I love books! And I hope my daughter does, too.

Welcome to March edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month’s topic is “Discovering Through Books”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!

As a child and young adult I loved books.  I have wanted to be a librarian since I was 10.  I volunteered at an elementary school library for three years as a high school student and for one semester as a college student.  Knowing this background, it’s a given that my daughter owns the most books on the block… most likely anyway!  Books have given us some opportunities that I would like to share.

Most of her books, in the bedroom- March 2012

I’m not the only one that had their parents (in my case, my dad) read to them at bedtime.  It’s a great bonding experience for many children and parents.  Just before weaning, I didn’t want to lose the bond that breastfeeding had given us.  Remembering that she crawled into my lap voluntarily to read books with me helped a lot with this transition.

Early literacy awareness
Before she could talk, I would read her many books and a lot of nursery rhymes.  Just last year she began to talk and around her second birthday, she started to sing the nursery rhymes.  She also likes to rhyme words,  and I contribute this to the early exposure of songs and books. It doesn’t hurt that I sing many of the songs with her. She is also able to associate pictures in books with their names, for example identifying animals and the sounds they make.  She is continually surprising us with her vocabulary and knowledge, and she is beginning to notice and ask questions about the little details in the illustrations.

Helping me review a Christmas book for Alphabet-Garten, Oct. 2011

What I haven’t mentioned yet, but an important part of this post, is that we’re raising our child bilingual.  She mostly speaks German, and I treasure her German books because they help me out just as much as her.  Illustrations are a hallmark in children’s literature.  While reading a German book, it also features pictures of typical German supermarkets, houses (both the interior and exterior), schools, and parks.  I like that when we are home and not visiting Oma and Opa, she doesn’t easily forget what Germany looks like.  Did you know that onomatopoeias differ from language to language?  For example, here in the US my daughter will learn that a rooster crows “Cock-a-doodle-doo” but in Germany a rooster cries out “Kikeriki”, or a frog croaks “ribbit” in the the US, but in Germany it croaks “quak! quak!”  Books help to identify these cultural differences easily.  When she is older, she’ll appreciate the subtle idiosyncrasies in illustrations that speak volumes about culture, for instance one of her Christmas books features little forest animals preparing for the holiday.  Papa Mouse is wearing house shoes inside their home while he is playing the violin and the little mice practice singing carols.

The rest of her books on the family room's coffee table, March 2012

I associate some books with tradition.  The one that comes to mind is The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  My dad read this to us every Christmas Eve.  Of course, now I want to read that to my daughter every Christmas Eve.  I hope the we can start our new reading traditions as well.

Christmas-Book-Advent-Calendar, Dec. 2010

My plan to encourage reading
I have a video recording of my eight-month-old daughter mouthing on a book.  I have always kept books as accessible to her as possible, so at her eye-level. Teaching her to respect books is a priority for me, but I hope to be stricter with the next baby (no more chewing on books!)  I love her books and I don’t want them to get worn out too quickly.  However, encouraging reading doesn’t only occur when our children are babies, toddlers or even as preschoolers.  I am looking forward to reading chapter books with her, and when she’s a little older, we could even read a book separately and later discuss it together. We could do this more formally by participating in the local library’s “Great Reads for Girls”– a mother/daughter reading group for ages 8-12.  They have a similar program for boys as well.  She will have a huge selection of books written in English at her finger tips, but honestly she will not have an abundant young adult library as she does now at 2 1/2 years old.  I have already purchased some classic books written in German for elementary students.  We’ll see how we can try to even out the exposure to young adult German- and English books as the time comes, perhaps an e-reader will help us with this goal.

Enjoying a book after taking out all the books off the shelf, March 2012

Being a model
Having young children in the house will help encourage me to read more (to set an example!)  Last year I joined the Adult Book Discussion Group at the local library.  I have enjoyed most of their book picks and I hope to continue modeling reading as a hobby and a valuable source of learning and acquiring information.

Posing after my first official book club meeting! March 2011

Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

About fraurab

A Germanophile, who is figuring out how to build her strengths through improving her mind, body and soul.
This entry was posted in Discovering Children's Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to I love books! And I hope my daughter does, too.

  1. Yay, we read in German too :) Do you know Der Kleine Drache Kokosnuss series? They are wonderful to read out loud, so imaginative, my four year old loves it. The authos is Ingo Siegner. Another book we love is Der Mitmach Buch – it has colorful dots that move around the page based on instructions and it’s a riot because the children think the book is magic but really it’s just clever illustrations :)

    • fraurab says:

      How exciting to meet another German-lover! Do you live in Europe? Thanks for the books suggestions. I haven’t heard of Der kleine Drache Kokosnuss series. I’ll definitely need to look it up. Der Mitmach Buch is already in my Wunschzettel on Amazon.de. Such a clever concept! I often like the German translations of American books better than in English. ;) My husband grew up in Germany, so I’m not the native speaker in the family. But I do what I can to speak and read in German. I do have a bachelor’s degree in German, but I certainly don’t feel fluent!

      • Yes, we live in Switzerland now (but in the italian region) my hubby is German, and we lived there for almost two years so we are all fluent. my written german is horrible because I never had time to practice it but I do speak fluently so we can keep it up with the kids :) Cool about your BS in German!

  2. pamwhitlock says:

    What an excellent way to learn about new cultures and keep traditions alive! I have four kids and am a former elementary school teacher so our house is covered in books also. Taking care of books has always been a part of our discussions, especially when they got to the crayon age. However, I don’t have a magic solutions for toddlers chewing on the corners…other than to buy the plastic, dishwasher proof books. Those stories generally are anywhere near the same quality as classic literature though.

    • fraurab says:

      Thanks for commenting! How great to have been an elementary teacher. Luckily my daughter’s “teething” stage didn’t last very long. I may need to buy some of those plastic books. It’s either that or constant supervision! ;)

  3. My daughter loves books too, and she has quite a collection (we say it’s because we live abroad and there are no libraries… just a way to find an excuse). We’re Flemish-French speakers and will soon be moving to Liberia (anglophone) so she has books in three languages.
    Thanks for participating in the carnival

  4. I love books, too! I hope my kids delight in being bookworms.

    I second the appeal of authentic German (or whatever other language) children’s books! It’s so great to see the cultural differences embedded along with the language. I’ve been so glad to pick up a supply secondhand from some German expats in the area.

    • fraurab says:

      Your comment got lost in the spam! I was just able to mark it as unspam today. I’ve seen all your book posts and know how much you love books! I think you’re doing an awesome job with your sons, too. In fact I have recommended two of your posts for a friend of mine who is speaking German with her son. We do lend a few German DVDs from house to house, but we don’t share books, yet.

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