All of us talk to our babies, from the first minute that we are together, even though those sounds are incomprehensible to an infant’s ear. Babies soon learn to associate those sounds with comfort, warmth and attention, and begin to respond with amazing speed. Reading to a baby does exactly the same thing, and babies whose parents read to them rapidly associate books with love and closeness. They become bibliophiles long before they can walk, with favorite books firmly established by the time they celebrate their first birthdays.
Parents can find this to be a mixed blessing. My mother, who is well over eighty, can still recite every word of a Little Golden Book called The New Baby and I myself have Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are firmly implanted in my memory. After being handed the same book for thirty nights in a row, even the most literate parent begins to dread the request, “Read this story, please.”
This is where “Books at Bedtime” comes in. Marjorie Coughlan, associate editor of PaperTigers and a passionate advocate of reading aloud to children, has long been offering suggestions for bedtime audiences of all ages, and she’s looking for comments from you. Which books do your children love? Which ones make them look for something else to do instead? Is there a particular illustrator that they can’t get enough of? Does one of Marjorie’s recommendations remind you of another book on a similar subject? Join her in her book group for parents, teachers, and caregivers who share the pleasure of reading aloud to children, and who are looking for the very best books for any time of day—including, of course, bedtime.