Some of my fondest memories growing up involve read with my parents. My dad and I used to have a tradition of reading the Sunday comics together (the weekly Spider-Man comic strip was a favorite and the smell of coffee often brings back memories of those Sunday mornings) and my mom read several books onto cassette for me so I could listen to them over and over and over again.
Early childhood educators and experts recommend reading 1,000 books to your child before he or she starts kindergarten. And while that can seem like a LOT of books, our local librarian reminded us that most kids have close to 2,000 days from the time they are born before they enter kindergarten (so you if you miss a day, you don’t have to get too stressed out about it).
She also said that you don’t have to read your child a 1,000 different books before kindergarten, just a thousand total books. So when your young toddler demands that you read Goodnight Moon every night before he or she goes to sleep, each time you read it counts toward the total.
As a good father, I want to ensure not only that Shortcake reads 1,000 books before kindergarten but that she’s also exposed to some of the classics, including some of my favorite characters and universes from pop culture. (In other words, I want to sow the seeds of geek-dom early and often).
Thankfully we live in a time when books that celebrate and expose little readers to some of their parents’ pop culture favorites are plentiful. A few of my favorites include:
The Star Trek Book of Opposites: Taking images from the original (and still the best) Star Trek, this board book covers things like calm (with an image of Spock) and surprised (with an image of Captain Kirk holding up his hands with a surprised look on his face). Clever and colorful, this book is designed not only to amuse young reader s but also to the people reading it to them.
Doctor Who Meets Mr. Men and Little Miss series: This mash-up of Doctor Who and the Mr. Men books is delightful for young and old readers. Currently there are books with the first, second, fourth and seventh through twelfth Doctor either on shelves or on the horizon. And since Shortcake will sit up and turn her head toward any television set playing the Doctor Who theme, I imagine these will be read a LOT in our house.
The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird: While you may not want your kids to watch The X-Files just yet (it’s kind of dark and scary), you can introduce them to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully with this delightful book. Young Fox and Dana are camping out in the backyard when they discover weird, wild, possibly alien stuff going on around them and being to investigate. (If you’re such a nitpicker that you point out that Mulder and Scully never met as children, remind yourself this is just a children’s book and enjoy it.) Great illustrations and a clever story with lots of homages to the series have made this one of Daddy’s favorite books to read to Shortcake.
DC Superhero Series: Share your love of superheroes with your young one with these delightful board books, including the heroes and villains of the DC universe. So far, we’ve only read My First Wonder Woman (which also provides the opportunity to feel things like Wonder Woman’s magic lasso!) but I have a feeling there will be more of these in our future.
Those are just a few of the books/series that I’ve discovered during the first year or so with Shortcake. I’m sure there are others that I’ve either forgotten or overlooked. But I’d love to hear what you recommend we read together on our journey to a thousand books.