During summer vacation, the boys and I made a habit of going to the library every couple of weeks. They took me by surprise by barely stepping foot on the fiction side of the children’s section. Trying to wander through that section with them was like trying to pull teeth. They had no interest in all the fun, made up stories we could borrow.
Thanks to a display on bugs and animals, they spent their time in one little aisle in the kid’s non-fiction section.
G borrowed quite a few books about animals. He loves elephants so we looked over several of those, as well as a couple books about sharks during Shark Week. I say looked over because he didn’t have much patience to sit down and listen to the long paragraphs a few of his books contained. They were written for older kids in mind. But we could look at the pictures and captions, and if there was something that needed elaborating on I could find the information in the longer paragraphs.
L loves insects and started out borrowing books about bugs. But halfway through the summer, he turned his attention to humans. I can’t remember how he came across the first body book. He was probably pulling books off the shelves as I was trying to find a book about bugs. But he found one and was insistent on bringing home.
He’s been obsessed ever since.
This has been a big deal to me because L is not a reader. The little interest he has developed for books started much later than his brother, and even now it hasn’t always been easy to sit down and read with him. Going to the library and allowing him to choose his own books to borrow has helped a lot. He’s excited to read at bedtime right now. And even though the books he’s choosing are written for older kids, he’s learning about what interests him.
Considering how much he’s been examined by doctors during his 3.5 years, I’m not surprised he’s taken an interest in the human body. I’m actually kind of glad. These unlikely books my 3 year old loves has given us a chance to talk more about his food allergies, and why he needs to brush his teeth, and why we have started his breathing treatments.
He’s learning about bones. He has seen what a hip replacement x-ray looks like and has a better understanding of why his grandfather was in the hospital over the summer.
He knows what blood cells look like up close and that white blood cells kill the icky germs that make him sick. He wants a huge x-ray (or MRI) of his own body to hang in his room to look at. He’s naming body parts he’s seeing on medication commercials on TV. The other day I found him scribbling veins and blood cells on a drawing of an elephant. And he loves hearing about how food travels through the body before it is pooped out.
Again, these are more resource books you’d expect sixth graders to read to do a research report of some kind, so they’re above L’s reading (or attention span) level. But I do the same thing with him as I did with G: read the little captions to all the pictures and if I need to explain something in more detail the information is there to help me out.
I’ve tried encouraging L to borrow body books that have a more childish cartoony vibe to them, but he has been adamant about borrowing ones with photographs. So far, these are the books he has enjoyed (and been sad to part with after his two weeks are up):
Eye Wonder: Human Body by DK Publishing
Human Body Revealed by Sue Davidson
The Human Body by Connie Jankowski
Before we started going to the library, L would demand to watch YouTube videos before bed and get upset when we told him no. He has always preferred watching a video to being read to. But since I’ve started letting him choose books to borrow, he’s excited about reading before naptime and bedtime. There were days I honestly didn’t think that would ever happen, so I’m embracing it — even if I’d rather read Little Blue Truck.
What have your kids been reading lately? What was your 3 year old obsessed with?