I have started building a library of books for my daughter. We read to her all the time, and people have very generously given us books to start her collection. It made me think about how we want to go about building her bookshelf. What kinds of books do we want to include? What do we want to leave off?
Here are some of my thoughts about how I’m going to go about it.
Visit the Library or Book Store: I can’t wait to visit my local library/book store and see what’s in the “New Titles” section. This is a great way to browse and see what’s out there. If there is a very special book, or something that really leaps out at me, I will have no problem going down to my local book store and ordering / picking up a copy.
Get Recommendations: I’m going to ask around! I have a ton of friends who are parents, and I’m sure their kids all had favorites. Hey, if they have grown out of those books, they might even pass some along.
Find a Good List: The internet is full of lists. Best First Grade Science Fiction, Best Interactive Board Books for Babies, New Diverse Picture Books, the possibilities are endless.
I’m thinking that it will be important that my daughter bookshelf is age appropriate. Right now I’m thinking books that will have high engagement and be interactive. It’s never too early to devour a good book. We have quite the collection of Pop-Up books and sound books so far.
The Five Finger Test: When she starts to grow into chapter books and middle grade I will use a method that called the five finger test. Basically, it works like this:
Open any book. Hold up a finger for every word you don’t know. Use this little chart as a guide.
THINK ABOUT CONTENT
To be fair though, I also want stories about space, dinosaurs, superheroes, fairy tales and trucks as well! Classics and Socially themed books are great, but not all the time.
Books to Grow Into: I want to make sure I always have a few books on the shelf that she will be excited to read, something to work towards. Kids love to “read up”.
Books for Fun: I think I might be a book snob – and I know I’m not the only one out there! You know the books I’m talking about; floppy things with loose plots and lots of fart jokes. I know I’m going to have to remind myself that books that are purely for fun are okay too.
I might cringe when she asks for one, but I’ll grin and bear it, and then maybe follow it up with something more substantial.
CHANGE IS GOOD
Does it Bring You Joy? We are big Marie Kondo fans. She is a Japanese organizing consultant. She believes that we should keep the things that spark joy in our lives, and thank then let go the things that don’t. I think this can be applied to keeping a bookshelf for children. Although we might want to keep every book that comes into our lives, it’s okay to know when to let some go.
I have a mementos box that I keep special things in. Perhaps I will make a box for special books as well.
Ultimately, a child’s bookshelf needs to change and grow with the child. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, just whatever works for you and your family.