The Great Book shake-upSeptember 11, 2020
My family loves books. I love kids’ books and have been collecting since long before I had children. We have 100’s of books just for the kids. Some of these books are in the permanent Garrett Family Library and others are just passing through. Either way, my kids have unlimited access to them all. This access has undoubtedly aided in their love of reading and willingness to explore a given topic. The kids’ books, along with many of the research books are spread between three bookshelves. These bookshelves get crazy!
So I straighten them up here and there. I ask the kids to help with the task, to their varying ability and attention spans. About twice a year I just can’t take it and it is time for…
The Great Book Shake-Up
I know its time for a great book shake-up if I can not find the bleeping book I need to teach the thing (exactly what it feels like when I am looking) or my kids are asking me to read the same 7 books or they are complaining they have read ALL of their books.
My kids and I take all the books and put them in one pile. This is quite the job, so the kids are eager to play. I release them to run wild, but often I find they need to look at a few books first. I pull out collections, put them back together, rescue books that need medical care, gather the various encyclopedias or what we call look books (those that don’t make good bedtime stories), and place them on the appropriate shelf.
Eventually, the kids filter back, and I ask them to make their piles of what they want to go on their bookshelf in their room. I don’t let them walk them back until both piles are sizable. During this time, we almost always talk about books we like, make a pile to released back into the world, and a great deal of gratitude. We are grateful for the people who gave us books, and the times we have spent reading them, and the fact they are so accessible.
I do make them walk all the books they want in their room back there. Always mention the luxury of a library and the power of the written word, almost passively. We talk about how the printing press changed everything and made it so kids like them can explore any curiosity. I hope to lightly impress upon them the richness of the history of the written word…that I also sometimes have to remind them not to step on. I also think having them carry their own books will help them respect the books.
After a great book shake-up I can find what I am looking for and teach the things, which is great. Even better, the kids are re-engaged and interested in the books we have. I know which books they like the most because they made their piles, I was watching closer then they realized. I made space by passing books along and extend the life of the often most loved.