Wieso? Weshalb? Warum? Ampel, Straße und Verkehr by Peter Nieländer

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For Theo’s second birthday, I was looking online for books that I could use to teach him about road safety. He loves being out of the buggy, but at almost 2, he thinks he knows better than his parents about everything. I asked on a German expat forum on which books parents would recommend and the Wieso? Weshalb? Warum? series won hands down.

We aren’t a German-speaking household. However I wanted to get Theo German books since he attends a full day German child care. Also, I wanted German books that depict what everyday life in Germany may look like so that Theo can easily relate to them. These books have German signs, trains, cars, buildings and so on. 

  

This book is exactly what I was looking for and definitely suitable for 2 year olds. The flaps were interesting and informative. The book also have examples of unacceptable behaviour which were corrected by the flaps which show what should be done instead. 

My son isn’t exactly the most obedient person when crossing the road but 95% of the time he has been compliant. Theoretically, he is able to point out the unacceptable behaviours in the book so that’s a good start for us. 

Let Your Child See You Reading 

As parents, we’re role models for our children. These little beings look to us for guidance while they try to figure out everyday life. If we have to lead by example to make sure they learn good manners, have great values and so on, we should also show our kids that we’re readers ourselves if we would like them to be one themselves. 

Take your book and sit down and read in front of your child. Give him/her a pile of picture books to look through. It doesn’t matter if he/she flips through a couple of pages before diving into another book. The whole point of letting your child see you read (your own book) is to show that reading is fun and that it’s part of family time spent together. 

We tried this out and it worked so well. Without a doubt, Theo can’t read by himself. However when he sees us taking our books to sit and read, he runs to his bookshelf to get himself some of his favourite books and joins us on the sofa. He proudly exclaims, “Thedore reads! Theodore reads!” 


Do not expect uninterrupted reading time because toddlers will do a million things to try and get your attention. In our case, he might attempt to rip a flap off a book or simply point out a random animal on the page. When Theo tries to describe something on the page, we respond why asking him questions and letting him take his time to answer (sometimes he doesn’t even answer!). It’s all about ENCOURAGEMENT at this stage, I believe.

The Beeman by Laurie Krebs and Valerie Cis


Children’s books are fantastic – they allow us to enter a different world, where everything is magical, and they let our imagination run wild. But there are times when I want to actually teach my son some facts too. 

Back to when I was a child, I learnt facts from textbooks, flashcards, newspapers and encyclopaedias. While the latter can be interesting, the child needs to be able to read and/or understand quite a bit before benefitting from them. Therefore, I’m all for NON-FICTION picture books.

They are educational yet engaging enough for toddlers. In The Beeman, the little boy introduces us to his Grandpa who is a beekeeper. The entire process is of course simplified, but it covers areas such as equipment used, how a beekeeper dresses, how to care for a hive, the different types of bees, how honey is collected and enjoyed. At the end of the book, there is even a muffin recipe to try. 

The rhyming text is a hit with my son. He’s at the age where he loves completing familiar sentences from books he has read. The vivid illustration of bees excite him too. For educators, there are additional informative pages at the end of the book should you decide to use this book for a classroom activity. I personally find them very useful to talk to my son about bees when we see them flying around.

The Lion Who Wanted to Love by Giles Andreae

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Leo is a brave young lion who has been asked to leave the family by his mum as he takes no interest in hunting other animals. Unlike other lions, Leo just wants to befriend other animals. He is different.

I tend to like children’s fiction that features a character who is different to others. It sends the message to children that everyone is different and that’s perfectly alright. We should not mock or think that someone different is lesser.

Instead of simply fitting in, Leo sticks to his believes and befriends the other jungle animals, winning them over with his big, loving heart. The is a beautifully written rhyming story with bright illustrations that will capture a toddler’s attention.

Shelfie

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For the past couple of years I’ve been gathering ideas for bookshelf ideas. I wanted one that shows off the beautiful book covers because I think it helps encourage Theo to select a book he wants us to read to him. Now that he finally has his own room, I got my act together and used some Ikea Ribba wall shelves to display his books.

Unlike our regular bookshelf, it does not hold that many books. Most of his books are on the main shelf in the living room. However, I love being able to rotate the books on these wall shelves in the corner of his room.

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It is not exactly the most cosy reading corner, but it’s a “work in progress” on my part. He simply goes into his room, calls out for me to read all the books on his shelf.

The shelf also comes in really handy as I can display the beautiful art print his Auntie got for him, and the Chinese calligraphy of his name.

 

Reading before School

  
Theo  started attending playgroup last week. He will be spending at least half the day there once the familiarisation period ends. While I’m keen on him learning German, I’m a little concern that he’ll not be read to as much as he is currently getting from being home with me. 

I know children pick up languages from daily conversation, however, reading expands a child’s vocabulary by leaps and bounds. So, it’s really important to me that we spend a few precious moments in the morning to read a few books from the book box. It’s cuddle time for Mama too! 

Illustrated Stories from Aesop

 

I spent a lot of my childhood reading Aesop’s fables. The short stories are great for young readers learning to read independently. I vividly remember reciting the moral of each story just to sound intelligent. (#bookworm)

  
This beautifully illustrated padded hardback is published by Usborne. It is a collection of more than 30 fables categorised thematically with chapters such as “Pride”, “Cunning”, “Friendship” and so on. 

  
The recommended target age group is 3+ but I bought this for my 15 months old son. Papa reads two to three fables to him at bedtime which he thoroughly enjoys. It’s a fabulous read aloud book. 

I’m definitely going to try reading this at my next Storytime Together. 

P.S. If you live in/ near Frankfurt and would like to purchase this book, please do contact me.