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A bunch of parents and their newborn children have started the New Year on a bright note. They’re leaving the hospital with a board book.

I was heartened to read about this program in Nebraska (opens in a new window) that gives books to newborns — actually their parents. This is where literacy really starts, isn’t it — with a parent cuddling, talking, reading, or singing to an infant?

Libraries have always provided a great start for children of all ages, in any stage of development, and at any time of the year. I’m hard-pressed to think of any other organization that provides services to the very young and the significant adults in their lives. In fact, the Association of Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, has a program called Born To Read (opens in a new window). Libraries across the country have been involved with an early literacy initiative, “Every Child Ready to Read.”

I remember my son at six months old howling with laughter over Rosemary Well’s Max’s First Word (opens in a new window) (Dial). I still chuckle when I hear the word “bang” as I remember Max — the small, smart, and stubborn bunny that delighted my son so. I used libraries all the time when he was very young — and bought books that especially touched my son.

Some of his early favorites are still read by children today: Good Night Moon (opens in a new window) by Margaret Wise Brown, Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies (opens in a new window); and a bit later, Walter Dean Myers’ Brown Angels (opens in a new window). These books remain as special to me as they were to my son at one time and probably will be again.

Take a minute to share some of the books that are favorites of young children in your life. Maybe we can build a list of classics old and new.

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
January 10, 2008

Related Topics

Reading and the Brain