Sunday, April 01, 2007

Easter Books

I like to buy the boys books for their Easter baskets so I have been looking around for some good ones. I shopped a bit online first, but I wanted to make sure I had the books in hand before next Sunday. I gathered up the boys and we headed over to our favorite bookstore that has toy trains in the children's section. I ended up spending four times what I had planned on, but I think it is a worth while investment!

Buddy has been going into a sudden burst of phonological awareness. All of a sudden he is reading words everywhere, asking me to help him sound out signs and spelling out print in the environment. He has a growing list of sight words. I am searching the house for Buster's old first readers and I realize we need more books at exactly the right level and interest for Buddy to discover. I was looking for some very beginning readers at level one that included African Americans and here's what I bought:
The last three on the list in particular are aimed at pre-readers. They use the most frequent words in children's early stories and build a base of sight words before phonics skills are mastered. They are short, funny, engaging stories that young children can read using memory, context and picture clues. Having real books that Buddy can read by himself thrills him. We read the Firefighters! book together twice already and he was able to read half the words himself just by using the above mentioned strategies. The look of joy and pride on his face was priceless.

I have been wanting a children's story Bible that included illustrations with people of color. I have a lot of Bibles and children's Bibles already, but none with African Americans in the pictures. I hate when Jesus is shown as blond and blue-eyed. I have an old Golden Children's Bible that I colored all the Jesus pictures over with a brown crayon when Buster was a baby. I want something better now! Here's what I got today:
  • I have been looking around and followed the reviews I read that recommended My Very First Devotional Bible (NIV) by Catherine DeVries. The pictures are simple and colorful and the people are of all ethnicities. Each Bible story is introduced with a contemporary situational story and concludes with a short prayer. I think it will be just the thing for our evening readings.
  • I was happy to see a link to Suzanne Condie Lambert's review of the new National Geographic book Celebrate Easter in The Arizona Republic at Big A, little a. It shows people all around the world in their various styles of celebration and worship. The photos are stunning and the history, mythology and practices of Easter are explained in simple language. It is really beautiful and should help with answering Buddy questions about where the Easter bunny is right now. I think his teachers have been telling the children that the Easter bunny is getting his eggs ready and watching for good little girls and boys. I hate when grown ups do that. So now Buddy has it in his mind that there is a giant bunny out there somewhere watching him. He keeps asking me where he is. When I told him that I don't celebrate the Easter bunny, I celebrate Jesus on Easter he said "Well I am not going to celebrate Jesus, I am going to celebrate the Easter Bunny!" Oy.
  • Another questions he often has is "Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?" That is a hard one to answer for anyone, but especially hard to explain to a young child. I don't like to come down heavy on the sin and punishment rational. I try to emphasis the love and mercy of God. I found this book in the bookstore that does that very well, and includes children of all races. It's called Why is There a Cross? by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Elena Kucharik.
  • Especially for Punkin I got a board book of More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams. I love that book and I am sure he will too.
  • Last of all, for myself I got Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed. I've seen this book recommended in several places and I am looking forward to getting into it.
  • Buster's not getting any books from me this year. I figure he has enough to read at this point in his freshman year of college. I am sending him a bunch of chocolate though!
What's in your basket this spring?


Don Tate II said...

My son, 5-years-old-has to read 100 books in the next two months. Thanks for the suggestions, printing this out. I did'nt know Dick and Jane had some black friends.

: )

Dawn said...

I didn't know that about Dick & Jane either -- I'll have to check 'em out!

In the book Fireman Small, the titled character (Fireman Small -- I keep trying to figure out a way to write this NOT awkwardly and can't do it!) has brown skin and curly hair. It's an early reader and both my kids always really liked it. :)

:: Suzanne :: said...

oh thank you. i didn't know what to put in, as candy is not a good idea. You've helped me out!

Charlotte said...

Thanks -- I've been inspired to comment about our own basket books over at my blog!