Too Young for Books?

Yesterday at the library, after I returned our books, I stopped briefly by the board books and found a few appropriate book for my eight-month-old. I gave him The Airplane Book as he sat in the stroller. He grabbed it and held on.

I found the book I was looking for in the fiction aisle and was turning to go when a grandmotherly lady stopped and looked at my son. I’m used to this at the library: grandmothers, kids, toddlers. Everyone loves a baby! She asked if he’s a boy or a girl. I told her he’s a boy and smiled at her.

“Humph. A book for him! He’s a bit too young, don’t you think?” she said in a low voice as she turned away.

I had already started pushing the stroller to the checkout when I realized what she had said.

Too young for a book?

I read my son Winnie-the-Pooh when he was 4 months old and I’ve read to him every day since. Granted, most days now he “talks” loudly over my voice or ignores me or tries to eat the book, but I still read to him every day.

Is there such a thing as too young for books?

I think not.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. Wow: that’s pretty ridiculous. When I used to take my niece out (she’s a baby), and I’m not married (so I don’t have a wedding ring), some people here would look at her, then look at my left ring finger, then frown pointedly. It made me laugh! Fortunately, most people were too busy cooing over how cute she was to be all uppity.

  2. Oh my goodness…how absurd. I’ve read so much literature about the benefits of reading to babies–from bonding with them to helping them develop picture recognition and language skills. I also strongly believe that starting reading early on helps them grow into lifelong readers. I always find it amazing that complete strangers, or anyone if fact, believe they have the right to question your parenting choices, especially ones that are clearly benefiting your child. I’m linking to this over at my blog because I think it’s a very important discussion.

  3. Like Eva, I too am single. I have three nieces and two nephews. In the age group of 11 to 22 years. I used to baby sit and read to them right from 3-4 months. Even now they know what am I going to get for them. What else? Books! My broithers are thankfu that all the 5 are always reading. One thing or the other.

    Too young to read? Ridiculous!

  4. @Eva: isn’t it amazing how judgemental people can be?
    @Jill: I know I’ve read reviews of such books on your blog. I was just amazed by her comment.
    @gautami tripathy: Isn’t it great that there are books for every age?
    Thank you for your comments! I thought it was pretty silly!

  5. I’m a grandmother who read to my kids from the start. (as a grammy, I’d like to apologive on behalf of the rude woman you encountered – just proves that age doesn’t always bring wisdom! She may have come from a background where books where scarce, and treasured – you know, wash you hands before you touch a book – and may have felt a baby wouldn’t treat a book as reverently she felt was warrented.)

    SO many good things are passed along when a baby / toddler is read to – the cuddling, the language, the sitting still, the visual stimulation… benefits too numerous to be separted out!

    The reading landscape will change dramatically in the next 20 years, and books as they’ve been (with that wonderful cracking open the cover for the first time sound, and the delicous smell of a new book!) may be as rare as a 33 rpm record album …

    So, delight in and continue to read to your babies, toddlers, children – help them learn the pleasures, and develop the love, of books.

  6. Wow, what a strange reaction! When my girl was born, we were given a board book from the hospital- and a library card. lol! Even before she was born, I read to her.

    You can bet it won’t be the last weird comment you hear as a mom with a baby. Everyone thinks they know what’s best.

  7. You’re never too young for books. I have a 13-month-old and had intentions to read to him every day, but it hasn’t quite worked out, so I admire you for doing that. I do read to him, though, and when I do, I give him a book that’s for him to “read” (eat) and I read to him from the other one. 🙂

  8. @Colleen: thanks for the insight about treating a book “reverently”. I hadn’t thought about that. Certainly my son doesn’t quite get that yet. There is one book at home that he literally took a bite out of when he was getting his first teeth–I hadn’t expected it, but now I do so I don’ t let him use them as a teething toy!
    @Chris: I get so many weird comments, but this one, at a library, nonetheless, really surprised me!
    @Maree: Like I said, my son doesn’t always listen to me, but I sure try! I like to give him one to read too, but like I just commented to Colleen, I’m trying not to let him use it at as a teething toy. One of his board books is missing a corner now! Oops. I guess I need to get back to teaching him “reverence” for books…

  9. Pingback: Reading Round-Up, 23 June 2008 | Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub Blog

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