December 30, 2020 | Book List
Raising Readers celebrated 20 years of giving books to children in 2020 as well as the milestone of reaching 3 Million books distributed, Maine’s 200th anniversary, AND the 30th anniversary of Amy MacDonald’s book Little Beaver and the Echo – the Raising Readers’ anniversary selection for 5-year olds.
That’s A LOT of celebrating to stuff into any year but as we’re all aware, this wasn’t just any year!
While our celebrations didn’t turn out as planned, 2020 became a year about families spending more time together at home than they had ever imagined. Staying home often means being surrounded by things that are familiar, and more than ever families found comfort in sharing books together. Children especially find comfort in things that are predictable and familiar. Pediatricians have long recommend establishing routines – such as regular bedtime routines that include books. One of the ways we select books for Raising Readers to distribute is based on this recommendation. We choose books that represent and reflect where we live (the familiar) and to then expand to broaden the child’s world.
Early educators call this using the known to get to the new.
We paused this year to look back at the books we have given out over the past 20 years. Books published for children are often about animals. In addition to choosing things that are familiar, we also try and choose things that people like.
In looking over our last 20 years, it looks like we like ducks. A lot.
It makes perfect sense that we’d choose books with ducks in them. We can find ducks in nearly every community in Maine, they are easy for children to recognize, there are 34 types of ducks to learn about, and it’s just fun to teach our kids to quack! Shoot, we even have the famous Duck of Justice at the Bangor Police Department!
Ducks are awesome.
Here are just a few of the books we’ve shared over the years that feature ducks:
One Duck Stuck, by Phyllis Root
I Can Help by David Hyde Costello
Do Like a Duck Does by Judy Hindley
While these books are mostly stories, using children’s interest in a topic can get them hooked on learning more about it. Sticking with our duck theme, there are a lot of fact books (also called informational texts) about ducks that you could find at your local library.
Here are some informational text titles to explore:
Explore My World: Ducklings (mix of informational text, story, and activities)
Whether children are into ducks or dinosaurs, trains or tutus, exposing children to different types of books on that topic is a big advantage to them now and later when they are learning to read. Having a caring adult to share this exploration goes a long way. An adult that learns what their child’s interests are and helps them to explore those interests is building a love of literacy, literacy skills, knowledge of the world around us, and most importantly, a relationship with a child based on the belief that their interests matter…that THEY matter.
Sharing the dozen Raising Readers books all Maine children receive is just the start of a beautiful relationship.
As we come to the end of our 20th anniversary year we could not be more thankful for the Libra Foundation’s continued funding and to Maine families who read aloud to their kids more than any other state.
Finding comfort in sharing books together, it’s one of the positive 2020 outcomes that we hope is here to stay.