Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Current Favorite

This post isn't really about books as much as it is about book storage. A few weeks ago I finally got some wall ledges (I believe they are officially named "picture ledges") at Ikea. I have been obsessing over these for about a year. All of our books are kept on bookshelves, in the traditional manner...but I started thinking that Mia would want to read a larger variety of her books if she could recognize books by their covers...instead of just their spines on the shelves...especially since she can't read yet. She has more books than she can remember! Working in children's services in the library setting, I know how important a good display can be. Great books won't be read if no one knows they are there. Displaying books is the way to help.

So, what I ended up doing is getting three of the shorter (I think it's about 22" long) "ribba" ledges and having my handyman (husband) hang them in Mia's playroom. I would have preferred the longer versions (about 45") of the ledges, but I was only able to get the short. I liked the birch finish, but the ledges also come in black and white. My store was sold out of the birch and Ikea has discontinued that version. I left the store without any that day. After thinking about it for a while after that shopping trip, I looked on eBay and I found the birch version! I also found some on Amazon. I really like the white ledges, but decided that i liked birch the best for our playroom AND I felt the birch looked the best in Mia's bedroom, just in case we moved them into her room in the future. They were easy for my husband to install-they are just screwed into the wall, they don't require to be anchored to a stud. My husband worries that this will make them less sturdy, but everything seems alright thus far. I will be careful how much I place on each shelf and I won't let Mia hang from them like the little monkey girl that she is. ;)

So far, I've been thrilled with them! Almost everyday, I switch out the books, so that Mia is seeing different covers. She has actually gone into the playroom and looked at the books on the shelves and asked to read them right that instant. Hooray! Exactly what I wanted to happen. We always read before bed and although I do offer throughout the day, I try to not do it too much (especially since my husband tries to persuade Mia to read with him constantly when he's home...but that's a whole other story, for a whole other blog post...and maybe even another blog! ;)) so that she doesn't get sick of reading. Anytime she asks to read, I drop whatever I'm doing (within reason, of course) and do it. It's so important that kids want to read books with the people they love and that they have FUN while doing it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Current Favorite Books at Our House

Mia's favorite books right now are three titles in the "Barefoot Sing-a-Longs" collection. These are picture books that come with a music cd. The text of the book is the lyrics to the song on the cd. There are lots more in the series, but we have only checked out three from our local library so far. Mia LOVES them. I really like the illustrations AND the songs too. If you have a child that is having a hard time sitting still to listen to a story read to them, I suggest trying one of these books. Mia loves to jump in her doorway jumper (from when she was a baby-she still jumps in it several times a day, at almost 3 years old! Weirdo!) while we play the songs over and over and over again, while Mom or Dad sing along and hold up the books so she can see the pictures. It's a fun way to mix in more reading. I wouldn't recommend these for reading/playing as part of bedtime routines...they're too much fun! Mia has often begged to listen to them when we read before bed, but we have to tell her no...she'd never go to sleep if having so much fun listening to them! ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

When You Gotta Go...

Mia will be 3 years old next week. She is potty learning right now. Some of her favorite books to read are "potty" books. Here is a list of titles she has liked the best:

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

The Gas We Pass by Shinta Cho

Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel

My Big Girl Undies by Karen Katz

Diapers Are Not Forever  by Elizabeth Verdick

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

Potty Poo-Poo Wee-Wee by Colin McNaughton

Lily's Potty - Begin Smart

Big Girl Panties by Fran Manushkin

All By Myself by Emile Jadoul

Friday, February 22, 2013


Hello, I'm Abbie. Welcome to my very first blog post! 

I have always loved to read. I have always loved children. It makes sense that I love children's books. 

I got a part-time job at my city's main library branch in my second year of college. I thought it would be a relaxing and quiet job. Ha! Lots of people seem to think libraries are quiet places, but they really aren't anymore. 
Suprisingly (to me, anyway), that part-time job checking in and out books turned into career. I worked part-time while going to college, was promoted and then took on more hours after I graduated. I wanted to work in the children's library for a long time before it happened, and even took a children's literature course as an elective while at the university. I spent six years working full-time in the children's department of the main library, before being promoted to be the children's librarian at one of the branch libraries. I spent three years working as the children's librarian in the very library that I used to visit as a kid. After three years, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and resigned. I had given birth to my daughter, Mia, a few months before and decided that I wanted to be with her as much as possible. I am still a substitute employee and work for a couple of hours, occasionally. I miss it so much more than I ever dreamed I would. I hope to return to working at the library regularly again once Mia (and any younger sibling she hopefully will have)  is older. 

I have been reading to Mia since before she was born. I worked full-time as a children's librarian for my entire pregnancy. I did at least two storytimes at my library branch every week. So she heard me read stories to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers on a regular basis. She heard me recite finger plays, nursery rhymes, and sing the songs that were all a part of my storytime repertoire. I loved knowing that she had already attended all of those library programs before she was even born. 
I started reading to her when she was almost two months old. I may have started before then, but I know I began making a conscious effort once she started to seem more aware of her surroundings. I would lie down with her on a blanket on the floor and hold board books above our heads and read. It was amazing. This tiny two-month-old baby was listening and watching each page as I read books that back covers stated they were for babies/toddlers 12-18 months old. I think it helped that I knew what kind of books to choose. Over the last several years working in children's library services, board books for babies/toddlers and picture books for preschoolers had become my area of expertise. I trained other library staff on doing "Book Baby" storytime programs. But...a parent doesn't need a professional background in children's literature or library science to be able to successfully read to their child. It's really so simple. I chose books that were appealing to me. I had a bunch of board books that I had checked out and brought home before I went in maternity leave. I hadn't even thought I would be reading the books to Mia, I just brought them home for the same reason I have brought home thousands of books over the years...because I liked them.  I chose board books with large yet simple illustrations. Things that were easy for tiny eyes to see. I still read her those first few books she liked as a tiny baby every now and then. I know I will never give them away. They will always be special to me. We read: 

Totty by Paola Opal (all of the books in her Simply Small board book series are perfect for babies and toddlers-simple illustrations, outlined in black line, which makes them easier for babies to see)
Bouncy Baby (a "Begin Smart" board book for babies 6-12 months) with simple illustrations

Peek-a-Boo What? (another "Begin Smart" board book for babies 12-18 months) with more complicated, cut-paper collage-style illustrations. 

These books (and reading) might not work for other parents as well as it worked for me and Mia. All babies (and children) are different and do things at different rates. Mia was ready at two months, but if your baby isn't happy to sit (or lie) still at that young age, don't give up. Keep trying every once in a while...and one day your baby will be ready. We started reading together before Mia was even born...and we are still going strong. It makes my heart so happy. 
We Love to Read

Before my child had even been conceived, I had already started collecting children's books. We have acquired so many more since she was born...I am a little scared to count how many there are in our home! She has two tall bookcases in her bedroom, shelves in her playroom, and another bookcase in our living room. We usually have at least 30-40 books checked out from our local libraries at a time. We can't get enough. It's been so rewarding to share the love I have for reading with my little girl. I decided that I would start a blog to share book titles, give recommendations for other parents and children, and advice for fostering early literacy in family homes. I'm so excited to begin! 

Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to do so!