i thought it might be interesting to some of you what kind of books our kids read and flip through and how we choose those books.i just picked a few out of them.those ones, the girls have been interested in for the last couple of weeks or days.we have so much more, but some of them are favourites for a certain time.you probably know that from your kids or kids of friends.just to clarify that our variety of books is really wide.and even though we regularly borrow children books from our community library, our own collection of books gets bigger and bigger.last week, when the girls turned three, 4 other books found a new home with us.so i thought its about time, to start putting away some of their books like christmas books or books they got when they were really really young and books i never ever see them using.i think its good and necessary for them to keep an overview of the books they have in their bookshelfs.i personally think it also helps them, when they put away their own books (we do that by the end of the day, where then everyone picks out one book as a good night story) to see what kind of books they actually have.
my personal preverence is to choose books that allow my children to enter a world where their own imagination can still unfold, where their own imagination gets animated.books with not a set and fixed picture, because they are so young and they will make their very own experience in this world and i want them to freely enter it without having tons of pictures in mind of how e.g. a perfect birthdayparty looks like, or a typical kindergarden day looks like,….you name it.children books with their illustrations are so powerful.you probably noticed that with your kids.they are highly sensetive of how people’s or animals faces are drawn.their natural emphaty is huge.so i feel i have a really responsible job by choosing carefully which children books they look at.what story, what kind of information and what values get transported by them.
for weeks now our girls are fascinated by foxes and wolfes.fascinated in both ways.they are scared by them somehow, but so drawn and positivly intrugued by them.that fact for example caused me to look for a children non fiction book about wolves in our library.and i found one.”Bei den Wölfen”(Bärbel Oftring, Ute Thönissen, 2005 Patmos Verlag) it describes and explaines so much about wolves and their life.from birth to how they interact and play with each other to how they learn to hunt from their wolf pack.they really like that book and it seems that understanding and knowing more about them helped them to loose some of their fear.
its funny that a couple of days ago my canadian friend gifted them a beautiful beautiful book about two sisters. one sister tries to do everything to cheer up her other sister that one day woke up feeling wolfish.the illustrations are amazing and allow children and adults to dive into another world.my girls loooved that book.its in english, so i translate it for them and tell them the story.one sister, that woke up wolfish is drawn as a wolf.a sad wolf, not a scarry or angry one.that book contains so much content and is one of those books i talked before that still allow children to create and see their version of it too.i love it and highly recommend it.”Virginia WOLF” (KYO Maclear, Isabelle Arsenault, 2012 Kids Can Press)
as i just said with foxes they have the same attraction or fascination.when i looked for some books for my niece and nephew i found one book called “Der Findefuchs”(Irina Korschunow, Reinhard Michl, 1984 Thienemann Verlag).its about a little fox baby that lost its mother in the woods and how another fox mother finds it and saves it, cares for it and protects it like her own three foxbabies.it also talks and shows how the three other fox babies encounter with it.the illustrations are beautifully drawn and its a wonderful story about adoption and a mothers heart and care.children are invited to enter the world of this fox mother and how she truly loves and cares for her babies.the girls are all fascinated by it and are now more scarred of that dog in the book that tries to chase the fox.
speaking about animals that fascinates them: lately it has been the bees we’ve already seen outside when the first springflowers bloomed up in winter.i know.we’re still having february, but this winter has been some sort of crazy.a few weeks ago when we also visited our favourite insecthotel we talked about the bees and we have lots of beekeepers and beehives in our tiny village.so the girls have been seeing them several times.with that last visit to the insecthotel and watching the bees flying around, their interest of those animals got renewed and so i also had a look in the library for a children book that explains how honey is made.i found a really simple and wonderful little book “Von der Blüte zum Honig” (Ali Mitgutsch, 2007 Boje Verlag) with beautiful illustrations and easy to understand.
tuesaday morning is our library day and the girls love it.not everytime we borrow lots of books, but we take time to read books there as well.and i have the chance to look for books that might go along with their current interest and questions.the best: most libraries have wish-lists where you can write down name of books you like them to have in their collection.oh, i told them a lot already.
Katrien Wiehle’s naturebooks (made out of 100% recycled paper and printed with ecological colours) are still favourites here.maybe because by now they have the used touch and smell and whatsoever.i bought them when the girls were still babies and they drooled on them, played with them in the southamerican dirt during our trip,…a must for all german parents.here, one girl is looking at “Mein kleiner Wald” (Katrin Wiehle, 2013 Beltz&Gelberg)
another favourite of my girls is a book i found in our thriftstore (for 1€) several months ago.its a chinese fairytale called “Das Häschen und die Rübe” (Roswitha Grüttner, Parabel Verlag München).again beautiful illustrations, but the value of giving and gifting and caring for others is wonderfully shown and told by it.i won’t tell you more about the detailed content, because i think it would be like with movies: once you tell the whole story, the magic and interest goes away much more.so you won’t hear more of me.for all you german speaking people out there, its a wonderful classic to have.
alright.lets move to Elsa Beskow’s treasures.the first book i got from her was at a fleamarket when i was pregnant with the girls (someone wrote in: for katharina and georg).don’t you love those books that have been read in other families too.later, i couldn’t understand how someone would come to the decision to sell such a pearl of a book. i was instantly drawn to that book and by then i didn’t even have a clue about her and her other books and philosophy.i bought “Pelles neue Kleider/Pelles nya Kläder/Pelle’s new Suit” (Elsa Beskow, 1979, Carlsen Verlag) because of its simply explanation of how we come to a wool garment.because it simply and beautifully showed and explained all the steps most of us adults don’t even know anymore.i loooved it and also its scandinavian little signs in the book, that immediatly took me back to all those years of my family vacations and holidays in sweden.i read that book to them when they were still really young.well, i didn’t read it literally, i told them and maybe made it a bit shorter.they still want me to read it to them.they love pelle.we have a wooden puzzle of pelle and his little lamb and i wouldn’t be surprised if maybe one day one of their baby dolls gets the name pelle.who knows.i also noticed that all children coming to our house are fascinated by that book.
and for their third birthday they each got another Elsa Beskow book.”Hänschen im Blaubeerenwald/Peter in Blueberryland” (Elsa Beskow, 4.Auflage 2013, Loewe Verlag) was one of them.and because we spent about a month in sweden and norway last year picking blueberries and cranberries and living in blueberryland, eating them almost daily while being in the woods all the time, that book was almost ‘a must’.this book is her most famous book and achievment.it gently takes the reader, child and adult into that fairy magical world of berries.the girls immediatly recognized the typical swedish birchbark baskets they also got from their oma when they’ve visited that little swedish thriftstore in the summer.they are now telling me that they also wanna ride on mice and not only on horses anymore.that story is truly inviting.
“Die Wichtelkinder/Tomtebobarnen/Children of the Forest” (Elsa Beskow, 11.Auflage 2014, Urachhaus) was the other book they got for their birthday and i guess you can say its a classic.it beautifully invites children to follow along that cute little family that lives under the root of a tree.it leads you trough all the seasons and also describes and shows some challenges they face.it has a lot of content and topics and is rich in wonderful information and nature values.my girls were fascinated by the scene when the older brothers of the children of the forest got a bit attacked by the ants.they were playing that scene later on.over and over.one was hurt by the ants and the other one was gently doctoring her and her wounds.the page when the troll shows behind a stone is still a page i have to turn over, they told me.
i can imagine a lot of you probably know all of these books, but maybe one or two books are new to you or have aroused your interest.maybe you got another book inspiration as a gift for a little one you know.this whole introduction of books is just a neverending topic.i could go on and on and on with introducing and talking about children books.there’s so many good ones out there and i’m glad we got a library wish-list i can write down some favourites.if you have a library close by, i encourage you to ask them if they have something like that.also there’s online webshops for used books you can buy for cheaper.i’m just mentioning all that because i would spend soooo soo much money by buying good books, so used ones or ones you can borrow are a wonderful solution.and the special extra beautiful ones still find a permanet home with us as gifts for christmas and birthday, where each girl gets a new book (from grandparents or aunt and uncle and….)
if you have wonderful favourite children books recommendations and suggestions, please let me know.always on the search for precious pearls.
“a children’s story which is only enjoyed by children is a bad children’s story.”
– C.S. Lewis