Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Kids Books, I Have Thoughts

Since the little guy came along, I've been reading a lot more kids books. Because obviously I'm reading to him already. And we have lots of children's books due to excellent gift choices from friends and family AND the fact that my mom saved our children's books. I've already gone through 2 of those boxes and have a few more to dig through so there will be many books for the boy and right now the biggest problem is lack of bookshelf space. So far I have a large stack of Dr. Seuss books and dinosaur books. So many dinosaur books. Really hope he's into dinosaurs because that is definitely a theme in these books (And clothes. And music.*)
No dinos here, but look at this face
But here's something I've come to realize reading a bunch of children's books out loud after not having done that for many years: a lot of these books are so bad.

There are those that aren't great in terms of content. So far I haven't come across any in our collection that are SUPER terrible but there are pieces of some that I'm like "perhaps we'll skip this section". Or some that are just outdated in terms of facts (turns out dino books from the '70s don't have the whole evolution thing down yet). Or the Berenstain Bears book about how everyone is either a "he" or a "she" that maybe we won't be reading.

There are those stories that don't have the most...exciting plots, but I'm not worried about those. Tell me all about animals on a farm or about picking up a friend at the airport**.

But the books that bother me the most are the ones that are just poorly written. If you're going to write a children's book that rhymes (as so many do and I am down with that), yes, you need to make sure the words rhyme, but maybe lets pay some attention to meter and foot as well. You don't need a PhD for this, just try reading your stuff out loud and if it sounds off. Because this stuff is going to be read out loud.

So let's see, what books have been a success (at least from my pov. The boy isn't yet voicing his opinions in any reliable way)

Anything Dr. Seuss. I had a lot of his stuff growing up (including a couple that were my dad's growing up) and there can be some small parts here and there that are a bit...outdated. But overall I don't find myself cringing while reading them and Seuss understands the importance of making them sound good, of finding the rhythm to the words. Current fav is Yertle the Turtle.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey. It's an adorable book about all of the feelings (sad, happy, silly, angry) that you can have and that it's OK to have these feelings.
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss presented by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight. LGBT love story about bunnies at the White House and voting out the stinkbug in charge who does not want two boy bunnies to get married and this is the type of stuff we need right now.
Little Feminist collection (Activists, Artists, Pioneers and Leaders) by Emily Kleinman, illustrated by Lydia Ortiz. The board books are short (1 sentence per page, about 4 pages per book) which is about the attention span he has right now.
Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd. A classic about a mom following around the little bunny who wants to run away (without being like that other book where the mom breaks into her adult son's house) and it is cute and also mentioned in Where'd You Go, Bernadette which is just bonus points.

There are more we've read and enjoyed but the goblin stirs so we'll have to stop here. Oh and if you have recommendations for children's books, I'm all ears!

*Did anyone else have the Wee Sing series growing up? Because they were swell.
**Legit the subject to one of the books we have and big fan when we learned THAT'S what the book was about. Sometimes life is mundane, but it is nice to pick up friends at the airport. So those are two good lessons

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

September Reading Wrap Up

Hey, did you know that September ended? Like over a week ago. Turns out days and weeks and months start to blend together on maternity. But he's started smiling and making noises so it's give and take.
I mean, look at this face
I have also continued to increase the amount of reading I'm getting done. One book in July, two in August and now three in September. I mean, not counting children's books, which I am also reading to the little one but not keeping track of. AND I finally got a library card so getting back into a good reading groove. Or at least working my way back that way.

Stat time? Stat time.

Number of books read
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz

Number of pages


POC Authors
Female authors

US authors


Book formats
ebook: 100%
Still doing most of my reading on my phone given how much easier it is to read with one hand while I'm holding something in the other hand (baby, bottle, pacifier, etc. Life is super exciting now)

Where'd I get the book
Kindle: 100%

Decades published
2010s: 100%

Resolution books
I will get better here. Hopefully soon

Let's see how October goes! Better ? Maybe