Staff Picks: More Children’s Books

Last month, we asked our staff to share some favorite children’s books, and the resulting chapter, which you can go check out if you haven’t, was really popular! Reading with your kids is a great way to inspire them to read on their own, and to keep them engaged and interested in reading. So, with an eye toward curling up under a blanket this evening and having some quality reading time, why not stop by your library or a great bookstore like Little Shop of Stories in Decatur and pick one of these favorites?

Pam Duncan, manager of public programming, recommends:
My favorite book as a youngster was Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary. It was my first chapter book and I loved it because I could identify so well with the heroine, Ramona. As the youngest of five children and ten cousins I was ALWAYS striving to be a big kid. (I still am.) I wanted so badly to grow up but was accused of being a nuisance and a pest. As Ramona bemoans, “How can I stop being a pest if I never was trying to be one in the first place?” I was always getting into trouble and can relate to Ramona wanting to touch the beautiful boingy curls of a classmate during kindergarten recess only to get into trouble for pulling her hair. (I’m blessed that the women I now work with let me touch their beautiful boingy curls). I always meant well but kept messing up.

Karen Kelly, director of exhibits & education, recommends:
My children loved Goodnight Gorilla by James Mayhew, because it had words, but also room to talk about what was happening on each page, as the Gorilla let all the animals out so they could sleep with the zookeeper. We had lots of fun inventing our own description of the story and thinking about the sounds each animal would make if it snored! As a life-long museum person, I also loved Mayhew’s Katie and the Mona Lisa. The idea of climbing in and out of paintings, meeting Mona Lisa and St. George and the dragon, and dancing with nymphs was fun for me and my children. It made art come to life in a way they related to easily.

Christy Costello, director of finance and HR, recommends:
A book I’m sure my parents tired of is The Monster at the End of this Book by John Stone and Mike Smolin. But I loved the illustrations (they are ’70s fabulous) and the interactivity of this book. Our Narrator, lovable furry Grover from Sesame Street, is afraid of the future (the end of the book) and he does everything he can think of to keep you the reader from turning pages to get there. Which made for some super fun reading – pretending to have to break through ropes and brick walls etc. When the end comes we find it is not at all scary. A good reminder that the unknown is not necessarily bad, its just unknown.

Grant Goggans (that’s me!!), marketing assistant, recommends:
I don’t remember reading Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Weber as a child myself, but I have read this book more times in the last twelve months than anything else. It’s the second in the series of Lyle books, and my three year-old is completely taken by the plot, which I feared, wrongly, might have been too complicated for him. Lyle is a performing crocodile who lives with the Primm family and can’t help but aggravate their grouchy neighbor, Mr. Grumps. Apart from the fun artwork, which often sweeps across double-page spreads and gives you and your young reader the chance to ask questions and look for details, parents will get the opportunity to use different voices for different characters. Only try not to create too gravelly a voice for Mr. Grumps, because if your children like this half as much as mine does, you’ll be growling his lines a lot, and it’ll take quite a toll on your throat!

We would love to hear from you! What children’s books are your family’s favorites?

For more info on our literacy outreach program, Connected Learning, Connected Communities, click here.

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