In my household books are always under the Christmas tree. If you are choosing a book as a gift for a young child, what should you look for?
- A book that grows with the child is ideal. Choose a book that you read to a little one. In time the child will start to recite some of the words to you. And eventually he will enjoy reading the book by himself.
- Younger children like stories that mimic experiences that they have had. Books about milestones like potty training, learning to help around the house, starting school are great. As children get older fantasy becomes more appealing. Also notice the child's interests. Does he like to collect rocks or have outdoor adventures? Find books with those themes.
- Find a book with appealing illustrations and a good cover. Illustrations that invite participation (find all the stuffed animals) and conversation keep the attention of young children.
- Note the language in the book. Younger children love repetition and rhyming. Vocabulary that is part of the sight vocabulary of the young reader helps the child learn more quickly to read the food for fun alone.
- Find a theme that is enduring. Can the story relate to other life experiences? Is it a book that will be enjoyed over and over?
Diane Quintana and I have written two children's books that pretty much cover these suggestions (OK, they don't rhyme). Check out Suzie's Messy Room and Benji's Messy Room on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel or ask for it at your local book shop.
Jonda S. Beattie