europeans.

Books should be an important part of your family’s daily routine.  Take time to share a short story together, a chapter from something longer, or spend the entire evening curled up together reading page after page.  It doesn’t matter what you read, just find something you and your child enjoy, and read, read, read! Enjoy a children’s book today. Happy Children’s Book Week!