Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Shopping For Kids/Part 1...

We all know that books make great gifts. But finding the right book isn't always easy. Finding the right book for a child can be a bit tricky. Kids have so many things to occupy their time that sometimes books get relegated to the bottom of the list after sports, toys, video games and television. So how to get those kids to turn off the video games and TV and read a book?

I decided to consult the experts and find out what books they recommend. The three experts I consulted have a combined reading experience of over 20 years. Their taste vary from science, fantasy, animals, monsters, super heroes, sports and humor. Their love of reading varies from reading almost anything to the very picky reader. The age range is from 8 to 15, two boys (8 & 9) and one girl (15). Can you guess who enjoys reading the most?

I also used my years of experience reading to the three expert consultants (civilian)* and came up with some books I enjoyed reading, sometimes over and over and over again. One thing the books, especially for the younger kids, have in common is the amazing illustrations.

Preschool/Kindergarten ~

A silly book to read and brings back memories of the fun the kids had when we read it together is The Napping House. The story builds on itself, adding characters as the story progresses. This book is such a fun book to read together. It's an easy book to memorize and then you can take turns reading it to each other.

On a cozy bed lie a snoring granny, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, and a tiny slumbering mouse. But then an unexpected visitor arrives to interrupt this rainy afternoon at the napping house . . . where "no one" now is sleeping!

Laura Numeroff (author) and Felicia Bond (illustrator) have created a wonderful series - If You ... Each book features a different animal from pig, cat, mouse and moose. Each starts with a different offering from the narrator to the featured animal. The initial offering causes the animal to want something else. Once they get that something else... they want something else. Kids love the logic of the animals in these books. And the illustrations are cute and fun.

Mercer Mayer has entertained all of my kids with his Little Critter books. Even I have some favorites. Little Critter is an adorable animal, (what, I'm not exactly sure) that experiences many of the same things human kids experience growing up. There are hundreds of Little Critter books for a wide age range.

One of the boys favorite kindergarten teachers is a dog. What? Yep, a dog. A border collie to be specific. The Miss Bindergarten series has a dog for a teacher and animals for students. The illustrations, done by Ashley Wolff are vibrant and bold with their bright colors and the stories, written by Joseph Slate, are an amusing look into the life of a kindergarten teacher and her students.

And if you want some beautiful illustrations with exceptional storytelling then look no further than Jan Brett. She writes wonderful stories full of furry woodland creatures and children and happy endings. The illustrations are not only the main picture but the borders are gorgeous with smaller picture that go with the story and feel of the books.

Many of the author websites also have activities and reading guides you can download and print. Definitely check out their websites. This is just a small taste of the wonderful books that are out there for the early readers. If you have a little one in need of a gift this holiday season why not give them a book.

What books for the younger kids do you recommend?

Next up, books for middle school readers.

*Whenever I hear the words "expert consultant" I always add on the word civilian, thanks to Roarke. :)


  1. LOL, I caught that reference to the ID books! LOL :)

    Very interesting list! I haven't read any of those books, but I've seen them :)

  2. I have children of all ages in my family, from newborn, then jump in age to 4 to 12. And THEN, 19 (YA) I'm the "book" Auntie... I give them books every year, so I must go shopping soon.

    It's not easy, Leslie. I think knowing the child & what they enjoy helps in choosing the books. :)

  3. nath ~ there are so many good kids books out now - lots to choose from!

    Hils ~ I give the kids books every year. Something fun but I try to sneak in some learning too. :)