New Year, New Plans

Hoping you had a merry Christmas and are having a great start to the New Year! I have been looking forward to beginning a new year with Beloved Bookshelf as I enjoy the fresh start that a new calendar year provides.

These are my plans and priorities for 2020:

. . . finding editions to recommend of classics like Mother Goose, Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop’s Fables. Call it my “nursery essentials” list, if you will. Many booklists recommend these classics but do not always suggest which editions. I want to provide you with some great suggestions. All editions must be in-print and have top-notch prose (when dealing with translations and adaptations) as well as beautiful illustrations.

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. . . recommending more chapter books. My children are six and under, so most of my time has been spent searching for picture books and nursery classics. My eldest daughter and I are now beginning to read chapters books together! I am also planning on reading a handful on my own this year. If your children are older and you need chapter book recommendations now, please check out this page where I list my trusted resources for finding book recommendations.

. . . book cover photographs above all of my book titles. Photographs are so helpful and this is my top priority in the coming months.

. . . and the project I am most excited to announce: grade-specific literature lists for homeschool and the classroom, beginning with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade!

Please send me an email if there is anything you would like to see on Beloved Bookshelf this year. I am grateful to several readers who informed me that they prefer age or grade-specific booklists rather than master lists. While I do think most of the books on my lists can be read at various ages, I do understand the convenience of organizing booklists this way. For example, “Put Me in the Zoo” is a splendid early reader, but my two-year-old toddler can’t get enough of it. Just something to keep in mind even after I reconfigure the booklists.

Finally, I want to make sure you don’t miss an article I added to my resources page a couple of months ago titled “Awakening the Moral Imagination” by Dr. Vigen Guroian. It is the best article I have read on the subject of why children should read fairy tales. I encourage you to read it! Dr. Guroian also wrote a book on this subject which I hope to read and review sometime on the blog titled Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination. And . . . if you are looking for fairy tales to read with your child, here’s my great big list of illustrated fairy tales.

 

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October & November Additions

The majority of my time for Beloved Bookshelf is spent on researching, checking out, and reviewing books. As I wrote in my introductory post, these lists are far from finished and I am excited to continue to share the treasures I am discovering. In order to keep you aware of which books are being added, I will share a post each month cataloging the newest additions along with providing short descriptions and cover photos. 

 

New Beloved Books:

Going to Sleep on the Farm by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

“How does a cow go to sleep–tell me how?” A spectacular book for toddlers. Great for fostering curiosity. My two-year-old is still asking me questions in the cadence I read the book in.

The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Twenty-Third Psalm illustrated by Tasha Tudor 

An illustrated page is given to each line of Psalm 23 in this book by the incomparable Tasha Tudor. A wonderful book for a child to reflect on the meaning of the Psalm’s words. Also recommended: Give Us This Day: The Lord’s Prayer illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Big Blue Whale by Nicola Davies

Engaging science book about the patterns and habits of one of the greatest creatures of the sea, the blue whale.

Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color by Mary O’Neill

My excitement about this book of poems was what prompted me to finally sit down and write this post. Many memorable lines from even our first read, such as:

“Think of what starlight and lamplight would lack, / diamonds and fireflies, if they couldn’t lean against Black”

“Yellow’s sweet corn, ripe oats, / hummingbirds’ little throats / Summer squash and Chinese silk / the cream on top of Jersey milk”

Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris

A timeless collection of poems for children. It’s the one I reach for the most to read aloud from.

“If your children think they don’t like poetry, expose them to this collection . . . and I defy them to resist its magic.” – from Kirkus Reviews

The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry by Louis Untermeyer, illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

This heavily illustrated collection is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Untermeyer’s selections are excellent and Anglund’s illustrations are spectacular.

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti (chapter book) [be aware: one image not suitable for young children]

The famous story of the puppet who becomes a real boy. I cannot recommend Innocenti’s illustrations enough. They are magnificent and so Italian.

Happy Little Family by Rebecca Claudill (chapter book)

Charming story about a family of children who grow up in the hills of Kentucky.  “But I do the same things every day,” said Chris. I feed the horse, and plow, and cut stovewood. Some days I go fishing. Some days I go to play with Andy Watterson. The same things happen every day. I use my head the same way every day. I don’t see any chance to prove that I am either brave or wise.” Chris couldn’t understand Father at all. “Some days are different,” said Father. “Some day when you don’t expect it, a chance to prove you are brave and wise will be standing right in front of you.”

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young 

Endearing story about a box of toy soldiers coming to a friendly squirrel’s aid when some not-so-friendly squirrels push her out of her home. Illustrated by the talented Arnold Lobel.

Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

A section of Longfellow’s epic poem about the Onondaga chief Hiawatha, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. Jeffers had a great love for this poem since childhood and her incredible illustrations show it.

More beloved fairy tales to read: Toads and Diamonds by Charles Perrault and The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen

You can find these tales in the collected works of their authors. I am also currently reviewing and comparing several picture book versions of The Wild Swans for my fairy tales booklist.

 

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Beloved Bookshelf September Additions

The majority of my time spent on Beloved Bookshelf is researching, checking out, and reviewing books. As I wrote in my introductory post, these lists are far from finished and I am excited to continue to share the treasures I am discovering. In order to keep you aware of which books are being added, I will share a post each month cataloging the newest additions along with providing short descriptions and cover photos. 

 

New beloved books:

The Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow

Read about mushroom-sized children and their adventures playing with the forest animals, avoiding snakes and other dangers, and enjoying the changes of the seasons. A wonderful book for the imagination!

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

This sweet, enjoyably repetitive tale is about a little boy who determines to use his sheep’s wool for a brand new suit. Recommended for preschoolers.

Little Red Cap by Lisbeth Zwerger

I love Lisbeth Zwerger’s delicate illustrations. I am always trying to find exceptionally well-illustrated fairy tales. This rendition reads well aloud and the story hits all the right notes, making it my new favorite alongside Trina Schart Hyman’s Little Red Riding Hood.

Sleeping Beauty by Kinuko Y. Craft

Craft has delivered a beautiful adaptation of a beloved fairy tale in her book Sleeping Beauty. Jaw-dropping illustrations and flawless storytelling.

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

A giant refuses to share his garden with the children of the village, causing an eternal winter in its walls. The allegorical ending is very affecting. I also recommend Ritva Voutila’s version which has more detailed illustrations.

Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew

Katie and her grandmother go to an art museum where Katie discovers she can step into the paintings! An entertaining book for teaching art history to young children.

Locomotive by Brian Floca

2014 Caldecott Medal Winner about the construction of and experience of traveling upon the transcontinental railroad. Follow a young family as they journey from Nebraska to California on the 1869 railroad.

A Song for Lena by Hilary Horder Hippely

A grandmother tells a childhood story to her granddaughter about her family giving food to a beggar and receiving an unexpected gift in return.

The White Cat by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Gennady Spirin

Spirin’s illustrations of this rich old French fairy tale will enrapture from beginning to end.

Crinkleroot’s Nature Almanac by Jim Arnosky

A science book packed full of information about woodland animals, taught by the lovable character Crinkleroot.

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

Aston has shared the best bits of information about eggs in this gorgeously illustrated book. Wait until you see the end pages! Perfect for fostering a child’s curiosity about the world. Also recommended: A Butterfly is Patient, A Nest is NoisyA Seed is Sleepy, and others in series. 

 

 

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