It’s like falling in love all over again through the eyes of a child who has a boundless amount of imagination.
I remember when I was just a young fineapple when I first went to the library. I was about 4-years-old and I was so excited. At the time, the library was like a mysterious wonderland full of secrets of the world and it was my duty to discover it. I remember selecting four books and taking them home. I read those books everywhere; the car, the living room, the bathroom and even the closet. Books were like my best friends. But looking back now, what really made me excited was how my family paid attention to what I was reading. By that, I mean they didn’t just select books they thought were appropriate for my age but they selected books they felt I would enjoy.
I recall getting my report card from kindergarten and it was the end of the school year. My father had to go pick it up from school and I stayed home. I was nervous because I had a little bit of trouble at the beginning of the school year (mostly because the work presented to me was boring) but I really found my stride when we started reading in the circle for our circle hour. I enjoyed the stories so much, my teacher allowed me to keep the book at my desk and to take it home sometimes. I can’t recall all the stories but I know I loved the book a lot. Anyway, my father had returned from picking up my final report card and also had a bag with him. I looked at him kinda scared because even though I felt I tried my best, I didn’t want him to be disappointed in me. To be honest, I don’t even remember my grades, but I do recall him saying that my teacher told him I was a great reader—the best in the class, even. To celebrate that compliment, my father gifted me with several different books and it made my heart swell.
My father encouraged my reading throughout my childhood. During the summers he ordered me Weekly Reader which eventually led me to R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books. All of these experiences with books and my parents made me feel like they not only encouraged my reading habits but they were attentive enough to pick up on what my interests were which poured over into my taste of fashion, music and personality. Now that I have a child, I am hoping for the same chemistry that my parents had with me.
I introduced my daughter to her first book when she was about 6-months-old. Sure, she couldn’t read it or understand it but I let her feel the book and I would point out the pictures. I would also make it dramatic and animated in an effort to help build-up her anticipation for storytelling. I would read to her a few minutes a day and not everything I read was a children’s book. Some were comics and regular magazines, however, I made sure to read aloud so she can here and follow me. She mainly laughed at me and tried to eat the books but I still continued.
Fast forward six months or so later and she’s finally walking. I was still reading to her but I noticed she liked bright colors and took more interest in animal characters and characters that looked like her. So I started getting more books just for her. But then she started showing signs that she was understanding what was being read to her shortly after Christmas.
My grandparents and my great aunts gifted me a lot of books for Christmas! I even have my own bookshelf in the bookcase now. This is one of my favorite new books. I love animals and I like turning the pages and pointing out the animals! @duopressbooks #blacktoddlers #melanintoddler #blackkidsread #readingisfundamental #booksforbaby #booksforbabies #toddlerbookshelf #toddlerbooks #montessoritoddler #blackgirlsreadtoo #toddlersreading #highcontrastbook #picturebooksofinstagram #shurisworld #babiesreading #babiesreadingbooks #curlyfro #naturalhairtoddler #washandgos #babygirldresses #babyfashionistas #brownskinbabies #toddlerinfluencer #babyinfluencers
I reorganized the bookshelf and made a special section just for Shuri. It didn’t take long for her to figure out and understand where her books were. I won’t front, I was teary-eyed watching her go to her shelf and pick out a book to bring to me. I was misty-eyed watching my 15-month-old daughter choose her book. Even as I write this I get all warm and fuzzy inside because I want her to love books as much as I do. When we take her out in public, she points to signs and puts her finger on the words. It brings me so much joy to see her recognize words in public. I feel like she will be reading confidently soon enough.
She started turning the pages and I picked up quickly that she knows has favorite pages in different books! I didn’t think it was on purpose initially but then she stopped me from reading to her to turn to a specific book that had a specific picture. For instance, one of her favorite books is the 100 First Words book. She intentionally goes to the color red, orange and animal section of the book first and last. I read those to her first then read the other part of the book. Sometimes she just likes to flip back and forth and point to her favorite images to have me say. So far she’s said, “up”.
The other day, I was so tired and it was getting late and Shuri was full of energy as per usual. I was already in bed hoping to put her to sleep by reading her book, instead, I was the one falling asleep. I must have dozed off for about 5 or so minutes and I quickly woke up to Shuri on top of me with her point pointing to the pages reading to me. Of course, she’s still at the stage where her vocal sounds still fall under babytalk but the inflection in her voice as she pointed to different pictures on the page and as she turned the page really hit home for me. She is starting to love books! Now, I can revisit some of the books I loved and read them to her. Some books she might not like and that’s ok. In fact, I hope she likes books that are completely new to me so we can discover them together. Our mommy and daughter’s book club is in the near future and I am excited.
Below are a list of some of the books in Shuri’s collection so far:
Here is a collection of future books of interest. Check out these titles. I am adamant about giving her books that either center Black girls or are written by Black and other people of color.