I am a children’s bookaholic! There, I said it…… think what you will of me but that’s just the way it is. I have over 700 children’s books in my personal library. Recently, I have felt so guilty about adding more books that I’ve started purchasing them for my little friends. Their parents think I’m just so thoughtful but actually I am only satisfying my habit.
I find I am first drawn to the illustrations. I have always been this way. When I was a little girl we had a set of Childcraft books. One book had drawings of a little girl playing house. I was so fascinated and looked at it over and over again but I couldn’t read at all. My favorite book was We Like Kindergarten. In my early 20’s, while sorting through my childhood closet, I realized the illustrator was the same for both. My collection and love of Eloise Wilkin books was born. My current favorite book obsession is Splat the Cat books by Rob Scotton with illustrations that just make me smile.
Little children love to look at pictures. Picture books are directed at them and can be “read” by everyone. Some are even lacking words at all so the “reader” can make up their own story. Beginning readers often use the pictures to help them decode the sentences. They’d rather read the picture than read the words. For some children, it is a sad day when they begin to read chapter books and pictures become almost non existent.
Board books are made for very young children. They’re small, sturdy and simple. They are where you should begin your book journey with your child. At some point along the way, your child is going to start trying to grab at the book….after all you’re holding it and they want to do what you do. Grab a paper book….rip! Grab a board book….sturdy.
Your tracking finger will start to multitask. It will not only go top to bottom, left to right but will soon start pointing to animals, shapes, numbers, and our family favorite, babies. Babies like to look at other babies. Our first board book was Babies by Gyo Fujikawa and we looked at those babies every night. The book is still in good condition 29 years later, waiting to be shared with another generation.
Animal board books are simple. Most are one animal per page. The perfect place for your busy, multitasking tracking finger to introduce your child to animals. It’s the natural thing to do…..point, “duck”….and one day you will be surprised when you open the book and your child points and says “duck”. The door is opened for, “what does the duck say?” As your child matures, so do the books. You will start to buy books with more detail in the pictures and so you can ask, “where is the duck?” and your child can point.
The best thing about board books is the size. They are small, just the right size for little hands. Book smart skills can be practiced when no one is looking……hold, open, look, babble…..pretending to read the book. They are content because books are associated with comfy, warm feelings and they have been learning about them from you.
Board books…..small, simple sturdy ……. the beginning of the journey to independent reading.