Bookworms Carnival Preview/GUEST POST: “It’s a Boy? What am I Going to Read to Him?”

This submission to the Bookworms Carnival was written by Emily Cullen. Emily doesn’t have a personal blog (yet) – which is why I’ve published it here as a guest post – but you can read her contributions at the New Jersey Moms Blog. Consider this a preview – the Bookworms Carnival is coming on Wednesday!

I found out very early on in my pregnancy that I was going to have a little boy. I won’t say I was disappointed, but I had just always pictured myself with a little girl, and one of the things that I had visualized me doing with her is sharing the beloved books of my childhood: the Madeline books and Edith, the Lonely Doll, and later on, The Little House on the Prairie series, Harriet the Spy, and Nancy Drew.

What do boys read, I wondered? What are the classic books or series of books that they collect? What do they treasure?

My husband and I, both being huge readers, read to our baby in utero. Grant really liked the Harold and the Purple Crayon series so we read a lot of those. We are both cat lovers so we also read him books like Kitten’s First Full Moon.

When Tyler was born, we read to him right away. The usual suspects, Good Night Moon, Dr. Seuss, and Karen Katz’s “Lift-The-Flap Books.” He was pretty much open to anything, as three-month-olds are. I will never forget the thrill I had when he finally patted “The Bunny” on his own! When he got older, he began to develop a preference for what he wanted read to him. As he learned to walk, he would get his desired books and bring them to me.

One series I knew all kids loved was Curious George. I decided to buy the board book versions, which are basically the real illustrations by H.A. Ray with some simple stories built around them. I was so disappointed that he didn’t like them! Yep, you just couldn’t buy him anything any more.

Now at nearly 2 years old, he says tome, “Read a book,” and gets a stack for me and he sometimes even “reads” on his own! I love the bonding experience of him sitting in my lap snuggling into me while we read. It’s a great way to have some huggy time with a wriggling little boy who is almost always on the move!

And he is even starting to like Curious George! And I am starting to get excited! In maybe a year or so we can enjoy the Babar the Elephant series, the Richard Scarry books and maybe even the Curious George originals!

I am proud to say I have already instilled a love of reading in my son. Tyler is also smart, sweet, and giving. This past weekend I took him on the beach for the first time and after a while he looked at me and said, “Read a book?” I realized that although he was a boy he was already so much like me, a person who has a book on her at all times!

And as he grows? Well, I’ve heard the Encyclopedia Brown series is still around and they have also brought back the Choose Your Own Adventure series. I’m also open to suggestions!

If you have any kid-lit suggestions for Emily, please leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure she gets them!

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  • My son likes the, “How do Dinosaurs…” books. They are short, easy to read, and they teach manners, too! Can’t go wrong with that!

  • Don’t be too hung up on “boy” lit. If the story is good, he’ll like it. I recommend Eric Carle’s books for the stories and the brilliant illustrations; Leo Lionni, for the same reasons, and more. Ask the librarian in the children’s section! They’ll point you toward gems of literature.

  • The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo – by Judy Blume.

  • I knew y’all would come through with suggestions for Emily, and she’s told me she’s checking back often for comments, so please keep ’em coming!
    Thanks, Mike, Daisy, and April!

  • I agree with Daisy, don’t put too much emphasis on girl books versus boy lit–particularly at this age. He’ll end up doing that on his own eventually. No need to speed it up.

    My son’s kindergarten teacher read a bunch of Fancy Nancy books to the whole class–and boys and girls alike enjoyed it. That said, he and his older sister did not always enjoy the same books–and it didn’t necessarily have to do with gender.

    It’s so hard to know exactly what is going to catch a particular child’s attention, it varies so much from kid to kid. I would not hesitate to read the Madeline books to your son–the rhymes and illustrations are terrific–plus, there’s always the Bad Hat to add a little testosterone.

    As he gets older, Magic Treehouse series is great–for guys and gals.

    It’s been a while since I’ve read to a 2 year old, let me try to remember. . . Try Hug, by Jez Alborough. Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein. Hmm. I can’t believe I’m having such a hard time remembering . . .yikes. Toddlerobics, by Zita Newcombe (especially if you act it out with the book–you may need to get this from the library or buy a used copy–it may be out of print). I agree on the Eric Carle books–they are just lovely. If I think of any more. . . I’ll let you know!

  • Karen – Thanks for more great book suggestions for Emily and her little boy!

  • Hi there! I just found your blog and have subscribed through bloglines. PLEASE have Emily check out Barefoot Books!! I fell in love with them last winter and started selling them. Barefoot is an independent children’s book publisher, only sold in small gift shops, independent bookstores, and through homesellers like me.

    SO many great books for babies through young adults — my 2-year-old loves Animal Boogie, which comes with a singalong CD. We really like The Gigantic Turnip, The Parrot Tico Tango, Farmyard Jamboree . . . I could go on forever. Check out the website for more details.

    Thanks so much! I’d be happy to provide more specific recommendations as well.


  • Lori – Thanks for stopping by; I’ve forwarded your comment and link to Emily.