Lola At The Library, written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, is a kid’s book, but it contains a pretty valuable lesson for parents to learn as well.
Tuesday is Lola’s favorite day of the week, because that’s the day she gets to go to the library with her mommy. They always do the same thing – walking along the same route, giving the librarian their old books, finding new ones to check out, and then (spoiler alert!) stopping for a treat on the way back home. In learning about the details of their day, you really get a sense of how much joy Lola feels for this cherished reading ritual.
We love how this book reminds parents just how much children enjoy the everyday interactions we share with them. It also encourages parents to establish frequent, regular reading routines that can create happy memories that will keep kids reading into adulthood.
Lately, Amber has been doing an informal experiment with her undergraduate child development classes. First, she asks her students to raise their hands if they consider themselves “readers” (like if they enjoy reading and would do it for fun if they had time and a good book). Then she asks the class to reflect on reading memories from their childhoods – do they remember being read to, going to the library to pick out books, or anything else involving their eyeballs and a bunch of printed pages? Finally, Amber asks her students to raise their hands if the reading memories they thought of were positive ones. Each time she’s conducted this experiment, Amber has found that almost 100% of students who raised their hands for either question ultimately raised their hand for both questions. In other words, the adults who enjoy reading now are the same ones who grew up with happy reading memories.
So the small effort that Lola’s mom makes in maintaining the Tuesday library routine with her daughter will benefit Lola well into adulthood (or at least it would if Lola wasn’t a fictional character incapable of actually growing up). And by establishing fun reading routines now, you could do the very same thing for your own, real-life child.
Of course, we do have two small beefs with this book. For one, the librarian “stamps the date” inside Lola’s books. Modern libraries are all computerized, with automatically generated printed receipts. So unless this story is supposed to take place at least a full generation ago, we’re just not buying the ink and rubber act. Besides, the story can’t take place that far in the past anyway, what with Lola’s mommy drinking a currently trendy cappuccino for their post-library snack! Nice try manipulating space and time in completely unrealistic ways, McQuinn and Beardshaw! Did you write Looper, too?
And speaking of that caffeine-laden concoction, we’re a little concerned that mommy always lets Lola “taste the foam – mmmmm!” Andy’s pretty sure that Amber’s growth was stunted because she was allowed to drink black coffee as a child. And now poor little Lola is headed for a similarly 5’1” fated future.
On the other hand, Lola’s pretty well read, so maybe she’s fully aware of the risks caffeine poses to a growing girl like herself, yet she chooses to indulge from time to time anyway.
YOLO. Are we right, Lola?
Like this article?
You'll love our book, Think Like a Baby: 33 Simple Research Experiments You Can Do at Home to Better Understand Your Child's Developing Mind.
Order it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Chicago Review Press!