Any excuse for a book post!
Okay, so regular readers of my blog will know my answer to this. It’s a definite no! I’m still dreaming about the day that I get to have a library in our house like Belle’s in Beauty and the Beast. Can you imagine? That would be amazing. I’d also need a pretty big house, that might be the tricky part …
However, despite that, and being a bit of a book hoarder (I’m not really a hoarder of much else – I love a good declutter), over the years I have started to streamline my books, getting rid of ones that I know I’ll never look at again (the fact that they’re very quickly replaced by new books is irrelevant!), trying to be sensible when it comes to keeping books, and not letting the collection get too big. Although admittedly, I do still have enough for a small library and that shows no sign of waning, to me a house doesn’t feel complete without a bookcase (or two, or three), just like a town feels a little bit soulless without a book shop, and non-essential shopping trips don’t feel worthwhile without a book purchase. And don’t get me started on book post – the best post that there is!
I know that I’ve written about this in previous posts, but before my little man was born I really wanted to make sure that books were a part of his life too. After all, I believe that if you love reading that it opens up so many doors. As far as I’m concerned a love of reading is like a key to life’s possibilities and opportunities.
I knew that I couldn’t make my little man like reading, as much as I love reading myself and think it to be so beneficial, I also know that forcing anyone else into it is hardly going to curate a love of it. Instead I thought I’d just make books a natural part of his life from the very beginning. Stories every day, a bookcase in his bedroom that he could easily access whenever he wanted as well as making it part of the bedtime routine.
And – so far – it’s worked! He loves a story, he frequently sits surrounded by books from his bookcase going through them, and he has favourite books – one of which he “reads” back to us in a very cute way (I mean reading in as much as lots of blowing raspberries for snoring sounds, lots of “aaah” for sighing, and snuggling into whichever of us is reading to him for “a great big goodnight kiss” – it’s Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton, such a lovely book to share with a little one).
However, the other week I realised the book thing had got out of hand. They were everywhere! Now, I did plan on buying a new bookcase, but I realised that about half the books were never looked at, mainly because they’re a bit old for him at the moment, and it was a bit overwhelming for him when he went to the bookcase as the books were spilling out of it and sitting in piles around it. Did we have too many books? Maybe.
So, I decided to streamline the bookcase with books that he loves and has the patience to sit through at his age. I put the additional books in a box to be stored away, future treats to look forward to when I swap the books around or – depending on the book – for when he’s a little bit older and will enjoy it more.
What a difference! The little book corner had a sense of calm descend on it and I felt more relaxed too. And having a streamlined bookcase works much better for us. Although I do think we will need a new bookcase soon …
So, now that things are a bit more organised, what are the favourites at the moment? Well, I already mentioned Goodnight Everyone and there’s another Chris Haughton one which has been our little man’s favourite since he was only a few months old – Oh no, George! It’s just lovely and you can’t help but fall in love with the hapless George who hopes he’s going to be good, but just can’t seem to manage it. It’s one of those that I can recite off at a moment’s notice and has proved very useful with changing mat tantrums – the sound of the first few words of Oh no, George! have a surprisingly calming effect!
Another favourite is Bedtime with Ted by Sophy Henn. With the events of last summer, I became very conscious about how important it was that there was diversity in my little man’s book collection. Although we had a couple of books that were more diverse, I felt we needed more so I asked the best person to ask whenever I need book recommendations, my friend Claire who has the brilliant Instagram account @alittlebookhabit, and she suggested the Ted series. My little man loves them (we also have Teatime with Ted, Storytime with Ted and Jump About with Ted), but Bedtime with Ted is definitely his favourite, he loves lifting the big flaps to reveal the part of the story underneath – in fact the flaps are looking a little worse for wear!
Then there’s Stephen – from the ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ series. This is the board book, a simplified version of their book Stephen Hawking. I bought a few of these last year and this is the one that my little man has really taken to – and as with all the books he loves it’s a little tatty round the edges! I love the fact that these books make people like Stephen Hawking accessible to children as young as my little man. There are books on such a variety of people, from Rosa Parks to David Bowie, Dolly Parton to Mahatma Ghandi. The illustrations are beautiful – we’ll definitely be buying more from this series.
So they’re my little man’s favourites for now. No doubt it’ll change again (although I’m not quite sure when he’ll stop loving Oh no, George!), I just love exploring books with him and I’m so delighted that he seems to enjoy them too.
And I’ll admit that maybe it is possible to have a few too many books. Maybe.