A love letter to children's books
The who, what, why, and how of this
Welcome to Can we read?* by me, Sarah Miller.
I’m an obsessive lover of children’s books and after several years of answering regular email requests from friends for book recommendations for their kids, I’ve arrived at a more consistent (if not more formal) way of sharing what I know, what I think, and what I love. Hello!
This is a newsletter about children’s books, based solely on my own serious interest, experience as a parent to two small children (and long ago, as a child myself) and a purchasing habit that borders on addiction.
I write weekly about books that I personally own or have checked out of the library, including a publishing date, a photo, and a reason for my recommendation. Think less “critical review” and more “mini book talk” (remember those 2-3 minutes your school librarian used to spend telling you about a few books and why you might like them? That was a book talk). In sharing my love of each particular book, I hope to fulfill my mission of helping families (or anyone active in the life of a child) enjoy reading together, and creating a culture of reading in their homes.
My favorite children’s books span the 1960s-1990s. This may be because I purchase them almost exclusively from library sales, thrift stores, and used bookstores (brick and mortar as well as online) so they tend to skew older, though I’m not sure this is really the case (there are plenty of recent and even brand-new titles to be had on the library and used markets): my preference for older books is something I am still exploring. For our purposes here that means the titles I highlight may be variously in print. That also increases the likelihood that they will be unknown to you (see: you don’t need me to tell you about Goodnight Moon or Charlotte’s Web). But I am not into collectibles, so “out of print” still means pretty available and reasonably priced, just not perhaps attainable with one click.
Please note that I while I do know about reading levels, Lexile scores, and other supposed measures of reading or listening, I couldn’t possibly care less about them (and in fact believe they’re outright damaging) so this is not the place you’ll learn about any of that.
This is, nothing more and nothing less, a love letter to children’s books, old and newer, and the magic of reading them aloud.
That’s what I hope to give you here.
If you like this newsletter and want to pass it on to a friend who might as well, please do! Isn’t sharing one of the things that makes the internet great?
In December of 2020 I became an affiliate of Bookshop. org because I believe in supporting independent bookstores and wanted to be able to offer you age-specific recommendations in a way that is quick and easy for you. You can take a look at those lists — and buy directly from independent booksellers — via my storefront. I receive a 10% commission on any purchases you make using that link. (Small actions add up. Thank you!)
*I hear this from my four-year-old so often it occasionally appears in my dreams