Recently we painted my 8 year old’s room. When we moved his bookshelf back in, I took the opportunity to go through his books and do some purging. Both boys’ bookshelves were overflowing and it was time to clean house. He did a great job of deciding which books to keep and which ones to pass down to his little brother. He kept some picture books, but most of them went in the purge pile, leaving chapter books that are at his level and the classics we’ve started buying that are still a bit above his ability. The Dr. Seuss, Golden Books and other easy readers that are now way below his level all went in the pile. I watched the first book he read without help (The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race) get tossed into the pile. The Disney bedtime story books (we somehow have 3 of these) went, but the A Treasury of Curious George stayed. It was interesting seeing what he still wanted to hold onto, which books had meaning to him. And while he held on to Knuffle Bunny Free — the book we got when we saw Mo Willems — he gave Knuffle Bunny to his brother.
And of course in order for the purged books to be passed down to my younger son, we had to do some purging from his shelves. This was a harder task, both logistically and emotionally. The books we decided would go would head out the door to a garage sale and/or the library, so these were permanent decisions we were making. So when he decided to get rid of Goodnight Moon (the first children’s book we ever owned, it was a baby shower gift) and Guess How Much I Love You, those went into the Mommy pile. Most books I didn’t mind getting rid of; there were a few I was a bit sad to see go, a few I was happy to see go (whoever came up with books that make noise obviously is not a parent), and the few I couldn’t bear to let go. Goodnight Moon and Guess how Much I Love You definitely fall into that last group.
As for the logistical difficulties, he’s not reading yet, but he’s on the verge of doing so. He can sound out words, knows a few basic sight words, and doesn’t get frustrated when he can’t figure out a word. So books that may be deemed too young for him in content are perfect for him to use in learning to read. Sandra Boynton and Dr. Seuss board books (mini versions of the real books) fell into this category, as did most of the DK books we own. He quickly caught on to my attempts to hold on to some of my favorites a little longer and soon was convincing me that a book I might have tossed was a good “learn to read” book.
We now have a huge box of books to sell or donate and room for new books to come into the house, and the next big purge won’t happen for some time. So I’m curious – do you find it easy or difficult to get rid of your kids’ books? Leave a comment and tell me how you handle this aspect of watching your kids grow up!
Nancy thinks it’s not possible to have too many books, even if the bookshelves don’t agree. She writes about her 2 boys, books and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys and Books.
Children’s books are my downfall.
As a grandmother I must have all ages and levels covered, so how can i purge. And i love each one. Help! What to do?
Well, six weeks ago our house burnt down. The children’s books were damaged. They have since been listed for replacement value. So far 450 titles. Again, HELP!
We traveled recently and all i wanted to bring back were children’s books.
What’s wrong with me???
I find it really hard to give up my childrens’ books. I make excuses by saying I’ll keep them to use with my students (I teach kindergarten), but some of them are just ones I can’t bear to let go. I do like donating to the library or a school though, because then I know other kids will get to love them too.
I’m not sure what we’re going to do when my kids outgrow our collection of hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds!!) of picture books. Hopefully by then we’ll be in a bigger house, and the picture books can return to being “mine,” and I’ll house them in my reading room. *fingers crossed* 🙂
Annette W says
Well, since our third child is on the way, I don’t have to! Maybe the key is to keep having children until you have grandchildren to keep ALL the books for!
I had to do this very thing when we moved. Specifically, getting rid of the books Kyle my youngest didn’t want any more. That was tough! Also since my kids are 6 grades apart in school, some books have gone from Amanda’s shelf into a “for later” box for Kyle, which I’m thinking we’ll be digging into soon.
I also have a “Mommy pile,” ambitiously thought of in my hopeful long-in-future mind as the grandkids’ books.
We’ve moved internationally several times, and books are heavy. I don’t think my kids have yet forgiven me for selling an entire bookcase of their books when we left Mauritania! So it’s a sore subject. And yet, I kept several of their picture books. I claim it’s so that when we have younger visitors they can have something to read, but we all know I’m sentimental at heart 😉
I agree about how easy it is to jettison ‘noisy’ books. I hate books that make sound they take away from my fun as the reader. I can make any sound that needs to be made in the book thankyou very much! And I can usually get a round of giggles for my efforts. But it is so hard to get rid of a good book at any age! It always reminds you of where you were in your life when you read it. The only perk is you can bring in some new ones!
Jen E says
For the most part this hasn’t come up much. My oldest is only 5, my youngest 2. So at the moment, all the books we’ve collected age-wise are still relevant. But when we moved into our 1st house I did purge our book collection, getting rid of the books that didn’t seem to interest any of us. This of course, was easy. But the day Goodnight Moon or Curious George are no longer being ready daily? Yeah, I have a feeling I’ll be keeping them anyway!
A Candle Party says
Reading was a nighttime adventure for my son and I. And – he continued reading as he grew. Like me, books became some of his best friends and things to be treasured. His very fav first book was “Wacky Wednesdays!”
I’m great at purging books professionally, personally, not so much. Our book and toy weeding is going to happen in the coming weeks. Hopefully AJ and Zoe will both be ready to let some things go.