(And, arguably, most television shows and video games do not.)
I’m not an anti-TV or anti-video game fanatic, but I do think that as parents we need to sharply distinguish between what is entertaining our kids and what is positively shaping them: inspiring them, fostering a sense of adventure, prompting them to consider important questions, shaping a creative mind, nurturing an inquisitive soul, deepening an understanding of the human condition, and so on.
Entertainment has it’s place, but so does reading. And reading’s place ought to be way higher than entertainment’s. One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is the love of reading. This may not come easy for some, and that’s why the books we pick and the time we spend reading with them, to them, and alongside of them can make a big difference.
Someday I’ll create a resource reviewing and recommending books for kids. (And “someday” I’ll also be a marine biologist, watercolorist, and interplanetary explorer, but that’s another story!) But in the mean time, I thought I’d share some tips and resources to help you cheer your kids along the path of loving reading.
Newbery books: These are MY personal favorite reads. Newbery award winners and Newbery Honor books are the go-to place for books that are compelling, deal with important issues, and help older kids get thinking about life’s most important values. Depending on the child and the book, Newbery books are appropriate generally for ages 9 to 13. Some could go younger than 9, some should stay older — be sure to check out the content first. These are ideal to discuss with kids because of the deeper issues and themes the books raise. Find the Newbery list here.
Books for Girls: Again, someday I’ll create my OWN list of books I recommend . . . but it’s not today. But this blog post I read a few months back is simply awesome: “10 Books You Must Read to Your Daughter.” I love it. I’ve read most of the books on this list and that’s why I just love it. (Note: I’d add an absolutely necessary 11th one here–Madeleine L’Engle’s books!)
Books for Boys: I love this site by author Jon Scieszka: Guys Read. It’s got great suggestions for books that connect with stuff guys and tykes will be energized and motivated to read.
Bookwizard: This tool from Scholastic will help you find books by reading level (lexile or grade level), genre, and interests.
OK, all for now.
Stay posted for my “Someday” list. . . maybe I’ll get to it this year!
In the mean time, what are your favorite books for kids or resources for book lists? Please share!