When I found out I was having not one, but TWO babies, my wheels started turning. I wanted to be a great mom. I wanted to raise awesome kids. I wanted to do it all without losing myself. I didn’t have family close by or alot of extra help so I knew it would take some work. My answer to this was books. Lots and lots of books. I’ve always been a reader. A learner. A researcher. Ask me a question and there is probably a book I have read that has the answer. So I started reading. I thought about what kinds of things I needed to learn about parenting and I researched what books would help me with those things. And it wasn’t just early parenthood. I have thought as far ahead as the teen years and have books on standby for those days also. Everything from sleep training, to raising good eaters, to discipline, to parenting and marriage, you name it. I have a book for that. I prepared my little butt off. You can’t plan for everything but when you feel armed with knowledge and the solution comes from a book you chose to read, you feel empowered.
But as prepared as I was, and as much as I thought I had read every parenting book under the sun that was relevant to my parenting style and the kinds of kids I wanted to raise, I was recently introduced to the fact that there is one book I missed reading. It didn’t exist back then. It was just recently published and I was given a copy to review. Just when I thought I had heard it all when it comes to parenting, I was introduced to this new concept.
Samantha Munoz, author of “the Intentional Bookshelf”, is an engineer and blogger (check out her awesome book review blog here), who has been using children’s books to help her parent her daughter. Wait, what? She’s using CHILDREN’s books to help her raise her daughter? Yup. I loved reading her story. She talks about how the fear of failing as a parent made her feel like an inadequate mother until she realized children’s books could teach valuable lessons and guide her daughter’s moral development. Suddenly, it dawned on her that she didn’t have to do it alone. She was responsible for shaping her child but books could help her with that.
When I got pregnant with my boys, I gave alot of thought to what kind of mom I wanted to be, what kind of childhood I had, and what kinds of kids I wanted to raise. And then I sat down and had a very deep discussion with my husband about all those things as well. We discussed EVERYTHING and that is what dictated my parenting book choices. So of course it makes sense that you should build your CHILD’s library around THEIR interests and your desires for them, but I honestly never even thought about it! Our boys have a bookshelf with TONS of books and I have to admit, most of them were not purchased with any intent in mind. After reading “the Intentional Bookshelf” I am itching to get to my nearest Chapters and have a do over!
Sam talks about the obvious benefits of reading to your child at an early age and that of course, they help to build literacy and other skills that lead to academic excellence. But she also talks about the many other benefits of having a carefully curated bookshelf. They are a teaching tool, an escape from reality, a productive hobby, a family activity, and a source of pride and responsibility.
When I first signed on to review this book, I was honestly doing it because I wanted to support the author, and because I serve new and expecting moms who might appreciate an honest review of a “parenting” book. I also expected that Sam would list off a bunch of books we should be stocking our library with. Boy did I misjudge what I was signing up for! Reading this book really made me realize how much I did NOT realize about children’s books, and that it wasn’t about having a list of great children’s books. It was about doing exactly what I did for myself when I purchased all those parenting books before we had kids. Examine your family’s interests, values, wishes and intentions, and then find the books that will help you foster those in your kids.
What I really love about “the Intentional Bookshelf” is that it doesn’t just stop at this revelation. The author takes you through the process of building your very own library. She talks about budgeting for books, and ways to add to the collection. She even talks about Book Boxes, which I knew nothing about! She also talks about the different TYPES of books there are and gives a few examples of ones that her and her family enjoy in each category. There are even tips on how to store, organize, and display your books! In addition to all of that, this book covers how to go “beyond the book” with projects, interests, and reading spaces. And finally, after all that cool knowledge you gain about how to build your child’s library and where to go from there, Samantha Munoz provides a link to a place to download a worksheet and checklist that will help you keep on track, as well as other valuable parenting resources.
From start to finish “the Intentional Bookshelf” is a unique spin on parenting books. you don’t realize how valuable it is until you read it and realize just how much you DIDN’T know. It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of this?” moments everyone has when they experience a product or service that seems so obvious once it’s in front of them. As a connoisseur of great parenting books, I can definitely say that this needs to be in your parenting tool kit and Samantha Munoz has done an awesome job of breaking down every little question you could have about how to purposely build your child’s library. I loved the book so much, I asked her to be a guest on my new podcast “Modern Mommy Prepschool”, and lucky me, she said yes! So stay tuned for more on when that will launch and when her episode will air!
In the meantime, if you are a new or expecting mom, and you like parenting books, I highly recommend this book, and if you are looking for a great gift for new parents, this is it! Hop on over to Amazon and get your copy!