What's on Your Shelf? Interview with BookBairn
I recently started a series of posts entitled "What's on Your Shelf?" in the hopes of hearing from other children's book enthusiasts and so I'm very excited to be able to share my latest post in the series with the founder of BookBairn. Enjoy!
For those who are unfamiliar with your blog, BookBairn, could you tell us a little bit about how your blog got started?
I’ve always been a reader - my mum is a librarian and I’ve grown up surrounded by books - and I enjoy spending a lot of my free time in the world of books! When I grew a little bigger I became a teacher and reading books with my class was my favourite part of the day. And now with two kids of my own I read to them so much and I want them to grow up similarly surrounded by books as I was growing up. When BookBairn was about 9 months old I found I finally cracked naptime and wasn't quite so strung out on new motherhood so I decided to start a little passion-project blog reviewing children's books and keeping a reading record of what books we enjoyed reading. This very slowly spiralled over several years, and a second, baby to be the blog that we have today which is now much more social media, namely Instagram, focused. I love talking about books, and sharing and taking part in that community and I find as a stay at home mum it gives me a little bit of time for my own passions during the day between mopping up spills, doing nursery drop off, playing and reading with the bairns!
Board books definitely weren't as popular when I was a kid as they are now, but I still remember some of my favorite board books like Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaws and Puppy Too Small by Cindy Szekeres. Are there any favorite board books that you remember from when you were a child or any favorite childhood picture books that you wish were currently available in board book format?
Gosh I don't know if I really remember specifically any board books that we read growing up but I do know that some of the picture books I loved as a child were the very first board books that I bought for my children, before they were born even, and I picked them up in board book editions. They were Spot by Eric Hill, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd and Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. All classics! And books that we still read regularly so it was worth investing in the board books as they have lasted a lot longer than a paperback would have. (I don't know if it's the same in the US but board books are often cheaper so it's great to pick them up rather than paperback editions.)
If you had to pick two favorite board books for children 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years old, and 2-3 years old, which ones would you choose and why?
Ooooo tricky! Ok...
0-6 months has to be Me by Emma Dodd (because as a parent this will melt your heart and at that age it's fun to have a book you want to read over and over!) and the other one would be Farm: Baby's First Playbook by Jo Lodge both my kids loved these books and the moving mechanisms and mirror fascinated them!
6-12 months would include Look there's a Tractor by Esther Aarts and I Thought I Saw a Bear by Lydia Nichols or any of the other titles in these series. The Wee Page Turner loved both of these books in particular and played with them over and over.
1-2 years old would be Pom Pom Gets the Grumps by Sophy Henn for BookBairn as she truly loved this series of books and we still enjoy them now! And The Wee Page Turner would definitely choose The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (though we no longer have the board book of this and instead have a paperback copy - our board book may have worn out!) And I'd also say that the Touch Think Learn books by Xavier Deneux are particularly good at this stage as they are huge and teach about numbers and letters.
2-3 years old is a little tricker as there are more paperbacks available and we are starting to move away from board books now. But BookBairn loved Snuggle the Baby by Sara Gillingham at this age and it was perfect introduction to what it would be a like to have a new baby brother in the house. We love the 'Block' series - Alphablock, FarmBlock and Buildablock by Christopher Franceschelli!
Which board books would you say were your children's favorites?
Apart from the ones I've already mentioned we also love some of the non-fiction board books like the Baby 101 series by Jonathan Litton and Thomas Elliot, the First Explorers series from Campbell books and Baby Loves Science by Ruth Spiro and Irene Chan. A huge favourite was also Blocks by Irene Dickson which is a lovely book about sharing!
For parents who are perhaps already familiar with many classic board books, do you have any board book recommendations that are by lesser-known authors/illustrators?
The Oliver Jeffers stories are well worth investing in the board book editions as they get a lot of reading in our house! And I recommend looking for books by authors such as Jo Lodge and Sophy Henn - two authors I mentioned above!
Kelsey: Lastly, I'm looking forward to the release of board books like Into the Ocean by Laura Baker and Goodnight, Rainbow Cats by Bàrbara Castro Urío. Are there any upcoming board book releases that you're particularly looking forward to?
Gosh I don't know really - as my kids are older we have moved away from board books a little so I'm not as up to date with the books that are due for release!
I'm sure there will be some great Christmas themed ones though!