Maya is a bookworm in every sense of the word. She devours books (sometimes by actually eating them). When she learned to give hugs a few weeks ago, she would only hug her books. To her, stuffed animals are seats for reading… why would she want to hug one?
You’ll know Maya wants you to read to her if you hear her yell “EHN!!!!” while throwing a book into your lap or face. And you have to read it. I made the rule that we have to read to Maya if she brings a book. I made this rule because I want her to love reading and books (she does). I did not make the rule to make us insane (it does).
Now you’re either shaking your head because “Who doesn’t want to read to their child?!” or you’re nodding along because your kids drive you nuts with books too.
Or I should say, it’s the BOOKS that drive you nuts. Why?
1. They are stupid. Sorry, but it’s true. A lot (and I mean A LOT) of kids’ books are boring and trite. I’ll be the first to say it… I hate Goodnight, Moon. Every time I read it to Maya, I find parts of it that drive me crazy. I love the idea of saying goodnight to the world, and I get that its a classic, but if you’ve read it a billion times, you’ll agree that it’s annoying. And don’t even get me started on Pet the Bunny. Creeeeeeepy.
2. The message is questionable. We have a book that I bought for a quarter before Maya was born, when I was getting all sentimental about what kind of mom I wanted to be. I decided to be the kind of mom that had a lot of books available for her kid. I should have been the kind of mom that pre-reads books before buying them. In the story, this fish has special shiny scales, but none of the other fish like him until he gives away all his scales. Moral: If you have something excellent, use it to make others like you. Hm.
3. The book is too big. My mom got Maya these excellent books with flaps and levers and pictures of real animals inside. They even rhyme! Maya is crazy about them, but we have to hide them and only bring them out sometimes. Why? The books are HUGE and awkward for Maya to haul around. She isn’t walking yet, so she has to crawl and push the book, and then try to hoist it into your lap. It pisses her off and gets her all screamy before you can even read page one. She loves crawling around the house with books, so it’s unfortunate that these are too big for her!
4. There are too many words on each page. Maya likes to read books a number of times in one sitting. The first time you can read it at normal speed. The second time, she wants to turn the pages. The third time, she wants to turn the pages at double-speed. And if you can’t keep up with reading the book, the plot jumps around and makes no sense (to you, she’s only looking at the pictures). So don’t buy those books that have more than a dozen words on a page because you will never have time to read them all!
Want to know the best kinds of books to buy?
Books that rhyme. When you get tired of reading them, you can rap them. Simon is the best at this, and can usually rap it to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme. These books are also easier to memorize if you want to “read” to your child while doing something else like trying to drink your tea.
Books that are funny. These are hard to find, and they won’t be funny forever, but it’s nice while it lasts!
Books with no words. It’s fun to make up a story, or just enjoy the illustrations. And your older child will enjoy making up stories of their own!
Books with hidden items or complex illustrations. I loved finding hidden things in books when I was a kid, and it’s still fun! It’s cool to find the little mouse (a popular choice) on each page, or to notice a detail you hadn’t seen before. Plus it’s a chance for your child to point out what’s interesting to them in the picture so you can chat about it.
Books you loved as a child. You probably already have it memorized, and your kids will love hearing about how you read the same book when you were their age. Plus I’ll bet your parents will laugh because they read you the very same book a dozen times a day.
What are your favourite kids’ books? What do your kids read?