For a lot of us, the start of a new year means creating goals for ourselves. Often, these goals are somehow related to improving our lives or ourselves and involve things like eating better, exercising more, being a more attentive friend, and so on. I think the new year is also a great time for setting reading goals or simply reminding ourselves to get back in the habit of reading after going off track during the holidays.
I’ve done this for myself, and, yes, this year, it involves Central Rappahannock’s Adult Winter Reading Challenge. But, as many of us are trying to get kids back into the rhythm of school or daycare - or just into the routine of a non-holiday life, making time for reading each day is a great goal! Some of the picture books below might be a fun way to achieve that daily reading goal.
Abner & Ian Get Right-side Up by Dave Eggers
I love interactive books for children. Children get thoroughly involved in reading the book, and they feel empowered by the process of following the instructions and making something happen. (Shake the book! Touch the yellow dot!) In Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up, the two title characters find themselves wrong-side up on the first page of the book. They give the reader instructions to shake the book, thinking that will get them where they need to be, but page after page of shaking the book only makes things worse for them and funnier for the reader.
Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault
When Albert’s house gets too noisy, he heads outside for some quiet. He settles into a chair with his book and gets happily lost in his thoughts until two neighborhood friends come by and ask if he wants to play. Albert politely replies, “No, thanks, I’m reading. I’m fine.” The friends stay anyway, continuing with their activities. Albert sullenly but silently goes back to his reading until another friend arrives and then another. With each successive interruption, Albert politely but firmly says he is reading. He is working hard to try to preserve his quiet time, but eventually several friends surround him, playing games, dancing, and generally just being children. Poor Albert, all he wants is some quiet time!
The Babysitter From Another Planet by Stephen Savage
When the regular babysitter can’t make it, Mom and Dad call in the babysitter from another planet. At first, the children are nervous that she won’t know what to do, but, after she beams together dinner, gives homework help with her unique knowledge of physics, and solves the problem of a burned-out nightlight by making herself glow, the children decide she is their favorite babysitter.
Bad Dog by Mike Boldt
All this little girl wants for her birthday is a dog, and she is overjoyed when she gets one! The little girl loves her dog, Rocky, even though she turns out to be a bad dog. She doesn’t listen and won’t learn any tricks. She lies down when taken out for a walk and gets scared around other dogs. Still, Rocky does have many good qualities: she doesn’t bark when the mail carrier comes; she’s very cute and she loves to sleep. The little girl decides that maybe Rocky isn’t a very good dog, but she sure would make a good cat!
Be A Maker by Katey Howes
A little girl wakes up, wondering what she will make that day. The possibilities are endless, ranging from games to art to music to engineered creations. There are so many things to make: “make a rhythm,” “make a blueprint,” “make your way to play outside.” The bouncing rhythm of the words fits perfectly with the energy of creating that the book is encouraging - and the variety of things that a person can make. At the end of the day, the girl and her friend look around, feeling proud of what they’ve made.
Bear Is Awake! An Alphabet Story by Hannah E. Harrison
Bear wakes up early from hibernation and wanders to a cabin, surprising the little girl there. The two become quick friends and embark on a day-long adventure of eating, walking, eating, reading, playing, and eating some more. Eventually, the girl leads bear back to the woods where she tucks her new friend into a den to finish hibernating. The charming illustrations do the bulk of the work telling this delightful story, with just a couple of carefully chosen words on each page (“intrigued” and “idea,” “naughty” and “no!”) following the alphabet through the book.
Darcie Caswell is the Youth Services Coordinator at CRRL. This column originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.