My husband and I read picture books to our toddler everyday. It’s an enjoyable bonding activity, and many studies have shown the numerous benefits of reading aloud to children.
When our child was around 9 months old, my husband bought around three dozen used board books from Half Price Books and shipped them from the US in a balikbayan box, along with other baby stuff. We also ordered around a dozen board books in Filipino online from Adarna House and Pumplepie Books & Happiness. We thought these were plenty enough, but eventually we found it monotonous to read the same books over and over again. We’ve practically memorized all of her board books, which include classics like Goodnight Moon.
Now, it would be quite expensive to buy a new picture book every day, even if from a local used bookstore like Booksale. Besides, we find their board book selection for preschoolers to be quite meager — most of Booksale’s children’s books are for school-age kids.
I enviously look back at the time when I visited my cousin in the US years ago, and we went to her local public library. She borrowed tons of children’s books — as much as she could fill her large tote bag — for my young nephew, all for free.
Unfortunately, libraries here in the Philippines aren’t as impressive. Luckily, my husband’s US library card is still active. Searching his local library’s catalog online, I found that they have many picture books available as ebooks. They also have digital subscriptions to magazines tailored for toddlers like BABYBUG and Hello. We borrowed some issues on our iPad mini with their app, and we’re loving it so far. I was afraid the text would be too small on an iPad mini, but they’re quite legible.Obviously, the tactile experience of reading on a tablet isn’t the same as holding an actual board book, but the price of zero can’t be beat. After rereading the same picture books for months, my husband and I can’t help but be excited at the prospect of reading a new story every day.
If you have close friends and family in the US (or other countries with good public libraries that have extensive digital catalogs), do ask them if they could share their library card with you.