It’s easy to be apathetic about what kinds of books your child reads and is exposed to. After all, books are books, right?
But if you’re more intentional, you become keenly aware of good books, or “living books” as they are sometimes called. You spend a lot of time combing through children’s literature and picture books to curate just the right collection to feed your child’s growing mind. Sometimes, it feels futile. They often gravitate toward the simple, silly, and (worse) poorly written books. And illustrations? Sometimes it’s as though they don’t need artists illustrating their books, children will read anything with a cartoon character.
Then, last night, as we read Eve Bunting’s I’m a Duck, Fiona pointed to the moon in the top corner of the page. A sliver of the moon shone brightly, while the rest of it remained dark though visibly present. Fiona very intentionally pointed to the part of the moon in the shadows.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“The moon,” I said, waiting to see what she would think.
“What’s that?” she said even more emphatically pointing out the dark orb, not the bright sliver.
“The moon,” I said again.
She considered for a moment, staring at the picture. “A dark moon,” she said eventually.
And just like that, it clicked in her little 2-year-old brain that the moon is always round but part of it is just dark.
And just like that, a book about a duck afraid to swim became a learning experience about astronomy.
And just like that, I knew that by intentionally feeding her good books, with excellent writing and beautiful illustrations, I was truly giving her knowledge.
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have thought my 2-year-old exactly capable of understanding the dark side of the moon. It’s tough to explain something that’s hard to see. Yet this book, about a duck, reminded me never to underestimate the curiosity or the intelligence of a child.
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Copyright Holly Combs and Our Barefoot Homestead
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