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Baby & Toddler


Growing Reader

The Books That I Am Never Taking Off My Daughter’s Bookshelf

by Tom Burns

Our family owns a lot of books. Too many books, it seems, because, recently, we’ve had to start doing the unthinkable — we’ve had to start putting books AWAY.

And I don’t mean “back on the shelf” away. I mean, “putting them in boxes in the basement” away. We just ran out of space. Also, my daughter is now nine, so, many of our home library staples had become “too young” for her, which, as a book-loving parent, was a hard pill to swallow.

“What do you mean we’re putting away Madeline? Or Cars and Trucks and Things That Go?” I was more upset than my daughter was. It didn’t feel like my daughter was graduating up to a new level of reading. It felt like we were betraying old friends who had dutifully sat with us through hundreds of bedtimes. These friends had been there for us, whenever we needed them, and now we were boxing them up or donating them — basically, saying “we don’t need you anymore.”

Yes, I realize that I’m anthropomorphizing inanimate objects, but these books FELT animate. They’d played such a huge role in my daughter’s childhood. So, when it came to certain books, I put my foot down and refused. Regardless of reading level or age range, THESE books were not titles that our family would ever outgrow.

Here is a short list of the books that I insisted remain on my daughter’s bookshelf (and the reasons why they’ve earned a permanent spot in our family’s collection).

What books can you not bear to part with? Let us know your favorites, and favorite memories, in the comments below.