Saturday, November 6, 2010

LIBRARY, part 2

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.

A short while ago, I wrote a post about what books every home library should contain.   I focused that list on picture books or board books, the kind my daughters loved to have read to them before they could read themselves.  But once they learned to read on their own, we needed a few more shelves for the library.  I must confess that I find it difficult to recommend exactly what needs to go on these shelves.  It depends so much on who your child is.  Read on and you'll see what I mean.

I struggle to remember the first books A loved to read.  Once she turned the corner and started reading, she simply read anything she could get her hands on.  That's one thing that makes the early reading stage so difficult for a post of this sort.  It's also difficult to find true classics that help your child transition from reading simple books to more complex ones.  So pardon the lack of true literature that you'll find here.  Its absence might still let you find a book your child would love.

One early purchase that A and B both loved was The Biscuit Storybook Collection. These books are very easy to read, but since they are bound in one edition, it managed to hold my daughters' attention for a bit longer.  B especially is a huge fan of dogs, so it didn't hurt anything for the main characters in the story to be a little girl and her dog!

Only a mom of daughters could recommend this, but A and B both loved (and even now will re-read) the Rainbow Magic fairies.  To say that these books are not high art is an understatement.  Yet these are the books little girls love.

Another series that J found for A was the Secrets of Droon.  Like the fairy books, these are quick and easy reads, but when my daughters were in 1st or 2nd grade, they wanted books they could finish in a sitting or two.  And if that gets them reading, who am I to argue?  Especially if it helps them segue to a set like the Roald Dahl box set that A's aunt and uncle gave her several years ago.  Sure, she read them all in a matter of days, but she's read them several times since, as has her sister.

J and I have also introduced our girls (with varying levels of success) to the books of our childhood: Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Choose your Own Adventure, etc.

A loved - and loves - historical fiction, so The Little House on the Prairie series and Anne of Green Gables series were both hits.  I'll admit here that I didn't love Laura Ingalls Wilder, but Anne is another story.  She's like an old friend and I loved seeing my daughter fall in love with her, too.

B, on the other hand, doesn't care much about historical fiction.  She's recently been more amenable, but the first books I can remember that truly sparked her love of reading were the Time Warp Trio books.  I'm not sure whether it was the catchy titles, the time travel component or the books' irreverence, but I'll forever be grateful to have found them.  This series, which we found the summer between first and second grades, turned B from a child who thought, "I can read" to one who thought, "I love to read."  What a glorious transition!

There are many, many more, including Paddington Bear, whom B has a special fondness for (I think it's because he manages to get in more trouble than even B can muster).  What are your favorites?  What made your children jump from the ability to read to the desire to do so?  I'll get to watch that transition one more time with K and I'm sure I'll need a new book - or two or three - to help her along.


Chris and Tiana said...

This is great. Clara Beth can't read yet, obviously, but she loves loves loves to have books read to her. She's lately been transitioning from story books to chapter books, so I've been on the look-out for simple chapter books that will hold her attention. She likes the Boxcar Children and B is for Betsy. We also read The Chocolate Touch and Mr. Popper's Penguins. Those were fun. But I'm still open for ideas for chapter books for a very precocious 4-year old who loves books!

WordGirl said...

Tiana, I think CB would LOVE Paddington. He's as crazy as she is and I say that with love. :-) And for the record, here's one I don't recommend reading aloud: Swiss Family Robinson. I read that one aloud to Anna when she was 5 or 6 and while she liked it fine, I could NOT suspend disbelief enough to enjoy it. One island has animals from every continent? Seriously?