Tell Me How To Stock A Kid's Library

Plus, my new necklace that inspired today's wacky pre-school teacher outfit.
Publish date:
June 7, 2012
kids, books, childrens books

That's me, on the far right, with my nose in a book. If you were a member of my family from roughly 1990-2001, that's pretty much the view you saw of me.

Like most of my favorite people, I was an out-of-control bookworm as a kid. Seriously, Madeline just told me when she was 11 she read 35 books in a New York Public Library contest and proudly wore her prize button on her pink fleece vest for the rest of the summer.

"That was right before I found out about boys," she says.

Then when I told her that I didn't think 35 was that many books to read in a summer, she countered by telling me that she "had friends."

Uh, I had friends too, Madeline, and their names were Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and Claudia Kishi and Stacy McGill and Anne Shirley. And we hung out all the time.

Looking back on it, I think I maybe wouldn't have survived my childhood if it wasn't for books. In lieu of actual the aforementioned friends, I spent recesses and other outdoor time planted against a brick wall reading. I was lucky I didn't sprain a chubby wrist lugging home obsecene piles of books inside those plastic drawstring bookbags my library used to sell for a quarter. I even used to put my pleasure books inside my textbooks, so I could read during class.

So I was pretty excited to get started book-shopping for the tiny person in my life. It's been perspective-altering revisiting some of my childhood favorites as an adult. "The Velveteen Rabbit" is still so good, and that part where the real rabbits taunt the Velveteen Rabbit for having no hind legs still makes me want to cry. And who knew "The Cat in the Hat" was such a freaking scumbag? I also purchased "Corduroy," "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and Pete's favorite, "Where the Sidewalk Ends." We've also discovered a few new faves like, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus."

It's a good start, but I recently ducked into the Scholastic store and got kind of lost, looking at all these crazy new-fangled books I guess the kids are into these days. I was relieved to see the "Bernstein Bears," until I remembered how freaking lame they are. I left without buying anything.

So please tell me: What beloved children's books should I buy? Below I'm holding one of my childhood favorites, "Wacky Wednesday," which my mom told me she actually hid at some point because she got tired of reading it and waiting for me to look for all the "wacky" things you were supposed to find on each page.

Also, I didn't plan to dress like a wacky pre-school teacher on the day I wrote about childhood books, it just kind of happened.

Hi kids! Today we're going to take a magical trip into my digestive system!

How great is my amazing new Tatty Devine via Modcloth necklace?

I love it so much it inspired my whole Mrs. Frizzle outfit today. If you care, the shirt is from The Gap and the pants are AG Polka Dot Ankle Stevies from Anthropologie.

OK, tell me what books to buy! I'd especially like suggestions for books starring children of color.