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Lullabies (with pictures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Many mother and baby pictures, that little ones identify with easily, from various parts of the world are included. It’s also fun to “find” people from our extended family in the paintings.
The World of the Polar Bear (nature photography related to their interests)
This is a great one, if your toddler likes polar bears. Lots of amazing shots of mothers and cubs. Not limited to bears either; meet muskoxen, seals, walruses, belugas, and arctic foxes.
These classic picture books never get old. Not even after ten consecutive repetitions 😉
A is for Altar, B is for Bible
Build a basic religious and liturgical vocabulary and begin (or enrich) the most important conversation you and your child can have. This Montessori-inspired alphabet book is a beautiful aid to handing on the faith, communicating the love of Jesus, and bringing even the youngest children into dialogue with the Word of God. (Catholic or High Church Anglican specific.)
Write Your Own Book! (or “Wreck This Journal”)
In our blank book, we draw and name basic shapes, illustrate favorite nouns, explore with crayons and colored pencils, paste stickers, favorite greeting cards, and pictures, and practice fine motor skills with colored tape. Give your toddler freedom to scribble, rip, and experiment to his heart’s content but don’t be surprised if you like some of the pages so much that it becomes difficult to do that!
You’ve often heard books praised as life-changing. And every book we read must inevitably change our lives, for good or ill. We can’t measure the impact of a book and books that outwardly have no effect may be the ones that cause internal seismic shifts, unfelt.
However there is a handful of books I’ve read in the past few years that had a very definite effect on my daily life.
The Lost Traveller by Antonia White. Reading Antonia White’s Clara quartet was a vindicating experience: just to see emotional and situational territory I’d felt alone in expressed so precisely in printed words. But one passage from The Lost Traveller gave me insight into my daughter, rather than consolation for myself. Clara never tells her mother how much she longed for siblings, especially brothers. I’d never been able to quite kill the hope that I might have another child or more children, a sibling for my daughter. Reading this passage, I was able to fully recognize my own maternal desire, for another child, yes, but also for the blessing a sibling could still be for my firstborn. This passage silenced the inner voice that was always droning “too late.”
The Far Cry by Emma Smith. It was a quote from dialogue on the very last pages of this book that dried up my discouragement toward the beginning of this year. I won’t quote it because it gets its full impact from everything that comes before. But I was able to accept a failure that threatened to cripple me with remorse and instead use that dead body as a stepping stone into a new pattern of life. What was this new pattern? I will say that another book that helped me into it was The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd.
A truly life-changing read from several years ago was Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book was one of the catalysts of a new founding at a point of profound personal crisis. It helped me make, with painstaking care, a new synthesis of life directed by the Virgin Mary. The Seven Sorrows rosary was key in that reconstruction. And this book made me *want* to pray it.
Step 1. Empty bookshelf.
Step 2. Dust books and shelf.
Step 3. Put books back on shelf.
Step 4. Do you have lonely, empty space on the shelf? An easy solution to this problem (it never fails) – a trip to the bookstore!*
Step 4. Fill in empty slots with new books.*
Step 5. Let your wolfish eyes select the perfect title from your now stunning bookshelf. Sit back and read.
*one may also buy a cat, which also fills in gaps quite nicely (as pictured above) but most people find more books to be an easier solution.
*or new cat.
Do I believe in the resurrected body?
How could I not?
Why else would I kick this pebble along the path?
Satisfied by its trajectory.
What else is there?
(Mrs. Karl T. Cooper Jr.)