Off-the-beaten-path books we now like reading to Lily

As many of you know, Lily (age 4 1/2) is in the midst of a full-on fancy dress, girly-girl, pink princess phase. And while I’m not pushing back or restricting her that much – since I feel this IS just a phase that she’ll work through – I am doing my level best to read books with her that have, if not a full-blown feminist bent, positive messages for young girls. (I’m having a few issues with “Peter Pan,” which we started reading to her each night before I realized she’s not quite old enough, nor is the book, shall we say, kosher in its depiction of gender and race. But that’s another post.)

Since we’re lucky enough to live a few steps away from the local library (don’t think that escaped my notice when we were looking for a house), we take the girls there often, and when Lily was about two, she really got into the process of checking books out herself. The books she chose were pretty much beside the point, as evidenced by her selection method: step one, approach picture book shelves; step two, grab three books randomly; step three, rush to check them out, having not even glanced at them.

“Oy,” I thought. “This will leave us reading some real clunkers.” And it did, of course. (See this popular post about my experiences with creepy children’s books, may of them “classics.”) But it also led us to some pleasant surprises – books we’d have never found if not for Lily’s blind selection system. So between the books we’ve found by those means, and the ones I’ve taken a chance on via Lily’s preschool book order, we’ve found some good stuff. Here’s a partial list of some current favorites. Continue reading

E-reading to your kids? I’ll just read, thanks.

Check out this stock images mom, kickin' it old school!

I heard this story on NPR the other day, about a tech reporter who’s been trying out different children’s book apps with his three year old daughter (also named Lily, coincidentally).

Each night, the reporter cuddles up with his little girl just before she goes to bed, and he asks her whether she’d like a real book or one on the iPad (she usually chooses the latter).

As you might guess, there are all sorts of bells and whistles that come along with iPad children’s books, such as animation, songs, games, etc. And the reporter notes that although his daughter is very passive while reading “regular” books, she’s much more actively engaged with the iPad stories, by virtue of the opportunities they provide to interact with them.

That makes sense to me. And because the act of reading has already changed drastically during the course of my lifetime – and presumably will continue to do so, at a rapid pace – maybe this is the way to best prepare kids for a life of reading, and get them excited about it from an early age.

And yet. Continue reading