Confessions of a Children's Book Addict

Back in the day, when living in the city, the only business owner in town who knew me ran the bakery (mmmm, Dinkels). Today, the ones who know me are the librarians. They know my kids by name. They’d see us every week. We’d attend almost every Story Time or special event. 
I love the library. 
While still an avid reader (recently: local author Glenn Taylor’s “The Marrowbone Marble Company” and Stieg Larrson’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series), my focus has shifted towards picture books and now, into the chapter book realm. Basically, I need to make an admission…
I am addicted to children’s books.
If it wasn’t for another Mom (Tara- ha ha!) who is worse off than I, treatment may have been considered. (It’s always nice to have someone to point the finger at, isn’t it?)
Fellow blogger Khadine wrote about kids books a few months ago here. I shall take it up an age group (or two) and recommend what I think are some seriously good authors for your budding young minds.
Since I’m to tackle this subject, I thought I would bring in the big guns and consult a professional (he’s also Scott’s cousin). Chris Lassen is the Senior Children’s Librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library (impressive, huh?). I have melded our recommendations, as we had some overlap, but his unique picks will be in italic.
A. The youngest set/Board Books:
Sandra Boynton: She can rhyme as good as Seuss, but without the made up words (snerd). I love her hilarious animals and her bellybutton loving Hippos! Some books have surprisingly good CDs with the stories set to music.
Leslie Patricelli “Binky!” “Blankie!” and “The Birthday Box”. Sam loved these. I did too. Her board books are so clever. In “The Birthday Box”, the box is a better toy than the present inside- so precious, and SO true.
Jan Thomas (who is up for a 2011 Monarch Award) “Rhyming Dust Bunnies”, “What Will Fat Cat Sit On?” They’re really funny both for kids and parents with striking cartoon-like illustrations.

Emily Gravett I dare you to read “Monkey & Me” with a toddler and not have them pretend to be a group of monkeys swinging from a tree!

Jeremy Tankard “Grumpy Bird” & “Me Hungry!” -sarcastic yet funny and charming at the same time.

Karen Katz “Daddy Hugs” (et al) lift the flap = hours of fun for babies and toddlers and also some quiet time for mommy and daddy.
B. 2-4 years
Mo Willems: Any Pigeon book. He wrote for Sesame Street and has taken over the world of Children’s Lit. The pigeon books are great for any toddler who’ll get to yell out “NO!” to that sneaky pigeon every time he tries to drive the bus or stay up late. (Ooh, the “Knuffle Bunny” ones too!)
Karma Wilson: Her Bear series. An amazing rhymer; her bear snores on while everyone has a party in his lair. He also feels sick, scared, makes a new friend of an owl (WHO?), and tries to stay up for Christmas with the help of his dear friends. We treasure all of these.
3. 5-7 years, or as Chris put it: the transitional ‘easy reader’ chapter books for in between being able to read and reading full chapter books on their own like:
Mo Willems (again-love him!): Any Elephant and Piggy. Great for new readers. These two best friends travel through life’s silliness. A bird is on one’s head, and stays. The pig thinks he can fly, or Elephant thinks he is allergic to his best friend, a pig.
His latest reminds me of my favorite book when I was a kid starring our furry old pal Grover (of Sesame Street fame) “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book”. It’s called “We Are in a Book” where Elephant and Piggy realize that they are characters in the very book you are reading. Their reaction to this news is perfect.
Nate The Great
Hi! Fly Guy (the boys really love these)
Bink & Gollie (written by Kate DiCamillo author of “The Tale of Despereax” and “Because of Winn-Dixie”. Fantastic book!)
IV: Independent Readers (these are mostly chapter books and serial books):
Captain Underwear 
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (the 2nd movie is coming out this summer)
My Wierd School (these made us laugh and laugh)
The Rainbow Fairies -girly, but good
Magic Tree House
Junie B. Jones
Cam Jansen
Dork Diaries (for similar to Wimpy Kid but from the perspective of a girl)
Dear Dumb Diary – Jim Benton
AND
Harry Potter- which I can barely call a kids book, as I am as addicted to them as any 4th grader!
If this inspires you to even get one of these books, awesome- enjoy them and watch as your kids love them too. 
Now, I’m gonna be like Oprah (ha!) and tell you to go out and read!

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  • I am totally with you on this. I've given up pretending I love adult novels and just started downloading all kinds of YA fiction to my Kindle (I'm currently working through Lois Lowry's oeuvre). The books I am most excited about passing down to my daughter when she starts to read independently are the 'Betsy-Tacy' books by Maud Hart Lovelace. I reread these books every few years. The are just simply the best books ever written, only a little hyperbole.

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