Last weekend I decided to do some Spring Cleaning of the kids’ bookshelves. We had recently received some free books and of course I never stop buying books, so things were getting a little messy. Now in reality, they both need new bookshelves, but that’s wasn’t an option, so downsizing it is.
My daughter is my oldest child at 8 and she loves to read. As she’s grown as a reader, so have her interests. She flies through Junie B. Jones and other chapter books now, while the Strawberry Shortcake and Berenstain Bear books haven’t moved from their spot on the shelf in quite some time.
Now the process of going through her bookshelf is pretty easy, I let her start on her own, just telling her a couple of parameters, like get rid of any board books or books that are too damaged. Then I come in and help her decide if there’s any others to let go of. But when I walked into her bedroom, she said these words, “I should get rid of my Mo Willems books, right?”
Ok, so logically, the answer should be yes. These books by Mo Willems are wonderful, but when it comes to the reading level, she definitely has surpassed it, as well as some of the content. However, the illogical side is what actually came out of my mouth:
She wants to get rid of Mo Willems books? My first born wants to let go of the books that I first read to her, that we first cracked up over, that she asked for night after night, and that she was first able to tag team with me and read?
As Elephant and Piggie, or even the Pigeon might say, “I’m not ready!”
…And that’s what I told her. I said, “I’m not ready for you to give those up yet, so keep them on there.”
Back to the logical side of me, that answer made no sense. The whole point was to clear some space on the shelf, and she has ALL 3 Knuffle Bunny books, 3-4 Pigeon books (hardcover), and probably 4 different Elephant and Piggie books. This would’ve given her a lot of room on the shelf. But I couldn’t (and still can’t) detach myself from all the memories I have with her and those books, so I made her keep most of them. Most? Yes, I let her get rid of a couple of them…but she had to give them to her brother in the room next door. Mama still wins.
I want her to continue to grow as a reader, as you also should in your quest to raise readers, so that does mean making some difficult (for the adult) decisions about letting go of books, especially ones another child could enjoy. So one day I’ll let her give them up…maybe.
(If you have any suggestions for how I can more easily detach myself from these books, I’m more than open to suggestions in the comments below. Also, if you haven’t already figured it out, if you haven’t read Mo Willems with your child, you should.)