Over the weekend, I visited a library book sale to stock up on children’s books.
Even though the husband and I don’t have children yet, we’re getting a head start on establishing our home kid lit library. We want to get a wide range of books that represent the classics, educational literature, diversity, and fun. This weekend’s book haul included:
I added seven picture books to our home library with these titles.
- The Market Square Dog, Only One Woof, and Bonny’s Big Day: All three of these titles are written by James Herriot, a British veterinary surgeon who practiced throughout the mid 1900s and wrote about many of his experiences with animals and their owners. My paternal grandmother bought me James Herriot books as a child, including a James Herriot pop-up book and “The Christmas Day Kitten” (which I still have). There’s a bit of educational value in these books, but mostly they’re endearing (and sometimes tear-jerking) pleasure reading.
- Time to Sleep: This book addresses hibernation in a roundabout way and opens the door to an educational discussion, but even better, this book is just fun to read. It’s sort of like a game of telephone, and it’s very circular in how the end meets the beginning. It’s also a perfect bedtime story.
- The Unbreakable Code: This book has a lot to offer. Diversity, history, educational value, gorgeous illustrations. The book is written as a conversation between a Navajo grandfather and his grandson, who has to move to Minnesota with his mother and new stepfather. It’s a story about hanging onto your heritage when moving to a new place. It also gives insight into a sliver of Navajo culture and language.
- The Rainbow Bridge: Another book featuring diversity, this title peeks into the life of the Chumash, a Native American people from California. The book was inspired by a Chumash legend.
- We All Went on Safari: This one falls soundly into the educational category. Set in Tanzania, this is a counting book for pre-K children featuring the animals of Tanzania. Our future kids’ geography-loving dad will especially love showing our little readers how to find Tanzania on a map and tell them about Africa.
CHAPTER BOOKS / YA
A bonus of library book sales is that you can often find a few classics for sale. As the old copies wear out and the library orders new copies, there’s a good chance they’ll sell the worn copies. That was the case when I found kid lit titles like “Stuart Little,” “The Trumpet of the Swan,” and “A Gathering of Days” over the weekend.
- A Gathering of Days: This one is a classic Newbery Honor Medal winner.
- Countdown: I’ve never read this YA book, but it offers a glimpse into the 1960s with clever design and storytelling. In the book’s description, it says, “Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962, award-winning author Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel […]” This book seems to capture both education and fun.
- Belle Prater’s Boy: I remember this title being on my school’s Battle of the Books list more than once. Even though I wouldn’t call it a classic, it’s worth having on the shelf for pleasure reading.
- Stuart Little: This one is, hands down, a classic.
- The Trumpet of the Swan: Again, I’d qualify this one as a classic.
- The Great Gilly Hopkins: This was one of my favorite books for pleasure reading as a kid. Even if our future children don’t enjoy it, I’ll be happy to have it on hand whenever I get the itch to read it.
- Sounder: This Newbery Honor Medal winner is another kid lit classic.
- The Devil’s Storybook, The Devil’s Other Storybook, and The Moon Over High Street: I know nothing about these books other than the descriptions I read on the jacket flap and the fact they’re written by Natalie Babbitt, whose classic “Tuck Everlasting” already is tucked away on my bookshelf. She’s an award-winning children’s author, so I figured I’d add these titles to the shelf for pleasure reading.
One of my husband’s favorite subgenres of nonfiction books when he was growing up were biographies. He loved biographies and geography as a kid (and still does as an adult), so we picked up three children’s biographies at the book sale. These definitely fit the bill of educational reading.
- Edward R. Murrow: As soon as hubs told me he found an Edward R. Murrow biography, I added it to our growing pile of books to buy. Both the hubs and I are newspaper journalists, so we have a soft spot for nearly all journalists in the pages of history. Even though Murrow was a broadcast journalist and our expertise is in print, we want our children to grow up understanding all forms of news media and the role news reporters play in daily life.
- Oskar Schindler: This one is educational on multiple levels. Not only does it teach about a specific historical figure who made a difference, but it also approaches the Holocaust in a manner that is accessible and age-appropriate to kids. This book gives young readers an early introduction to a segment of world history.
- Nellie Bly: Another journalist, because journalism is a major part of our household. Even better, this biography details a woman who bucked the trends of her time period to become one of the first female international correspondents and bring about social reform through undercover investigations and reporting. Whether we have sons or daughters, Nellie Bly will be a good example about women’s contributions to history.