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Who Am I? ...Let the Adventure Begin!

Reality is a magical place.

If you are not in awe of it, you can be sure you’ve lost touch with it.

And touching it is only a beginning to actually grasping it.

G. K. Chesterton

In BWCB Episode 2: Let the Adventure Begin we think about what role our early reading choices make in our child’s formation. I propose that board books are the first way we assist our children as they wonder, “What…IS?”and “Who am I?” I reflect on the meaning of my name, since it has framed my own the answer to these two questions. I wonder, could it be that each child has a “word” that helps him understand the story of his life?

In Episode 2: Let the Adventure Begin, I encourage us to see how the repetition that comes with reading to very little children can be a gift. Repetition is a valuable gift to the child and an opportunity for us to look past monotony to something deeper. I suggest three practical ideas to guide your board book choices.

Questions to guide your book choices for Baby:

1) Is the book beautiful to look at? Is it clear what is being illustrated? Look for books with simple, beautiful, naturalistic illustrations. We want to facilitate our child’s recognition of “what is.” Illustrations should be easily recognized for what they’re representing.

2) Is it too realistic? Photos or cartoons? This stage of baby-toddlerhood is not a good time for abstract or overly geometric representations, or too much fantasy. But since we want to engage our child’s connectivity—asking their mind to work--it’s best to steer clear of illustrations that are too cartoonish or are simply photos. Photos can substitute for the good work of thinking and making connections.

3) Are the words interesting, curious, rhythmic, or rhyming? Children are acquiring language with staggering rapidity at this stage. Let’s honor this by giving them books with delightful sounds, rhythms, and rhymes. It’s good for their physical and verbal development—of course! But it is also FUN. Language is delightful. And if the language is high-quality, it will be less painful when you inevitably memorize it. (You're welcome.)

Charity’s Favorites:

Mother Goose by Kate Greenaway or Blanche Fisher Wright or Mary Englebreight

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Mini-Masters Boxed Set by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

JamBerry by Bruce Degeen

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

Baby’s Box of Fun by Karen Katz

I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scary

Best Little Board Book Ever by Richard Scary

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carl

From Head To Toe by Eric Carl

Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Eric Carl

World of Eric Carle by Eric Carl

Around the Farm by Eric Carl

All My Little Ducklings by Monica Wellington

Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures (not a board book) by Marla Freeze

The House That Jack Built by Diana Mayo

Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

Silly Sally by Audrey Wood

Jaclyn's Favorites:

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle

Animals in the Jungle by Kenneth Lilly

Animals in the Country by Kenneth Lilly

Animal Swimmers by Kenneth Lilly

(last two aren't board books)

The Animal Atlas by Kenneth Lilly

Kenneth Lilly’s Animals by Kenneth Lilly

The Little Auto by Lois Lenski

The Little Airplane by Lois Lenski

The Little Sailboat by Lois Lenski

The Little Train by Lois Lenski

The Little Farm by Lois Lenski

The Little Fire Engine by Lois Lenski

Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski

Policeman Small by Lois Lenski

Gossie and Gertie and Friends by Oliver Dunrae

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1 Comment

Mary Norton
Mary Norton
Nov 20, 2020

Love this Charity! Awesome post about board books/first books for children! Love the recommendations!

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