I leaned my head out the kitchen door to scan the living room. And there they were, all five of them, nestling into the couches, perusing a favorite book. Sunlight was pouring in the south window, tingling down their necks, warming their backs and whiting their toes.
Most afternoons start out gentle like this.
I kneel on the carpet, camera in hand, watching. They are oblivious to their stalking mother. I creep past their feet as Sami tells the boys the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Cath, your kids are so lucky to have you. I love how you described them as "puzzle pieces" against you. What a blessing you are. Reading is such a beautiful way to connect and bond.
Pippi Longstocking books were some of my older boys' favorites years ago. Yes, Jan Brett's illustrations are marvelous. Thank you for listing your beloved children's books here.
Sending you love.
Oh yay! I was doing some unsuccessful google searches for this very thing! Thanks so much for sharing!
I keep checking for WDW pics! 🙂 I love love love the pictures. So inspiring and so making me want to make our way through all our books and then get some new ones. I wish we had a library here. Your girls aren't bathing themselves yet? Here's a trick–let them get into the tub and you wash their hair with the sprayer (Please tell me you have a sprayer with a hose–much easier). This should take you no more than a couple of minutes. Then you can do your own thing within shouting distance of the girls while they bathe their nether regions. I usually give Ella and Chaz a bath together and unless we have extra time, Chaz is in and out in just about 2-3 minutes. Sometimes I let him stay in while I wash my face and brush my teeth right next to the tub. I have already washed Ella's hair (While Chaz is playing) and then I let her stay in the tub while I get him ready for bed. Then she gets out (sometimes on her own, but the tub is deep), and she gets ready for bed. But you're right–not quite completely independent yet, but the hose sprayer is a close second. $30 at Costco and Jim replaced them in about 5-10 min each.
Anne Marie – I would love to see your list of favorites. And I'm so glad you like Jan Brett. I think she's quite amazing. I have a school question for you with respect to your boys. I'll email you soon. And I still mean to hop over to POMs and comment on your article. I will do that. Love to you too and a happy weekend.
Alex – Hope it helps. Sure miss you! xo
Erin – Yes, you would think I'd have the girls bathing themselves. They do everything except wash their hair and Eliza is dying to shower, but the shower we have has tricky hot/cold taps. I have to adjust them the whole time during my shower and it gets extremely hot very fast. I'm a little worried about her burning herself, but we've got to try sooner or later! The sprayer is a great idea. We have one in my shower. Maybe it's time to just give it a go! Planning to post pics from our trip in the next couple weeks. This week all I could do was finish this post. The days evaporated with unexpected events – a flat tire, swapping out one of the crib tents, battling a cold, herding chickens. And we've had family in town and several family gatherings this week. Such is life! Question: So no library in Panama? No library system at all?
I find it awesome how our kids read some of the same books, even though we live in different countries and speak different languages. My youngest one loves Pipi Longstocking (and is named after Pipi's friend Annika — and she is mighty pleased with that, ;-)), and we all love Where the Wild Things Are. If you like, here is are some drawings from it that my kids made about two and a half years ago: http://fraumahlzahnsgrazerlei.blogspot.com/2009/10/ssau-mal-mosche-ruft-minka-habe-ich.html (Scroll down, it's the framed drawings).
We don't read many books _in_ English with the kids, but they do like How the Gringe stole Christmas (I read it to them in English and then translate) and Green Eggs and Ham. That would be my favorite children's book, ;-). Also there is a book that I just saw has been translated to English: Valerie and the Good-night-swing by Mira Lobe. That would definitely be one of our favorites — Lobe has a wonderful way with words. We went to see this enacted on stage, and I swear that every parent and all kids knew all the words — sometimes the actors even stopped to let the audience finish, and one time they left out a line, oh boy, did the kids protest, ;-).
By the way, do not worry about giving a wrong impression on your church's position on Satan! I find it really interesting, and really learned a lot from your explanation. Thank you for taking the time for that, ;-).
P.S.: Here are some Astrid Lindgren books that we really enjoy:
Lotta on Troublemaker Street (I read it to my kids when they were about three or four)
Ronia the Robber's daughter and Brothers Lionheart are for much older kids (at least 10 I would guess), but do not miss out on them. They have such good messages on childhood, courage, love, trust… Especially Ronia has some thoughts, that I kind of use as a mantra, when my kids climb up the highest trees and do the wildest things. In fact, they are still some of _my_ favorite books that I still enjoy to read:
this is simply a splendid list! i luv books that remind me of my childhood and also older movies (shirley temple was a favorite that my grandma always played for me). you are pumping me up for some great summer reading ideas with the girls! luv all the recent post cath! luv ya! *cami
Cath, I'm back:) I am so impressed with this list you've put together. I will definitely need to put some of these books on hold at the library. I didn't even realize that Eric Carle had come out with a new book. The Macy's Day parade book looks intriguing.
Your children are so blessed to have you reading to and with them.
A few of our favorites through the years are some that you've already listed and a a few more including:
Tacky the Penguin books (Tacky's a very silly penguin…the stories make my twins laugh)
James Marshall books including Miss Nelson is Missing
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
P. D. Eastman's books, esp. Go, Dog, Go and Flap your Wings
Good Night, Gorilla (even though there are basically no words)
Paul Galdone's versions of classic tales (he was one of author/illustrators I remember from my childhood)
Amelia Bedelia (truthfully I do not enjoy her, but 3 of my sons have)
Five Children and It (E. Nesbit is the author)
Junie B. Jones (I think some people will find the slang/poor grammar used by the character as extremely annoying, but I found it endearing. The audio versions of these books are amazing. They saved us during one car trip.)
Roald Dahl books (He is one of those authors who you either really like or really dislike. He's quirky. My boys loved many of his books. The language gets a little colorful, particularly in Matilda. It's easy to edit it during a read-aloud but not so much if they're reading it on their own.)
Have you ever looked at a book called "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It's marvelous really. He includes research about the benefits of reading and then best of all includes pages and pages of book recommendations and descriptions.
There are so many books out there. It's always sad to realize that I will never have time to get to all of them.
I'd love to "talk" about your school question. E-mail me whenever.
Oh I love this, I love this!! I could so relate to everything you said about reading and that time with your children. Reading has received so much emphasis in our house from day 1, and we love reading together. Thanks for sharing your list. Some of these we've loved too, but I'm going to reserve the ones I don't know at the library so we can enjoy your recommendations.
Corinna – I LOVED your children's "Wild Things" art. What a brilliant idea to have splice the real pages with their art. So wonderful! Thank you for sharing. And thanks for your excellent book recommendations. I referred back to last year's post with everyone's ideas, when we made library trips. I didn't know Lindgren had written other things. Thank you!
Cami – I'm counting down the days for you! Welcome baby boy Kesler! We have a collection of Shirley Temple movies. She was one of my absolute favorites as a girl. If you aren't already hooked up, let me know and you can borrow them. Sure love you Cami!
Anne Marie – what a fabulous list. Thank you for adding it here so others can benefit as well. Haven't heard of Tacky the Penguin. Will check that one out. And Eliza just came home last week with a whole book of artwork from Miss Nelson is missing. Her teacher dressed up as the substitute teacher – can't recall her name right now. Thank you so much for all of these recommendations. I'll be checking them out at the library! And I'll email you soon about the boys. Love you!
Elizabeth – I am SO disappointed we are going to miss an opportunity for dinner with you Sunday. (Talked with Gaylyn yesterday.) Let's please try for another time to get together. And I would love to hear your list of favorite children's books as well. xo
Dear Cath, thank you soooo much for this list!! I am the lucky owner of one sister resident in USA so, via her + Amazon, I purchase books in English. I love your style and I'm sure I'll love the recommended books too. I've already added some to my next Amazon wishlist.
My elder daughter is a huge fan of books since a young age 🙂 You can read more about it here: http://blue-jeans-girl.blogspot.com/2010/10/she-hearts-reading.html
I would be interested to read (if you have time to write such a post) about your list of favorite MOVIES for children.
Kisses from Romania! I ♥ your blog!
P.S.: when I have a bad day I'm thinking about you: "how does she handle 5 parallel tantrums??". Do you have help with children over the day?
Cath, you mean dinner on Friday, yes? I would love to try for another time. Lets make it happen! xoxo
And, p.s., I'll do a book post coming soon.
Raluca – adorable pictures of your little darling "devouring" books. We've seen a few go the way of edible reads too. 😉 As for movies, I'll have to give it some thought. A few come to mind quickly – mostly Disney – but we've stumbled upon a few other great flicks for children. I'll try to tend to that in a future post. And "five parallel tantrums" – you make me laugh. We have had melt-downs x five – all at once. Not very often. But is has happened! Most recently, I dialed my husband's number, hoping he would pick up so he could simply hear the madness. The challenge for me is to stay calm and ride it out. As for help over the day, I don't have any regular help. I have a sitter that comes once a week so I can grocery shop. And that's about it. But I do have a wonderful mother and mother-in-law who help when we have appointments and such. And when Doug is home, all things run smoothly. He's a great Daddy. Sending blessings across the miles to you.
Elizabeth – Yes, I meant Friday. Where is my brain? Sometimes I wonder. Loved your strolling post. How did I miss that you have twin boys? Your pictures and history were so sweet. We'll have lots to talk about when we can finally get together. I'll look forward to your book recommendations. xo
Wow!! You really are a strong woman, Cath!! No regular help!!…
Million thanks for sharing your experience here! You are such an example to follow for me!
I have kept this up on my computer because I have been wanting to comment for ages. But alas, all the running around to keep up with my family has made me much delayed! I love reading about good kids books. H & E are reading so voraciously these days I can't keep up. Seriously, H finished all 7 Harry Potter Books in about 10 weeks. E will read an entire Magic Treehouse book a day. StellaLuna has long been a favorite here, Verdi by the same author is pretty great too. Recently Dave has invested in some gorgeous leather bound fairy tale books. He started with some good ole Norse mythology (hence our baby's name Freya) and now we have some from all over. A love of reading is a fantastic gift to your kids – well done Cath!
Michelle – I always love your book suggestions. Just looked up Verdi and I'm adding it to our library list. Thank you! Jaw drop that H has finished all seven Harry Potters and E can read a Magic Treehouse book in a day! I'm not surprised. But whoa. Do you guys have norse ancestry? Doug's family is norwegian – his grandfather first generation emigrant. And I LOVE the name Freya. Thanks Michelle!
Younce is Scandinanian, a lot of Danish and Norwegan in Dave's blood. His sisters all have Scandinavian names.. I can never believe how fast these kids of ours are growing.
I love your book list! my husband thinks we have tooooo many but I just cant get rid of them! If you haven't you should check out Stand tall Molly lou lemon! its our favorite & im sure it will be on the top of your list too!
YOu have an adorable family!
Great list! I kept meaning to come back to it and order some off Amazon. I just did. May I also recommend the "If you give a ___ a ___" series by Laura Numeroff? (e.g. If you give a pig a party…) We love those here. I'm also a fan of the Eric Carle books in Spanish. Chaz is in love with "La Arana Muy Ocupada," he loves the books that have animals that he can "talk" to. I would also recommend as your girls get older the entire Wizard of Oz series (ironically, the worst book in the bunch is the first one and the most famous), anything by Roald Dahl, all the Ramona books, and almost all the Judy Blume books.