What makes a book a favorite? What makes us return to it again and again? What kind of book inspires fond memories? Even the youngest children show strong preferences. Witness a toddler reaching for the same chunky board book or a preschooler asking for the same bedtime story each night. Perhaps the draw is an engaging story, intriguing illustrations, or the way the words sound when read aloud. Giving children a wide array of well-written and well-illustrated books will allow them to develop their own tastes and learn the enjoyment of reading.
As children travel through books, they develop a sense of place and identity that begins with their cozy surroundings and colorful selections of books. The selection process, itself, helps them develop a sense of emotional place as their choices reflect who they are and help guide them toward who they’ll become. Many picture books also help as children develop a sense of physical place as they begin to grow in their understandings of where they live, where their friends live, their neighborhoods, play areas and sights the sounds that abound. Picture books help children develop the larger pictures of their surroundings and the world—and a love of reading along the way.
Picture books, informational books, poetry, mysteries, and funny and inspirational tales are all part of great children’s literature. Children of all ages who experience good reading will continually learn from books they love. It all begins with a colorful selection of picture books.
Susan C. Brenner, Ed.D., is a senior vice president of operations for Bright Horizons Family Solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience managing quality child care programs. Susan now oversees more than 260 Bright Horizons child care and early education centers.