Chapter 20: Stocking the Shelves

Chapter 20: Stocking the Shelves

(Click for the Complete Online Parent Reading Guide)

Fill it up!

Once you have a bookshelf for your child, it’s time to fill it up! After all, when it comes to books, the more the merrier. With a wide selection of books to choose from, your child will always be able to pick something that interests him, no matter what his mood.

When choosing books, keep your child’s interests in mind, but be sure to include a wide variety of genres and subjects, as well. Have some mysteries, an adventure or two, some joke books and some age-appropriate sci-fi or fantasy. Throw in some science and history books, too. There’s nothing boring about dinosaurs and pirates! A child’s dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia are also a good idea.

It’s time to go shopping

Once you have a fairly clear idea of the kinds of books you’re looking for, the next problem is where to find them. Here are a few creative ways to fill those shelves without busting your budget:

  • School book fairs – Most elementary schools have one or more book fairs throughout the school year. These are great places to find books for your child. Because they’re approved by the school, they will most likely be high-quality reading with subjects that kids love. They will also probably be broken down into reading levels, making it easier for you and your child to pick the most appropriate books. Kids usually love the idea of “shopping” at the fair with their classmates and choosing their own books.
  • Library book sales – Most public libraries make a practice of selling off extra copies of books from their stacks as well as those donated by the public. Some libraries have on-going sales, while others have monthly or quarterly events. Ask about book sales at your local library. Because the books are donated and the sale is manned by volunteers, the prices are usually really great. Don’t be surprised if you can buy a child’s hardback book for just a quarter. Even better, some of these events sponsor “bag sales” on the last day of the sale. Then, you and your child can fill a grocery bag with books for just a buck or two!
  • Garage sales – In the summertime in most cities, yard sale signs sprout like tulips! And, many people will include the children’s books that their own kids have out grown. Turn going to garage sales into a fun family activity. Start by checking your local paper for sales. Look for terms like “books” or “kids’ stuff.”  During the summer, some newspapers will even print a list of sales by neighborhoods and plan out your driving route for you. Add the air of a treasure hunt by letting your child pick the sales he wants to check out and seeing how fast he can find the books once you arrive at each yard.
  • The Internet – If you have access to a computer and the Internet, you’ll find that kids’ books are nearly a dime a dozen. Online book stores like Abe Books and Amazon sell secondhand books from private sellers, sometimes for just a dollar or two – and that can include shipping! Just be sure to read the book descriptions carefully. They’re usually pretty honest and can range from “torn and moldy” all the way up to “like new.” After you order, your child can look forward to fun packages of books showing up in the mail – adding even more fun to the process of reading.