How to participate in Picture Book Club …
  1. Get the suggested books from your library or bookstore (local or online). See PICTURE BOOK CLUB BOOK LIST for the complete list of books for each week.
  2. Before reading each of the weekly books to your child, READ FIRST “What Adults Can Learn from This Story.”
  3. Read one or both books to your child as many times through the week as your child wants to hear them and you have time to read.
  4. Consider doing whatever activities you think are appropriate for the age and maturity of your child from “Make This Story Come Alive for Your Child.”


(a story about sharing)
In KATIE AND THE PUPPY NEXT DOOR, Sara Ann told Katie, “You should share your things with your friends. That’s what makes having friends fun.” Katie “did not want to share her things. They were HER things.” Eventually, Katie and Ruby began playing tug-of-war with a toy. “This is fun! thought Katie as they spun in circles.”
“What Adults Can Learn from This Story …”
  • When sharing is only about being polite and mannerly, a child must decide, “I will be unhappy in order to be good.”
  • When sharing is also about generosity,  a child must decide, “I have enough and even
    sometimes more than enough, so I am willing to share.”  To make that decision, children need to know that when they share, their basic needs will still be met (like having their favorite blanket or toy). Adults can teach children the important life skills of politeness and manners while also teaching them how to get their needs met.  By creating win-win situations, the child who is sharing and the child who is receiving both can get their needs met.
  • Children who have too much have the most difficulty sharing.  They don’t realize they have plenty to share. Instead, when children have too much they learn to want more and more. They never believe they have enough to share.
“Make this Story Come Alive for Your Child …”
  • Make playtime a win-win situation.
    • Set up two play zones in your home.  Make one be a “sharing play zone” for children to play together.  Make the other one be a “personal play zone” for when your child wants to play alone or just wants to feel safe and peaceful with the things around him that are special to him.  These zones do not have to be large.  They both could be in one room with each zone set apart with a curtain or separated by how the furniture is arranged. Or, the personal zone might be in the child’s bedroom and the sharing zone in a family room or basement area.
    • Have your child separate his toys into the two zones. He needs to understand that the things in the sharing zone are available for him and other children to play with.  On the other hand, those in the personal zone will be off limits to other children – to his brothers and sisters, to neighbors, or to other guests that might come to visit.  If your child is very young, you may need to help with the decisions about which toys to select for the personal zone. He may not realize what it will be like to have other children playing with his brand new or very special toy.
    • You will also need to help your child at any age understand when she has “enough” toys in the personal zone.  You can set a limit for her.  “You can have five toys in this zone.”  Or maybe, “You can have however many toys will fit on this one shelf.”  Give her opportunities to switch out toys if needed. There might be a day when a particular toy is of special interest to her.  Also, every so often, have a clean-up session when you make new decisions about what belongs in each zone based on changes in ages and interests.
    • If you are going somewhere else to play, select only toys from the sharing zone to take with you.  Make sure your child understands that the rest of the toys in both zones will be left safely at home for him to play with when he returns. The one exception to this is that comfort items (for example, bear and blanket) will need to go with a child even though they are not for sharing.  Agree ahead of time that if your child needs those items while you are away from home, he can have them while sitting with you. When he wants to be off playing with others, those items will stay safely with you.

THE ART LESSON by Tommie dePaola
(a story about learning a skill)
In THE ART LESSON, Tommy knew he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. He told his teachers, “I’m going to be an artist when I grow up…,” but he got upset with his first art lesson in the first grade because it had too many rules. Tommy’s art teacher finally decided to allow Tommy to first do his art the way she showed him and then take time to use his creativity to create a second picture any way he wanted to.
 What Adults Can Learn from This Story …”
  • Children are never too young to know what they like to do or what they may have special talent for.
  • Children need encouragement to learn a skill.
  • To teach a skill:
    • Show how to do it and teach safety rules that will protect your child, equipment, and surroundings.
    • Show basic parts of skill first so your child can quickly see some success and build his confidence.
    • After a while, let your child “discover” the best way to be successful. The creativity can move her from being good at it to being great at it.
    • Appreciate the results both when your child is “copying” what he has been shown and when he is being creative. Avoid favoring one over the other.
  • Children need to start early to think of careers in terms of many possibilities, not just one. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is not the best question nowadays because children today will likely have many careers in their lifetimes. Asking “What are three things you want to do when you grow up?” can encourage children to think they have lots of things they can do in the future.
“Make This Story Come Alive for Your Child …”
  • Ask your child what things she likes to do or thinks she is good at.
  • Ask your child to talk about how well he can do a skill and what exactly he does best.
  • Ask your child to demonstrate her skill – often and in front of others.
  • Tell your child what skill you think he does very well. Be specific about exactly what he does so well. Don’t just tell him he is good at it.
  • Tell others how good your child is at a skill and make sure your child overhears you.
  • Tell your child that someone told you about how good she is at a skill.
  • Display your child’s work in lots of places that can be seen by many.
  • Ask your child “What are three things you want to do when you grow up?” to encourage her to think she has lots of things she can do in the future.