Libraries are hands down, collectively, the best places on earth. You walk in and books and videos featuring all things entertainment to education are at your fingertips for free. Going in to find a new bestseller or your fave's latest release and finding it on the shelf or getting that email notification that the book you placed on hold is available is like winning the geek lottery. Don't deny yourself and/or your kids those precious moments--borrow books from your local libraries.
If you're a reader and/or you are raising kids who read, maybe you appreciate the comfort of a well-stocked book nook. Maybe you like to take your time to read a book without late fines peeking over your shoulder. Maybe you'd like to see your big kid introduce their favorite books to their friends or younger siblings. Maybe you like to highlight passages and make notes in the margins and dog-ear pages. Maybe you want interesting books for your houseguests to browse and perhaps borrow. Sometimes, you just gotta buy the book. I highly recommend finding your local used, independent or franchise bookstore. I frequent all of the above as well as Barnes & Noble (because books). If you prefer to shop on Amazon, every book title and image on my site is linked to Amazon.com. See the Disclosure statement near the bottom of the sidebar on this page.
For this series, Buy The Book, each week in each new post you will find book recommendations from three categories of books--picture books for early readers (Kids), biographies and chapter books for elementary aged readers (Pre-Tweens), and books suitable for adults (Adults)--one of each per week. The books will be from my and Zack's (he's 7 but reads like a big kid) personal libraries or from our library wish list. Add them to yours or buy them for your bookie friends. There will occasionally be themed BTB posts focused on one author, topic, genre, reading level, etc. Why buy kids books when they're only kids for a minute? Buy them because they will enjoy them and pass them on to spread the joy of reading to other kids and families when they outgrow them. Books for teens have been purposefully omitted here since I don't live with one and lack experience in the reading lives of teenagers. Soon come. Each week you will also find a fun library and independent bookstore challenge to explore the ones in your town (Lit Homework ).
Continue reading to see this week's recommendations to build your family's home library.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. A determined little bear just wants his hat back. He's looking all around the forest and asking his forest friends if they have seen it. My son received this book as a gift from a friend of mine. I believe he was 4 at the time, and he had just started reading. By then, he had a grasp on all the letter sounds and three letter words, and Bob Books were the only "books" he had read from cover to cover. When I gave my son I Want My Hat Back, he was in the backseat of the car. The first time he cracked the cover, he read the entire book and he was so proud! The book is beautifully and cleverly illustrated, the sentences are so simple and repetitive, and the quest through the forest is so engaging that the little ones in your life will read it all by themselves and often. I pay it forward and give this book as gifts to preschoolers and recommend it to others all the time. This award-winning book was the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2011. It is a timeless classic.
Tip: Once your child knows their letter sounds, get Bob Books and they will be reading three letter words so fast you won't believe it. They will be so confident and their reading life will explode. You're welcome.
Mr. Chas & Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas by Fran Lebowitz. Fran Lebowitz... The Fran Lebowitz...was on an episode of Jimmy Fallon a few months ago, where he asked her to sign a copy of this book for his daughter. Jimmy Fallon only talks about things he loves, and he spoke of this story so enthusiastically that I found it on Amazon and purchased it right then while watching the show. Two curious seven year olds live in a fancy New York City apartment building and have a mystery to solve. What's the deal with the talking pandas in the pantry? This brief, sparsely illustrated chapter book is a perfect first chapter book for new readers and a quick read for experienced young readers. It also works well as bedtime story time installments. The characters have such vivid personalities and young readers will get a bit of an education about what it's like to be a kid in the upper crusty side of New York City. The fact that the characters are diverse just because? Bonus!
Heads Up: Good luck finding a new copy of this book. There are plenty of hardcover used copies for sale on Amazon though, some for as little as $0.01 + shipping, which is a steal for such a treasure of a book.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, I confess, is the book I am currently reading as I type this. I bought it on sale at Book People, an awesome independent bookstore in downtown Austin. I am recommending it because it is so mindblowingly terrifying and unbelievable, but it is a true story. The author of this memoir pieced this story together based on sketchy memories, notes and accounts from people who were with her through this nightmare. Read this blurb from the description:
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
Secret: When I'm reading a book that is so good that I already know I'll want to experience it again, I stop and google the title and "IMDB" to see if it is being made into a film. Did it after reading the prologue of Brain on Fire--it's coming out in 2016! By the looks of the casting of the main characters, it's going to be amazing.
I'm only halfway through this book and cannot even convey to you how hard this book is going to become a classic.
This week, check to see if the local library closest to you has a fun club you or your kids can join. The one near me hosts chess clubs, gaming clubs, knitting circles, book clubs, etc. Go by the one nearest you and see what they have going on. I guarantee you'll find something to get into, or at the very least you'll find something exciting to tell your friends about.