Whoever has the choice is in agony! The selection of different children’s books is extremely large and every year many hundreds of new children’s books are added. You may be wondering how you can discover the right book for your child with this wide selection. To help you make this decision, we’ve put together 7 tips to help you choose suitable books for your child.
1. Observe the publisher’s age information
As a rule, the publisher in which a book has been published already provides an age recommendation. This information can serve as a good first orientation. In the case of Kinderbuch.eu as well as in many other online shops for books, this information from the publisher is transferred directly to the article description. Often you will find information such as “Age recommendation: from 3 years”, “for children between 3 and 5 years” or “ideal for children of kindergarten age”. The classification into the different shop categories is also often based on the age recommendations of the publishers. Also in your local bookshop you can usually find a selection by age or ask directly at the bookseller. Often you will find an age recommendation for children’s books directly on the book cover or on the back of the book.
2. Taking into account the child’s level of personal development
Anyone who has ever observed or compared children of the same age can see that children do not always develop at the same rate. Some children are more cautious in their nature, need longer for certain things, are less interested in certain topics or only later. Other children, on the other hand, have also been particularly awakened before, opening up new things faster or are interested in certain things or connections, or earlier. It doesn’t matter and it’s a good thing. Every child should have the freedom to develop and develop individually and at their own pace. And this without additional pressure or external stress. Books should bring fun and joy to children first and foremost. Therefore, it is highly recommended to include the child’s personal level of development in the selection of suitable books. If a book is too complex for a child, it can quickly have a frustrating effect. If a book is too simple, it can be just as counterproductive. The child gets bored with this book and quickly loses interest in it. Parents should regularly monitor and support the individual development of the little ones. When selecting children’s books, this can then be taken into account. So that children are neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed, it may well be right to deviate from the general age information of the publishers.
3. Material, format and processing of children’s books
Children’s books are made from different materials and offered in many different formats and processing forms. Of course, this “type” of the book is a decisive criterion when it comes to selecting a suitable children’s book. Felt and fabric books, e.g. with crackling elements, are already an exciting affair for the very small ones and can already introduce babies to the medium of book. Children’s books with rounded corners and sturdy cardboard sides are suitable for children from one year or 18 months. Even if the books are still handled a bit rough at this age, the stable pages remain largely unscathed. Often these books also contain playful components, such as folding, sliding, feeling or sound elements, which give the toddler an additional pleasure in the book. Tied books with thin pages are more likely to be for the older children of preschool or school age. The pages are more sensitive and it takes a little skill to turn them around unscathed. If books are mainly used for reading, the book format is less decisive. The adult readers then take over the flipping and holding. Then the pages of picture books, for example, can also be thinner.
4. Attractive illustrations and the relationship between image and text
Of course, when choosing a suitable children’s book, it is also very important to pay attention to its content. This does not mean the theme or the action itself, but first of all the design with illustrations, the amount of text and the interplay out there. The content should be as well adapted as possible to the child’s current perspective.
For very young children, books with little or no text are particularly suitable. Thus, only individual words or short sentences are included, which can be read aloud. Books with first words and images awaken the fun of discovering and can support the development of a first vocabulary. The illustrations should still be quite simple and less detailed. The background is usually shown in white. Thus, the individual drawings stand out well and can also be easily captured by toddlers.
When the children enter kindergarten age, the illustrations can also become more extravagant, colourful and delicate. The children can now also process and comprehend more elaborate images. Detailed illustrations can be found e.g. in the popular Hidden Books. Texts to read can include several short sentences and entire stories. Advanced children’s book listeners can cope well with slightly longer texts. The length of each sentence should nevertheless be short. Complicated nested sentences are definitely out of place in children’s books.
If children are learning to read, especially books for beginners are recommended for this purpose. The sentences are shorter and font and line spacing is slightly larger. Sometimes words are also replaced by images, which can make it easier to get started with the first complete sentences.
And once the reading is sufficiently practiced, nothing stands in the way of long texts and more complex contexts. Illustrations are now less decisive and often only included in sporadically. When reading the texts, the images are now created in the children’s minds.
5. Theme and action of the children’s book
The theme and the plot are the central components of a children’s book and therefore also very important criteria for the selection of suitable titles. Children’s books are available on almost every subject imaginable. This makes it all the more difficult to make the right choice.
Children often have individual preferences and interests at an early age. In order to get the selected children’s books enthusiastically among the little ones, it is very advisable to choose books whose stories take place in the popular theme area. Popular themed worlds of smaller children are e.g. the farm, nature, animals, everything around the construction site, various vehicles, ponies, horses, princesses, fairies, knights, pirates, dinosaurs, magicians, monsters and many more. For school-age children, topics such as friendship and school are increasingly in the foreground. It is usually not difficult for parents to see which topics are particularly exciting for the children. Through loving and approachable observation in everyday life, quite openly and preferably without evaluation, the preferences of the little darlings quickly become clear.
In addition, when choosing a book, it can be very useful to take current events and topics into account in a child’s development. Children are constantly living through new experiences and regularly face new challenges: the abandonment of the pacifier, the use of the potty, the first time staying with grandma and grandpa – these and many other experiences can be well done through children’s books. illustrated and made easier to understand. The first day in kindergarten or the upcoming schooling are also formative experiences, which can be well framed by numerous children’s books on this topic.
6. Let children have a say or let them decide for themselves
So that children have fun and enjoy new books from the very beginning, it makes perfect sense to give the children as much say in the selection process. Depending on their age, children can participate in the choice of books or even choose directly themselves. The more the wishes of the little ones are addressed, the higher the anticipation, motivation and the desire to watch the book together or to read it for yourself.
Of course, it is often not possible to leave the choice to the children alone. In an online shop such as Kinderbuch.eu, however, parents can do the following, for example. Ten books are first selected by the parents and placed in the shopping cart. Afterwards, these children’s books, which are well-considered, are revisited together with the child in order to reduce the selection to the five most exciting books. A pre-selection made by parents helps in decision-making and can also prevent over-demanding by too many choices.
The days of parents as overpowering bestimmers are long gone. Parents should trust children to make age-appropriate decisions as much as possible. The children feel taken seriously and learn to take some responsibility for their decisions.
7. Defects and residual items for my child?
For many parents, the motto is “For my child, I only want the best”. The following question therefore seems justified: “Should I buy copies of defects or book items for my child? What is the difference to regular children’s books?”
Marking a book as a “defect copy” does not mean that the book contains spelling or other errors. These are exactly the same books as they are offered at the regular price. The only difference is that the books have already been slightly damaged in their previous lives by transport or storage. The cover or the book edges may, for example, have already been scratched or damaged. Especially when the even smaller “readers” deal with books themselves, small external damage can also occur very quickly. That is why children’s books are all the more important: “The inner values matter!”
Remaining items are often books in which commercial success has unfortunately fallen short of the expectations of the publisher. In no case does this mean that these are bad or less suitable books. Much more important than commercial success is whether a book is suitable for a child and whether it is fun and enjoyable. Although the printed edition of a children’s book was aimed at the general public, but the book did not make it to the box office, it can still be an exciting, imaginative, instructive and creative reading.