Friday, September 23, 2011

FAQ: My Library Doesn't Have the Suggested Books

image shared by Jen

Here is a frequently asked question:
My library doesn't have many of the books suggested in the ABCJLM Curriculum.  I can't afford to purchase all of them.  What do I do?
Following our weekly trips to the library, I would sit down with my kiddos to read from the collection of books we brought home.  I would get so frustrated because 30% of the books we brought home were just okay, 50% weren't worth finishing, and 10% were not finished because they went against our values.  That left 10% of the books that we really enjoyed.  A lot of reading to get to a great book!

After talking to several other moms, I realized I wasn't alone. 

Thus began my research for quality children's books.  The books that have stood the test of time.  The books that are considered classics in every sense of the word. 

I started by googling "Top Preschool Books" and "Books all Preschoolers Should Read."  I looked at the Amazon Best Sellers list.  I asked friends for their favorites.  Then I took my combined findings to my public library to see for myself. 

It was through this research that I came up with the Book of the Week lists that compliment each of the four ABCJLM Curriculum. 
2 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
3 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
4 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
          5 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List

Since 90% of these books are considered classics, my thought was that they should be easily found in a public library and several should already be among the book stash at your home.

Unfortunately, I am hearing from some of you that this isn't always the case.  So, what do you do?

Okay, I am going to go out on a limb and say, "You need to own these books." 

Breathe, in and out.

At least the majority of them should be in your home library.  There is a reason why these books have stood the test of time.  These are books that you will be reading to your grandchildren if they can last the use of your own children.

Ways to gather these books:
  1. Just go out and buy them brand new -, local bookstore, Barnes and many possibilities
  2. Purchase them used - This is our method of choice. and all have great used book programs.  Also watch garage sales and used book stores.
  3. Birthday and Christmas Gifts - If you are like our family, we don't need anymore toys.  Why not give gift-givers a list of books when they ask for suggestions for your child?  The gift of a book will last much longer than the hit toy of the season.
If acquiring these books is not an option for you, take the list to your librarian and see if she can purchase them for the library.  My librarian was very open to this when I asked about a couple of books.  Also ask about library loan systems.

Do a search for the book titles on You Tube.  Almost any of the books are available in video form with a person narrating the story as the illustrations float in and out.  

Other books are suggested throughout the Lesson Plans.  Most of these books are not as well known but are ones that I felt enhanced the lesson of the week.  Consider these books extras.

Some of the more popular folk tales may have several versions and authors.  I have picked one as an option.  Choose which one you like best.

I hope that this will make the task of collecting these books much simpler.  Remember, nothing in the ABCJLM curriculum is a must.  But, these books are ones that I highly suggest. 

What has your experience been with finding the suggested books in the ABCJLM curriculum?  Any secrets that you have learned?

Also Read:  How to Build a Home Library 



  1. I have a library card at our local library and the library in the next town over (40 minutes away. If my local library doesn't have a book I need, I will call ahead and ask if the other library has it and plan my "out of town" trip accordingly. Also, I would suggest looking for books several weeks ahead. That way if your library doesn't have it, they can request an "interlibrary loan". Basicly, they put a request out to many libraries and which ever library has the book, they loan it to you through your local library. This process could take a few weeks to locate the book that you need, but somebody somewhere has ALWAYS had what I was looking for. Lastly, I would give the ABC Jesus Love Me book list to the children's librarian and explain that most of these are considered classic children's literature and ask if they can purchase some of the book they don't already have. That would benefit MANY children, not just your own!

    Gina DeBruler

  2. Check out your current stash to see if any of the books you have can be tied into the themes of the week. Then search the net to find activities for that book.

    There have been times I chose one of the other books you suggested and did the activities on that instead.

    If I couldn't buy a book I did want right away, I added to a wish list I put together for my kids for when people ask for gift ideas on holidays and birthdays.

  3. Also, check out, ebay, and

  4. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into putting this site together! I have a 1.5 and 2.5 year old and i am starting the 2 year Curriculum with them, this is really an answer to a prayer!! Falon Jakel

  5. I recently signed our children up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, and we have received a handful of the books posted with the 2 year curriculum for FREE! They send out one free book a month.

    1. That seems like a very cool program. Here is the link:


The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.