We chatted to Bette Mosher Geci, a retired librarian from Connecticut in the States whose passion for children’s books and reading is so inspiring. Bette shared some of her all-time favorites.
‘I have always considered it a privilege to read children’s books and as teacher, mother, and librarian – what fun it is to connect the child (or adult) with the perfect book! I especially like suggesting picture books as sometimes I feel they get overlooked by the push to get into chapter book reading too soon. Let your children read picture books for as long as they want – they will learn so much from them and progress to chapter books soon enough.’
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941)
I start with a book that was coincidentally published the year I was born, and it is set in Boston, the city where I went to college. You can visit the charming sculpture of Mrs. Mallard and the ducklings in the Boston Public Garden. McCloskey beautifully integrates illustrations with a story of a duck family facing the challenges of living in the city. With some help they are insured safety in the Public Garden. Look out for Blueberries for Sal by same author.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton ( 1939)
This was always a family favorite: our two boys loved the story. Learning that Virginia Lee Burton was a dancer just added to my appreciation of the movement in her illustrations. It tells of the passing of the era of the steam shovel, and a little boy’s solution to a problem that stymies adults. It is a wonderful family read-aloud.
Frog and Toad (series) by Arnold Lobel (1970-1979)
Lobel writes and illustrates these delightful early readers. They are humorous and endearing without compromising the complexities of friendship.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1952)
Who would think that a story about a pig and a spider would touch readers so deeply? E.B. White is a wonderful writer and storyteller.
One Child, One Seed – A South African Counting Book by Kathryn Cave, photographs by Gisele Wulfsohn (2002)
This book says so much in its text and photographs – it crosses cultures and appeals to the basic appreciation of what one seed means to a whole village. Great as a counting book but the whole growing cycle is explained too. The photographs are beautiful.
The Mystery of Meerkat Hill, A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers by Alexander McCall Smith, illustrations by Iain McIntosh (2012)
Our nine year old grandaughter, Celia, recently recommended this book. It is a sensitively told story set in Botswana of how Precious develops her skills as a young detective. The author has a light conversational tone . He mixes humor and conveys gently lessons about the land and people.