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The Last Books Before Kindergarten: A Few More Recommendations from my Son and I before September

4 Aug

I have written two previous posts (click here and here) about the fun and important campaign 1000 Books Before Kindergarten which encourages parents to read to newborns, infants, and toddlers to foster an early love of reading as well as an important bonding opportunity.  Of course grandparents, older siblings, cool aunts, and other caregivers are also encouraged to help meet the goal that before Kindergarten every child has 1,000 books read to them.  As we get ready for my son’s first day of Kindergarten this autumn, we continue to read together; one of the best parts of my day is reading him books before bed.  Several books from the previous post continue to be favorites, but here are several more that we’d like to recommend.  Now is the perfect time to check them out and sign up your child(ren) and yourself for our summer reading challenge (hobokenlibrary.beanstack.org) where reading doesn’t just entertain and educate, but also wins you prizes!

Penguin Problems by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith

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You may have heard of First World Problems, well they are nothing compared to penguin’s problems.  Jory John’s Penguin Problems look at the troublesome annoyance that plague a grumpy little penguin.  The message about focusing on the larger positives in one’s life instead of minor daily aggravations is one that I find important to be reminded of not just for my son, but for myself as well.

The Secret Life of Pets by Dennis R. Shealy

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The Secret Life of Pets is my son’s favorite book right now.  We have to read it every night, and as we start him on his journey of reading himself, he is beginning to pick out sight words and sometimes will attempt to read the book to me.  The book is based on the popular animated movie and in my opinion is better since it focuses on the best part the cute and quirky animals that live in a New York City apartment building and what they do when their owners are away, and leaves out the convoluted rescue plot that makes up the second half of the film.  My son’s favorite pets are the zaftig cat Chloe and the hyper Pomeranian Gidget.

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle

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Another book on almost nightly rotation continues to be the Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Tommy is also a fan of other books by Eric Carle as well.  There are many books that emphasize the special bond between moms and their children, but this is the perfect choice for all the dads out there.  As Mister Seahorse swims around waiting for his own babies to emerge from his pouch he encounters the other paternal caregivers of the fish world including Mr. Tilapia, who shelters his eggs in his mouth.  Mr. Seahorse also swims right past some camouflaged fish as well who are depicted “hiding” behind clever translucent foregrounds.  This is often Tommy’s choice for times his dad reads to him.

The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan

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Who is creating the beautiful topiary around town?  My son loves a good mystery and has a good heart so he can relate to the little boy in the story who not only finds out who the mysterious man who is creating the arboreal masterpieces is, but also helps him with his work in this charming picture book by the Fan brothers.

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems

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The quirky rhymes and bright colors are enjoyable fun as a cute little frog living in France attempts to run her very first errand with tongue twisting hilarity in Nanette’s Baguette, a recent work by the always popular Mo Willems.  My son is a fan of both fresh made baguettes as well as this silly story.

The Man in the Moon and The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie by William Joyce (Books 1 and 2 Guardians of Childhood Series)

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The Guardians of Childhood Series has been adapted as animated feature, but even more engaging are the original stories.  The first two in the series, The Man in the Moon and The Sandman were gifts from my artistically inclined Aunt and Uncle and the illustrations are gorgeous.  The Man in the Moon tells the story of the very first guardian of childhood who started out as a little orphan on the moon.  My favorite of the two The Sandman tells the story of the guardian who brings children good dreams.

The Gingerbread Man by Nancy Nolte and illustrated by Richard Scarry

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There are many types of literary gingerbread men to choose from including The Library Gingerbread Man (Dotti Enderle), The Ninjabread Man (C.J. Leigh), or Gingerbread Baby (Jan Brett), but my son frequently devours the classic Golden Book about the constantly on the run version that is the same one my mom would read to me as a child and was one of her favorites to have her mom read to her.  This is one of the early books illustrated by Scarry, author/illustrator of the popular Busytown series.

Biscuit Loves School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

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My son was introduced to the Biscuit series about an energetic little puppy by my mom (aka Meme to my son) and any time he sleeps over Meme and Pepe’s house she would have to read him a Biscuit book before bed. He has started working to read a few at home to himself.  You may want to start your children with Hello, Biscuit which introduces the little pup and explains how he got his name.  If your little one is getting ready for the first day of kindergarten or preschool have them check out Biscuit Loves School.

The Popcorn Book written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola

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The Popcorn Book was a baby shower gift from a family friend who enjoyed reading it to her own son. It turned out to be a great choice since my son LOVES popcorn and finds science and history interesting so this classic work which discusses the background of popcorn is his favorite nonfiction book on our rotation.  Also check out one of my favorite fictional picture books from my childhood Popcorn by Frank Asch which features a bear’s party overrun by popcorn when all the guests bring some to share.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: My Goth Remix

7 Apr

Recently I attended a convention, and attended a panel about Goth parents.  The thing it made me realize is that though parents may not all look the same on the outside or have exactly the same parenting style, one thing we all have in common is wanting the best for our children and hoping they have happy and fulfilling lives.  To me one of the ways we can set them on that journey is by encouraging a love of learning and reading. I had written previously about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Campaign with some of my son’s top picks.  Now here are 10 of our Gothy Picture Book Favorites featuring baby bats, cute vampires, a ghost boy, a skeleton girl and spooky adventures for you to share which are available at BCCLS libraries.  Stop by the Children’s Desk to learn more about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Campaign and how you can take part.

1.  The Sleepless Little Vampire, by Richard Egielski

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I picked up this book on a babymoon trip to Sleepy Hollow when I was pregnant with my son.  Poor vampire thinks he can’t sleep at night because of a variety of other spooky creatures.

2. Jampires, by Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell

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When the jam goes missing from Sam’s donuts he learns that some vampires have a taste for fruity fillings. The Jampires take Sam on a magical adventure to their homeland. This book is a silly sweet treat.

3. Dracula: A Counting Primer, by Jennifer Adams (Author), Alison Oliver (Illustrator)

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This simple board book is a fun way to introduce your little one to the ultimate gothic novel and counting. My son also enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, another in the BabyLit series by Adams and Oliver which provides an introduction to colors.

4. Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon

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Perhaps the best known of our picks, Stellaluna, titled after a fruit bat fostered by a family of birds, is a story of differences and acceptance that will resonate with children and their parents. You can also borrow the animated movie adaptation on DVD.

5. Nightsong, by Ari Berk (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

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Chiro (named for the Latin name for bats) learns to be self-sufficient and explore the world on his own in this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book. A nice tale for a child who may be nervous about the first day of school or other new experiences.

6. Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies

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My son loves coming to visit the library with me. Of course if kids enjoy libraries, how can the bats resist?  This beautifully illustrated picture book recounts an evening when the bats sneak in to explore the library.  If your child enjoys this book, Lies also has written further adventure about the bats at the beach, ballgame, and in the band.  Spanish speakers can borrow a Spanish language translation by Carlos Mayor of Bats at the Library here at the Hoboken Public Library.

7. Frangoline and the Midnight Dream, by Clemency Pearce (Author), Rebecca Elliott (Illustrator)

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This first book by Clemency Pearce features a little girl who is well behaved by day but goes on a naughty spooky adventure at night.

8. Skelly the Skeleton Girl, by Jimmy Pickering

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Fans of Tim Burton should enjoy Skelly the Skeleton Girl, a whimsical take on the creatures that go bump in the night, which features a helpful little skeleton girl looking for the owner of a lost bone.  If your child enjoys this book they may also want to check out Pickering’s second Skelly book, Skelly and Femur.

9. Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

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Leo is a ghost looking for a place to belong after the new family who moves in to his house mistakes his acts of kindness for a haunting. A gentle story of friendship.

10. The Wolves in the Walls, by Neil Gaiman (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator)

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Of course I couldn’t resist including a book by my favorite author Neil Gaiman on this list. I have a signed copy my best friend got for me which has a little wolf doodle from Gaiman.  The Wolves in the Walls was inspired by his daughter’s nightmare about wolves living in the walls.  It shows that sometimes our worst fears don’t mean that everything has to be all over. This story will be enjoyable for fans of Coraline, but this picture book is a bit more suspenseful than the others I have mentioned so I have another year or two before I plan to share it with my son; reading to your kids shouldn’t stop at Kindergarten!

Remember even when children start reading on their own, reading to them is a great way to reinforce a love of the written word and to provide wonderful bonding experience with the child/ren in your care.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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