In Praise of an Abundance of Books

I first learned about creating a rich print environment from Jim Trelease, and I really decided to take that advice to the nth degree and be as ridiculous as possible. We always have (literally) hundreds of books checked out from the library. Four cards, with a 150 book limit on each card means the Asbys have a filthy rich print environment. A new mom friend came over to our apartment a few years ago and said something like, “Are these . . . all library books?” Um, yes. Yes they are. Is that weird?

Children, of course, think their family is normal until they grow up and learn otherwise. We were re-reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe this week, and my son responded to, “In one corner there was a door which Lucy thought must lead to Mr. Tumnus’s bedroom, and on one wall was a shelf full of books,” with, “One shelf? Only one shelf? Geez!” My work here is done.

Happy reading, and here’s hoping I’ve skewed your definition of a reasonable number of books. The only reasonable amount is the most you can carry (or in our case, roll) out of the library. Throw a few sturdy bags in your car and check out these lovely books that celebrate the written word:


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a huge favorite of mine. I won’t tell you anything else to avoid spoiling the magic.


I have this cover illustration of The Library framed on my wall . . . for obvious reasons. This book is perfect for book lovers of all ages.


Pair Building Books with Iggy Peck, Architect to gift to your favorite little builder.


The Children Who Loved Books reminds us that all you need is love . . . and books.


Castle of Books was actually a little tricky to find (I had to search by Bernard Clavel to find it on Amazon). I don’t remember it well, but I remember liking it, and now that I realize it’s hard to find, I’m feeling the need to check it out again at the library to make sure it stays in circulation!


But Excuse Me That is My Book is one of those manufactured books that has the original author’s name slapped on the front, but is totally franchised and written by other people. They’re usually terrible. This one isn’t. It’s actually quite fun. Lower your expectations (it’s not really written by the brilliant and hilarious Lauren Child), and you’ll enjoy this one.


The uber-talented Oliver Jeffers created this beautiful celebration of books and reading. Enjoy.


Speaking of Oliver Jeffers and books, you should also check out the very silly and very fun The Incredible Book Eating Boy


The Little Red Fish is an imaginative and dream-like little adventure.



And a little something for the grown-ups: First read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, and then follow that heaviness with the light and funny Dear Fahrenheit 451One may make you a little wistful and weepy, the next will make you laugh, both will make you fill up your library holds requests with new books and old favorites.

Happy reading, all you bibliophiles! Remember, there’s no such thing as too many library books.


4 thoughts on “In Praise of an Abundance of Books

  1. Ha. I love it. One shelf. Who can live with one shelf of books? I love that Child of Books book, but will have to check out the othe Oliver Jeffers one. I do like his work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog has inspired me to max out our library cards (and to buy a wheeled cart!). We live next door to our library, which is magical for my toddler boy, as well as for me. Thank you for reminding me to make the most of the wealth of books that are just steps from my back door. We were already frequent library visitors, but you have encouraged me to make it an unwavering part of our routine.


    1. Yessss!!!!! I love this so much! If you want to deep dive into the research on the effects of reading on children, check out Jim Trelease’s book The Read-Aloud Handbook. So good to hear from you, Rachel!!


      1. I will have to read that one! We read a lot- my boy is a fabulous snuggler, so we sit on the couch with our books multiple times a day (not to mention naptime and bedtime stories!), but it is always good to be reminded that it really is important.

        I open my library’s hold request page when I read your blog, so I can request some of the books you recommend! I’m enjoying playing along, and I can relate to so much of what you share: English-only phases, deep diving into a child’s interests (trucks and snakes are popular here), phrases from books becoming family vocabulary…. Thank you for writing.


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