Read Any Good Books Lately?

While the books featured in this post are intended for children to look at and listen to, grown-ups can also learn a lot from them!

When I was teaching Child Development Associate classes, I used children's literature as often as possible to illustrate a point.  I also required my students to use books as a way to teach concepts as well as to learn about children's development, interests, and needs.  One of the favorite field trips was a trip to the library. While this did take the place of sitting in a classroom for 4 hours, I would like to think that the reason for the student's excitement and enthusiasm was because of the time spent looking up authors, illustrators, and books from every genre.  The evening ended with a "sharing" time that helped them hone their teaching skills as well.

Let's take a look at some books and see what we can learn about young children!

The first book is a timeless classic.  It is a story that takes place in a "great green room" and depicts the story of a little bunny ending his day.  Goodnight Moon, ,by Margaret Wise Brown, teaches us the necessity of routine in children's lives.  Routines at school and home help children feel safe in their environment and routines help children learn boundaries for behavior as well.  The first of the school year is an extremely important time to focus on routines and having a soothing, calming bed time routine can help both children and parents end their day on a positive note!

Next is a Ukrainian folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett ( one of my favorite authors). The Mitten, is the story of a white mitten that is dropped in the snow and becomes a shelter for various forest animals. First a mole, then a rabbit, a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, a fox, a big brown bear, and finally a meadow mouse all crowd into the mitten. The ending is a surprise that children, as well as adults, find delightful.  So what do we learn, you ask.  Well, we can learn a number of things, however, in this case, the lesson is: young children need lots of space!  Crowded children are not happy children and when children are crowded together, perhaps on a small rug for circle time, children exhibit behaviors that are not always desirable as these behaviors often result in fingers being placed in a neighbor's ear, eye, or nose.

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, tells the story of a little boy in need of a moon and a path for his evening walk. So, he uses his purple crayon to begin an " imaginative and enchanting" adventure.  Each page adds to the adventure and children remain attentive throughout as the adventure continues to grow bigger and bigger.  This book teaches us that children need time and access to materials to be fully engaged in role playing.  Children can work through problems, face and conquer their fears, and express creativity when given the time and space for active and creative play both at home and at school.

Sheep in a Shop, by Nancy Shaw, allows children to hear and play with language, as they follow the adventures of a group of sheep who are shopping for just the right birthday gift for a friend. This book, as well as the others in the series, are "perfectly timed and rhymed" and delight both children and adults as they follow the sometimes "nutty" antics of the sheep.  Margot Apple provides the illustrations. Other books in the series include, Sheep in a Jeep,  and Sheep on a Ship.

The story of Noisy Nora,  written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells (another favorite), tells us that children have needs that need the attention of an adult, and sometimes it is hard for a child to wait! Throughout the story, Nora must wait and wait and as she waits her behavior deteriorates until everything ends in a big "crash."  When children are "misbehaving" it's necessary for an adult to stop and realize that there is a cause behind the behavior and meeting children's needs appropriately helps a child develop trust and confidence

Last, but not least, a book by Tana Hoban asks one of  the most asked questions in preschool years. 
is it red?
is it yellow?
is it blue?
This book teaches children "colors", however, the unique photographs show real objects, not flash cards or color charts or color bears to introduce children to the colors of their world.  The lesson: young children learn best through having "hands on" experiences with real objects. " As they play, explore, experiment, and interact with people and objects, children are always trying to make sense of those experiences .Children under age 7 are most comfortable in the concrete world they see, smell, hear, taste, and touch". ( Copple and Bredekamp, Basics of Developmentally Appropriate Practice.)

"Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time
I read them".
                    Arnold Lobel

That's it for now.
Check back later !
PS--Comments and questions are always welcome! 


  1. Well-read and well said! Love how you have attached the importance of these lovely books to children's fundamental needs.


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