My Baba’s Garden, by Jordan Scott
This boy lives in Canada. His dad drops him off at his Baba’s home every school morning. His Baba makes him oatmeal every morning and then they take care of the garden. Baba walks him to school. When it is raining his Baba brings a jar filled with dirt to pick up the worms from the sidewalk. Later the boy and Baba put the worms in the garden.
Now Baba lives with the boy and the boy makes her oatmeal every morning and sits with her as they look out the window. The boy has planted some of Baba’s tomato seeds. As they look at the growing plant, the boy decides to go out in the rain to pick up some worms for the tomato plant.
Children feel the kindness and respect that is shown them and can give back to others in much the same way that it was shown to them.
Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring, by Kenard Pak
This book says goodbye to the melting snow, the frozen pond and the last of the snowflakes. It says hello to the waking animals, the returning birds and the green grass.
It is a good book to help preschoolers talk about the ending of their school year and the soon-to-come kindergarten year. They need help remembering all the things they have accomplished this past year and how they have blossomed and grown.
Chicka Chicka 1 2 3, by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert
This counting book is all about numbers – AND a worry about feeling left out. In the end, there is always room for one more. Young children worry about being left out or forgotten. They may have to wait and waiting is hard, but they will be included. This story will help them manage the wait.
How to pick a great children’s book
The selection of books is as important as the selection of toys. Young children have incomplete information for understanding the world around them, which results in what we often refer to as “magical thinking”: explanations for things that don’t make sense to adults. Magical thinking can make it difficult to know what’s going on in a child’s mind, and may lead to unexpected reactions of fear or stress.
Here are some thoughts about selecting appropriate books:
- Look for pictures that may be scary to a young child. Is there a fire? Do the animals have long sharp teeth? Are there depictions of things that you know are troubling to your child specifically?
- Is the vocabulary suitable? Are the words scary, like yelping, snarling and hissing sounds. Are there references to violence or antisocial behavior – fighting or throwing things?
- Is it developmentally appropriate? Books for young children should be uncluttered and simple with a clear presentation of the important concepts. The first words that children learn are nouns – the objects of everyday life.
For more insights about selecting books and reading with young children, look at our original list of 100 great children’s books.
Book links go to Amazon and generate a small donation to Hanna Perkins Center when used to make a purchase.