Monday, July 28, 2014

How To Choose Board Books For Your Flight: A Guide For The Bookish Adult

You're a bookish mom/dad/aunt/uncle/grandma/grandpa.  I know it.  If you're anything like us, you have just as many books as you do toys.  And your little one loves them all.  So, how do you choose which ones to take with you on the plane?

Tips from a mom of a one-year-old who has been on more flights than she can count with her fingers and toes combined before turning 1½:

Three books I would take on a flight: 1) Frankenstein by
Jennifer Adams has many things besides the words on
the pages to play games with. 2) Hungarian souvenir
A Tenger has a lot of pictures and is very small.
 3) Queen Quail Is Quiet by Erika Barriga is a very fun e-book
for young ones.
1. Don't limit yourself to paper or electronic.  Both are important!  Pick 2 physical books per journey. (LAX-DEN is one journey, even if you have a layover at PDX) You are also going to be taking toys and hopefully, if it's a long enough flight, there will be some sleeping going on.  When we traveled 24-hours straight to get home from Budapest, 2 souvenir books combined with our ebooks was plenty.

2. Load up on e-books on your reader or tablet.  This is a great place to have any books with moving parts such as pop-up, lift-the-flap, or any motion books.  Your child can interact with the book, but you don't have to worry about pages or flaps getting torn on the way.  It's also a great medium for younger readers to engage in books that don't come in the board book format because they won't get ruined by overeager little fingers.  Plan on a 1:2 ratio of ebooks:hours on the plane.  Do not calculate layover and ground travel time into this, as your little one will want to get the wiggles out and view the world around them as much as possible during these periods.

Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan is the
perfect souvenir book: it is new, has many
animals that don't appear in other books and
we got it at a trip to a super-fun Indie in Fort
Collins, Colorado, The Old Firehouse Books.
E-books we love: Flora the Flamingo by Molly Idle, Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You by Dr. Seuss, The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss, Professor Whiskerton Presents: Steampunk ABCs by Lisa Falkenstern.

3. Only pack for the outbound flight.  If you're as bookish as we are you will buy new ones on vacation.  No need to pack fresh ones to bring home because you know you will buy them while you are there, right?  We buy books as souvenirs instead of plushies or toys because it's a fun reminder of the places we've been.  When we visited the Rio Grande Interpretive Center, we saw all kinds of waterfowl and many were ducks.  So, we purchased the Ugly Duckling at the shop and every time we read it, I am reminded of the trip.  I'm not naive enough to think that the little one is, but it's a great memory for me, and a very functional souvenir that provides at least an opportunity to share the memory with your little or remind them of the trip.

4. Pick newer, more unfamiliar books.  You may be tempted to take old standbys, or favorites, but this is a great opportunity for your little to forge a relationship with a different book.  Plus, it's a good break for you.  Download one of the good ol' standbys to your device in case of fits.  (Though, we've never had any issues with that.)

Krtek books ended up being the perfect souvenir from
Prague.  We brought home a national hero and tiny little
books that took up no room, yet entertained the whole flight.
5. Pick books with less words and more illustrated items than the words describe.  Use the book as a tool to play different games rather than just reading words.  No doubt you already do this often, but take this into consideration when selecting for your next flight.  The more details, the better.

6. Think small.  This is sort-of a no-brainer, but the smaller the better.  Board books take a lot of room, and bigger doesn't mean better.

7. After all of these considerations, make sure it's a book you like. There's nothing worse than being stuck on the plane with a teething toddler reading a book over and over that you just can't stand.

It's always hard to select only two books to take, but I'm always glad we did!