Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Child author at play

There's no doubt about it.  My son loves reading.  Drawing and writing, on the other hand... not so much.  I love doing artistic things, so have always tried to find ways to get my little guy more engaged with arts and crafts.  He loves painting the most (especially if we're outside), followed by drawing with sidewalk chalk and coloring with crayons on big sheets of paper.  For a long time, though, I felt like he was always hesitant to do any kind of drawing or art because he knew he couldn't make his picture look as good as he wanted it to.  (More on that in my post about the wonderful book, Ish.)  My husband and I have also been encouraging him to work on some of the classic preschool skills, like holding his pencil correctly and writing his letters.  As so many parents and teachers know, the trick is trying to find ways to make this type of learning more fun.  One of the best ways I've found to do this is to have him create his own books.  He absolutely loves doing this, and I love seeing his little creative mind at work.  Plus, it holds his attention forever! (Okay, maybe not forever.  But far longer than any other kind of drawing or writing activity he has ever done.)  Given how much my son loves writing his own books, I thought I'd share a little more about some of his recent creations.  After all, they are some of his favorite books to read!
A few months ago, when my son was really into all things A to Z, I decided to create our own A to Z animal book.  I made a blank book for him to write in, and drew in little dotted lines so that he could practice writing each letter of the alphabet on its own page.  Then, we went through the alphabet together and he named an animal for each letter.  I wrote its name on the page as we went, and later he went back through the book, traced each letter, and drew a picture of each animal he chose.  Every. Single. One.  In one sitting!  I couldn't believe it!  He sat there and drew in that book for almost an hour straight and loved it.  That's about 50 minutes longer than any other drawing activity he has ever done.  I thought for sure he would do a few letters and come back to the book another time, but he was so into it and proud of his final product.  He stills likes to go through and read it from time to time, and I know this will be one of his childhood creations that I keep forever.

Yesterday, we had a Mo Willems' Pigeon reading marathon, and at the end were inspired to create our own Pigeon book.  It was my son's idea, really, since we finished reading The Pigeon Wants a Puppy and he said, "There should be another book called The Pigeon Wants a Walrus!"  I told him he should write it since Mo Willems hadn't yet, and then his little mind was off and running.  He wanted to read one more book before he got started, so next we read The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog.  As soon as we were done, he settled on his own title:  Don't Let the Pigeon Have a Hot Dog Party!
I made another book out of blank paper, and he had started narrating before I had even finished folding the pages and putting them together.  I wrote the story as he told it to me, and then he went back to illustrate each page.  Once again, I was impressed at how long it held his attention and how much he enjoyed creating his book!

I just loved hearing him tell his story, which was a cute combination of his own thoughts and things he knew the Pigeon would (or does) say.  I was careful not to say a word or offer my thoughts on how the story should go.  He only got stuck about what to say once, at which point my question of, "What do you think the Pigeon would say next?" got him back on track.

(That cookie-looking thing is a hot dog.  Or maybe a plate of hot dogs?  
Artistic license at work!)

I love that he said cheese and mustard and forgot all about his all time favorite condiment -- ketchup!  This is also where he remembered the Pigeon has a little collar and a wing and added them to his drawing.  Then he went back and added them to all of his previous pictures.

(Those are hearts leading up to the bubble.)


So there you have it.  His artistic masterpiece.  We have read it no fewer than 10 times since he made it yesterday, and he couldn't wait to read it to Daddy when he got home last night.  The look of pure joy and satisfaction on my son's face when he reads his book to us is priceless.  Reading stories has always been one of his favorite things to do.  Now he's discovered that making his own is pretty fun, too.


Danielle Schulman said...

For a kid not that fond of drawing, he draws an *excellent* pigeon! Very recognizable to me. :)

Lauren said...

Thanks, Danielle! He seemed very relieved once I pointed out that it was really just a circle for a head, two straight lines for his neck, and a semicircle body :)

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