I have a confession: 95% (or more) of the books we borrow from the library come to us because I put them on hold. We do very little browsing. I feel horribly guilty about this. But it seems that nearly every time we're at the library we have ten other errands to run and places to be and can't linger. Not to mention that my daughters like to pick books based on important criteria like spine color. I keep justifying the practice by telling myself that when the 5-year-old is "really" reading I'll let her browse and choose her own books more. For now, while I am still reading to them, I figure I should get a say.
Nonetheless, this week the guilt got the better of me and I promised my girls they could pick out their own books. When I saw what they had chosen, it only confirmed my preference for the reserve system. The 5-year-old (who chooses her own books twice a week from her classroom and school libraries, respectively) selected a book about death (involving a squirrel who goes to "Squirrel Paradise") and a book about becoming an older sibling (irrelevant, and an especially boring version of the genre at that). The 3-year-old picked a Dora book (kill me now!) and one about a family whom a goblin comforts after an unexplained tragedy (which appears to be the death of a child and luckily went over my kids' heads).
I think it is important for children to choose their own books. It gives them a sense of control, an opportunity to explore their interests, a feeling that reading is for their own enjoyment, not an assignment, and, when they get older and read to themselves, a sense of privacy, a way to create their own worlds. I don't want to deprive my girls of the special pleasure of coming across a truly wonderful book serendipitously on a library or bookstore shelf. I don't believe in limiting what they read. Then again, when I see that dead squirrel book sitting on my shelf, I think such principles may be overrated.
What is your library M.O.?
Friday, February 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
This book is rather wordy so I violated my own rules and paraphrased and omitted as I read it to my girls. They were fascinated. My three-year-old was particularly intrigued by the prison library (go figure). When I asked my five-year-old the admittedly inane question, "Isn't this a nice book?," she quickly corrected me. "No, it's an interesting book." She was right. Go pick it up at your local library today! (I couldn't resist.)
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate is the second in the series which starts with Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. It follows the format of the first (which, by the way, shows Miss Bindergarten shelving classic books including The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven (one of my favorite picture books ever) and Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal), as we watch each animal-child in the class, in alphabetical order (Adam the alligator, Brenda the beaver, and so on) prepare for the 100th day. The depictions of the children's preparations are interspersed with spreads showing the eponymous canine teacher doing the same. It was fun for my daughter to see what things Miss Bindergarten's students brought in and compare them with what her classmates brought. This book also has a note at the end, crediting a woman named Lynn Taylor with pioneering 100th Day celebrations in 1981 or 1982 (I just missed out!). The note states that she was influenced by Mary Baratta-Lorton, who did work on teaching children math and number concepts. A quick google search turned up the same information repeatedly, but nothing additional and no independent sources that I thought were reliable.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Below are the books we currently have out from the library. Between the last Library Loot post and this one, we also checked out a few books not shown here because we rejected them and returned them so quickly. They are now lost to history. But you'll also see several that we still have out - either because we loved them so or because we have yet to read them!
For the kids:
For the kids: