Thursday, September 11, 2008

Building a library for your child


My friends know that I have a ridiculously huge children's book collection (as in, it warrants its own room with multiple bookshelves) so it probably seems silly that it's very important to me to start a personal children's book collection for my son. Here's my reasoning: I inherited very few of the cherished books from my childhood because I have three siblings who also loved the same books and on top of that, my mom now has four grandchildren to read to. Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't think we had any copies of my parents' childhood favorites. So many memories are tied to those books, and I would love to have a little library of them. I also would like to use my collection to read to my someday grandchildren and I have this idea that someday, I'd like to leave my own collection of children's books to a women's & children's shelter as part of their library or to be divided up and sent with families to their new homes because every child should have access to great books.

I don't neccessarily want my son to have boxes and boxes of books to lug from home to home as I do, but I do want him to have a few favorites so I did two simple things to start his collection.

  1. I started a birthday tradition that every year I will give my son either a new book that I know he will love (like the new Mo Willems Pigeon book that comes out right after his first birthday) or his favorite book that we've enjoyed from the library that year (This year it was a tie between Dear Zoo and Where's Spot). He gets the book for his birthday and then we take a picture of him reading the book (this year, courtesy of my photographer sister Candice, it was a picture of him sitting on our laps while we read it to him). I glue a copy of the picture into the book along with a longer list of his favorite books from the year. It will be fun to interview him to create the list when he gets older. I think Kristi of Everything Pink buys her girls each a Christmas book every year and then writes brief synopsis of each child's year in their book so this is sort of a different twist on that.


  2. I try to attend local book signings and buy copies of books to be signed for my son even if I already own my own copy. Then I take a picture of my son with the author/illustrator and tape it into the book with the signature so my son will know when he met the author/illustrator. I love to see his collection grow and I have visions of him bringing books like his signed copy of Knuffle Bunny Too to show and tell so he can tell everyone about the time he actually met Mo Willems, etc.

Two simple ideas, but hopefully that will get you thinking about your own book collections.

11 comments:

Mom said...

In Eleanor & Rosalynd's kindergarten, there is a tradition that on your birthday, you buy a book for the kindergarten library. They put your picture in the book - and after cupcakes, you get to read YOUR story to the rest of your class. The teachers report that the most popular books in the collection are the ones that children have picked out. The girls are glad to see their picks cherished on the shelves - even after all these years.
_Mom Cat

Marissa Joy said...

What a great idea. I never thought about it before. I think I need to start collecting books for Logan to have of his very own. I would have loved that as a kid and how nice would it be to have books from when I was little to read to him now?
Oh and thanks to your past suggestions Dear Zoo is one of Logan's favorites too.

Jen Robinson said...

What great ideas, Stephanie! You're creating an immense gift for your son.

Reba said...

I love this idea! Thanks, Steph

Kim said...

Your first words were, "Read, read." All day long you would carry books around and say, "read, read" to anyone that was there. After four children who all loved to read and so many moves, I think most of the books we owned were worn out. It didn't seem like you had favorites but that you loved many different ones. The one I remember reading most was, "There's a Monster At the End of This Book." I think everyone loved that book because I read it in my best imitation of Grover's voice from Sesame Street.

With four small children and little or no budget, we spent many hours with library books. Who doesn't love the library and library reading programs?

The best gift you can give your children is a love of reading because it opens a whole world of possibilities and knowledge.

I love the memories and documentation you are making with Creed. I'm glad you are inspiring others in the world of literature as well. I'm still waiting to read your book. Now that's a book I will treasure.

Larry said...

Brilliant idea!!

Cassie L. said...

Unfortunately, or fortunately, my tradition is to spend way too much money on books and have them on every shelf and basket in every room. It really is fortunate actually, but it makes for less fun while moving.

One tradition we have also is that my kids have a wrapped book in their beds to open on Christmas morning. We probably stole that idea from someone, but it works well. Anyways it accomplishes two goals:
1. They are entertained a few minutes longer before wanting to dash downstairs and open presents.
2. We give them a book about Christ or something spiritually related so that they can start Christmas day on the right track.

Then they bring them down and we read them together and have some good family time before the chaos hits.

Carrie said...

What a great idea! Being a reading teacher, I, too, have a large book collection. I never gave too much thought to building personal book collections for my kids since I have so many books- but you had a good point. I DO have signed copies of Lois Ehlert and Kevin Henkes books for my kids, though. They are some of my favorite authors, and they both live in Wisconsin, too.

Mari said...

I loooove books and I have read to my children since they were babies. We're still reading aloud today as our special nighttime ritual. The children's book collection has spread from its original shelving in the rumpus room to bookcases in the childrens' rooms where they keep their own special and favourite books. They get books for Christmas, birthdays and every time in between when I spot another treasure (usually at least monthly...). Our latest treasure was meeting Mem Fox and having my daughter's copy of "Where is the Green Sheep" signed.

Mari said...

ps - I love the image in this post, can I use it, please?

judith said...

Fun Children's literature cartoon - baby einstein!.