This isn't directly related to the selection of books for little people, but when a natural disaster sits on your city, it's hard for that not to permeate everything in the immediate aftermath. This is a story about deciding how to approach a necessary, moral call to community engagement with a business that is neither established nor terribly relevant to immediate needs. Since Behowl the Moon was launched by (virtual) community support, I want to share my thinking when it comes to passing that on to others. Be warned, this is a very long post, and I've organized it by topics so you can skip to what you care about.
This isn't my regularly scheduled programming, but I thought I would share my frantic brainstorming of ideas for entertaining small, active children when you might be stuck indoors for days on end.
This is my master list of books that hit my sweet spot of great illustration, words I don't mind memorizing, and tried-and-tested kid appeal. It's a really short list. It's so short I published a book to put on it. If you know of more, please, for the love of llamas, tell me about them.
Board books you can touch, pet, poke, strum, jiggle, and tweak. These books let babies and toddlers lift the flap, push the squeaker, pull the tab, prod the nubbin, find the doodad, turn the gear, and in general play with their books.
When you're only a year or two old, summer is a big deal.
Here's my best advice on how to read Shakespeare to babies, again, and again, and again.
I've done a pretty good amount of traveling with a little one in tow, and surprise, surprise--when we're spending a lot of time in transit and away from home, bringing the right selection of books can make things easier. I look for small size, durability, and plenty of ways to play with the same pages. Here are a couple of our frequent flyers:
Is it too early to worry about your kid getting enough science, technology, engineering, and math education? Yup. Uh-huh. Definitely. But these board books are fun, and it's never too early for that. Check out my article at Lucie's List for the starter set--new recommendations as of June 2017 below!
A running list of the best board books for bedtime and naps.
The first baby books you get from someone else aren't likely to be the first books your baby will like. Tiny babies six months and younger are just learning about the world and what's in it. Pediatricians recommend reading to them right from birth. But reading what? (Besides Shakespeare, of course.)
Reading to babies is one of those things that everyone seems to know we are supposed to do, but the reasons are hazy. When I decided to publish a baby Shakespeare book, I needed to find out the specifics.
After reading these wonderful books a few more times than I expected, I decided to publish a baby Shakespeare book. I also noticed some small discrepancies.
Books to read to a child that aren't older than you are.
Both depressing and uplifting: depressing, because the selection of books for the very young with people of color as main characters is truly limited. Uplifting, because a lot of the individual titles are fantastic.
A running list of great board books with female main characters.
A running list of board books featuring parents of both genders taking care of their kids.
We talk about the need for diverse books for children, but when we import 40% or 50% of our books from a generation ago or more, diversifying the bookshelf becomes a much more difficult problem.
When I analyzed the board books in our house, the imbalance between genders was striking: in 30 books, we have 14 male protagonists and 4 female. Distribution of speaking parts for characters was even worse. But I'm not ready to toss good books for bad gender politics. I have a few strategies to decrease the gap.