1. a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed.
Not long ago, a friend e-mailed me with a great idea: she wants to give her nieces and nephews books for Christmas each year. Since her only daughter is almost exactly one year old, she wanted to see if I had any suggestions. Did I have book suggestions? Not only did I have suggestions, it made me start compiling a mental list of what books belong in every family's library. This post contains books that top my list of baby shower gifts. They're all for little ears and eyes. That being said, many of these books still come off the shelves in my home with regularlity as we sit down to read before bed with our six year old.
Here are a few I came up with. I'd love to hear your favorites.
Ish and Ruby's Wish: I know I feel strongly about these two books because they are my favorite gifts to give at a baby shower. I especially like to give Ish when it's a second or third child since this book shows sibling relationships. Reynold's other picture books (The Dot and The North Star) are also good. Ruby's Wish is my go-to choice for a baby girl shower. It's lesser known than many classics, but I can rarely read it aloud without crying. Girl power in early 20th century China? This book is a must have.
Llama Llama Red Pajama: This didn't go on my list to my friend because it's an Imagination Library selection. This means that if you live in Middle Tennessee and sign up for Books from Birth, you'll receive this book for free as part of the program. But if you live elsewhere and don't know this book, get it. Just say the title out loud and you'll know why. It's a joy to read aloud and will turn even someone like me into a temporary actress.
Little Miss Spider: There's a lot to love about these books - the gorgeous oil painting illustrations, the rhyming text, even lovable Little Miss Spider. Our family loves not only this book, but Miss Spider's Wedding, which has as endearing a plot as this book.
Barnyard Dance or something else by Sandra Boynton: This book will have you singing and square dancing. All of Boynton's books make us laugh and they are some of the most well-worn board books in our collection, which bespeaks my daughters' love of them.
Goodnight Moon: This classic needs no explanation. Every child should get the opportunity to be lulled into rest to the sound of this lovely prose.
Guess How Much I Love You: My husband wouldn't forgive me if I don't include his favorite board book, which features a father rabbit and Little Nutbrown Hare.
Prayer for a Child: Another restful book to calm your little one down after you've read a fun book like Llama Llama or Barnyard Dance.
Harold and the Purple Crayon: Buy this book for its dreamlike quality and for its final line.
And, finally, a favorite from my own childhood. I think this might be the only children's book that I remember clearly: There's a Monster at the End of this Book. Don't bother with the Elmo version. Only Grover can make this magic work.
What have I missed? What do pull off the shelf when your child lets you choose? What are the must-haves for a child's library?