Books — New or Old… It’s All Good — by Guest Mom Burgin Streetman

June 23, 2008

If vintage books aren’t your thing, there are a ton of great illustrators and writers creating classics now for the next generation. Author and certified readiologist — Esme Raji Codell — keeps a wonderful blog with current (and past) recommendations worthy of any child’s bookshelf. The two Aussie mums at We Heart Books do a great job highlighting anything that is literary-related for your wee one, and they sort their picks by age so you can choose appropriately.

As for me, I love David Wiesner, Mo Willems and Christopher Wormell, but my favorite contemporary picture book author is Eric Rohmann. When August was only a year old, he wanted to hear Rohmann’s Caldecott Medal-winning book, My Friend Rabbit, over and over again. He was so enthralled with the stories and pictures of both Rabbit and The Cinder-Eyed Cats that I felt compelled to write the guy a letter (because that’s the kind of thing you do when you are book obsessed) telling him how special my family thought his talent was. Three weeks later, a box arrived on my doorstep filled with posters, an autographed copy of Clara and Asha, and a hand-doodled letter thanking us for being inspired. Needless to say, we are now his number one fans for life.



New or old, books are an important part of any child’s early development. I made a point from the moment my son first shifted in my belly to have books tucked in every corner of our house so that at a moment’s notice we could be trekking out to the hundred acre wood (Pooh) or sneaking over to the Plaza Hotel to share scones with Skipper Dee and Weenie (Eloise).

Once out in the world, August graduated out of board books pretty quick. Though some are really beautiful and teach our babies important lessons like how a cow goes and the basic ABCs, too many parents lean for too long on these books. My advice? While you have your child sitting there in your lap, still unable to run or crawl away, why not try engaging them in a longer picture book or even a chapter book? Turning your child onto full stories when they are still lap-bound will help them build an incredible attention span and become early talkers. I know sometimes is seems like life is too full to read to your kids all the time and hearing Curious George for the 120th time is mind numbing. But, trust me, if you make the commitment to seek out the books you loved as a kid, passing on your favorite stories just might help you stay engaged for a little while longer.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 love.boxes June 23, 2008 at 8:56 am

I so agree. And, I think that examples of some of the best art we have can be found in children’s books. So, you are exposing your child to language and art and who knows what other wonderful things.. it depends on the book. :)

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2 Esme Raji Codell June 23, 2008 at 11:25 am

Wow, thank you for the shout-out! I am honored…and VINTAGE BOOKS MY KIDS LOVE is my favorite blog. Great, amazing, helpful stuff!

Thank you for introducing me to Design Mom, too…bookmarked for frequent return!

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3 ShannyLee June 23, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more! I have 2 step children and hopefully will have one of my own soon and I fully intend on books being a huge part of their life.

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4 Vanessa June 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Books are my favorite thing to read about on blogs, so thanks for the suggestions.
vanessa from http://www.inevergrewup.net

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5 Jessica June 23, 2008 at 3:24 pm

The most important skill a child can have is the ability to read.

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6 Sean June 23, 2008 at 3:25 pm

The first book I ever owned was Where the Wild things are. I got it from RIF. It is still one of my favorites!

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7 Kate June 23, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Thanks! I just added esme to my favorites (along with the Vintage Mom site). Great resources!

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8 heather June 23, 2008 at 5:04 pm

It’s true! Read to your kids! My mother instilled a LOVE (read: crazy infatuation) for books and reading in me at a very young age. She read the entire Little House on the Prarie series to me when I was 3. And i loved it. She said I had no problem sitting still listening to the story. I was also fortunate to have a grandmother who was a school librarian for many years and read to me often. Books are the BEST!

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9 scribbler June 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

thanks for the comments gang. it’s great to know there are inspired parents out there reading!

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10 Julianna June 23, 2008 at 7:29 pm

My favorite posts are ones that share new children’s books. I am so excited to be introduced to new authors. I love the artwork of the girl and the fish…what book does that come from? I tend to choose books based on artwork as it grabs my eye first. THanks for the wonderful new opportunities to share with my girls.

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11 katie@weheartbooks.com June 24, 2008 at 12:23 am

Lou and I are honoured to read your mention of our blog here. We are frequent visitors and admirers of both Design Mom and Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves! Couldn’t agree with you more about making the most of the time when your baby is little to read a variety of material both long and short, illustrated and non-illustrated. When Rowan was a newborn, I’d sometimes read him the newspaper! The period when YOU get to choose the story is over too quickly!

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12 scribbler June 25, 2008 at 7:46 am

the girl and the fish are from Clara and Asha… a super sweet, special book.

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13 Emily June 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Thank you for the great links and book suggestions- I have been limiting reading times with my soon to be six-month-old to board books, and am thrilled with the concept of it being OK to start reading the big kids books. :)

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