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boy and girl wearing knit crowns looking at reading picture books with mother
Maria Salvadore
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Maria Salvadore

Holding on to your kids’ favorite books

My husband and I are empty nesters now. Our son is in college though he comes home for the occasional weekend, holidays and breaks. His room is gradually evolving, from that a child to one more fitting of a young man.

One thing hasn’t changed though: his shelves (and shelves) of books.

A recent post by a Vermont bookseller in Publishers Weekly (opens in a new window) said, “… judging from the number of young adults (in their 20s and 30s) coming in to the store searching for long-lost treasures their parents threw away, those books [childhood favorites] might be worth hanging on to.”

And from her perspective, the impact of e-books may mean fewer physical books and a tougher time finding hard copies of old treasured books to share with another generation.

So what should we keep and what could we give away? There are books from his picture book era: Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (opens in a new window) (HarperCollins) was (and who knows, still may be) my son’s top book — and one that is likely to be available in perpetuity. But there’s also a little known book which is no longer in print called The Old Woman and the Willy Nilly Man (Putnam) by Jill Wright with Glen Rounds’ illustrations.

Nick had good taste, and lots of his very favorites are still available: Shortcut (opens in a new window) and Bigmama’s (opens in a new window) (both Greenwillow) by Donald Crews are still around (and I hope will be as long as Sendak is). So is Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse (opens in a new window) (HarperCollins) by Walter Dean Myers — too terrific to ever be out of print.

His favorite novels are still on store shelves, too, from CS Lewis’ Narnia (opens in a new window) (HarperCollins) series (with renewed interest due in part to the action-packed film adaptations) to Harry Potter (opens in a new window) (Arthur Levine/Scholastic) (did interest ever wane?) plus probably most of Walter Dean Myers’ (opens in a new window) young adult novels.

If you’re in a similar situation, let me know how you handle it. Any advice as to how to decide what to give away will be most welcomed. We could sure use the shelf space!

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
March 15, 2013

Related Topics

Children’s Books