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As part of our “Creating a Literacy Rich Home” series, today we’re going to talk about how to build a home library on a budget.
I believe in books. I believe you should spend money on books.
I also love the library. I love buying second-hand books.
But I believe in supporting publishers, writers, & illustrators.
More than that, I believe in showing our kids that books are important by buying new, nice books. This shows them (& ourselves) that we value books in our life.
Think of how much money most of us spend on other forms of entertainment (movies, video games, music).
If you want to have a literacy rich home, books should always be a part of any family’s entertainment budget.
It takes time & money to build a home library, but taking the time to build a carefully curated selection of excellent & worthwhile children’s books is something your kids will thank you for now, & will have a lasting impact on them for their entire life.
Our home library consists of a mixture of new books, used books, & an ever rotating selection of library books (which I view as a supplement to our home library).
If you can get books at the library, why is it important to own your own books?
There are a number of reasons, but most important, in my mind, is there are just some books that you want your kids to grow up with. You want them to read it when they’re three, five, and then seven.
If you own it, they can read it now, & then five months from now, without having to worry to check it out from the library.
I like buying boxed sets, because often you get a better deal and a whole series of great books.
We have many, many used books–a combo of hand-me-downs from my parents, some from Goodwill, and most from library book sales (ask your library when they hold theirs–you can often get great children books for less than $1).
Here are 15 children’s books you need to have in your library.
No David!, by David Shannon
I don’t know what it is about this book, but this has been a hit with my 2-3 year olds. It’s the kind of book parents hate (the illustrations are ugly & the main character is naughty), but all of my kids went through period were they wanted to read this several times a day. David Shannon also has many other No David! themed books.
What Do People Do All Day?, by Richard Scarry
I think all Richard Scarry’s books are worth owning. The illustrations are interesting & colorful & their stories always teach a principle, or something useful about the world. This book introduces kids to all sorts of occupations.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle
A great introduction to rhyme & rhythm, which is an important pre-literacy skill.
Corduroy, by Don Freeman
Lovely story, lovely pictures.
The Napping House, by Audrey Wood
The perfect before-bed book.
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
Poetic & simple. A good one for kids to read as a part of a bedtime ritual.
A Kiss for Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik
Maurice Sendak illustrates this classic.
Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman
There have been several knockoffs of this idea (baby animal cannot find it’s mama), but this is hands down the best version. My three year old can “read” this book to me, I’ve read it so many times to her.
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins
Teaches how fun word play & rhythm can be.
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
Classic. Love his illustrations. Love the simple typography. Ignites the imagination.
The Little Engine That Could , by Watty Piper
Lots of renditions of this classic, but this version has my favorite illustrations.
Frog & Toad series, by Arnold Lobel
Any & all of these books are worth owning. Most younger kids won’t get the subtle & often ironic humor (even a lot of older kids might not get it either), but it demonstrates humor & irony in an interesting way.
Blueberries for Sal, by Robert M. McCloskey
I’ve always loved Maine because of this book. (And I’m partial to the name Sal.)
Other posts in this series:
Where do you buy your books?
Do you have any titles to add to the list?