Make reading fun for your kids

February 9, 2009 4:26:48 PM PST
Get your child excited about literacy with vintage children's books.

Tips for getting kids to read:

  1. FUN: A good children's book makes reading and learning fun and enjoyable. A very early example of how fun can transform rote learning is The Hieroglyphic Bible, published in 1785. This early children's book replaces key words in each sentence in the bible with interesting and sometimes entertaining pictures, or "hieroglyphs." This "pictures-instead-of-words" approach made the sometimes dull process of memorizing passages from the bible easier for children in the 18th century, and certainly more entertaining. Hieroglyphic books are still published today, to the delight of children all over the world.

  2. VISUAL IMPACT: Striking color illustrations are a common way to create strong visual impact for a young reader. And example is the Raggedy Ann ABC book, from 1925. This book uses strong primary colors on its cover, and throughout its pages, as a way to attract a child's attention, and to focus that attention on the learning goal of the book: mastering the alphabet. But color isn't the only way for a children's book to have visual impact. Other methods of creating a strong, positive response in young readers are unique illustration styles, creative text layout, and unusual choice of typeface or book shape.

  3. INTRIGUE: A successful children's book catches the imagination of the young reader, and intrigues him or her to read more to gain the full experience of the story, the characters, or the information presented. An example is The Wayside Book, published in 1934. This charming book is a collection of fanciful, colorful, highly illustrated maps of the many interesting areas around London to which a young child or adolescent in England might travel. The unique and striking illustrations, based on historical events in each area, animate the maps so that the young reader is intrigued with the imaginary journeys that this book conjures up in stylized detail.

  4. FAMILIARITY: Along with presenting material that is new and interesting, a successful children's book often will also present plots and characters that are familiar to the young reader. This sense of familiarity helps to make the reader enthusiastic about material that is known, and much loved, as a result of repeated readings. The best examples of this sort of familiarity come from traditional children's book genres such as:
    --Nursery rhymes (like Tales for Tots, published in 1934)
    --Fairy tales (such as Jack and the Beanstalk, published in 1944)
    --Well-loved storybooks (such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1907).

  5. WONDER AND JOY: Perhaps the most powerful thing a children's book can do is to create in the heart of the young reader a sense of wonder and joy. Many books do this, in a variety of different ways. One particularly fun example of a book that can have this effect on children is what's called a pop-up book. Here are two extraordinary pop-up books, each created by the well known pop-up book artist from Eastern Europe, Voitech Kubasta. These books are titled:
    --The Castle Tournament, published in 1961
    --Marco Polo, published in 1962.
Books featured in this segment:
  1. Vintage Children's pop-up books. One of the books that she can bring features medieval knights and jousting - where the knights spring to life off of the pages of the books. Another one features the adventures of Marco Polo. These books are from the early 1900s.

  2. First editions of Alice in Wonderland, signed by the original "Alice" who the subject of the book and a neighbor of Lewis Carroll.

  3. Vintage ABC books are very popular and collectable in the rare book world.

  4. First edition copies of Mickey Mouse (Mickey Mouse in the Gold Rush - one of the first Mickey Mouse books written) and Eloise.

  5. 18th Century hieroglyphic bible. The whole book is written in hieroglyphics so that the children reading it would have to try and figure out what it says. For example instead of the word I, it would have an image of an eye. I am sure it was a delight for kids to try to decipher the book.
Prices for books featured range from $10 for some of the out-of-print children's books to $25,000 for original drawings from the book illustrators. Books can be found at Proprietor of Children's Book Gallery in San Francisco.

Event information:
42nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair
February 13 - 15, 2009
Concourse Exhibition Center
635 8th Street, San Francisco (Entrances at 7th and 8th Streets)
Thousands of rare books and manuscripts from hundreds of booksellers, plus book arts seminars and special exhibits for collectors and visitors.

More event information below:
Hotline: (415) 962-2500
Toll Free: (800) 454-6401

About Chris Loker:
About Chris Loker is a woman whose rare book store is located in San Francisco near Union Square. Her specialties include antiquarian children's book and she would be willing to bring in a number of these beautiful, whimsical rare children's books. Some date back to the 1700s. After a distinguished corporate career in human resources with Bank of America, Levi Strauss, and lastly as senior vice-president with Charles Schwab, Chris Loker found her true passion and retired to join her husband John in the rare book business. She also serves on the boards of the Bring Me A Book Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to children's literacy.