This week, I decided to look through our children’s books. We had to make space for new books. I had been collecting children’s books before I was a Mom, and it’s a bit much! Some had to go, while others got displayed for immediate reading. Here’s the checklist I went with for what to keep. It may help next time you hit the library or a book store.
First, what doesn’t matter: Good books don’t need to be in perfect condition. It may be my inner librarian, but I didn’t toss torn books: I put the kids to work in repairing them. After-all, I didn’t rip them. As long as the structure of the book is good, it’s fine with me. There’s nothing quite as priceless as books shared over generations.
- Look for a good story. Books that don’t convey a story or message aren’t so useful. Predictable stories provide some confidence to early readers, and the non-reader can feel ahead of the story.
- Does it give information important to your audience? Non-fiction books that give information with both words and images are valuable to a curious mind. Be sure that science or history books are updated within the child’s lifetime.
- Is there sentimental value? Was it yours? Did you adore this book? A gift? Did you read it 409 times to your sweet baby? It stays.
- Are the illustrations attractive/appropriate? Look for beauty, simplicity, and the ability to see the words clearly through the pictures and backgrounds.
- Did it win a reputable award?
- Does it jive with your family/school’s beliefs or morals? If your family doesn’t allow name calling, pre-read to be sure inappropriate social skills aren’t modeled. Children are very easily influenced by special characters or books. Be on the look out for negative messages.
- Is it age appropriate? Teen books are not right for preschool or school-aged chidlren. Save them, but don’t have them out.