August 15, 2012

Board Books for Little Ones...A Few Favorites From Our House

This post is really for my friend, Robin, who is days away from having her first child. She recently asked for book recommendations as they try to build their soon-to-be-born son's, Robin, here you go!

Here's what I've learned about books and reading with little ones since I had my son: all kids are not the same. I know, we all already "know" this, but I REALLY understood it, after having my son: from birth, every child is unique. Every child develops at their own rate and in their own way.

My daughter took to books like a duck to water. From a very young age she would lay on the floor with us, attention rapt, as we read to her. And today, at three and a half, she is still that way. One of her favorite activities is reading...having someone read to her, listening to books on the ipad, and "reading" books herself. She certainly has favorites, but, really, she's happy to read most anything...she's just happy to read. I have found her in her room, after an hour of quiet play time, sitting in front of an empty bookshelf, all her books stacked on the floor around her...she turned to me and said, "I just had to read them all, Mommy." Ahhh, she is her mother's daughter!

Now I have my 14 month old son...granted, he is only 14 months old...but he is already very different when it comes to books (and lots of other things too!). By this age with my daughter, we had already established bedtime stories as part of her nighttime routine...though I am trying, I can't say the same for my son. So far, he has shown little interest in actually reading books...playing with them like toys, yes; chewing on them, yes; turning pages, throwing them, yes and yes. But sitting and listening to a story? Not so much.

But I recently made a discovery: my very physical little boy likes High Five with Julius!, a short Paul Frank board book in which you high-five a character on each page. He loves to high five the book! Breakthrough! So, now, instead of just looking for "boy-oriented" subject matter (I had thought that since he liked to play with anything with wheels, he might like to read about things with wheels, too.), I am on the look-out for physically interactive books for him. There's one I've been reading lately with my daughter that I think he will love when he gets a bit older (she adores it!), called Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas. It is very interactive...and hilarious!

I would imagine that as my son gets older, he will develop at least a bit more interest in stories (maybe someday, even a love for reading...but maybe not). But I suspect that I will have to work a little harder to find the books that interest him that I ever have or will with my daughter. And that's okay.

Anyway, the point is that every child is different. And it is important that we respect those differences and not try to make them into the image we have in our minds of what they should be (or how they should be developing)...whether that image is based on our other children, our imagination, or ourselves. And that's true when it comes to reading...and just about anything else. But if you happen to have a little book lover on your hands...or if you're trying to inspire a book lover, here's a place to start:

Great Board Books for Little Ones

I Kissed The Baby by Mary Murphy (Portia's favorite book as a young infant. Simple, fun, black and white with pops of bright colors.)
Millie Moo by Camilla Moody (Holden loves to play with this book on his own.)
Peek-a Who by Nina Laden (Super cute and simple. Both kids love it.)

Love Bugs (and other pop-up bug books) by David A. Carter (Fun pop-ups, silly bugs, for a little older toddlers who are past the grab and tear stage.)
Belly Button Book by Sandra Boyton (We read this one A LOT when Portia was a toddler.)
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boyton (Adorable. Sing-songy.)
Good Night Country Store by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper (So fun. Lots to observe and point out in the pictures so it grows with your child.)
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (Love it. And lift the flap books are always a hit!)
Bad Dog, Marley by John Grogan (She loved saying, "Bad dog, Marley!" whenever Marley got into trouble.)
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle (Love this book. Sweet story. Fun animal sounds.)
Good Morning, Good Night! A touch and feel bedtime book (They love touch and feel books as toddlers.)
All Dr. Suess's Bright and Early Board Books, like The Foot Book, ABC and Go, Dog, Go! (These are all great. We have about ten of these.)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Classic.)
Bunny's Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown (Fun read. We read it a lot when Portia was younger.)
Time For Bed  by Mem Fox (Soothing, sweet bedtime book.)
How Do I Love You by P.K. Hallinan (Sweet.)
High Five with Julius! by Paul Frank (Simple. Interactive.)
Miss Spider's New Car, Miss Spider's Tea Party and Miss Spider's ABC by David Kirk (I LOVE Kirk's illustrations! I found these three in a box set.)
And a recent purchase I'm in love with...Otis by Loren Long

My Mom also just got my son Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Rinker and Lichtenheld, which is not a board book, but is super cute!

If you have other board books you and your kids have loved, please share them here so others can check them out (me included!). Thanks! And check out my Children's Book Reco page above for an ongoing list of picture books my daughter and I have enjoyed.

Happy reading!

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