And Then It’s Spring, by Julie Fogliano
A boy and his animal friends are waiting for spring. They notice the brown earth, plant seeds and wait for rain. Each week they look at the changes. Parents can help children notice the changes and anticipate the changes that are coming, whether it’s a new season or a new school or a new teacher. Knowing how things will grow and change helps children feel more confident. They will begin to predict, anticipate and problem solve.
Flower Garden, by Eve Bunting
Dad and daughter go shopping together for a gift for mom. Together, dad and daughter buy the flowers and plant them in a window box for mom’s birthday. A child feels valued when they work together to create a gift for mom or dad or someone close to them. They learn kindness and thoughtfulness.
The Little Calf, by Dong Hu and Li Jian
This is a story written in English and Chinese. Little Calf wants to help grandpa, who lives next door. Little Calf is young and does not know how to help, but he wants to help. His mother shows Little Calf how to help grandpa. She is right next to him giving him guidance and encouragement. Little Calf was not alone as he learned new things.
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.