Thursday, August 23, 2012
Meanderings about My Favorite Children's Books
When you have a couple of toddlers running around your house and someone says, “Enjoy it now, they grow up so fast,” you kind of think “REALLY? Because, um, it doesn’t feel like that at all.”
But when I sent both of my girls off to middle school this year, I found myself thinking that clichéd thought. It’s true. What people told me all those years ago. Dang. My baby is in middle school and my oldest will start high school next year. How did this happen?
So I’m feeling pretty nostalgic and today, for some reason, I’m thinking about the hours and hours I spent reading to my girls when they were little, even before they could talk. There are some books I will never part with and I thought I’d share a few with you here.
1. Mama Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joose. This is a timeless story about a mother’s love for her child—this particular child is asking questions to sort of see what they mother’s boundaries are in loving her. It’s written in a simple, yet poetic voice and the illustrations are amazing. Also, I love that the reader gets a bit of Eskimo culture and language, which is so good for little ears and brains.
2. The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle. We’ve loved every one of his books, including The Very Quiet Firefly and the Very Hungry Caterpillar. But I like the spider one the best because it celebrates industriousness, which is rare in our culture. Carle’s books are illustrated in the same style and use the same simple rhythmic language.
3. Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Helen Berger. Ohmigosh, I love this book. It’s written so beautifully and the story is so different. It’s a myth about how the moon is placed in the sky. It’s told so softly that my rambunctious kids quieted with each sentence. One of my favorite aspects to the book is his animal companions. Always by his side.
4. The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton. This is the story of a country house that becomes surrounded by a growing city. Written and illustrated beautifully and fortunately, there’s a happy ending, as the house is taken back to the country where she belongs. My kids loved the idea of a house being alive and having feelings. Maybe this is one of the books that prepared them later for the Harry Potter books, which are BIG in my house.
5. Today I feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis We love most of Jamie Lee’s books, but this one is our favorite. One the one hand, it’s a fun book, with lots of silly illustrations and interesting language. On the other hand, it really helps kids to see the range of emotions people have and it helps them identify how they are feeling.
If you’re the parent of a young child any of these books might suit you or your kids. I miss reading to my children. Soon after they learned to read they wanted to read themselves, which is a good thing, after all. But it was so wonderful to share such wonderful stories with them And I trust they will have those memories long into their lives. How about you? Do you have any favorite children’s books?