Box up the Story Books? No Way!

What to do with the old picture books once beloved by now grown children?

Donate? Recycle? Save?

Reading Dwight Garner‘s reflections about how he boxed up the picture books that his now teenagers  cherished, I thought about the titles that engaged my own children and those that now captivate my grandchildren.

Certainly one of the greatest thrills about being a grandparent is reading to the little ones. While there’s lots of new literature to select, the old classics remain.

My grandsons love anything trucks; the eldest, at 3, is “reading” Curious George on his own, having memorized the stories.  My granddaughter loves her board books and holds them in her lap, turning the pages and saying, “read.”  CIMG2534

My own kids went through stages in what they liked, choosing authors: Dr. Suess, Jane Yolen, William Steig, Cynthia Rylant and Patricia Polacco; or themes: fairy tales and dog books. And more dog books.  Enough dog books to convince us to get a dog.

Reading to the boys, circa 1988.

Reading to the boys, circa 1988.

I’ve saved many of the books they loved, eagerly waiting for the grandkids to be old enough to enjoy these stories.

No recycling bin for us. No boxing up into the attic. I’ve donated duplicate copies received as gifts and keep most of the books on a low bookshelf, readily accessible for little readers.

Are there titles your children loved that you’ve kept?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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25 Responses to Box up the Story Books? No Way!

  1. I have them all still, some in close to mint condition – I can’t get rid of them, I don’t have the heart.

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  2. As a teacher, I never had to box up Ruby’s old book; they just made their way to my classroom. Sometimes when Ruby visits the school those treasured books make their way back home again. David and I get nostalgic when we come across our own favorites that we used to read to her: Blue Kangaroo, Sitting Down to Eat, The Princess Has A Boo Boo – we even incorporate timeless lines into our daily lexicon. I still remember titles I would read to Jacob and Nathan and how I had to cover the bull on Jacob’s alphabet poster because it reminded him of the bull in Ferdinand which made him scared or sad or both. I cannot see a copy of Ferdinand without thinking of those days of reading to jacob. Likewise, If ever I see Rosalie The Turtle (It has been our of print forever now – but I do have an antique copy) or any of the Madeline books, I think of when Mom would read to me (fallin asleep 1/2 way through the book) or when you and Naomi would read me!! Books absolutly leave an impression at any age; forever!

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  3. I don’t have grandchildren yet. When we wanted to donate his books, John said no. He wanted to keep them. They are in the basement neatly packed away with the Lionel train set. We do hope to pull them out for the grandchildren.

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  4. OmaOrBubby says:

    First of all, your kids are adorable in those pictures!! Second of all, I totally agree with you. We have bottom-shelved picture books in the upstairs bedrooms, and also in a book bin in the family room. No way I’m going to box those and give away. My grandsons read all the books my own kids read. And it’s so cool!

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    • I looked through a few in the bookcase and it was fun seeing the how the kids’ had written their names in favorite books that perhaps were brought to school.

      On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 8:26 PM, cyclingrandma

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  5. I couldn’t keep most of my kids’ books, but I’ve definitely repurchased ones that were much loved. My son has kept dinosaur books and repurchased an original Pooh book that his grandma gave him. My grandson isn’t quite at the stage of sitting through stories, but my adult ESL students continually benefit from Frog & Toad, Seuss, and other classics!

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  6. OmaOrBubby says:

    Picture books that we have from when our kids were growing up in the 80’s and 90’s are Curious George series, Magic School Bus series, 🙂 Berenstain Bears series (almost all of them! – we collected them!), Dr. Seuss, Little Engine that Could, and a whole bunch of others that we bought from the Troll book club orders and other excursions to bookstores….or gifts etc…Also older age level books are on higher shelves – like the Animorph’s, Hardy Boys and many others…

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  7. tchistorygal says:

    Hi Lisa, You all look so cozy. It’s adorable, and you reading your kids’ books to grandkids. I read all my mom’s books. That was fun, and drew us close together.

    BTW, Lisa, awards are still out there. When you next visit my site check out http://wp.me/p2jC53-1ot for your blog. This is my way of saying that you are a special blogging friend. Feel free to do with it what you will – no rush – no pressure. The world won’t collapse if you do nothing, nor will I. I just wanted to say, “Thanks for being a good friend.” 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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  8. Naomi says:

    Interestingly, just this past weekend I boxed a bunch to donate to a book swap being held in White Plains. There were just too many. I figure if they are starting to turn yellow they won’t be of much interest to others in a while. I still have scads and won’t part with the favorites!

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  9. Judy says:

    Love the sweet pictures, Lisa! Oh dear….I cannot get rid of my children’s books. Clothes yes, some toys have been kept, but most books remain on their book shelves. The only ones I have donated are the Babysitter’s Club series that my daughter loved. I still have my beloved copy of Charlotte’s Web! Fun post!

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  10. After too many moves, I had to sift out the best children’s books to haul with us. I love the juxtaposition of you in the 80s with your grandchildren today, perfect! Reading time was so special, and I’m sure I have adult children who love to read for that very reason. I’m always surprised when I meet a young adult who doesn’t read for pleasure, My 8 mo old grand daughter has just started to swipe at the flaps in her Spot books, and the feeling is priceless.

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  11. reikipixie says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but I have kept all my childrens books that I loved myself, in the hope to be able to read them to future additions! all of those have their own entire bookcase 🙂

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  12. Leah says:

    Good for you for keeping the books. I’m reading Sophie many of the books my mom kept that were mine. And I plan to keep hers too.

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  13. I love the outrageous antics AND HUMOR OF DR. SEUSS. His is the first name that comes to mind when you ask that question.

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  14. Pingback: Book Briefs: Family Sagas & Secrets | cyclingrandma

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