Reading for me has been a life-long love affair, but finding good literature that I want my kids to devour can feel daunting. After becoming a mom, I was struck by how little I knew about children’s literature. I had a small collection of books I brought with me from my childhood, but had no clue where to start for my kids. About the time my oldest was born, I was introduced to a group of women in a preschool moms coop. I kept a notebook of the books these moms loved and anything they recommended. I faithfully went to the public library or church libraries to find these books. The guiding principle for me during those early years was 20/20/20. Read to them for twenty minutes a day, play on the floor with them doing small manipulative or puzzles for 20 minutes and try to get outside for some large motor skills like running or biking or going to a park for 20 minutes a day.
Having this 20 minutes a day dedicated to reading to them was one of the best challenges I’ve ever taken. It has become one of our family habits- one chapter of a good book each day. During this time, I was also challenged to give my kids a book for each major holiday and birthday. The goal is to build them each a library that they can have when they start their own family. Little by little, I built my library of favorites. I encourage you to have a set of books in a basket for each month of the year. Pull those books that best reflect the season and time of year and put them beside your couch each month. Try to get through them all by the end of the month then reshuffle the deck for next month.
As I encourage you to start building a love of reading into your families, I want to share a hand full of my favorite resources below:
1. THIS LIST compiled by Park Cities Presbyterian. It is a list of 35 great books to read to children at every age.
2. The LOGOS bookstore in Snider Plaza. Rick and Susan Lewis KNOW good books. They have an incredible children’s section in the back. Great gifts and art as well. My kids love this store.
3. A good friend, Eraina Larson, has a GREAT blogspot with many posts on the books we’ve read together and many of the ones she has discovered in her quest for great literature!
4. I highly recommend the series by Arnold Ytreeide. We have used his books each Christmas and Easter as daily devotionals and our kids still LOVE to listen to their dad read them. It’s our favorite holiday tradition!
5. If you have to pick one chapter of a book to read to a child and you are not very familiar with the Bible yourself, start with The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. It’s a simple narrative and you will learn so much. It’s broken up into doable segments which will take you through the Bible one book at a time. Incredible resource and baby gift!
About the Author
Jeanie Cox grew up in a town of 600 on the Tennessee River, 4th of 5 children, and was raised in a solid Christian home. Followed her brother to Vanderbilt and worked in youth ministry for 10 years after graduating. Married John in 1997 and moved to Dallas. They had 5 kiddos in 7 years starting in 2000 and she’s now back working in Preschool ministry to help pay for college. She loves to study God’s Word, read, cook, work out at Camp Gladiator and be anywhere she can see sky meet water!