This summer, as we shared our summer reading lists, one of our readers asked specifically about book recommendations for the under-2 crowd. That same day, our friend Elsa posted on facebook about how her daughter just wanted her to read, read, read to her all day long. I decided to ask her to guest blog for us, being eminently qualified to comment on the subject!
My eighteen-month-old daughter has been surrounded by books from the moment she was born. I love reading, as does, oh, every relative within two generations, so it’s not surprising that A has books in her room, in my room, on the couch, in the diaper bag, and under the kitchen table. I like time-honored classics, but I also think it’s important to look for good new books–I skim a lot of board books at the library, and I depend on my mother, a college professor who teaches children’s literature. I’ve already discovered, however, that what appeals to me doesn’t always appeal to A! Here are some selections from both of us in a few different categories.
Books for infants
The first books I introduced to A were picture board books geared toward images that are easy for tiny babies to see. That means high contrast shapes and patterns or close-up illustrations of faces.
A’s favorite: Baby Faces by Margaret Miller
Early board books
Then we moved on to more colorful and detailed books, some with stories and some without (such as ABC books, although I still haven’t found an alphabet book I really like). Sandra Boynton is the master of board books for the stage. She can’t be beat for amusing pictures and even better text.
My favorite: But Not the Hippopotamus
For this stage (and for older babies and toddlers), I also highly recommend the magazine “BabyBug.” A received a gift subscription from one of her aunts, and she gets excited whenever a new one arrives in the mailbox. I love it because each issue is familiar but new–a short story about a girl named Kim and her stuffed rabbit Carrots, a few nursery rhymes, a non-fiction “article.” I can put away the last issue and begin the endless re-reading of something different. Because of the variety in each magazine and the thin (but not too thin) paper pages, they make great take-along books, too.
More ideas coming tomorrow…
Elsa is a mother, a wife, and a reader. She lives in the Sonoran desert and dreams of moving back to the Midwest.
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