Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28 Photo: On the Shelf

I have stuff on shelves all over my house. There are shelves of clothes, there are shelves of toys, there are shelves of vases, there are shelves of food, there are shelves of Tupperware and tchotchkes and DVDs and CDs and sheet music. But my favorites, by far, are the shelves of books. And my favorite shelves of books are the shelves of kids’ books.

My mom was a children’s librarian and my sister was an early childhood education major, so not only do I know all the great children’s literature from my own childhood, I’m pretty up to date on all the good stuff through the mid-1990s. And because my wonderful cousin Carol passed along her kids’ favorite books, I’ve even got some good stuff from after 2000.

This shelf is only the books we keep in the playroom – it doesn’t include any of the marvelous classics we keep in the bedrooms for naptime and bedtime stories. We’ve got it all: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Go Dog Go, Are You My Mother, all things Seuss, Make Way for Ducklings, The Story of Ping, Tikki Tikki Tembo, Where the Wild Things Are, the complete Richard Scarry Collection, Goodnight Moon, Chick Chicka ABC, There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon, Animalia, I Spy, Polar Express, half a dozen books involving trucks and/or trains, and Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? We have books about being a big brother, getting a big boy bed, and learning to use the potty. We have books with no words, a few words, and lots of words. We have books with a few pictures, a lot of pictures, and only pictures. We have some that we read nearly every night and some that I can’t wait until the kids are ready for them. We have books that make sounds and books that have windows that open and books that have different textures to touch.
Books are a window to the world around us. They introduce children to animals they have never seen, places they have never been, and adventures they have never heard of. Books teach them little words and big words and little ideas and big ideas. Books help them think and grow and learn and imagine.
It’s a shelf full of books, but it’s also a window to the whole entire universe – and maybe a couple more universes, just for good measure!
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