You guys, I had a parenting breakthrough.
Are you ready? Because this may have actually changed my life.
See this little magazine rack? I bought it from a friend at a garage sale–she didn’t even know what I meant when I showed up huffing and puffing and hoping “that amazing little bookcase” that I saw on Facebook was still there.
I’m not sure if this is intended to hold blankets or magazines–but it’s the bee’s knees for picture books.
I’ve had it for nearly a year, and it’s been painted and hung in a prominent location for at least six months–and my kids have mostly ignored the carefully curated books I rotated through its shelves. But finally, after another night of urging my kids to hurry up and pick a book already, I decided to limit bedtime reading choices to the books on the red shelf. If they enjoy it and want to reread, it can go back on the red shelf. If they leave it on the floor or ground, I get to choose where to return it. If they would prefer not to read it again soon, they can return it to our more crowded shelves, spine out (or the basket nearby).
This has totally eliminated the pre-bedtime story whining. And I’m not reading Hop on Pop every night (because, while I can appreciate the power of rereading a good book–there’s gotta be a story to pull me through!).
Tonight we read Dr. De Soto goes to Africa (and discovered this fun and unexpected autograph by author William Steig! Yay for secondhand books!). If I can find the original Dr. De Soto on my shelves, it’ll go into rotation soon.
We read The Salamander Room for our Five in a Row co-op. I’ll admit: this was one of the last books from our booklist that I purchased. I wasn’t intrigued by the description, and I couldn’t find a great used copy anywhere. I finally bought a new copy, and oh, I love it! I am not naturally a nature girl, but I want to be–and I want my kids to love nature, too. The Salamander Room is sweet and short and captures perfectly the way little boys feel about their creatures.
Sissy has been returning regularly to Charlotte Zolotow’s I Like to Be Little. Zolotow is an author I had to give a second change–I was not impressed with the attitudes presented in the first two books by her that I encountered. But I Like to Be Little is darling and sweet, and may or may not make me a little teary. This is a great book for moms and daughters, especially.
Jan Brett is another author that took some time to grow on me. We had read her the Hat and the Mitten and the Gingerbread Man at Christmas, and they were fine–but they weren’t stories I wanted to return to again and again. I’m glad, however, that I’ve continued to collect books she’s authored, because we recently discovered Trouble with Trolls. Both of my kids were taken in by the witty main character who outsmarts some dangerous trolls. The illustrations, as always, are perfect, with fun little clues about the next page.
Once my kids decided they loved Trouble with Trolls, I pulled a few others by Jan Brett from our shelves. We have enjoyed Hedgie’s Surprise about a naughty little Tomten (an entirely new mythological creature to me!) who keeps stealing Hedgie’s eggs. We also revisited Berlioz the Bear–this one didn’t resonate with the kids quite as well as the other two, but the way one key moment echoes Ferdinand the Bull helped it worm its way into our hearts, as well.
We’ve also been dabbling with lots of easy readers–we picked up anything that looked mildly interesting from the library, including a few about Star Wars. Bubba can read pretty well these days, but he’s not yet sure of himself; I’m trying to put simple, easy to read text in front of him as often as I can. Even though these readers aren’t classics–and they aren’t worth buying and keeping for my grandkids someday–they are fun and provide some motivation for reading practice.
What’s been on your list this month?