E. is extremely interested in books and we, as a family, find it important to have a good and varied library at home. If you raise your child bilingual, having great books is essential from the very beginning. Quality counts more than quantity. We also use some Hungarian books in English and vica versa. I would spend my husband’s monthly salary on books if I could. So far I’ve managed to collect a few books both in English and Hungarian:
|Our small baby library|
The books you can see in the photo above are the ones that are available for E. at any time she wants them. I also have some more rhyme books, fairy tale collections and other stories in paperback format. I rather keep them away from her at present as she is living her life through experimenting (chewing, tearing, hitting, folding etc.) with everything.
Reading out loud to your child, no matter in which language, is a must. Even at a very young age. In our case both in English and in Hungarian.
E.’s biggest favourite is The Wizard of Oz at the moment. She is now a year old. And of course, we did not start it with this story. What we have is not a board book so she can’t have it; I take it only when we read it, so it is not available to her 7/11. Probably this is also part of the magic. I bought this book in a second hand Hungarian (!) book shop for 100 HUF:
I try to read it out with sound effects. The characters have different tones of voice, when the storm is coming I say whoooosh or sssssshhhhh, when the lion appears I roar, when the wizard prepares the balloon I imitate the blowing of a balloon etc. E. really loves all the sound effects. After I have read the book, she can get it for a short while. E. tries to turn the pages (it’s not easy for her as she is used to board books) and while we are looking at the pictures I tell her what we see in a few words. Then we put the book back to its place. This is when she starts whining, sometimes crying but it’s quite easy to direct her attention to something else, luckily.
But I should start with the beginning. Let’s go in chronological order:
At the very beginning, from birth to 6 months I used three CLOTH BOOKS.
|IKEA cloth book – The Giant Elephant’s Circus|
|Babylove cloth book -The Rabbit’s Carrot Garden|
The first thing E. could do with her hands after grabbing an object is turning the page of these books, and after a while BOARD BOOKS. It was after the age of 6 months, but this time she was just interested in turning the pages. When she was around 8-9 months old she was closly examining certain pages and skipped others.
I, myself, LOVE the Ladybird series. They have so many great books for all ages. The Baby Touch series is what suits a child under 3 the most. We have 2 of these colourful, vivid fun books which can be touched, scratched, pushed and licked:
In case of the Rhyme Book, I say the rhyme or sing the song which is on the given page while E. is touching and licking the different surfaces. I often ask her questions about the pictures (Where’s the Teddy? or Are these flowers the same? What colour is the pussycat?) and then I answer them (There he is, No, they’re different, She’s orange), but nowadays she’s started to answer me babbling or pointing or even saying some wordlike utterances.
In case of the Happy Babies Book, we mostly touch and scratch, or wave hello or bye-bye to different creatures. Also, I say a lot of colours here. If I’m a little bored with it then I sing along a song which could be connected to the pictures. E.’s favourite page is the last one, so we just sit over it and push and lick the squishy, circle and the shiny, silver triangle.
Another number 1. book with small kids is the Spot series by Eric Hill. Here is a video where Eric Hill himself is reading out one of his books, Where’s Spot?. The little hands love turning the flaps (but be careful, they can tear them off in the twinkling of an eye). Spot is very well supported online as well. Have a look at Spot’s homepage.
E. enjoys flap books a lot. Another one in our library, which is “read” on a daily bases, is Dear Zoo. You can have a look at the inside in this funny video.
I could go on and on listing the books we love using or would love to buy but there would be no point. As far as I’ve experienced it, it doesn’t really matter what books you have, and how many you have as long as you open them regularly, on a daily bases, or as frequently as your child is interested in them. Even if you don’t have a well lined purse (well, well it’s not a surprise that these baby books cost a fortune) you can find discounts and second hand books too.
Check out the following sites:
There’s a site (bookdepository.com) where delivery is free. What’s more, you can read to your child online for free (though it’s not really for babies, or at least my little one doesn’t really enjoy it that much yet): wegivebooks.org . Another possibility is to make your own book, but it’ll be another post.