Thursday, August 18, 2005

Giving Kids Books as Gifts

By Christina VanGinkel

I am a parent who strongly believes in reading early and reading often with your kids as one of the best ways to get them interested in learning and to stay connected to them all the way through adulthood. I have once again been enjoying picking out board books and picture books now that I have a grandson. My daughter has been reading to him since he was an infant, as have I, and at the tender age of two, he already has several favorites and is capable of repeating whole stretches of some of these books. All he has to do is see the cover of one of his all time favorites from Dr. Seuss, and he is spouting off all kind of feet phrases.

Too often, I have heard young parents say that they would read more often to their kids, but books are just too expensive. I always tell them the library is free, and if you would rather buy the books, then check out clearance racks, bookstore sales, and dollar stores if you have any in your area. I also remind them that they do not need many books all at once. Kids love repetition and will happily have the same story read to them night after night. Even if you have a whole bookshelf to choose from, kids will often just pick out the same ones repeatedly.

To help alleviate hearing this, I have decided to give books at the next couple of baby showers I have coming up, along with a crocheted blanket or sweater set. If you happen to also be looking for a special gift to bring to the next baby shower you are invited to, or a young child's first or second birthday party, collect a stack of colorful, fun board books or picture books, and tie a big bow around the stack, no wrapping required! To get your shopping off to a good start, I have produced a list of some of my grandson's favorites so far. As he can be quite particular about everything, I figure if he likes these books, so will any child!

The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See, by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
The Very Busy Spider Book, by Eric Carle
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
On a Wintry Morning, by Dori Chaconas
When Moon Fell Down, by Linda Smith
Mrs. Biddlebox, by Linda Smith
Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson
Bear Wants More, by Karma Wilson
Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson

Looking back at this list, I realized that nearly the entire list is made up of books that rhyme, save for one or two, such a Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. I think he loves that book so much because of the middle spread where it shows the monsters dancing. That always is sure to bring on a fit of giggles! Remember, give a book to a kid and you will be opening the door to learning for that child at least a bit.

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