When my older daughter was still just a baby, she loved listening to stories and looking at books. We would sit on the floor of her room with a pile of books and work our way through them. When we finished the last one, she would waddle over to her bookshelf and grab another stack. She just loves books. I read Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’tKnow She Was Extinct so many times, I had it memorized. I could even read that book in the dark at bedtime without looking at the pages. It helps that it is a good book with a good message.
Now she is older, about to start second grade, and reading on her own. She has access to computers, iPods, televisions, Innotabs, a Wii system, and all the other modern toys with their flashing lights and annoying sounds, but she still loves books. At bedtime, she still loves to curl up in my bed next to me and read book after book. The other night, after finishing MeetMarie-Grace and getting two chapters into the next book, I tried to stop reading. It was after 10 o’clock! She cried, “but I am so sucked into this book! It is like the book is a whirl pool, and my mind is going around and around and around, getting deeper and deeper into the story, until -WHOOSH - I am totally sucked in. Please don’t stop!” I read one more chapter.
Her little sister, though, rarely wants to sit still for a story. Occasionally we can find a book which will get her attention and keep her sitting still from cover to cover, but not often. There is one book that always works, though. Naked Mole Rat GetsDressed by Mo Willems. We have several books by Mo Willems (the girls get a kick out of the Elephant and Piggie series especially Today I Will Fly), but that little naked mole rat is true favorite with my soon to be five year old. She loves that he is naked. I love that he is himself. She loves the silly costumes he puts on. I love that in the end everyone agrees to be themselves – whether that means being naked or wearing clothes. She loves that everyone is happy in the end, and I love that she loves a book.
While modern blinking things are cool, and the girls do love their gadgets, I think books will still be a part of their lives. If even my non-reader daughter can find a book to get sucked into, I think all kids can. We just need to keep looking for new books to match their personalities. Not everyone will like every book (although my older daughter comes pretty close), so don’t give up if your kid squirms away when you try to read. Just keep trying, and when you find one that works, read it over and over until you can read it in the dark.
Here are a few more books we love: