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My first memory of books is building entire towns out of the Golden Books I had growing up. From there, I can remember enjoying different series all through elementary, middle, and high school. Books have always had a place in my life and in my heart. In fact, I had an extensive collection of children's books long before I even met my husband - certainly long before we started talking about kids of our own. It sort of comes with the territory of being an early childhood teacher and lover of children's books.
My collection was built over time. I bought books based on lessons that they taught, memories I had with the books, and a variety of other reasons. Some books were bought with an exact purpose in mind, while others were bought in batches or given to me by retiring teachers. My collection is always growing though and I'm excited that some of my favorites (Corduroy, anyone?) will be making it into our baby boy's collection. As we're working to build his library, I've been considering a few different factors along the way - cost, age appropriateness, interest, and durability. Eventually, the goal is to involve him in the process of picking out books, but until he's old enough for that, I'll continue to pick out ones I think he'll love and learn from.
These are just a few of the things to consider when you're building your child's first library. As an educator, I could spend hours on this topic but I don't think that would be a good use of our time since Samantha Munoz has already done a beautiful job of writing about this topic in her book, The Intentional Bookshelf. When she first invited me to read the book, I didn't know what to expect. After all, I have 8 years of experience teaching in early childhood settings and the degrees to back it up. Not to mention that early literacy is something that I'm very passionate about (I guess you could say since birth - I fell in love with books at a very young age.).
I expected the book to give me a lot of information that I already knew. I worried that I would find the book boring and therefore not be able to give a great review. However, I was curious and that curiosity is what drove me to join the book tour. When I got the book, I tried my best to push aside my prior knowledge of the topic so that I could see it from a different perspective. It turns out that I didn't need to push aside my knowledge at all. I was able to enjoy this book - both as an expecting mother and as an educator who has studied child development and early literacy extensively. With that being said, I'm offering this review from an honest point of view.
I adored The Intentional Bookshelf and will be recommending it to parents - new and experienced alike for years to come. This book is a short read, which makes it perfect for busy parents that often feel like they have too much on their plate. The book is also written in easy to understand terms, which is one of the things that I love the most about it. As an educator, I often find that the information prepared for parents at the school level isn't as parent-friendly as it should be. I've spent many parent-teacher conferences explaining things in an easier to understand manner.
The Intentional Bookshelf is set up in a way that parents and kids of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from it. There are tips for those just starting with their little one's library (like us!) to those that are looking to expand or improve on their current home library. Samantha Munoz truly believes that every child should have access to their own books at home and that shines through in this book. I couldn't agree with her more. Even if you already have an extensive children's library, there is value in this book - especially since you can get it for as low as 99 cents on your Kindle! (Have I mentioned how many books I own from years of teaching?)
I could tell you about the great tips, advice, and activities that Samantha Munoz provides in this book, but that would take a lot of our time and I have a nursery that needs a lot of love and attention before our little one arrives. (And yes, we've already started our book collection for him - he'll be exposed to books right away.) So, I'm going to leave you with a link to Samantha's website, Addison Reads, where she gives all of the details of The Intentional Bookshelf along with book recommendations and reviews.
Before you head off to check out Sam's amazing blog and informative book, I would love to hear about your favorite books from childhood in the comments below! I'm always looking for new books to enjoy. (Yes, even adults can enjoy a good children's book!)