Skip to main content

A Goal for

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 from Whiskers & Rhymes

Since I have been working with, reading and loving kid's books for much longer than I have been writing about them, my hope when I started this blog was to introduce readers to older books that might not be getting the shelf space and attention at your local bookstores and libraries that the newer books always demand. Despite my lofty ideals, I frequently find myself both starstruck and awestruck by the new books that arrive on the shelves at the bookstore where I work (and on my doorstep when I am fortunate enough to receive review copies.) And, I must admit that my sense of wonder for the new has kept me from reading as much of the old as I had originally intended to. The piles of books in my house are constantly growing, but lately I have noticed that the piles of older books I want to read and review are getting especially large and demanding of my attention. As an avid trader at PaperBackSwap I have been building my library of older titles over the last three years and I cannot ignore these books any longer. So, this is my longwinded way of telling you that I am committing myself to reading ONLY from the pile of books pictured below for at least a month, hopefully two. This will not be easy though. I have seen the fall catalogs for my two favorite publishers of kid's books, Candlewick Press and Amulet Books and I am very excited. Until those new fall books start rolling in, this is what awaits me! 

And, for those of you interested, below is a picture of my bookshelf. While there are bookshelves loaded with books in every room of my home except the bathrooms, this is MY shelf that is overflowing with kid's books, almost all of which I have read. The books piled on the top (aside from the three complete sets of Harry Potter, two US versions, one UK edition) are adult books from the days when I actually used to read more mature works. To the left of the picture is a NEW BOOKSHELF waiting to be assembled by my husband! Hopefully this will be large enough to hold the 150+ books that I still have not read.

Overloaded bookshelf about to get some relief.

 After many hours and shuffling of books, I made them all fit and even managed to tidy it up a bit! Note the new bookshelf on the left, assembled but sagging under the weight. A new bookshelf is going up in my 6 year old son's room that will hold all the books he can read now, all the books he should be able to read by the end of first grade and, the carrot on the stick to keep him developing that reading muscle, all the Harry Potter books. While he has seen the first three movies in the series, we have not allowed him to see the rest so that when he does read the books the story will be quasi-fresh for him.

This groaning new bookshelf holds all the books I want to read and review. Much more than that pile in the picture above and sure to expand. Hope I don't really grow a beard trying to read them all!


Donna said…
this sounds like my house. It is so difficult for me to stop buying kids books so we have approx. 800-900 of them. I like to display the kids books in bins so that the covers are facing out. That of course takes up alot more space. I have placed about 50 books in a bag to donate to a friend but I keep taking various books back out and coming up with reasons to keep them. I even have a system for rotating the books so that all of them get read frequently. Fanatical I am but the kids love books and so do I.
Tanya said…
WOW! I wish I had room to display my books faced out. I like seeing my bookshelves spined and tidy, but I do tend to leave one or two picture books facing out from time to time - I just love the illustrations. My dream is to have a library room in my home someday. I guess when all the kids are gone!
Tanya said…
Jeremy - somehow I deleted your comment so I'm posting it here.

So cool to peek into your bookshelves -- obviously a serious lover of books! We sure have appreciated your insights and recommendations over the years. Many of our favorites came from these pages...thank you (again)!

You are welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting! I would love to see the bookshelves of all of my readers someday!
munchies said…
Hi! May I ask you where this illustration is from?

I might re-use it on my blog and wanted to provide credits.

Tanya said…
Credits are at the bottom of the poem in my post. Poem and artwork by Arnold Lobel from the (out of print) book WHISKERS AND RHYMES.

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…