Yesterday we took on the library. A traditionally daunting place for the once naughty teenager who kept getting told off for talking…so today I wanted to look at choosing stories for children by age group, or stage, because while you might make it into a library, the next task can be equally daunting!

This is basically the types of books I chose while trying to introduce Reuben to books and reading…

Stories for children - what books to look for in the library

Stories for children – What kind of book should I be looking for?

Stage 1 (approx 0-6 months)

We were given 2 Bookstart books when Reuben was less than 4 months. They were small, board books. One was a flap book called peekaboo baby and the other an animal sounds book. They have been firm favourites up until recently!

I would look for any board books with textures or flaps. Think “That’s not my…” books or “Dear Zoo“. Anything with a mirror is a bonus but be sure to wipe the mirror down first and then again when you hand it back!

Stories for children - what books to look for in the library

…Because I guarantee this will happen!

These type of books should hopefully be kept in a a different area to the paperback picture books making them easier to locate.

Stage 2 (approx 6-12 months)

At this stage I started to mix books without flaps. When Reuben was 8 months we went to Gran Canaria and a book about animal sounds saved our lives (bit dramatic. OK our ears) on the flight home! There was nothing special about the book, it was literally some pictures of animals. The cat fascinated him and I think I was able to entertain him with it for the last 30 – 40 minutes.

Stories for children - what books to look for in the library

The saviour of all journeys…Reuben at 8 months

Actual stories were a bit much for him at this stage but certainly something like the Hungry Caterpillar was starting to be of interest. Much to my dismay, Wibbly Pig had no chance!

Stage 3 (approx 12-18 months)

By 16 months we’d had every baby book 2 or 3 times, so I was ready to dip my toe into the storybooks section. This is when you can get overwhelmed. Where on earth do you start?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I went for a book that looked sturdy and had thicker pages, didn’t have too many words and had nice pictures. It happened to be a Pip and Posy book, The Snowy Day, by the illustrator of the Gruffalo. You might want to go for a story about a cow if your child likes cows, or a baby, etc.

It took him a while to get into a story of this length, we’d read a page here and there, but with repetition came concentration and soon we could read the whole thing. And then he would start to read it to himself. By Christmas (17 months) he was reading it to himself, doing the actions and sounds that I do (and there were many!).

By 17 months, he was also sitting through a few really long books (at bedtime with his bottle!). I was sent 2 books by the author of Old Bear to review and he went from no interest to loving them in a matter of weeks! So, don’t be afraid to try something you think might be ‘challenging’.

Stories for children - what books to look for in the library

Our favourite page from Ruby, Blue and Blanket, Reuben loves to join in with the bellowing! “BOOOOOO”

Stage 4 (approx 18 – 24 months)

This is the stage we are in now and basically Reuben is losing interest in the smaller board books and has a much greater interest in books with longer stories and more complex pictures. He wants more books like Ruby, Blue and Blanket, or The Gruffalo and fewer small board books like the original animal sounds book (however, this might be because they are more familiar so remember to rotate your books like you would your toys!).

How did you choose your books for your kids? If you disagree or have more to add, please do add your comment at the bottom!! Reuben is my first kid, so I’m learning too!