Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

Building your Kiddo’s Library without Breaking the Bank

Books are magical.

I know e-readers are said to be the wave of the future, but gosh, I hope they never truly replace books. There is something indescribable about having a book in hand that you can hold, flip through, and even smell. I especially think this is true for Children’s books. The colors! The stories! The imagination! The fantasy! The magic!

At 16 months of age, Caroline has a pretty substantial personal library. Like her mama, she loves books and she started young. Jason and I have parented with the idea that it’s never too early to start reading to baby {There is plenty of research to support us on this}. Jason and I read to her while she was still in the womb.

Books are Caroline’s favorite toy. We have books in our living room, her bedroom, in her stroller, in the basket that comes with us outside to play and even in our car. Caroline loves reading {flipping through} books on her own. She also adores being read to in the morning, while being nursed, before nap time, and then before bed. Caroline has over 25 words in her vocabulary {including book!} already and I believe it’s due to how much she is read to.

These are the books in our living room that Caroline is currently reading on a daily basis.

These are the books in our living room that Caroline is currently reading on a daily basis.

library9

Our car books (they get tossed around a lot!)

Our car books (they get tossed around a lot!)

Books aren’t cheap, and it would be easy to spend a fortune on acquiring them. So how have we built our library without breaking the bank?

Here are my tips and tricks…

Getting FREE NEW Books:

  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: We were told about this amazing program at a playgroup when Caroline was around 10 months old. Kiddos around the country can receive a brand new free book every month from birth to age 5. It’s pretty awesome, and we are lucky enough to have a local sponsor near Burlington (The Burlington Sunrise Rotary Club Foundation), and so every month Caroline receives a new book in the mail. It took a little time for it to be set up, but we have now received 3 books. Click Here to sign up your kids!Library3
  • Well Child Checks @ Our Doctor’s Office: During Caroline’s first year every well child check we went to (5 visits) we received a brand new book through a grant. Most of them were “Baby Faces” books and these were some of Caroline’s first favorites.
  • The Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF): CliF’s mission is to inspire a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural children up to age 12 throughout NH and VT. During their summer program, CLiF presenters tell stories, read aloud from books, and share their love of words, reading, and writing. Every child who participates chooses two books to keep from a wide selection of brand-new children’s books. We recently attended one of CliF’s programs at the VNA Family Room and the whole event was amazing and Caroline got two beautiful new books. I highly recommend attending one of these programs when they come to a town near you. Follow CLiF on facebook to find out about their next event!
    During story time and songs {Photo provided by Daria Bishop Photography}

    During story time and songs {Photo provided by Daria Bishop Photography}

    Choosing our two books! {Photo provided by Daria Bishop Photography}

    Choosing our two books! {Photo provided by Daria Bishop Photography}

  • Gifts from Friends and Families: Caroline’s nursery theme was Eric Carle and so we received several Eric Carle books at her baby shower. For birthdays and Christmas we also ask for books. It is becoming more popular for people to ask their friends and families to bring a book in lieu of a greeting card {now that many cards are upwards of $5!} for baby showers and children’s birthdays.

Getting DISCOUNTED NEW Books:

  • HomeGoods: This is one of my favorite places to find books for Caroline, and many people would never think to look here. HomeGoods {and I assume Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx} has a sizable kid’s section with Green, Melissa & Doug and Battat toys. Their book selection is pretty impressive and all of the books are usually at least 30-40% off. We have gotten some of Caroline’s favorite touch & feel and pop-up books there. This is often where I get books to gift to friends as well.
  • Kohl’s Cares: These books are probably my second favorite way to buy brand new books. For $5 you are able to get classic hardcover children’s books {sometimes they even have board book sets} and the purchase goes towards Kohl’s giving back to the community. We have gotten Eric Carle, Curious George, and Dr. Seuss books at Kohl’s. These books are perfect for gifts too!library10
  • Costco: We love Costco in our family, they have the greatest stuff at great prices. The books at Costco are awesome because you can often get sets or special additions of books for reduced prices. I can’t help myself but to peruse the book table when I’m shopping for our rotisserie chicken and toilet paper.
  • Amazon: You can get children’s books on Amazon for slashed prices. The one con of Amazon is I like holding books in my hand before I purchase them so I can leaf through and make sure it’s the right book for Caroline. I usually utilize Amazon when there is a book I know I want but can’t find it somewhere around town.
  • Hello by Highlights: Hello is a magazine/book hybrid subscription that comes in the mail monthly. It is meant for ages 0-2 years old {they have High Five for children 2-6 years old}. The pages are laminated, have rounded corners, and held together with a string binding, so perfect for a baby who would probably demolish a normal magazine. We have been receiving Hello for 4 months and totally recommend them. The activities are perfect for a 1-2 year old’s attention span and Caroline has me read them to her over and over again. A year subscription is less than $35 or less than $3 a month. Perfect price.

library4library5

Getting USED Books:

  • Yard Sales: You can get gently loved books at yard sales for a STEAL. Sometimes as low as 25 cents each!
  • Swaps: Like yard sales, you can find children’s books in great shape for very little money.
  • Goodwill: You can find some real gems at Goodwill. Shopping at Goodwill, let’s you hit two birds with one stone. You get a book for a great price and you support an amazing cause.
  • Family and Friends: We have received dozens of books from younger cousins and our parents who were happy to pass on some of their favorite books to Caroline. It makes them that much more special knowing that they were loved by someone that loves Caroline. For the ones that are way beyond her years, we have them stored in her closet for when she is older.

Visiting Books:

  • Library: Obviously you don’t keep library books that you borrow. It’s typical to be able to have them visit your home for 3 weeks with the ability to renew them a few times. But the library is a great resource to explore a whole bunch of different books to see what your kiddo really likes before you invest in any. We belong to two libraries and borrow books every few weeks.
    These are books we are currently borrowing from the Fletcher Free Library. They purchased this books after I asked them if they had Spot books and they didn't!

    These are books we are currently borrowing from the Fletcher Free Library. They purchased these books after I asked them if they had Spot books and they didn’t!

    The South Burlington Library has these amazing discovery boxes you can check out that are themed. We have the penguin one right now.

    The South Burlington Library has these amazing discovery boxes you can check out that are themed. We have the penguin one right now.

These are my tricks for building up Caroline’s personal library, what have I missed?

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to Building your Kiddo’s Library without Breaking the Bank

  1. Moira A July 7, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    Don’t forget about library book sales. The Friends of the Burnham Library in Colchester does two books sales a year and always has a great selection for all ages. We stock up like crazy and run out of space on our 2yo and 4yo’s bookshelves! They also have a small bookshelf as you walk out with books for sale and they are only .25-.50 apiece.

  2. Sarah July 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    These are wonderful ideas ?

    Also, Hosting an Usborne FaceBOOK party! I got over $350 in rewards credit when I first hosted.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Costco Mom Hour :: A Holiday Shopping Event in Vermont - October 14, 2016

    […] Books & DVDs :: We read a lot in this house. One of my favorite places to peruse at Costco is their book, dvd and toy area […]

Leave a Reply