BOOKS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Some of my favorite books are children's books.
As a preschool teacher, I have the good fortune of reading a wide variety of books to my students every day.
(Usually multiple times a day!)
I guess you could say I research books for children on a daily basis. And I love every minute of it.
Everyone in the building knows that storytime is my very favorite time of the day.
The spark in a child's eye when he recites repeating lines, predicts what will happen next, or sits in rapt attention is the highlight of my career as a teacher.
It's what inspired me to write my own children's picture book to share with the world.
Each year with my class, I do a multiple-week study on Literacy, focusing on different children's book authors each week of the unit.
Eric Carle, Mo Willems, Lois Ehlert, Dr. Seuss, Laura Numeroff, Eric Litwin, Leo Lionni, Bill Martin, Jr.; to name just a few.
These weeks are always my favorite lesson plans to create and implement.
Through this theme, it is my hope to pass on a lifelong love of books and reading on to my three, four, and five-year-old students.
I'm a firm believer that books can teach you anything. They can teach you everything.
And it begins even before a child can talk.
WRITING CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Children's books have a simple - but tough - job.
Most people don't realize the amount of time, thought, and planning that goes into writing a 32-48 page book.
A good picture book needs to have engaging pictures, humor (a must for preschoolers!), a relatable story, and an almost-hidden theme.
Yes, I said hidden.
I mean, the children can't know they're learning a life-altering lesson, or they won't be interested ... most of the time.
Think about it. If you say to a child, "Let's read this book about identifying your feelings," you'll probably hear grumbling.
But if, instead, you say to the same child, "Oh my, look at this girl wearing socks on the beach! She even wears them in the bathtub! Is that a sock on her head?" You'll catch their attention and draw them into the story itself before they realize there are feelings faces on the socks.
It is every author's hope that the message of her book will come out, not just in the story itself, but in the meaningful follow-up discussions and activities led by parents and educators.
The book opens the door on a topic or academic skill. The rest is up to the reader.
For that reason, I felt it important to include a guide at the end of my book, with suggestions and ideas for extending the learning beyond the book itself.
A LOVE OF READING
I've loved reading all my life, and it began with my mom reading to me at a very young age.
My favorite book back then was a book called 'Will You Come to my Party', By Sara Asheron. It is the story of a forest party, and all the creatures are bringing something to the party, but they realize that they don't all eat the same thing...because they are all different species of animals. They figure out how to have a party anyway. What a wonderful, fun, and simple tale of acceptance.
Another early favorite: A Little Golden Book called, 'There's a Monster at the End of This Book.'
As I got older, some of my favorites were 'Bunnicula' by Deborah and James Howe, and 'Charlotte's Web' by E.B. White.
As a teenager, I always had a book to read.
When my husband (also an avid reader) and I married at a very young age, I can picture us so clearly reading Dean Koontz novels out loud to each other, lying side by side in bed. Bonding over books.
So, it's safe to say I've loved books and reading my whole life.
And I have my mom to thank for that because she passed her own love of reading on to me.
Children learn by doing, seeing, and mimicking our behaviors.
My advice: Read, read, read!
FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK QUOTES
In honor of the upcoming release of my first picture book, I'd like to end with some of my favorite quotes in children's literature. There are sooo many! I promise, I'll try to keep it reasonable! Take a moment and add your favorite children's books or quotes in the comments. I'd love to hear about them!
Here they are:
"A person's a person, no matter how small." - Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who
"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to." -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
"We all can dance ... when we find the music we love." - Giles Anderson, Giraffes Can't Dance
"It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia." - Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." - Robert Munsch, Love You Forever
"The Rainbow Fish shared his scales left and right. And the more he gave away, the more delighted he became. When the water around him filled with glimmering scales, he at last felt at home among the other fish." - Marcus Pfister, The Rainbow Fish
"By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that." -E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
"Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child. Listen to the DON'TS. Listen to the SHOULDN'TS, the IMPOSSIBLES, the WON'TS. Listen to the NEVER HAVES then listen close to me - Anything can happen, child. ANYTHING can be." - Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
"Do you know that you are very strong?" - The Monster at the End of This Book
"But looking back on the next day I can tell you that happy endings are possible, even in situations as fraught with complications as this one was." - James Howe, Bunnicula, #1
"Your'e braver than you believe and stronger and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
"She ran into her room and pulled on two mismatched socks. Her socks didn't have to match her mood. (And they didn't have to match each other, either!)" - Krisen L. Jackson, Jocelyn's Box of Socks
Add your favorite children's books or quotes in the comments, I'd love to hear them!
Keep On Reading!
Kristen L. Jackson, author of:
JOCELYN’S BOX OF SOCKS
A Children's Picture Book Coming May 28, 2019
Pre-Order Now at:
KEEPER OF THE WATCH, a young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel
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