At least a third of my books were bloated when I was a kid, because I read them in the shower. (Hold the book against the wall and turn the pages with one hand, and shower/soap up/rinse off with the other hand. Then, at the end of the shower, toss the book out and quickly wash the Other Arm.)
I read while having my hair washed at the hair dresser’s. I read in bed underneath the covers with a flashlight, and I kept an extra flashlight on my bedside table in case the batteries on the first one ran out. (I should have just kept extra batteries. Or maybe put a lamp on the table, for crying out loud.) Heaps of books, dog-eared and loved, dot the timeline of my childhood.
In raising my daughter, I want for her life to include books. Plenty of them. And because I can’t even stand to think about diabetes even one, little bit today, I wanted to redirect and share some of the books in my daughter’s bookshelf that we currently love best:
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler: This is the best book to read out loud, about a witch who goes for a joyride on her broom, only her hat, and her bow, and her wand go flying off and she has to find them on the ground, gaining her some random pals. The rhyme pattern is fun and almost renders you breathless because you want to move through the words and keep your cadence from catching your giggles. Birdy is a little bit afraid of the dragon that pops up in this book – “That dragon really wants fries, and not the witch, right? Say right.” – but she likes to shout out “The witch tapped the broomstick and whoosh they were gone!” line every time.
Knuffle Bunny, written and illustrated by Mo Willems: The story of a much-loved stuffed rabbit who is left behind in a Brooklyn laundromat, I love the combination of illustration and photography in this book. I also love how the child’s tantrum is described as becoming “boneless,” as this perfectly describes the fit Birdzone threw when I told her it was time for her bath. (“A bath! I had a bath YESTERDAY. This is unfair!” and she collapsed in a sulky heap.) Spoiler alert – when the bunny is found, the relief is tangible.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by (the absolute genius) Oliver Jeffers: Best. Book. Ever. A box of crayons that belongs to this kid Duncan go full-on letters-to-the-editor and start airing their grievances. Our family favorites are the curmudgeonly Beige crayon, the wistful White crayon, and the naked Peach crayon. This book has made us rethink our coloring options, and has also increased our child-to-crayon politeness.
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by (aforementioned genius) Oliver Jeffers: This was the first book by Jeffers that I ever discovered, about a boy who wanted to be the smartest boy in the world and discovered that, by eating the books instead of reading them, he retained their knowledge. Only trouble was, the more he ate, the more jumbled his thoughts became. I have been reading this one to Birdy since she was two, and for a while, I was concerned she’d be inspired to taste a book. Thankfully, she’s smarter than me. (I briefly licked one, and haven’t felt any smarter as a result.)
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: Who wouldn’t want a bunch of dragons burping up fire as a result of eating spicy tacos? Not me, which is why this book is a useful how-to on keeping dragons up to their talons in tacos without them burning your house down. (Chris claims to think this book is ridiculous, yet he’s read it to Birdy more than I have.) Fun Fact: Dragons get most of their tacos from The Taco Cave.
I hope her love for reading is just beginning, and I’m always on the hunt for more books to share with my favorite Bird. If you have any recommendations, please share them. And if you know Oliver Jeffers personally, please tell him we recycle more, thanks to the inspiring green crocodiles he drew.